1. American Psychosis
Valley Is Letting Trump Get Away With It
3. Trump Adds Bannon to National Security Council, Removes
4. Trump Has Been Sued More Than 34 Times Since He Was
5. Calling a Lie a Lie in the Age of Trump
6. Hannah Arendt: From an Interview
This is a Nederlog of Monday, January 30, 2017.
Summary: This is
a crisis log with 6 items and 6 dotted links: Item 1 is about an
article by Chris Hedges; item 2 is about an article that explains
Silicon Valley does not protest against Trump; item 3 is about Trump's
getting rid of the National Security Council and the Joint Chiefs of
Staff; item 4 is about Trump's court cases: 1 in every 2.5 days for
about 25 years; item 5 is about when to call something a lie; and item
6 is about Hannah Arendt, with whom I do not quite agree.
As for today
(January 30, 2017): I have
meanwhile attached a message to the openings
of both of my sites which points out that for somehing like a year
of my sites more
or less systematically, but unpredictably, show the wrong date
and the wrong files, indeed going so far back as 2015, and as
if I did not
write anything since then.
Today ny Dutch site again was not uploaded properly, but the Danish
site was: I have
uploading my site for quite a few years now and not even
properly shown now, since about a year, on both sites, and also quite
Somebody really wants you not to read my sites.
More about this later, namely below.
The first item today is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
This starts as follows - and incidentally, there is a quite good and
long video interview with Chris Hedges here
that I strongly recommend you see:
Reality is under assault. Verbal
confusion reigns. Truth and illusion have merged. Mental chaos makes it
hard to fathom what is happening. We feel trapped in a hall of mirrors.
Exposed lies are answered with other lies. The rational is countered
with the irrational. Cognitive dissonance prevails. We endure a
disquieting shame and even guilt. Tens of millions of Americans,
especially women, undocumented workers, Muslims and African-Americans,
suffer the acute anxiety of being pursued by a predator. All this is by
design. Demagogues always infect the governed with their own psychosis.
Hm. There are several things here that I like
less, but the main one is the - indeed nearly universal - way of
speaking about "We",
"We", "We". I think that is a grammatical mistake; I think that
is a logical mistake; and indeed none of the above
applies to me.
And indeed it is quite likely that I differ from most, and the
reasons I do are ethical,
and radical and go back to long before my birth in 1950: Both
of my parents had IQs over 130 and were sincere communists, and
remained so for 45 years; both were in the real resistance
against the Nazis; both were revolutionaries all their adult lives;
their parents, as well, were pretty radical leftists for a very
long time, for my mother's parents were anarchists, and
my father's father ended up as communist and was murdered in a German
concentration camp, of which my father survived over 3 years and 9
months, and got knighted, as a communist ,
namely for designing and partially building - together with other
former members of concentration camps - an exhibition about the dangers
of fascism, about concencentration camps, and about the resistance, that was very many times shown
in Holland in the 1960ies and 1970ies.
I do not know of any family like mine, though there
must be some more, though probably not in Holland. 
Also, I have been a fairly conscious radical ever since I was 8
- in 1958  - and realized that my parents were real
revolutionaries. It is true that I gave up Marxism and communism in
1970, and then also shifted most of my attention and interests to science rather
but it is also true that I remained a radical and have been one
always (as I found out in the sick and degenerate University of
as I found out being forced to live above extremely noisy and quite
murderous and quite illegal drugsdealers that were protected
by the mayor of Amsterdam, by the aldermen of Amsterdam, by the
bureaucrats of Amsterdam, by the district attorneys of Amsterdam, and
by the City Police of Amsterdam: It seems I got no help whatsoever
for four successive years - from 1988 till the
beginning of 1992 - because in fact I protested against the enormous
illegal dealings in illegal drugs, that sold for 20 billion euros a
year every year since 1988, of which most or all profited enormously.
So no: I do not belong to most "We"s and indeed most
"We"s also are proud that a man as obviously immoral
and wrong as I must be does not belong to their "We"s.
There is this about Trump and Company's incessant lying:
The lies fly out of the White
House like flocks of pigeons: Donald Trump’s election victory was a
landslide. He had the largest inauguration crowds in American history.
Three million to 5 million undocumented immigrants voted illegally.
