Sep 29, 2016

Crisis+me: On Justice, On The USA, On Trump, On Philosophy
Sections                                                                                     crisis index

 Arresting Our Way to ‘Justice’
2. We Have All Won an Oligarchy and Lost a Democracy
3. In the Trump Matrix:
4. Why On Earth Should Anyone Study Philosophy?

This is a Nederlog of Thursday, September 29, 2016.

A. This is a crisis log with 4 items and 4 dotted links: Item 1 is about justice, and I did not agree to the article I review, but then I may not have understood all of it, and also the 'justice' I know best is Dutch 'justice', which is rotten, if you don't agree with the illegal drugsdealer your mayor illegallly gave his "personal permission" to deal from the house where you live; item 2 is about a decent article by Thom Hartmann; item 3 is about a so-so article on Trump (he is not just mad: he is also a neofascist, or so I would argue); and item 4 is about why anyone would study philosophy: Since I did, and have been reading philosophy for 50 years now, I think I can answer that question rather well (and I say you much better study mathematics or physics if you want to be a real philosopher).


I decided that I would not to review the Clinton-Trump debate at all. And here is a tweet by Glenn Greenwald I picked up yesterday:

The lesson of the 2016 primary was that literally nothing is a less reliable indicator of debate impact than the reactions of journalists.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) September 27, 2016

I agree.

B. In case you visit my Dutch site: I do not know, but it may be you need to click/reload twice or more to see any changes I have made. This certainly held for me, but it is possible this was caused by the fact that I am also writing it from my computer.

In any case, I am now (again) updating the opening of my site with the last day it was updated. (And I am very sorry if you have to click/reload several times to see the last update: It is not what I wish, nor how it was. And it was yesterday still or again the case. Indeed, this also holds for the opening pages: These too are not renewed at "xs4all", or at least: Not for me.) [1]

C. In case you visit my Danish site: You may have more luck than I have. The Danish site has been almost completely destroyed for me because of the actions of its providers: My own e-mail access was terminated; the good statistics I had from 2004-2015 were completely terminated; it is also impossible for me to get access as a guest; and yesterday I had for most of the day no access with FTP to my site, whereas today started with having no access with Firefox to my site. (It now works again (!))

I have no idea who does this. It may be - in the Danish case - that this is related to some changes they are making there, but I do not know this (and if so, they seem to know less about computers than I do).

I am very sorry, and none of it is due to me. I am simply doing the same things as I did for 20 or for 12 years, that also went well for 20 or for 12 years.

1. Arresting Our Way to ‘Justice’

The first item
today is by Rebecca Gordon on Truthhdig and originally on TomDispatch:
This is from near the beginning:
We are living in a country where the solution to just about any social problem is to create a law against it, and then punish those who break it.

I’ve been teaching an ethics class at the University of San Francisco for years now, and at the start of every semester, I always ask my students this deceptively simple question: What’s your definition of justice?

I should start with saying that this article is spread over four files, and that I will not excerpt all or most of it. And I also should say that I may not be quite understanding Rebecca Gordon's points, possibly - in part - because I am not American but Dutch.

Then again, I do have considerable experiences with the Dutch "laws" and also with many Dutchmen: My ill ex and my ill self were for three years kept out of sleep by two sick sadists in the student flat in which we lived. And while
most who knew of our problems agreed with this diagnosis, no one wanted to do anything to help us:

We learned that those who lived there as well as we did were all of the opinion this was not their problem, and we also were not their family and not their personal friends, so although they wished to talk about it, they did not want to do anything whatsoever against the threats of murder and the persecutions by physical violence. That, they thought, was not their duty. [2]

This also persisted (or got worse) after Amsterdam's City Police appeared (after tens of totally fruitless phonecalls during about a year) who told my ex and myself, and the insane madman, and the other inhabitants of the studentflat, literally this (in translation):

"We [of the Amsterdam police] only come when the dead bodies are lying on the floor, for all Amsterdammers are assholes. Bye, bye sir."

