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Nederlog

 Nov 21, 2016

Crisis: Hedges, Niles, Winship, Parry, McCauley
Sections                                                                     crisis index
Introduction

1.
We Are All Deplorables
2. Exploring Trump’s Drone Program
3.
The Trump Era Is Totally Un-American
4. NYT Advocates Internet Censorship
5. Trump Assembling Team of 'Swamp Creatures,' Says
     Ellison
Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Monday, November 21, 2016.

A.
This is a crisis log with 5 items and 5 dotted links and it consists (mostly) of some further deliberations on the meanings of Trump's election as president of the USA:

Item 1 is about an article by Chris Hedges; item 2 is about a not very good interview about drones; item 3 is about Trump being "totally un-American" (and I like it); item 4 is about the censorship (by Google, for Google and Facebook) that the NYT is now for; and item 5 is about Trump's filling "the swamp" rather than emptying it.

-- Constant part, for the moment --
B. In case you visit my Dutch site: It keeps being horrible most days. And it still does (on 11 - 17.xi.2016). 18.xi. was correct as
was 19.xi. 20.xi again was a stinking mess.


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. [1]

C. In case you visit my Danish site: This worked correctly on 11 and 12 xi.2016, but not the day before nor on 13.xi.2016. It was OK on 14.xi.2016 and on 15.xi.2016. But not on 16 and 17 xi.
18.xi. was correct as were 19 and 20.xi. (I say!)

And I think now this happens intentionally on both my sites, for this did not happen for 20 years on the one, nor for 12 years on the other. (And this is not "automatic": it changes from day to day.)

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.

I will keep this introduction until I get three successive days (!!!) in which both providers work correctly. I have not seen that for many months now.
---
 
1. We Are All Deplorables

The first item today is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:

This starts as follows (under a picture of a man with an asses' head and a guitar that says - remember Woodie Guthrie (<-Wikipedia) - "This Party Enables Fascism", by Mr. Fish):
My relatives in Maine are deplorables. I cannot write on their behalf. I can write in their defense. They live in towns and villages that have been ravaged by deindustrialization. The bank in Mechanic Falls, where my grandparents lived, is boarded up, along with nearly every downtown store. The paper mill closed decades ago. There is a strip club in the center of the town. The jobs, at least the good ones, are gone. Many of my relatives and their neighbors work up to 70 hours a week at three minimum-wage jobs, without benefits, to make perhaps $35,000 a year. Or they have no jobs. They cannot afford adequate health coverage under the scam of Obamacare. Alcoholism is rampant in the region. Heroin addiction is an epidemic. Labs producing the street drug methamphetamine make up a cottage industry. Suicide is common. Domestic abuse and sexual assault destroy families. Despair and rage among the population have fueled an inchoate racism, homophobia and Islamophobia and feed the latent and ever present poison of white supremacy.
I say. And while I believe Chris Hedges' report on the very poor status of very many poor whites, I can at best half agree with his diagnosis. I have two general grounds for my opinion: (1) my family - parents and grandparents - were poor all their lives, and so am I, in spite of getting a brilliant M.A. (mostly but not solely because I am ill for nearly 38 year), but none of us ever considered becoming fascists or neofascists or racists, and (2) the main reason
for this is very probably our intelligence: I know my parents had both an IQ above 130 and I think my grandparents almost certainly were similarly placed.

And incidentally, while I agree these hardly educated white racists, homo- phobics, Islamophobics, alcoholics, or metaphetamine users are quite poor,
I find that $35,000 dollars a year is thrice as much as I get, and much more than my parents and grandparents got all their lives, and while I agree sums
of money from the Thirties or the Fifties are extremely difficult to compare with sums of money now, I think the American white poor cannot have it much worse than my family in the Thirties of Fifties (when there was just enough food, and no washing machine, no coffee-grinder, no central warming, no TV etc. etc.)