Climate change is a hoax. Vaccines cause autism. Immigrants are
carriers of “[t]remendous
infectious disease.” The election was rigged—until it wasn’t. We
don’t know “who really knocked down” the World Trade Center. Torture
works. Mexico will pay for the wall. Conspiracy theories are fact.
Scientific facts are conspiracies. America will be great again.
Yes indeed - and this will lead to great
problems, that also may cause a nuclear war.
There is this about the current president of the USA:
Our new president, a 70-year-old
with orange-tinted skin and hair that Penn Jillette has likened to
“cotton candy made of piss,” is, as Trump often reminds us, “very good
looking.” He has almost no intellectual accomplishments—he knows
little of history, politics, law, philosophy, art or governance—but
IQ is one of the highest—and you all know it! Please don’t feel so
stupid or insecure, it’s not your fault.” And the mediocrities and
half-wits he has installed in his Cabinet have “by far the highest
IQ of any Cabinet ever assembled.”
Precisely. Then there is this, with
which I tend to agree, indeed because I do not personally know
of any family like mine, of which I know there are more, but
only in very small minorities (and the main differences are ethical and intellectual
It is an avalanche of absurdities.
This mendacity would be easier to
repulse if the problem was solely embodied in Trump. But even in the
face of a rising despotism, the Democratic Party refuses to denounce
the corporate forces that eviscerated our democracy and impoverished
the country. The neoliberal Trump demonizes Muslims, undocumented
workers and the media. The neoliberal Democratic Party demonizes Vladimir Putin
and FBI Director James Comey. No one speaks about the destructive force
of corporate power. The warring elites pit alternative
facts against alternative facts. All engage in demagoguery. We
will, I expect, be condemned to despotism by the venality of Trump and
the cowardice and dishonesty of the liberal class.
Yes, I agree that "despotism" is a likely
consequence of (bolding added) "the cowardice
and dishonesty of the liberal class",
for I have been running into this cowardice and dishonesty in truly
massive forms in both Amsterdam and the University of
Amsterdam, where quasi-communists ruled with quasi social democrats,
all for their own financial and career interests, and all
strong opponents of real science and of real truth,
for both real science and real truth were made impossible by political
especially - that ruled the quasi-communists and quasi
social democrats who ruled the University of Amsterdam with absolute
power from 1971 till 1995: It was totalitarian
sickness all these years.
Then there is this on totalitarianism:
“Before they seize power and
establish a world according to their doctrines, totalitarian movements
conjure up a lying world of consistency which is more adequate to the
needs of the human mind than reality itself; in which, through sheer
imagination, uprooted masses can feel at home and are spared the
never-ending shocks which real life and real experiences deal to human
beings and their expectations,” Hannah Arendt wrote in “The
Origins of Totalitarianism.” “The force possessed by totalitarian
propaganda—before the movements have the power to drop iron curtains to
prevent anyone’s disturbing, by the slightest reality, the gruesome
quiet of an entirely imaginary world—lies in its ability to shut the
masses off from the real world.”
I have read quite a lot of Hannah Arendt, but
I was not much enlightened by it (and indeed bored by most, I
admit), though I suppose that the main reasons simply are
that my family was really leftist and in the real resistance, whereas
Arendt was a Jewish intellectual who managed to escape Germamy before
she was arrested and gassed. And while I think she meant well,
I also think (and I am sorry, but that is what I think) she was neither
radical enough nor intelligent enough.
And indeed, I don't quite agree with the ending of the above
quotation of Arendt, indeed simply because the fascists' "ability to shut the masses off from the real world" was not due to the excellency of the fascists'
propaganda, but to the average stupidity and ignorance of
great parts of the masses: If you can be taken in by fascist
propa- ganda, the least this means is that you are quite stupid and
ignorant or very emotional and fanatic, and for most in the masses it
is mostly the first. 
Among the consequences are these:
The corporate state, hostile or
indifferent to the plight of the citizens, has no emotional pull among
the public. It is often hated. Political candidates run not as
politicians but as celebrities. Campaigns eschew issues to make people
feel good about candidates and themselves. Ideas are irrelevant.
Emotional euphoria is paramount. The voter is only a prop in the
political theater. Politics is anti-politics. It is reality television.