And they stepped into their police car and left. The speakers were two ca. 20 year old policemen who, judged by their accents, were not from Amsterdam but from the north of Holland.

I think both the attitudes of our fellow students and of the City Police are typical for the Dutch, and also explain why over 1% of the Dutch population could be murdered during WW II because "they were of inferior race" - but then again, my fellow students probably would retort that I think this because my parents and grandparents belonged to the very few who went into the resistance against the Nazis. [3]

Anyway... this was some background.

As to solving social problems by creating laws: I see quite a few problems - the laws may be incorrect, or the social problems might be solved or lessened by other means than the law, to name only two obvious points - but I see no principal problem with creating laws, though again there will be quite a few practical and theoretical problems.

As to the definition of justice: One of the - very many - things I did not get in my education is a definition of justice that makes sense. It simply was never given, which is a serious lack, simply because there are some 150 to 200 years of explicit intricate social, political and economical laws in Holland. It seems this is the same in the USA, which is also the reason many different people give quite different answers.

Here indeed are two of the better definitions of justice Rebecca Gordon got from her pupils. This is the first:

An economics major writes, for instance,

“People are born unequal in genetic potential, financial and environmental stability, racial prejudice, geographic conditions, and nearly every other facet of life imaginable. I believe that the aim of a just society is to enable its citizens to overcome or improve their inherited inequalities.”

I like this especially because the writer stresses native and other inequalities people are born with - but I don't know this would be possible or popular in Holland, for all people are declared legally "equivalent" i.e. "of the same value" as anybody else (on the proposal of the "Communist" leader of his parliamentary faction (!)) - which means every fascist, every sadist, every liar, and every criminal is of precisely the same value as my heroic father who survived nearly four years of Geman concentration camps, and never was a fascist, a sadist, a liar or a criminal (except for the Nazis).

And here is a Danish student comparing his country to the USA:

A Danish student compares his country to the one where he’s studying:

“The Danish welfare system is constructed in such a way that people pay more in taxes and the government plays a significant role in the country. We have free healthcare, education and financial aid to the less fortunate. Personally, I believe this is a just system where we take care of our own.”

Although my brother lives in Denmark the last 30 years I do not know this is correct. It may be, but the same is certainly completely incorrect for Holland, although it is claimed on American TV:

All Dutchmen these days are legally forced to take a healthcare insurance that takes in my case some 15% of my income; does not even repay my sleeping pills; is extremely much worse than the healthcare I could get until my fifties for 1/7th of the cost; is completely profit-driven; and gets more and more and more expensive every year; and also forces everyone to pay the first 350 euros - about 12 days of income for me - in their healhth costs themselves.

All Dutchmen who passed the - extremely minimal and strongly minimized - demands to study at a university may study, but their courses are 10 or a 100 times more expensive than they were in my time; there is no money anymore for any student grants (so your parents have to be rich or well off, in fact); and the education they receive takes half the time and less than half of the talents as was the case in my time.

And "financial aid to the less fortunate" still exists for extremely poor folks like me (I don't even have the minimal pension everyone gets, because I lived for some years in Norway), but otherwise seems to be terminated everywhere.

It is absolutely false that the Dutch have the same things as the Danes are supposed to have: Everything the Danes still have, was destroyed, on purpose, and with great glee, by Dutch politicians since 1995.

There were also less good responses to Rebecca Gordon's questions, and indeed the less good ones were the norm:

For most of my students—for most Americans in fact—justice means establishing the proper penalties for crimes committed. “Justice for me,” says one, “is defined by the punishment of wrongdoing.” Students may add that justice must be impartial, but their primary focus is always on retribution. “Justice,” as another put it, “is a rational judgment involving fairness in which the wrongdoer receives punishment deserving of his/her crime.”