So while I am sorry for the American white poor, I also find it very difficult to accept their evangelism or rightism: It seems to me to be (on average) much more due to their own stupidity or laziness than to any objective pressure of circumstances or poverty.

Here is some more on the mindset of the poor American whites:

Those who are cast aside as human refuse often have a psychological need for illusions and scapegoats. They desperately seek the promise of divine intervention. They unplug from a reality that is too hard to bear. They see in others, especially those who are different, the obstacles to their advancement and success. We must recognize and understand the profound despair that leads to these reactions. To understand these reactions is not to condone them.
Well... OK. But I definitely do not condone them, because I know that very many more people have been extremely poor throughout human history, and
they did not fall for (Trumpian) racism, moral degeneracies, or wild lies.

Then there is this:
We cannot battle the racism, bigotry and hate crimes that will be stoked by the Donald Trump presidency without first battling for economic justice. This is not a gap between the tolerant and the intolerant. It is a gap between most of the American population and our oligarchic and corporate elites, which Trump epitomizes. It is a gap that is understood only in the light of the demand for economic justice.
I think one can do both and I also think one should not excuse racism on the ground that the racists are poor and uneducated white men and women. And while I do not think that Chris Hedges thinks so, I think there are definitely
two kinds of gaps: (i) between the tolerant and the intolerant (and many of the intolerant and the racists claim to be Christians) and (ii) between the poor and the non-poor.

Next, there is this:
The liberal class has no hope of defeating the rise of American fascism until it unites with the dispossessed white working class. It has no hope of being an effective force in politics until it articulates a viable socialism. Corporate capitalism cannot be regulated, reformed or corrected. A socialist movement dedicated to demolishing the cruelty of the corporate state will do more to curb the racism of the white underclass than lessons by liberals in moral purity. Preaching multiculturalism and gender and identity politics will not save us from the rising sadism in American society. It will only fuel the anti-politics that has replaced politics.
Hm. My parents were communists and socialists, and my grandparents were anarchists and socialists, and in some sense - but with the "liberal" attached and strongly insisted on - I may be some kind of socialist as well [3], and so I like Hedges' pleadings more than many, but I also think Hedges is probably too radical or extreme.

Indeed, two rather large problems I see with a defense of socialism in the USA are that (i) "socialism" still seems to be more like a dirty word in the USA than
like some quite feasible ethical design for society, and (ii) "socialism" has very many different versions (many of which tend to deny that other versions of socialism are - really - socialist) that are difficult or impossible to combine or unify. [4]

Next, it simply is not true that "
[c]orporate capitalism cannot be regulated, reformed or corrected": The Keynesianism that ruled in the USA and the West
from 1946 till 1979 (or thereabout) shows that quite a number of aspects of capitalism, including the taxation of the rich, could be "regulated, reformed or corrected" (to some extent, and far more than that they have been, the last 35 years).

I do know that Keynesianism (neo-Keynesianism, neo-Ricardianism etc.) are not fashionable at present, and indeed have nearly all of the corporate rich against it, but this is not because it has been refuted, but mostly for ethical and propagandistic reasons: The present rich and very rich simply deny - with the multi-millionaires Clinton and Blair - even that socialism is possible, but they do so not because they have any proof, but because they impertinently insist that the rich are entitled to all or most of the riches.

In any case, it seems to me both a regulated capitalism is still quite possible (on more or less Keynesian principles, which do involve the undoing of most of 35 years of deregulation after deregulation) and also diverse kinds of socialism are possible (and not all of these are sympathetic or non-dictatorial).

There are also arguments why each of these may fail, but by and large both politics and economics are much more driven by fashions in ideas, values and
propaganda than by real provable facts.

What I do agree on, and strongly, is that "
multiculturalism and gender and identity politics" will not help at all, and also are neither leftist nor socialist in the senses in which I understand these terms (which are very informed indeed).

