Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Playing Pollyanna

The write up on the latest NBC/WSJ poll begins "Donald Trump and Ben Carson are running neck and neck in the national Republican presidential horserace..." It shows Trump at 21% and Carson, in second, at 20%. This is the first time in since mid-July that Trump's lead has been so slim.

It may well be a reflection of reality. But the margin of error is a whopping 6.5%, more than twice as large as that of comparable polls. The sample only included 230 GOP primary voters. Spread across 17 potential choices and coupled with the fact that the result noticeably diverges from the results of four other polls conducted in the last week showing Trump's lead at between 5-8 points, some qualification is probably merited. It is not, however, provided.

Carson is putatively now the man for Trump to beat, in spite of his sensible but politically incorrect remarks concerning a hypothetical Muslim president (or, hopefully, because of them). Islam is illiberal. That's blatantly obvious to anyone who has read the Koran or is familiar with the hadiths. Consequently, the highest political office in the US should not be held by someone who has any serious fidelity to the foundational teachings of the Muslim faith.

The sobriety of his statements contrast starkly with the bipartisan zeal over the last couple of decades for trying to turn the Middle East and North Africa into a coalition of mini Americas by forcing democracy on them. Westerners have a bad habit of equating democracy with liberalism, when the two do not necessarily have anything to do with one another.

To the contrary, in much of the world--Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt, just to name a few of the places American interventionist meddling has recently wrecked--autocracy has been a friend of liberalism, and the replacement of autocracy with democracy has resulted in reductions in liberalism. Had the essentially secular regime of Saddam Hussein never been toppled, the fundamentalist Islamic State couldn't possibly exist.

That Carson, who was recently slapped with a scarlet "I" for sensibly concluding that he would not support a Muslim becoming president, is currently Trump's most serious challenge is encouraging in that it suggests that the squealing about waaaaaaaycism! has completely lost currency among much of the grassroots mainstream right.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Science is racist, sexist, and probably Islamophobic

If it's not careful, the Pew Research Center may have soon be given a new name, something along the lines of The Cathedral's Fifth Column. The center's latest report concerns "what the public knows and does not know about science" for which Pew administered a 12-question survey to a nationally representative sample of 3,278 people in the US. The data yield a succession of hatefacts:

- Men outscored women on every single question. To avoid narrative collapse, it must be maintained that girls are deprived of an educational environment conducive to realizing scientific literacy before they reach adulthood, because the reason adult men achieve so much more in scientific fields than adult women do is that men are more scientifically competent than women are.

- Men with undergraduate and post-graduate degrees outscored women of every level of educational attainment. Perhaps more surprisingly, men with some college but not even an undergraduate degree scored as well as women with post-graduate degrees and better than women at every level of educational attainment below that, included those with undergraduate degrees. Occam's Razor slices to the bone.
Landing on the moon was racist

- Non-Hispanic whites outscored both blacks and Hispanics on every single question.

- Hispanics outscored blacks on 10 of the 12 questions.

- A summary of results from several surveys administered over the last few years shows women to be at parity with men when it comes to "questions related to the life sciences" but to perform significantly worse than men when it comes to "questions related to earth sciences and energy issues" and "questions related to other physical sciences". It's almost as though women are relatively more concerned with human interactions and nurturing (the life sciences) than they are with physics and chemistry (the lifeless sciences), while the reverse is the case for men. Who could have guessed?!

- In the spirit of poor, uneducated whites outscoring affluent, educated blacks on college admissions exams, the report notes that "racial and ethnic group differences in mean numbers of correct responses on that scale occur even when controlling for education level."

- Bill O'Reilly's recorded ignorance about what causes ocean tides understandably sends a lot of ridicule his way. If perchance you find yourself in the presence of a smug SWPL or two who tries to tether you to Fox News for your dismissive attitude towards Bernie Sanders, feel free to note that "the largest differences between blacks and whites occurs on a question about the ocean tides: 83% of whites compared with 46% of blacks correctly identify the gravitational pull of the moon as one factor in ocean tides." Squirm, SWPL, squirm!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Blacks perceive most discrimination, whites perceive least

When the blog's tagline is followed it is often accompanied by some color commentary (epigone in action), but the data (so audacious!) are of primary importance, and sometimes it's best to let them speak for themselves.