Actually - I would say - the students do know English. [4] The problem with the definitions they do give is that "wrongdoing" is wholly undefined, and also that "punishment" (which is also completely undefined) seems supposed to be the only way that "wrongdoing" gets corrected.

To put this otherwise: Precisely the same answers might have been given by students who lived in Hitler's Germany or Stalin's Soviet Union, yet what was "wrongdoing" and "punishment" in these countries differed a lot with what the same terms meant (judicially, indeed) in the USA.

In fact, it seems most people's understanding of "justice" derives from an elementary knowledge of English, and does not seem to involve much or any knowledge of relevant facts, such as the following:

Strangely, however, they seldom mention that this country has 2.2 million people in prison or jail; or that it imprisons the largest proportion of people in the world; or that, with 4% of the global population, it holds 22% of the world’s prisoners; or that these prisoners are disproportionately brown and black. Their concern is less about those who are in prison and perhaps shouldn’t be, than about those who are not in prison and ought to be.

I don't think that is very strange, simply because I think only a relatively small minority of people seems to know these facts, which indeed are not prominent in the main media.

There is considerably more, that I leave to your interest, except for the last quotation that I will give, that sketches an alternative approach:

Indeed, it already happens all the time on a small scale around the country, through community mediation services. These organizations help neighbors settle disputes that might otherwise result in a trip to civil courts or the pressing of criminal charges. An important aspect of the process is listening to and acknowledging the harm others have experienced.

I say. Well... I have tried the above approach in Holland for seven years, first three years against a completely insane sadistic neighbor who terrorized my ex and me with violence, murder threats, and endless music between 23.00 o'clock and 04.00 o'clock, and next against illegal drugs- dealers that the mayor of my city (illegally) had "permitted to deal drugs" (which were and are illegal) from the bottom floor in the house where I lived, and who threatened me with murder, tried to gas me, and kept me out of sleep for four years.

What I learned was exactly the same: Dutch civilians nearly all go by whether you are family or friends: If you are neither family nor friends, they will refuse to do anything for you; Dutch bureaucrats nearly all go by what their superiors decide, and if their superiors decide to help turn over (the last 30 years) about 700 billion euros in illegal drugs (!!!!), then they will nearly all help their superiors, because they decide, they pay their salaries, and somebody who just does what he is told (they think, and say, even though that is quite false) "has no responsibility and is not accountable".

So no: Until ordinary people grow less stupid, less ignorant, more individualistic and more courageous than they really are in Holland, and seem to be elsewhere, I do not expect much from community mediation services:

I have tried them. For seven years. And they completely failed. [5]

2. We Have All Won an Oligarchy and Lost a Democracy

The second item is by Thom Hartmann on AlterNet:
This starts as follows:

Here's a thought experiment for you. Ask yourself, "When was the last time I heard any conversation at all about the role of corporations in the United States in the U.S. public media?"

In the abstract, it seems like a silly question. So let me rephrase it:

When was the last time you heard in the media that Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and Donald Trump both support Citizens United and its concept that corporations are people?

When was the last time you heard that Hillary Clinton has said, repeatedly, that repealing Citizens United is at the top of her agenda when it comes to picking Supreme Court nominees?
Actually, I knew all of this. Then again, I also immediately agree that
(1) I think nearly everything that I reported the last 3 years was not taken from the main media but from alternative media, among which Truthdig and Common Dreams stand high, and also that (2) I am one of the minority that
reads the alternative media (and I do not know how large that minority is).

But Thom Hartmann is certainly correct as regards the mainstream media:

Have you heard any discussion of this on mainstream television news? It's fundamental to the larger question of what role corporations, including private, for-profit school corporations, should play in our nation… and no one on mainstream cable news is talking about it.

This is true of almost every single important issue facing the country right now, especially those that have to do with corporate power.