This is from the ending, with some more about the modern "leftism", as I write it, because this started arising only in the Eighties, and was not really leftist in any sense, but much more like a propaganda-steered combination of postmodernism, "liberal" baloney, totalitarian political correctness (that made it impossible or at least very impolite to say you hate something, in clear tertms), and utterly false moral pretenses:

“The heirs of the New Left of the Sixties have created, within the academy, a cultural Left,” Richard Rorty wrote. “Many members of this Left specialize in what they call the ‘politics of difference’ or ‘of identity’ or ‘of recognition.’ This cultural Left thinks more about stigma than about money, more about deep and hidden psychosexual motivations than about shallow and evident greed.”

Our enemy is not the white working poor any more than it is African-Americans, undocumented workers, Muslims, Latinos or members of the GBLT community. The oligarchs and corporations, many of them proponents of political correctness, are our enemy.
I didn't think there was anything Richard Rorty and I agree on, but the quotation is more or less correct, although I would have written ""Left"" (with ironical quotation-marks) rather than "Left" (without them: I don't think and indeed never thought these academic "Leftists" are real leftists (or Leftists)).

And the last paragraph again seems to miss that (i) many of "
the white working poor" dislike and discriminate African-Americans, Muslims, Latinos and members of the GBLT community, and that (ii) this seems rather different from how the white poor reacted in the Thirties.

But this is a recommended article.

2. Exploring Trump’s Drone Program

The second item is
by Emma Niles on Truthdig:

This starts as follows (and this is not a very good interview, but it is here because of the drone program):

Joshua Scheer: Obviously we can talk a lot about Donald Trump and Barack Obama and everything else but I want to specifically target one piece, target is a pun but target about drones with Obama leaving office. There was a piece in the Guardian today. There is your piece in Salon. Discuss this thing. We have an unstable leader with the capability of killing anyone in the world, right?

Ben Norton: Absolutely. This is one of the most terrifying things that the Obama administration has opened the door for a Trump administration to continue. Under president Obama, the US government has reserved the right to essentially assassinate anyone in the world without charge or trial including at least six US citizens. The targeted killing program, that’s the name used by the Obama administration for the drone assassination program has killed thousands of people according to the US government itself.
I agree that the USA will have "an unstable leader with the capability of killing anyone in the world", but I disagree - I think - that this "is one of the most terrifying things that the Obama administration has opened the door for a Trump administration to continue". And I inserted "- I think -" because I am not quite sure about the meaning of "the Obama administration has opened the door".

And while I agree that the Obama administration "opened the door" to the "
targeted killing program", I think this is not the greatest danger of the Trump administration, which is that Trump's finger is on the trigger of nuclear arms.
Then again, maybe Obama's administration did not "open the door" to that.
Joshua Scheer: (..) When we’ve given this now, this new leader, Neo-Fascist leader, the ability to possibly kill people on US soil as well. I mean, yes, there were terrorists involved but a lot of times they’re shooting in weddings and everything else. There are a lot of casualties with this drone war.

I remember from the same time, when asked what does an enemy combatant look like, it’s any male between the ages of 13 and 30 who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I mean, the Obama administration has been terrible on this. I can’t imagine what Trump might be going forward.

Hm. I say Trump is a neofascist (but then I use a fairly precise definition, and neofascists, "neofascists", "Neo-Facsists" etc. are rarely given a fairly precise definition: see [2]), but in fact I don't think Obama has used drones to kill Americans in the USA. This may be different under Trump, is quite true.

Scheer is right about "what does an enemy combatant look like" (and indeed might have increased "30" to "40", "50" or "60": all that tends to matter to the Americans is that they wear beards and are Muslins, and indeed that is usually all that is known about most males that are killed by American drones).