This might be interpreted as lending credence to the idea of the existence of an evasive yet seemingly ubiquitous "institutional racism", to the understanding that members of officially designated victim groups are aware of the benefits said putative victimization affords them and take advantage of it, or some combination of both.

Whatever the case, the percentages of respondents, by race, who report feeling discriminated at work due to their race or ethnicity. The question has been asked five times since 2002 so the results have contemporary relevance:

American Indian9.7%

GSS variables used: WKRACISM, RACECEN1(1)(2)(3)(4-10)(15-16)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Vice president Cruz

Steve Sailer writes:
Trump’s VP possibilities include Fiorina to attack Hillary and Romney as a Republican who is ready to step in as President in case of tragedy.
Ted Cruz strikes me as the most likely pick.

- His voice has been conspicuously absent from the attack Trump candidate chorus, even when there has been almost nothing to lose from piling on. Cruz even refrained from going after Trump following his assertion that being captured by your enemy doesn't necessarily indicate heroism.

- The two held a dual rally condoning the Iran deal.

- Cruz is Hispanic. So an affluent, well educated white Cuban who can't speak Spanish doesn't win identity points with semi-literate Mexican peasants? That's not the point. The point is to make whites feel better about supporting a guy who continues to pledge that he'll shut down illegal border crossings on the day he is sworn in, and having a Hispanic senator from a border state on the ticket helps accomplish that.

- Legislatively, Cruz has been better than anyone else in the GOP field on immigration.

- His approach and demeanor serve as counterbalances to Trump's. Trump is bombastic, pugilistic, dismissive, and condescending. Cruz is measured, genteel, and wonkish.

One thing working against Cruz as vice president is the issue of eligibility. Cruz was born in Canada. Given Trump's previous vociferous skepticism regarding Obama's eligibility, that could present a problem.

Parenthetically, descending into this level of celebrity political gossip makes me queasy, but it can't be said emphatically enough that the Trump phenomenon is the most consequential political occurrence in my lifetime with regard to the effects it has had on mainstream accessibility to and receptivity of the ideas that animate the dissident right.

Specifically, his candidacy has done two great things:

1) Provided a real life example--example after example, really--of how to respond to the cultural Marxists when they come for blood in response to a disparaging remark against some designated sacred group or concept. The formula he's running is to stick up a middle finger with one hand and throw a right hook with the other. Nothing apologetic. On multiple occasions, extending back to his initial campaign announcement, the subsequent narrative has been "he's gone too far! Now he's done!" and every time it hasn't just been overstated, the opposite has occurred--he's drawn more attention and support. When it comes to political correctness, he's a single-man wrecking ball. A lot of water is going to flow from behind the floodgates that he is busting open.

2) He's made ending illegal immigration the centerpiece of his campaign. His official platform position on immigration is, almost literally, incredible for a serious presidential campaign in 2015 America. Though he spouts the conventional elite opinion on legal immigration, the reality is that there is now the real possibility of an Israeli-style border barrier between the US and Mexico being constructed. Things have come a long way since the lonely songs sung by Tom Tancredo.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Israeli Ann

Ann Coulter's biting mockery of the GOP debaters' paeans to Israel is another sign that her shift from mainstream right to dissident/alternative right is almost complete. As I read ¡Adios America!, I had to remind myself on multiple occasions that this is a woman who appears on cable news stations with some regularity (or at least used to until very recently). She's far more blunt and cutting in her delivery than Pat Buchanan is. She even quoted this humble epigone a couple of weeks ago. That she hasn't yet been banished to the dark corners of the public arena is miraculous (and probably helped in no small part by the Trump phenomenon).

In the book, she notes that the NRA is more successful than comparable immigration restrictionist outfits are because it lends its support entirely based on the issue it exists to fight for, while groups like NumbersUSA do everything they can to appear racially and culturally inclusive at the expense of what appeals to many restrictionists. In that spirit, she has now clearly reached the point where she sees everything through a National Question lens. In this spirit, she rhetorically asked what the point of all the Israel pandering was without a corresponding pledge to close the southern border given the coolness with which Hispanics in the US view Israel.