Trump proved better at this game than his opponents. It is a game in
which fact and knowledge do not matter. Reality is what you create. We
were conditioned for a Trump.
Yes, except that I reject again the "We" and I also reject
the systematic non- mentioning of the root cause why Trumpian
propaganda works: Because the masses
at which it is directed are mostly stupid and ignorant.
There is considerably more in the article, which is recommended because
it speaks the truth about Trump and his government, but it also seems
based on what I regard - after almost 50 years of running into
always the same - as a disregard or a denial of the main reason for
the success of the stupid and greedy and egoistic rightists: the stupidity and ignorance of
many of the leftists.
Silicon Valley Is Letting Trump Get Away With It
The second item is by Sam Biddle on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
While airport-stranded travelers from
an apparently arbitrary list of Muslim-majority countries were being
kept in handcuffs as a result of President Trump’s stunning immigration
ban, the leaders of America’s most powerful tech firms stared at their
feet and mumbled. Maybe this weekend’s milquetoast statements
shouldn’t have come as a surprise — and there were a few
Silicon Valley voices willing to castigate Trump — yet the
failure of so many of the U.S. economy’s most influential players
to say anything of substance or actually do anything at all to back up
their words of dissent was still a great letdown.
Well... not for me, and
fundamentally my reasons not to be disappointed by the utter
lack of moral existence of the mega-rich leaders of the mega-rich
Silicon Valley is that I have known about it for many years:
First, nearly all millionaires and
billionaires are first and most concerned with keeping and
defending their mega-riches that make them personally stand out from
everybody else; second all millionaires and
billionaires have the (neofascistic)
moral blessing of Milton Friedman: There is but one moral rule, and
that is the rule that the biggest profits are the best; and thirdly
that for nearly all millionaires and billionaires the above two rules
are all that moves them - which is to say that the vast
majority is moved by "I, me, mine", and as long as they make profits,
the world is quite OK for them.
It is true this is not true of all
of them, but at least as true that it is true of most of them.
Here is what the very heroic, very moral, very honest billionaires and
millionaires did do:
The likes of Apple, Microsoft, and
Facebook have (like any large corporation) refused to
oppose head-on Trump’s widely outrageous, often-illegal agenda.
But unlike most other large corporations, Silicon Valley has long
draped itself in language of principle, to Make the world a
better place — Facebook’s
mission statement remains the effort to “make the world more open
and connected,” and one can almost remember a time when Google was
proudly associated with the phrase “don’t be evil.”
Evidently, if ever you believed in
their sick lies - "a better place" and "evil" are for most so arbitrary
that they are only advertisement
slogans - you probably will continue believing their lies.
Here is Suckerbug from Fuckbook:
In a long Facebook post, Mark Zuckerberg
said, “I’m concerned about the impact of the recent executive orders
signed by President Trump,” while adding, “That said, I was glad to
hear President Trump say he’s going to ‘work something out’ for
Dreamers,” and “I’m also glad the President believes our country should
continue to benefit from ‘people of great talent coming into the
country.’” Zuckerberg concluded, “I hope we find the courage and
compassion to bring people together and make this world a better place
for everyone.” This is a statement inoffensive to the point of
meaninglessness. (...) The fact that PayPal founder and
Trump adviser Peter Thiel sits on Facebook’s board was not
I agree with Biddle that these statements are
offensive "to the point of meaninglessness": All you know is that a sick greedy billionaire loves being a
sick greedy billionaire. How utterly amazing!
And here are the Moral Heroes from Apple:
memo to employees, obtained by BuzzFeed, was perhaps the most
galling. In it, Tim Cook essentially makes the case that a ban on
Muslim immigration isn’t wrong because it’s wrong, but because “Apple
would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the
way we do.”
That is: There is nothing wrong
with immigration bans as long as Apple can get its one in a
tenthousand Muslim immigrants whom it is willing to employ to
improve Apple's profits.
Anyway - this was on the morality of
Slicon Valley: We stand behind anyone and anything that keeps
us profitable ("and we are making this world a better place for
everyone", presumably by helping the secret services to collect
everything on everyone).