Here is the last bit that I'll quote from this interview:

Ben Norton: I mean, these horrific policies have already continued but they’re likely continue to get worst under Trump. I think, although the Trump administration is very likely going to be extreme and very dangerous and destructive, the silver lining is that because he is so extreme and also because of partisanism and because he’s a Republican, we’re very likely to see much more opposition than we saw under Obama. I think we’re likely to see more opposition than we saw under Bush. There was significantly, there was definitely a significant movement behind the anti-war movement and the peace movement and other social justice movements under Bush and most likely to continue under Trump. I mean, the real question we should be asking is where have all these people been when Obama trade out many of the policies that Bush did and that’s of course a product of partisanism.
(..)
I mean, to answer your question, those protests have to continue throughout US history, the only thing that has ever kept the government accountable to the citizenry has always been mass movements, social movements, demonstrations, activism, direct action, civil disobedience. These are the very important things that we need to do

First, I think "worst" should have been "worse".

Second, while I do understand Norton's point that "
we’re very likely to see much more opposition" to Donald Trump "than we saw under Obama" this much depends on the new laws that the Trump administration is going to introduce, one of which may be - see here - that anybody whose actions may decrease the profits of some multi-national corporation (or any corporation) will be counted and prosecuted as "a terrorist".

And while many seem to think that under Trump most of the things that were possible under Obama will remain possible, I tend to doubt this. (But I do not
know what a Trumpian government will try to do.)

Third, the opinion that "
the only thing that has ever kept the government accountable to the citizenry has always been mass movements, social movements, demonstrations, activism, direct action, civil disobedience" misses at least two quite major things: (1) the influence of the media (which I know have been much better, but which certainly still are relevant to keeping "the government accountable") and (2) the influence of good, fair, honest government (which I know could have been very much better, but which certainly still is relevant to keeping "the government accountable").

3. The Trump Era Is Totally Un-American

The third item is by Michael Winship on AlterNet and originally on BillMoyers.com:

This starts as follows:

A friend of mine who has dual Israeli-American citizenship tells the story of entering an elevator in Jerusalem shortly after a bullying right-wing government had taken over the country.

The other passenger was ostentatiously puffing on a big cigar. My friend pointed to the no smoking sign and politely, in Hebrew, asked the man to douse his smoke.

“Eff you,” the man replied. “We’re in charge now.” Only he didn’t say, “Eff.”

Sound familiar? Well, it’s a tiptoe through the tulips compared to what’s going on in the United States right now.

I say, but I do think this is a decent estimate of "what’s going on in the United States right now" (which will only get worse). Here is some more:

Incidents of hate-related violence and other abuses have proliferated throughout this lovely land of ours. The presidential campaign and now the election results have further allowed the pinheads of society to let their racist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic freak flags fly. Despite denials from many on the right and the Trump transition team, this is  really happening — unlike that avalanche of fake news stories that have been overwhelming social media.

Yes, I agree (and may disagree with Chris Hedges: see item 1): I think there are many stupid and ignorant Americans, and I do not see why I should welcome or condone "their racist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic" tendencies. Indeed, while I am pro democracy, I am not against some measures to keep certain folks from voting, such as having an IQ of at least 100 and being able to answer some factual questions about the American government and society correctly. [5]

Here are some the threats that the many "pinheads of society" now engage in:

Journalists who investigated Trump, his businesses, family and associates have been mailed anti-Semitic screeds or threatened with violence and even death. Women who have reported on Trump have been sent the vilest sexist epithets. Kshama Sawant, the socialist city council member from Seattle who recently urged protests at Trump’s inauguration in January has been targeted for email and phone attacks, some of which have suggested that she kill herself.

And there is also this (which remind me of the comments sections that I do not read anymore for this reason: far too many vile stupidities):

In recent days, many of you have seen some of Breibart’s headlines: “Bill Kristol: Republican spoiler, renegade Jew,” “Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy,” “Would you rather your child had feminism or cancer?” and “Gay rights have made us dumber, it’s time to get back in the closet.”