In its first couple decades, the GSS asked fun questions about how respondents felt about several countries. The last time the item was included was in 1994, so the responses are dated, but the following table shows mean hostility scores by ethnicity. Data are only included for ethnicities with samples of at least 150. The higher the value, the less favorably inclined respondents of each ethnicity are towards the state of Israel:

"American" only3.99
American Indian3.74

About half of those in the US who identify as ancestrally Russian are Jewish, so these amiable feelings are not surprising.

See also a post from several years ago entitled Hispanic Deluge Bad News for Jews.

GSS variables used: ETHNIC, ISRAEL

Thursday, September 17, 2015


Trump sticking his hand out for a high five and ¡Jabe! eagerly complying with all the intensity of a prepubescent sixth grade football player lining up for his first snap on his face probably qualifies as a shit (or compliance) test that the governor failed. Then, feeling that he had momentarily gained Trump's approval, ¡Jabe! goofily reacts to Trump's quip with "that was a good one". He instinctively submitted. He couldn't help himself.

This exchange, standing on his tippie toes for the group photo, unsuccessfully demanding Trump "apologize to my wife"--¡Jabe! was really trying to put Trump in his putative place but ¡Jabe! isn't made of stern enough stuff. Consequently he came off looking like an inept try-hard every time.


Heartiste elucidates (the comments are great, too).

The saints go marching one by one

Via Ray Sawhill, see here for some amazing pictures of the MENA refugee stream in action.

The flow looks to be around 80%-90% male. Hundreds of thousands of displaced young men from violent countries who will sink to the bottom of their host societies. I don't see what could possibly go wrong!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Historic by the dozen

Via Google Trends, the places where the share of searches for "Ben Carson" are the highest. By country:

And by city:

Baltimore is 63.3% black, DC 49.5%, Atlanta 54.0%, Charlotte 35.0%, and Houston 23.7%. The United States as a whole is 11.8% black. Nairobi and Lagos are Kenya's and Nigeria's most populous cities.

The late Lee Kuan Yew:
In multiracial societies, you don't vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion.
Unlike those occurring prior to 2008, this presidential election has a chance of being the third historic one in a row!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Thessalonica is on your side, Theodosius

Discussing the prospects for popular success of a "liberals against mass immigration" movement, a 'troll' wrote:
A few hundred years ago something similar happened. The situation in Europe was terrible and people mass immigrated to a place now called The United States of America... They immigrated with no concern for the people, culture and norms already existing there, and now the sons, daughters, grand sons and grand daughters call their immigrated land for "home".
Until I read through the reactions, I hadn't even realized the guy was trolling.

Intentions aside, his point illustrates the inherent difficulty the contemporary Western left has in dealing with situations like this, and why making a movement like this a thing is going to be a daunting uphill climb.

My first reaction to what he writes is, "Yeah, good rhetorical point". American Indians allowed massive immigration and they were culturally annihilated and materially dispossessed as a consequence. Why would any of us want the same thing to happen to Europe?

I don't feel any instinctive 'guilt' for what happened to American Indians because I don't operate from a harm-based, modern liberal perspective. I take a Nietzschean view--it's not good versus evil in some universal sense. It's good versus bad, where good is my civilization and the cultural values it embodies and bad is any challenge to the viability of that civilization. I have no problem at all "cheering for the home team" over time and space. To the contrary, I have a natural inclincation to do so. I'm glad Europeans won on offense in North America four centuries ago and I hope they win on defense today.

Parenthetically, the American Indian analogy can only be taken so far. European settlement in the Americas was an instance of a more demographically numerous, more technologically advanced civilization settling in a relatively undeveloped, uninhabited land--which, in the case of North America, couldn't really be considered a civilization in any meaningful sense of the term--and which the success or failure of said settlement was almost entirely determined by the invaders, not those being invaded.

The MENA invasion into Europe, in contrast, is characterized by far less advanced and less numerous (at least at this point) peoples coming into a civilization that can very easily repel their settlement and render it unsuccessful if they elect to do so.