3. Trump Adds Bannon to National
Security Council, Removes Intelligence Officials
The third item is by Nadia Prupis on Truthdig and originally on Common
President Donald Trump signed memorandums on Saturday that
kicked the nation’s top military and intelligence advisers off the
National Security Council’s (NSC) Principals Committee and elevated his
chief strategist, Steve Bannon, in their place.
The memorandum gives Bannon, former
executive chair of the rightwing website Breitbart News, a regular seat
at some of the most sensitive meetings at the highest levels of
government, along with other NSC meetings.
The Director of National Intelligence
(DNI) and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—who need to be
confirmed by the Senate—will now only attend the meetings when
discussions pertain to their “responsibilities and expertise,” the memo
“This is unusual,” writes John Bellinger at Lawfare Blog. “[T]he NSC
function usually does not include participants from the political side
of the White House.”
Additionally, while Bannon has been granted this privileged access, CIA
director Mike Pompeo has not—another break with tradition, Bellinger
I say! For I completely agree with
Bellinger that "[t]his is unusual“: This means that the secret services
and the military are not part of "the
highest levels of government", nor indeed is the
CIA, whereas the alt right icon (and Goldman Sachs executive, at one
point) Steve Bannon takes their places.
Indeed, this is most unusual. Here
is some more, and I agree with Gates, though, as I will explain, my
stresses are rather different from his:
Former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates
likewise told ABC on Sunday that excluding the DNI and the
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was “a big mistake.”
“Under law, there are only two statutory
advisers to the National Security Council—the DNI, and the Chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” Gates said. “Pushing them out [is] a big
mistake. They both bring perspective, judgment, and experience to bear
that every president—whether they like it or not—finds useful.”
MSNBC’s Joy Reid summed it up thus: “To reiterate, the Joint
Chiefs of Staff have been removed from the National Security Council
and replaced with a white nationalist. Worry.”
In fact, I am not at all
interested in the "perspective, judgment, and
experience" of the Security Council and the
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. What I am interested in
is that the National Security Council and the Joint Chiefs of Staff are
highly likely parts
of the Deep State, that very well may feel it gets trashed by Trump and
I do not know what will be the
eventual outcome of this, simply because I don't know enough
about the secrets of the Deep State and American government, but my guess
is that this will not work out as good for Trump and Bannon.
(In case you want to know more about the Deep State: See the index for
2016 of the crisis files, and especially this one: On The Deep State in the USA)
We shall see, eventually. And this is a
4. Trump Has Been Sued
More Than 34 Times Since He Was Elected
The fourth item is by Kali Holloway on AlterNet:
Earlier this month, former "Apprentice"
contestant Summer Zervos announced
she would be moving forward with a lawsuit against the man who
allegedly sexually assaulted her, Donald Trump. Zervos is one of more
than a dozen women who say they were sexually abused or assaulted by
Trump, who was inaugurated U.S. president a little over a week ago.
Trump is no stranger to lawsuits charging
him with being a sexual predator, though he has been involved in cases
that run the gamut—nearly 3,500
legal filings going back to the 1990s. When you have reportedly
made a career out of bilking contractors out of money, harassing women,
and setting up fraudulent universities and other businesses, you can
expect your name to end up in a lot of court papers.
Yes indeed! Incidentally, if we take it
this has been going on for 25 years, this works out as 140 court
cases a year, which is slightly less than 1 in every 2.5 days...
I say. There is more in the article, which
5. Calling a Lie a Lie
in the Age of Trump
The fifth item
is by Daniel C. Maguire on Consortiumnews:
This starts as follows, but I should first
say that Maguire is Professor of Moral Theology at Marquette
University, "a Catholic, Jesuit institution":
The L word is suddenly
center stage as Trump’s presidency begins. No surprise there, given the
river of falsehoods flowing from the administration and his devious
cabinet misfits. Journalists scruple about the propriety of calling a
lie a lie, especially when the liar is the President of the United
States. The New York Times made news by calling one of Trump’s manifest
falsehoods a lie. National Public Radio, perhaps wary about federal
funding, shies from the word.
This seems correct as a summary, and indeed
it is both true that the New York Times (very recently) "made news by calling one of Trump’s manifest falsehoods a
lie" and that National Public Radio (bolding added) does not
think it can inform its public truly.