And there is also this:

Even The Washington Post's Kathleen Parker, who cut Bannon some slack in a recent column, concluded that “he has been willing to strategically encourage people’s hate as a way of inciting them to action. How these methods will manifest themselves in the White House remains to be seen. But we can uncomfortably imagine that Trump under Bannon’s direction will do whatever it takes to get what he wants.”

In fact we do not know what to expect. But I agree with Michael Winship that it makes sense to prepare for the worst.

4. NYT Advocates Internet Censorship

The fourth item is by Robert Parry on Consortiumnews:

This starts as follows:

In its lead editorial on Sunday, The New York Times decried what it deemed “The Digital Virus Called Fake News” and called for Internet censorship to counter this alleged problem, taking particular aim at Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for letting “liars and con artists hijack his platform.”

As this mainstream campaign against “fake news” quickly has gained momentum in the past week (...)

Yes indeed, and I have said already, in a previous Nederlog, that I think that the "news" that the mainstream media are now spreading about "fake news" is itself fake news that aims to give all control over the news that is allowed to be spread on Facebook (!!!) to the mostly anonymous folks that control Facebook or Google.

Here is some more on "fake news" and The New York Times:

What’s different now is that the Times envisions some structure (or algorithm) for eliminating what it calls “fake news.”

But, with a stunning lack of self-awareness, the Times fails to acknowledge the many times that it has published “fake news,” such as reporting in 2002 that Iraq’s purchase of aluminum tubes meant that it was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program; its bogus analysis tracing the firing location of a Syrian sarin-laden rocket in 2013 back to a Syrian military base that turned out to be four times outside the rocket’s range; or its publication of photos supposedly showing Russian soldiers inside Russia and then inside Ukraine in 2014 when it turned out that the “inside-Russia” photo was also taken inside Ukraine, destroying the premise of the story.

Hm. I agree that The New York Times spread fake news. But I think that is not the problem, at least here and now, and indeed this is itself also not a reason why The New York Times (or some journalists who work for it) might not be honorably against the spreading of fake news.

The main problem I see is that they are not "honorably against the spreading of fake news":

What their "fake news" propaganda is really all about is mass censorship of all sites that some Google-algorithm or some Facebook-algorithm [6] has (somehow, probably also in secret) identified as providers of "fake news":

The Times lead editorial, following a front-page article on the same topic on Friday, leaves little doubt what the newspaper would like to see. It wants major Internet platforms and search engines, such as Facebook and Google, to close off access to sites accused of disseminating “fake news.”

Here is the problem according to Robert Parry:

But the problem is that while some falsehoods may be obvious and clear-cut, much information exists in a gray area in which two or more sides may disagree on what the facts are. And the U.S. government doesn’t always tell the truth although you would be hard-pressed to find recent examples of the Times recognizing that reality. Especially over the past several decades, the Times has usually embraced the Official Version of a disputed event and has deemed serious skepticism out of bounds.

I mostly agree, but I have some remarks and clarifications.

First, while indeed "some falsehoods may be obvious and clear-cut" (i) many possible falsehoods are not, and (ii) I simply totally object against the very false thesis that one should let the algorithms of Google and Facebook decide (very probably in secret) which sites spread "false news", and (iii) I also totally object against the very immoral thesis that such sites should be censored.

Second, I think Robert Parry may be more right than he thinks when he wrote that "much information exists in a gray area in which two or more sides may disagree on what the facts are". For in fact that is the case in science, and indeed it may take many decades before most specialists more or less agree what are and are not the relevant facts to judge something correctly. [7]

Third, a real investigative journalist (of whom there are - very unfortunately - not many left) should and does go by I.F. Stone's motto: "All governments lie" - and indeed also: "all corporations lie", "all CEOs lie" and "all politicians lie". And this is not true because all of these Xs always lie, but it is true because all these Xs are for and against specific interests; all these Xs have a strong interest in lying, propagandizing or deceiving wherever their own interests are involved and the lying, propagandizing or deceiving is (probably) not prosecuted; and also all these Xs - governments, corpo- rations, CEOs and politicians - are known to have lied very many times in the past, and usually to get more power or more money (or not to loose some).