A better analogy is the massive Gothic invasion of imperial Rome during the 4th century. The Romans had the capability to keep the Goths from crossing the Danube but chose not to stop it.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Trump: Paris doesn't look like Paris anymore

Last week, the following headline involving Donald Trump made me cringe "Trump: We have to accept migrants here because they're living in hell in Syria". "Oh shit, here it is," I thought.

Shame on me for not giving the man a little more credit:

After watching the segment it's clear that the headline was oversold clickbait. He made nothing close to a serious commitment, said he "hate[d] the concept of it", noted how many other countries were avoiding taking in any refugees at all, expressed reservations about security, etc (and the following day he even walked back his non-committal affirmative response).

Then, encouragingly, he insists on alluding to Europe's changing demographics as Bill O'Reilly attempts to move the discussion on. "Europe is becoming a much different place", "Paris doesn't look like Paris anymore", and "I'm not sure that's what [Europeans] want" are bold statements from a serious presidential candidate in 2015.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

I'll take it from here, Gil.

Speaking of young 'refugees' and geriatric catchers, the World Value Survey's sixth wave, spanning 2010-2014, is out. The percentages of respondents who either "agree" or "strongly agree" that "old people have too much political influence". First, among our European host countries included in the survey:


The complacency with which these sclerotic European countries surrender power to fuddy duddies is going to be challenged by the vibrant newcomers. They don't care much for old people having undue political power. That's quite convenient for them since they're young and their catcher hosts are old. Percentages who think old people have too much political influence in pitcher countries included in the survey:


WVS variable used: V169 (excluding DK/NA)

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Europe's getting cuckolded

From a handy interactive chart showing the flow of 'refugees' into Europe through the end of 2014 by country of origin, the median age of the populations of the four largest sources of refugees:

Syria -- 23
Iraq -- 22
Afghanistan -- 18
Somalia -- 18

And the median age of the populations of the four European nations that have most eagerly played catcher for these pitcher countries:

Germany -- 46
Sweden -- 41
France -- 41
Great Britain -- 40

Westerners, WEIRDOs that we are, tend to operate within an egalitarian democratic framework when thinking about things like population flows, but age considerations can dramatically change what the consequences of those flows are for posterity. Most (white) Europeans in these catcher countries are past the age of procreation. The new arrivals, in contrast, are stampeding in at peak fertility. These new arrivals will be reaching middle age--having long since spawned broods of their own more fortunate than the poor Kurdish boy--when those middle-aged white Europeans constituting the statistical middle referenced above start dying off.

Sure, you can have the master bedroom when I die.
Um, why are you looking at that steak knife so intently?
In other words, the median white Europeans are the new adoptive parents (and grandparents) of these third-world arrivals who don't share their language, culture, or ancestry but do share a hostility towards their language, culture, and ancestry.

Look at all this nice stuff we have for you! We don't have kids of our own, so we want you to take it! You may not have the slightest idea how to maintain what's been produced, but don't worry, there is a lot of ruin in what we've built! Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Liar, liar burning man on fire

Via Steve Sailer, an article about Burning Man that poignantly illustrates the inanity that inherently accompanies empirical illiteracy. The data are often there if only journalists--journalists!--could be bothered to make a little time to do some, uh, journalistic research:
Black burners are not an abstract concept for Harvey: “My family is half black,” he said. “I see black people! And they’re here. Though I got a lot of criticism for once saying, ‘Well I don’t think black people like to camp’.” Harvey’s comment drew nervous laughter from other Burning Man staff and members of international media at a press conference before the Guardian’s interview.


“At a certain point, [a diversity consultant] made a speech which was pro forma, which I didn’t know was the speech she always made, about the racial question. I said ‘Well, I don’t think black folks like to camp as much as white folks!’ And she said ‘You son of a bitch!’”
In 1993, the GSS asked respondents if they had been "camping, hiking, or canoeing" in the last year. Until 2000, the survey only included three broad racial categories. The percentages who responded in the affirmative, by race (n = 1,593):


Whites were over four times more likely than blacks were to report having gone camping, hiking, or canoeing. Larry Harvey's statement "I don't think black folks like to camp as much as white folks"--the one that drew cursing from a 'diversity consultant'--is very obviously true. That we see no effort at investigating the veracity of the assertion in an article over 1,000 words long, in which the express purpose is reporting the utterance of said assertion, speaks volumes about the state of contemporary 'professional' journalism in the West. In short, it's a joke.