I agree - and that is definitely quite intentional. I mean: They are really doing it on purpose, and with a full consciousness. And what they are doing, quite consciously also, is to deny the majority of the Americans, the information they need to base rational decisions on. (And see below.)

Then there is this:

And then there's the banks. They can borrow at about 1 percent, but lend to us at around 30 percent on our credit cards and 5 to 10 percent on student loans. Their profits are also at all-time highs, and we could be facing another banking crisis like 2008. But is anyone over at CNN talking about this? No, they're not.

I agree. There are many more similar problems, some of which are mentioned by Thom Hartmann, but I refer you to his text if you want to know more.

Here is a conclusion of Thom Hartmann:

On my radio show three months ago, I offered to send a free autographed book to the first caller who could point to a serious, thoughtful discussion of even one single issue in this election happening in the corporate media outside of Fareed Zakaria's weekend program on CNN. So far nobody has won the book.

I say. I do not know how many people react to Thom Hartmann's show, but I am quite willing to believe him, indeed because of a reason that follows, that
also is the last bit that I'ĺl quote from this article:

Since Reagan killed the Fairness Doctrine and the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, our media has completely shifted from "news" to infotainment. It's largely fact-free, and the only things discussed are personalities, gotchas and the horse-race claptrap.

It's completely free of facts that would give us any information, context or understanding of the role that corporate power plays in our lives.

In other words, it's completely devoid of the kind of information a functional media is supposed to provide the citizens of a democratic republic

First, the Fairness Doctrine (<-Wikipedia), which amounted to this:
The Fairness Doctrine was a policy of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), introduced in 1949, that required the holders of broadcast licenses both to present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was — in the Commission's view — honest, equitable, and balanced. The FCC eliminated the Doctrine in 1987, and in August 2011 the FCC formally removed the language that implemented the Doctrine.

The Fairness Doctrine had two basic elements: It required broadcasters to devote some of their airtime to discussing controversial matters of public interest, and to air contrasting views regarding those matters. Stations were given wide latitude as to how to provide contrasting views: It could be done through news segments, public affairs shows, or editorials.
This was terminated because it limited the freedoms to deceive the public that the neofascistic "neoliberals" [6] wanted: Since they have these freedoms, the public gets deceived by "news" that is mostly not news at all, but is amusement, and the public also gets deceived by not getting most information that is rationally necessary to judge things with good judgements.

And I agree with Thom Hartmann's diagnosis apart from one thing: He should not have said "our media", and should have said "our mainstream media". For I do know quite a lot about what is happening in the USA, and most of that knowledge (still) comes from the USA.

This indeed may soon be different, namely if Trump becomes president of the USA. Also, I do like to mention that the same thing happened outside the USA: In Holland, the NRC-Handelsblad, which was a good paper from 1970- 2010 (which are the forty years I read it) was totally transformed since, and these days almost only gives amusements and infotainment and news about mostly Dutch "personalities".

It is utter trash compared with what the same paper delivered for forty years.
(But few seem to care, and indeed almost no one who is younger than I am has had a halfway decent education. Then again, few care about that...)

In the Trump Matrix:

The third item is by Andrew O'Hehir on Salon (and I have radically shortened the short story that is the title of this article):

This starts as follows:

Amid the howling vacuum of Donald Trump’s mind and Donald Trump’s damaged personality, there has never been room for other people. That has been obvious all along to anyone who has remotely paid attention, so it’s foolish to claim that Trump’s bottomless narcissism was at last laid bare before the world in Monday night’s presidential debate. Narcissism and vainglory and “braggadociousness” are not incidental by-products of the Trump campaign or the Trump brand; they are its all in all. As has become terrifyingly clear, large numbers of Americans like Trump precisely because he’s a pompous blowhard saying things he doesn’t actually believe about subjects he doesn’t understand.

I agree with most of this (and I am a psychologist [7]) but in fact Trump is worse than the "all in all" that Andrew O'Hehir declares him to be, that consists of "[n]arcissism and vainglory and “braggadociousness”".