This is the last bit that I'll quote:

But the Times and other mainstream news outlets – along with some favored Internet sites – now sit on a Google-financed entity called the First Draft Coalition, which presents itself as a kind of Ministry of Truth that will decide which stories are true and which are “fake.”

If the Times’ editorial recommendations are followed, the  disfavored stories and the sites publishing them would no longer be accessible through popular search engines and platforms, essentially blocking the public’s access to them. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “What to Do About ‘Fake News.’”]

The Times asserts that such censorship would be good for democracy – and it surely is true that hoaxes and baseless conspiracy theories are no help to democracy – but regulation of information in the manner that the Times suggests has more than a whiff of Orwellian totalitarianism to it.

Yes, and here are some additional remarks.

I completely agree that a Google-financed entity is very much like Orwell's Ministry of Truth, except that it has incredibly more powers than Orwell's Ministry had.

And I agree that if "the Times’ editorial recommendations are followed, the  disfavored stories and the sites publishing them would no longer be accessible through popular search engines and platforms", which is a great loss to objectivity and factuality, for a search engine should give all there is that satisfies a certain term, and not just those bits that its algorithm or its director approve of, while simply not showing i.e. totally censoring what its algorithm or its director do not approve of (which very well may be either the real facts or at least some hint towards disctovering them).

Finally, censorship is never good for democracy, and what The Times says is "good for democracy" = Orwellian totalitarianism, and will kill most attempts
of non-journalists to find the truth, and that because "journalists", their algorithms or their directors have decided that no one has any right to know the things they believe should not be known

It is plain totalitarianism. And this is a recommended article.

5. Trump Assembling Team of 'Swamp Creatures,' Says Ellison

The fifth item today is by Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

Forget "draining the swamp," President-elect Donald Trump is building a cabinet full of "more swamp creatures than ever before," Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

Appearing on the morning show, the progressive lawmaker, who is running to chair the Democratic National Committee (DNC), said, "Donald Trump has already proven where he's going with this thing," based on the nominees thus far.

"He has lobbyists and big-time investment bankers," Ellison continued, pointing to the recent Politico article, "Why Wall Street is Suddenly in Love with Trump."

"He's not doing what he's said he's gonna do for average working Americans," he added.

Yes indeed. And no, I never believed Trump would do what he said he is going to do for ordinary working Americans, but that is not the point, which is that tens of millions of Americans have been successfully deceived by Trump. That indeed seems true (to me).

Then there is this, which seems to me to unnecessarily complicate a decent diagnosis of Trump:

"There's been a lot of discussion of Donald Trump's administration as being potentially fascist. But as we see appointments like these, I'm reminded of a different word—kakistocracy—which means government by the worst people," said Anna Galland, executive director of MoveOn.org Civic Action, in a recent press statement.

"Collectively, Trump's proposed national security and law enforcement appointments include ardent war hawks who have embraced racist, anti-immigrant, and Islamophobic policies, and pushed economic policies that have bankrupted middle-class Americans," Galland continued. "It's hard to imagine a more divisive set of nominees, and these appointments fly in the face of Trump's claim that he wants to unite Americans."

I agree with the second paragraph - but conclude from my agreement that
there are strong grounds to call Trump a neofascist - see [2] - which is (it seems to me) a decent diagnosis of Trump, and I totally and strongly reject a neologism like "kakistocracy" (which does not even have a Wikipedia-entry): That seems more like cowardice than like honesty.
--------------------------
Notes
[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]
I am saying this not because I want to offend but because I want to explain, and my own explanatory definition of neofascism is this:
Neofascism is a. A social system that is marked by a government with a centralized powerful authority, where the opposition is propagandized and suppressed or censored, that propounds an ethics which has profit as its main norm, and that has a politics that is rightwing, nationalistic, pro-capitalist, anti-liberal, anti-equality, and anti-leftist, and that has a corporative organization of the economy in which multi-national corporations are stronger than a national government or stateb. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a social system.