Cultural Marxists such as this diversity consultant creature are the antitheses of knowledge and truth.

GSS variables used: CAMPING(1-2), RACE

Saturday, September 05, 2015


There is apparently no ceiling for Donald Trump. Or maybe he's just smashing it while Hillary Clinton bleeds everywhere, uh, figuratively-speaking.

In a SurveyUSA poll conducted among registered voters a few days ago, Trump beats all four Democratic candidates in a head-to-head matchup. Yes, he beats Hillary. Interestingly, the four prospective matchups are Trump-Clinton, Trump-Sanders, Trump-Biden, and Trump-Gore. In an election campaign full of surprises (as noted previously, if not for the Trump phenomenon--the most exciting political development in my lifetime--I couldn't stomach writing about this), it's remarkable that Trump is now on the verge of being cast as the Republican nominee, while the jury is still out on the Democratic side. Show me a pundit who was predicting that to be the case three months ago!

The poll includes some selected cross-tabs, including race, income, and education. There is, at 16% of those polled, a substantial "undecided" contingent. The election is more than a year away, after all.

The figures are pretty similar across potential Democratic challengers versus Trump, so I'll reproduce the Trump-Clinton ones here since that's still probably the most likely of the hypotheticals.

Among whites, Trump wins 51%-34%. That breaks 60%-40% under the presumption that the undecideds split identically to those who've expressed a preference, right at the cusp of what a Republican will need among whites to have a shot nationally.

Or that would appear to have been the case based on the last few presidential elections, anyway. But Trump polls exceptionally well among non-whites for a Republican. Among blacks, he only gets beaten by Clinton 25%-59%. Even if the entirety of undecided blacks vote Democrat, for the GOP to only lose by a margin of 3-to-1 among blacks is, almost literally, incredible.

Quite punchable
Among Hispanics, Trump loses 31%-50%, or 38%-62% if undecided Hispanics break in the same way. Despite promising a serious border fence/wall and deportations of illegals, he appears to be doing about as well as McCain did among Hispanics. Sit down, Jorge. Sit down.

And among Asians, Trump is slightly edging Clinton out, 41%-39%. #BlackLivesMatter may be doing more for Republican 'minority outreach' than any amount of the usual pathetic pandering the GOP establishment has made part of its act could ever hope to accomplish, and without turning off Core America in the process.

Trump also wins among the affluent ($80k+) and the educated (BA+), 45%-41% and 48%-40%, respectively. Arthur Goldwag wept. Parenthetically, Goldwag looks just like you'd expect him to look.

Worth a thousand words

A lot to unpack in a picture:

- A few months ago, NPR interviewed an Egyptian boat owner whose vessel was being used in the Mediterranean edition of The Camp of the Saints. It was noted in passing that around 10%-15% of those making the trip across the sea are dying in the process. This was back in June, but even without taking the most recent summer months of July and August into account, it was estimated that nearly 2,000 people had already died at sea in 2015. In the putative words of Stalin, "the death of one man is a tragedy; the death of millions is a statistic".

- Most directly, this boy is a victim of his parents' recklessness, or more clinically, their high time preference. Your sister wires you thousands of dollars, you board an unstable raft in the choppy waters of the old Roman lake, and you don't procure lifejackets for your two young children? And then they drown and you don't? I'm expending every bit of oxygen in my lungs trying to find my boys underwater. If that means dying along with my family, so be it. Were you planning on living forever?

MG suggests the future time orientation that characterizes the global north but is in short supply in the global south, and the desire for the fruits of that future time orientation in the north is a primary driver of migration from the south.

- More indirectly, this boy is a victim of the "Arab Spring". His family fled a Syrian city where fierce fighting is taking place between the Islamic State and Kurdish forces. If Saddam Hussein were in power in Iraq, Mubarak in Egypt, Qaddafi in Libya, and Assad wasn't hanging by a thread in Syria, something like the Islamic State could never have come into existence. Italy and Libya had the drain plugged until the US helped pull it.