For although it is extremely difficult to be certain about what Trump really thinks because he lies every 3 1/4 minute, I am also rather certain that there
is an ideology behind most of Trump's bullshit, and the ideology is authoritarian, racist and neofascist (aka "neoliberal", though it has nothing to do with classical liberalism [8]).

I agree that Trump is mad (who but a madman would try to become president with a lie every 3 1/4 minute?!) but there is more to him than just madness.

Then following bit suffers from the same mistake:

Trump’s only plausible audience for his endless self-glorification is, well, himself. His only argument for being president is his own greatness, and his only argument for his greatness is that his greatness is so huge as to be self-evident.

Again, I agree that Trump is mad, and that he is mad because he - definitely - is a grandiose narcissist, which is a "psychopathological disorder", as the phrase is. But I also protest again that there is more to him than merely a mad narcissist: He is authoritarian, racist and neofascist - as indeed not only I but quite a few others have argued.

The article ends as follows:

Whether the American electorate yearns to breathe those fumes into the indefinite future and would prefer to live in an orange-hued monstrosity’s reflected self-delusion rather than confronting the unsatisfying complications of the real world remains to be seen.

I agree it seems to be - at present - a 50/50 chance whether Trump or Clinton wins the elections. (And see item 2 for a partial explanation.)

4. Why On Earth Should Anyone Study Philosophy?

The fourth and last item today is by Daniel Johnson on Standpoint:

This starts as follows:

This autumn, our youngest daughter went to university to read philosophy. Some of the family were not entirely sure that this choice of subject was a good idea: what, they asked, would a philosophy degree do to help her earn a living? I, however, defended her decision — not that it would have mattered if I hadn’t, as she is a determined young woman — on the grounds that philosophy not only teaches practical skills — to think, argue and write well, for example — but that it is a good thing to study for its own sake.

Really now? Well... I have studied it, and indeed read philosophy now for 50 years and logic for 45 years, and I got a straight A for my B.A. in philosophy (back in 1980), although I was ill most of the time and never attended any lectures, though indeed it is also true I have an extremely high IQ. [9]

Then again, I did not at all learn "to think"; I did not at all learn "to argue"; and I certainly also did not at all learn to "write well", were it only because my teachers excelled in "understanding" Heidegger's prose, while none of the Dutch ever published anything because - extremely well-paid as they were as educational bureaucrats [10] - they all said that they did not publish because "we are not vain".

But I am willing to agree that this says more about the Dutch "philosophers" who were supposed to educate me than it may say about their English counter- parts, although I do know enough of them not to take most seriously. [11]

And is it true that philosophy "is a good thing to study for its own sake"? Daniel Johnson, who does not seem to have studied philosophy himself, is
sure it is:

How are we to make sense of the world, of other people, or of ourselves, without the tools with which the great philosophers have provided us? Above all, though, philosophy can be fun. Where would we be without Ockham’s Razor or Zeno’s Arrow, the Principle of Sufficient Reason or the Categorical Imperative, the Veil of Ignorance or the Liar’s Paradox? To philosophise is not only to learn how to die, but also how to live life to the full.

That, at least, is what I told my family and myself. But is it really true?

No, it is not. In the above quotation, Johnson gives three arguments.

The first - making "sense of the world, of other people, or of ourselves" -
is not learned by learning philosophy or reading philosophers, but by living and thinking for oneself. If one cannot do that, one is also not fit for studying philosophy, but one's understanding of "
the world, of other people, or of ourselves" involves much more than philosophy, and indeed can be quite well done - witness mathematicians, biologists, chemists, physicists etc. - without knowing any proper philosophy. (Indeed, it would be very strange otherwise.)