Also, I am rather certain that most (not: all) of those who style themselved as "neoliberals" in fact are neofascists as defined (even though they probably do not like the term).

And this is fascism as I defined it:
Fascism is a. A social system that is marked by a government with centralized authority and a dictator, that suppresses the opposition through propaganda, censorship and terror, that propounds an ethics founded on discipline, virility, and collectivism, that has a politics that is totalitarian, anti-liberal, anti-individualist, anti-equality, and anti-Marxist, that is also authoritarian, rightwing and nationalistic, and often racist, and that has a corporative organization of the economy, b. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a social system.
See the following if you are interested: On Fascism and Neofascism: Definitions. (This lists 22 definitions of the term "fascism", and critically reflects on them.)

[3] See September 21, 2015 for an article I wrote on socialism. One major problem I have with socialism is that it tends to be extremely vague what is meant by the term.

[4] Both problems are quite real and quite large. Also, while the term "socialism" is definitely more problematic in the USA than in Europe (where there are many large "socialist" or "social democratic" parties, quite unlike in the USA) it is also problematic in Europe, indeed in part because most of the leading members of nominally "socialist" or "social democratic" parties are not real socialists or real social democrats at all (but are mostly pretending and bullshitting, in order to deceive simple-minded people and get their votes).

So once again: Both "capitalism" and "socialism" have many different definitions and have known quite a few implementations, both of which may make it very difficult to decide what is meant by these terms. But in the end both go back to two different ethical orientations, that may be summed up by two questions and two criterions: (1) Are you for or against large differences in wealth (income, salary, possessions)? And (2): Are you for or against the existence of independent facts and truth?

And I suggest you are a - real, classical - socialist if you are against large differences in wealth and for the existence of independent facts and truth.
Also, the first question is a question of ethics and values (and may be settled quite easily if sufficiently many agree) much rather than of truths or facts, while the second question is one about science and rationality: Rational scientific men are for the
the existence of independent facts and truth, and most others are not (and like their own beliefs and fantasies more than science).

[5] I do not believe (and never have believed) that "all men are equal" and in fact maintain that all different men are unequal - in talents, in courage, in ethics, in shapes, in forms, in attractiveness, in success, in riches etc. etc. etc.

But then this position strongly inclines me towards democracy, for the simple reason that most criterions to keep men and women from voting - race? sex (aka "gender")? intelligence? religion? wealth? politics? - are definitely partial to specific points of view and are rather arbitrary to implement (e.g. when is one really intelligent or really wealthy?).

Then again, also because I think it is fair to demand some minimal level of intelligence and education to be allowed to vote, instead of allowing each and anyone provided he passed a certain age, I am not strongly against requiring a minimal IQ and some minimal provable factual knowledge about one's society and government, provided this leaves the majority capable of voting.

And I do not have any good ideas how this would influence the outcomes of elections on that basis.

[6] This covers two points:

First, while I do know for nearly 50 years what an algorithm is, the more I read the term, the less I like it. Say program, for that is what is generally meant, and it is briefer and a lot clearer (and proper English rather than Greek).

And second, while it is pretty certain that Google an/or Facebook will use (unknown, and probably quite secret) programs to select which websites they will censor (not name, pretend they don't exist at all) the censorship of sites (if it occurs at all, and I am speaking about politics here, where most politicians lie enormous amounts) must be done by humans, and these humans need to be known and upfront, as should be their decisions. (But this is not what Google or Facebook want, at all. What they want is that you see only what they think is fit for you.)

[7]
To give but one example, indeed from a science that is quite real: String theory (<-Wikipedia) in physics exists now for over 40 years, and it is still not certain whether this is a decently testable scientific theory (what with possibly 10500 parallel universes that may be involved).

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