- The Nietzschean observation that this image will create more suffering through the compassion it elicits than it can ever be hoped to possibly alleviate is unavoidable. As the father of a boy who is about to turn two, it sends a wave of sadness over me every time I look at it. It instantaneously prompted strong emotional reactions to a phenomenon with no universally satisfying outcome. When this emotive process is in the driver's seat, rational responses to the problem tend to get thrown into the back and told to keep quiet.

- Relatedly, the concept of Dunbar's number is an important one to be aware of. Humans have the capacity to maintain meaningful relationships with around 150 people at a time. We don't have the evolutionary hardware to effectively deal with a massive problem that is framed this way--in the form of a sad photo--at a gut level. We need to put the green eyeshades on.

- Our WEIRDO instinct is to want to somehow calm the sea in response to what we see here. But as our extensive meddling in the Middle East and North Africa has shown, we're even less effective at doing this than king Cnut was.

The best we are capable of is steadying our ships so that we are able to weather the storm when the waves come crashing against us. And once we're on dry land, we can be lighthouses--not lifeboats--for the rest of the world.

The death of a citizen

I associate the idea of being a citizen of the world with cosmopolitan SWPL types. It's not an inaccurate association when they are compared with badwhites, but it's a tendency more fully characteristic of the entire Fringe coalition than I would have guessed.

In 2014, the GSS asked respondents if they "feel more like a citizen of the world than of any country". The following table shows the percentages of respondents who either disagreed or strongly disagreed with the sentiment. Thus the higher the percentage, the less globalist and more nationalist a group's identification.

Another way to read "citizen of the world" in this context, though, is as someone with hostility to the concept of the United States as a unified political entity. As is often the case with broad survey questions like these, the list of potential responses is not as clarifying or exhaustive as we'd like them to be. I don't identify much as a citizen of the United States but I identify even less as a citizen of the world. There simply isn't an obvious response indicative of localism here. If the choice is dichotomous, though, I'm coming down as a citizen of the country rather than of the world:

Political orientation
Educational attainment
Less than high school31.2
High school grad50.0
Some college53.3
Bachelor's degree65.1
Graduate level60.7
Social class

The young, the non-white, the poorly educated, the lower classes, the foreign-born, the politically leftist--these are the people who don't feel much attachment to the idea of being American citizens. Demography is destiny, and our destiny looks to be a disunited America. Remove 30 million, virtually all of whom fall into one of these groupings, and there might be a snowball's chance in hell of avoiding that fate, but even then I doubt it.

GSS variables used: CITWORLD(1-3)(4-5), AGE(18-29)(30-44)(45-64)(65-89), RACECEN1(1)(2)(4-10)(15-16), CLASS, SEX, EDUC(0-11)(12)(13-15)(16-17)(18-20), POLVIEWS(1-2)(4)(6-7), BORN

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Trumping the rest of the field

We're told from as early as elementary school that voting is our civic duty. The Establishment collectively laments low voter turnout. Outfits like Rock the Vote don't have any specific interest in increasing voter participation rates because the most marginally committed voters tend to vote for the left, of course! No, no, they just want to make sure everybody exercises said civic duty!

Well then, Donald Trump should surely be receiving kudos far and wide for increasing public interest in the 2016 election cycle so much. The following graph shows Google search inputs for the five--Google Trends' maximum number of terms that can be gauged simultaneously--most queried presidential aspirants over the last few months:

This isn't a measure of news story mentions or opinion polling outcomes, it's a measure of search terms inputted by Google users across the US. People want to read, hear, and talk about Trump. He creates more interest than the rest of the field by a long shot. On the Republican side, Donald Trump has garnered more searches than the other 15 GOP presidential candidates combined have over the last three months. And it's not as though there is non-political celebrity noise artificially boosting the apparent level of interest in Trump here, either. As the graph shows, prior to his announcement that he was running, he didn't generate any search interest at all.

The Republican party is undeservedly fortunate to be able to attach its name to Trump, not the other way around.