The second - "philosophy can be fun" - seems to be derived from Johnson's own reading of some philosophy, without properly studying it academically.
Perhaps it may be, but I can assure him that the study itself was no fun whatsoever. (Also, I should say that while I know - and indeed deeply pondered - all of the problems Johnson names (i) I wonder how many non-
academic philosophers could give a fairly correct rendering of what these problems are, while (ii) I am convinced four out of the six problems are mostly nonsense c.q. based on fallacies (
Zeno’s Arrow, the Principle of Sufficient Reason, the Categorical Imperative, and the Veil of Ignorance) while the remaining two (Ockham’s Razor and the Liar’s Paradox) require logic rather than philosophy, to study them properly).

The third - "to philosophise is not only to learn how to die, but also how to live life to the full" - (i) is utter and plain baloney for anyone who has ever seen a collection of academic philosophers, while (ii) it is also completely false for a man like me, who has studied philosophy and logic for at least 45 years: if I know how to die and if I know how to live a somewhat satisfactory life even though I am probably the poorest Dutchman [12] who also is ill for 37 years without this being even acknowledged, I did not learn this from philosophy, philosophers, logic or logicians, but (to the extent that I did and at least 35 years do) mostly from reading (quite old) English literature, and notably William Hazlitt.

So each of the personal arguments Daniel Johnson gave is completely false given my 45 years of intimate knowledge of philosophy and logic.

He also gives three other arguments, it seems from such philosophical literature as he has read:

The first (“Objection 1”) is that so much philosophy now takes the form of specialised, highly technical and often quite recondite commentary on other philosophers’ work.

This is definitely true, as indeed anyone can convince himself or herself of, namely by reading the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, that almost only consists of extremely "recondite commentary on other philosophers’ work" - where it also should be noted that in very many cases these "other philo- sophers" are some 4 to 8 persons with an academic job in philosophy, and no one else (except for long lists of literature almost no one reads).

Next, “Objection 1” might be stated in a far more serious form: Modern academic philosophy exists for some 150 years; arose after most important
philosophers had done their work and were dead; was done mostly by people
who lack the academic talents to become good physicists or good mathema- ticians; and consisted mostly from reflecting on the "thoughts" formulated by some very few other academic philosophers who had succeeded in getting an academic position.

Modern "academic philosophers" just are not philosophers in the sense that Hume, or Montaigne, or Locke, or Leibniz, or Descartes were philosophers:

Their subject is wholly and completely academic; it is directed only at discussing the official publications (mostly only available for payments) that a very few contemporary academics, who also are decidedly less intelligent than any of the great philosophers, wrote in criticism of similar opinions of a very few other comtemporary academics who are their colleagues.

Then there is the second objection:

The second caveat (“Objection 2”) is that insofar as contemporary philosophy does come up with intelligible conclusions, they are frequently banal.

This is also quite correct, except that it is formulated considerably more carefully than I would do it, on the basis of 50 years of reading philosophy:
Contemporary philosophy almost never comes up with any intelligible conclusion, and if it does it is almost always utterly banal (after peeling off
the large words and rectifying the grammar, to be sure).

Here is third reason Johnson considers:

The third and final problem (“Objection 3”) is contemporary philosophy’s tendency to undermine, rather than to underpin, Western civilisation.

This is an objection only to the great minds who absolutely know for certain that there is nothing better than the present Western civilization. I am not one of them (though I agree nearly everything modern "philosophy" teaches is both false and will almost certainly belong to the teachings of a very few acade- mics, who are not taken seriously by almost any good physicist or mathe- matician - for that also is true).

I skip a lot and arrive at the last paragraph:

Despite all these doubts about whether philosophers really are fit guardians of posterity, I’m quite sanguine about placing my daughter in their hands for the next three years. You can’t beat seeing how philosophy is done — let alone doing it yourself.

What would I say to someone who wants to study philosophy? Something like this:

First, academic philosophy is not real philosophy: The very great majority of all academic philosophers are philosophers because they are not smart enough to study physics or mathematics, and the "philosophy" they produce is nearly always in reply to what some of their ten or twenty colleagues have written in
academic journals that are only accessible to those with a lot of money, and is rarely of any intellectual, moral or human interest.