Parenthetically, I realize that devoting so much space to the painful dog and pony shows that are US presidential elections may strike many as an unworthy use of their time and mine, but the Trump phenomenon is the most exciting thing that has happened in American politics in my lifetime. Here we have a guy who has made halting illegal immigration and deporting illegals in the US the policy cornerstone of his presidential campaign and has made dissipating the suffocating cloud of political correctness the animating spirit of that same campaign, and he's dominating the political discussion in the process. It's worth paying attention to if ever a political development was.

Cuckservative Rand Paul meme

Trump's ace idea is the dumbest of all according to Rand Paul:
“There have been a lot of dumb ideas put out,” Paul said, speaking with Boston Herald Radio. “One that the Mexicans will pay for a wall, was probably the dumbest of dumb ideas. But putting a wall up between us and Canada is sort of a ridiculous notion. It is sort of like everybody is now competing to say, ‘Oh no, I’ll put them in camps. Oh no, I'll throw them out. Oh no, I’ll put everyone in jail. And I’ll have an electric fence, and I’ll do this.’ And it’s like, you know, the biggest thing we need to do is have a functioning immigration system, with a good work program.”

Paul is now polling at 1% support among Republican primary voters.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Trump stump

Donald Trump on his favorite bible verse:

This should have been an expected "gotcha" question given that he previously asserted that the bible is his favorite book. Anytime someone is queried about something that requires rote memorization to provide an invulnerable answer, the chance for stumbling is high. I've read the entire bible and I can confidently quote three passages verbatim, chapter and verse*.
Functionally atheist and intellectually
agnostic, but no skimmer

There are plenty of people who self-identify as some iteration of Christian who have no idea that Jesus--that's what the Bible is all about, right?--doesn't make an appearance until well over halfway through the thing!

A much better question would have been something along the lines of "What is your favorite message from the bible?"

That said, Trump's response was poor. If his working formula regarding all biblical questions is to be strictly non-committal, it's a politically predictable but uncharacteristically Trumpian approach. You don't single-handedly dissipate the cloud of political correctness that is suffocating the Western world by evasion and prevarication!

The first part about spirituality being personal, etc was good but the follow up regarding Old vs New testaments had an obvious answer--if Christian, you very obviously answer "the New". It's a no-brainer.

Unless you're trying to have some fun with it, that is. If I were Trump, I would've said "I know I'm supposed to say the New testament, but part of me that really likes the Old. There are some people who need to be turned into pillars of salt." That would've really caused a tizzy fit in bathhouses across the country!

Granting that the first answer was serviceable, there are lots of ways Trump could have taken the initial question that would've been more characteristically Trumpian; that is, entertaining and frame-setting.

Here are a few that come to mind immediately, formatted as: Verse text; Trump's explanation to the inevitable "why?" follow up; Why the response works.

- Jesus wept; "It gets right to the point, just like me"; It's the shortest verse in the bible.

- Pride comes before the fall; "Despite what you might think, I'm actually a humble guy"; Delivered for full effect with that billion dollar shitgrin.

- One who puts his armor on should not boast like one who takes it off; "What I say I'm going to do is much less important than what I'm actually going to do"; Similar to above, but tapping a metaphorical verse that is less well known and thus insinuates more gravitas while still allowing Trump to create the masterful ambiguity inherent in talking about humility in a cocksure way.

- Let me die with the Philistines; "I'm more of a force than the rest of the entire Republican party is. If the GOP doesn't treat me fairly, I'll take the whole stinking party down with me"; In the words of Pat Buchanan, "The Republican establishment will understand that".

Perhaps Trump has never read a single passage, but even in a post-Christian, classicly-averse Western world, it's hard to believe a guy pushing seventy--who speaks extemporaneously as a matter of practice--can't even manage to paraphrase a line or two. Another possibility, purely speculative, is that his response might be more calculated than he's getting credit for. By appearing to be biblically illiterate, genuinely or disingenuously, he is signalling to a large swath of the population that he is no Bible-thumping theocrat who is going to govern from a scriptural perspective.

* Exodus 3:14 (the agnostic-pleasing "I am who I am"), 1 Kings 20:11 (my personal favorite, "One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off"), and John 3:16 (because it's by far the most publicly recognizable, "God so loved the world that He gave his only Son...").