Second, if you want to be a real philosopher, you better ascertain that you are more talented than most academic philosophers: An IQ above 150 and a good knowledge of mathematics seem quite necessary (to me).

And third, if you want to be a real philosopher, do not study academic philosophy as your main subject: Much of it is extremely boring; nearly all of it is quite false (for many different reasons); nearly all academic philosophers are decidedly second, third or tenth raters who can't really follow a real science; the books you ought to read, as a real philosopher, are some 25 texts anyone with sufficient intelligence can read for himself or herself; and altogether you are very much better of with a good degree in mathematics, physics, chemistry or biology than with any degree in philosophy.


[1]  Alas, this is precisely as I said it does, and it goes on for months now. I do not know who does it, and I refuse to call the liars of "xs4all" (really: the KPN), simply because these have been lying to me from 2002-2009, and I do not trust anything they say I cannot control myself: They have treated me for seven years as a liar because "you complain about things other people do not complain about" (which is the perfect excuse never to do anything whatsoever for anyone).

[2] Perhaps I should add that one of the two bastards who kept us awake at night - quite intentionally also - was an obviously totally insane sadist who might be very dangerous if threatened: This certainly helped to move everyone else who lived in the flat to look decidedly the other way whenever our problems were mentioned. (The Dutch all are very heroic, which is also why more than 1% of the Dutch were murdered during WW II.)

If so, they are quite right - and indeed I do not know of any other Dutch family that was as much concerned with resisting Nazism as my family (for both my father and my mother were in the real - communist - resistance, and both my father and his father were arrested, and convicted, by Dutch judges, as "political terrorists" to concentration camp imprisonment, that my grandfather did not survive).

Then again, my family was one of the very few such families: Most Dutch families simply collaborated, forced, from free will, or in between.

This is not as vapid a remark as it may seem: What I am saying is that they do - more or less - know what "justice" means in ordinary English, while very few know much more than that (which is required to give a decent definition of "justice").

[5] I do not know how much of this is due to my being Dutch.

[6] I do not think all neoliberals are neofascists, but I do think many more of them are than honestly say so. (And some also may now know.)

[7] This I mention only because this does make me - at least somewhat - better abled to judge Trump's sanity than most who did not study psychology.
(And see March 14, 2016 in case you care to know some of my reasons for saying Trump is not sane.)

[8] See note 6.

[9] I really am very intelligent, but in fact my academic qualifications (straight As in everything I did, even though I was ill and never attended any lectures) are more than enough. Also, I did read philosophy and logic for over 40 years simply because I was and am interested, but I also agree - as I will explain in the rest of this text - that I was quite mistaken in taking philosophy as my main subject: I should have studied mathematics or physics, for this would have given me a much better basis (i) to do real philosophy, and (ii) to find interesting and worthwile academic employment.

[10] In fact, I do not know whether this is still the case (I suspect it is but do not know), but all academically employed persons in Holland were formally either state's bureaucrats or city bureaucrats, which meant that they had a very high salary, very few real duties, and a very high pension. (And in fact retaining these economic advantages were the main motives of nearly all Dutch academics I know.)

[11] My reason for this is that I have read 50 years of philosophy, most of which was originally either English or American.

[12] This is very probably true because I literally never in my life earned as much as the minimum legal income in Holland: I started working age 17, but then did not get a minimal income because I was too young; after that I only worked part time and never got a minimal income; then I studied and got a (maximum) grant that was considerably less than the dole; then I got for 31 years into the dole, which never paid as much as a minimal income; and now I am pensioned for more than a year with less than the minimal pension because I lived for 2 years in Norway.

I do not know of anyone in Holland who had less money all his life than myself. Everybody, even the biggest moron without any education or any brains who worked, got more than I did.

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