Here is why I started this review by saying Maguire seems to be a
I am sorry, but that is utter bullshit, and
indeed one of the reasons I am sorry is that Maguire
probably means well. But he is quite mistaken, as I will
explain now, and continue under the next quotation. And I start with
the present quotation:
Underlying all this is broad public
confusion as to just what a lie is. The Oxford English Dictionary
oversimplifies it by saying that a lie is “a false statement made with
intent to deceive.” Let ethics come to the rescue. Telling the
Gestapo that the Frank family had left Amsterdam (even though you were
actually bringing them food on a daily basis) would not earn you the
moral stigma of “a liar.”
First, I do not think that the Oxford English Dictionary (which
I like a lot) is quite correct in defining a lie as "a
false statement made with the intent to deceive". I did it as follows
in my Philosophical
Dictionary, where there is this beginning of my definition
Lie: Conscious assertion of what the speaker knows he does
Perhaps I should add that I am a philosopher
and a psychologist (rather than a moral theologian), but in any case,
the essence of lying is to (consciously) say what you do not think is
true. I agree that it often is the case that what you think is
not true indeed is not true, but sometimes you are mistaken,
but then you are still lying because you are saying
what you yourself do not believe.
Note that it is not required
that a lie is a false statement: What is required is that its speaker
considers it one, but states it as if it is true.
Most human lying is in fact done by the
conscious non-saying of truths one does know but rather does not give
voice to in public, whether from cowardice or self-interest. A large
part of public lying - as in the tale of the emperor's clothes - is
collective collaborative public non-saying of things, that may indeed
be motivated by justified self-interest, as in dictatorships, or common
politeness, but also by conformist
That what is a lie for the speaker may
be a truth in fact was remarked above, and it needs also remarking that
there is a considerable difference between the lying of children and
that of adults: Children tend to really mean what they say, if they
don't lie, but most adults have falsified themselves and pretended so
much that they are hardly capable, in many circumstances, to clearly
distinguish their poses and pretensions of what they think they should
socially seem to be and what they could know is true or likely.
Second, about ethics
(and I studied philosophy, but was denied the right of taking my -
excellent - M.A. because I believed in truth and in science, and
those beliefs were
in a radical minority in the University of Amsterdam
from 1972 (!!) onwards: see yesterday
if you are interested) and about the supposed ethics of lying:
I am not quite certain what Maguire means by "the moral stigma
of "a liar"". I am quite certain that my own direct family of
Amsterdammers told many lies to the Germans and to the SS and to their
many Dutch collaborators; that they very well knew that they
did; and that they were proud of it because they taught they
did their moral duty.
Then there is this, which motivates my starting this review saying
Maguire is a Professor of Moral Theology in a Jesuit university:
First, a brief remark on "neutral words".
And that is the point. “Lie” and “liar”
are not neutral words. Sometimes you have a moral obligation to deceive
as when someone intent on murder asks if you know the location of his
intended victim. Truth-telling in that case would be lethal;
intentional deception is mandatory.
Lying is when you speak falsely
intending to deceive someone who has a right to the truth. The
specific evil that makes an intentional deception evil is in the denial
of the truth to someone who has a right to it.
I agree that "“Lie” and “liar” are not neutral
words", but then it is also my considered opinion that (i) in some
contexts no word is properly "a neutral word", because (ii) it
are the - human - contexts (of ideological or philosophical
of solidarity, of honesty, of intent, of presumptions, of ignorances)
that decide - for someone, and most and possibly all such decisions are
- what are the contexts to help apply the (subjectively) proper
meanings to words.
Second, about the extended definition of lying Maguire presents:
No, the bold added part to the definition of lying of the Oxford
Dictionary is not at all correct or useful, simply because it immensely
Who will decide "who has a right
to the truth"?! And who
will decide what is "the truth"?! And who will be able
to decide, if rights are relevant, to what extent and which
rights do apply?!
After all, the SS would have insisted on their "right
to the truth" and indeed decided that their "right to the truth" was more than sufficient to torture
people to death to get it.
And indeed in my opinion to define a lie - as: a conscious
assertion of something one does not believe oneself - both truth and rights are not
needed, while including them enormously complicates the
definition (and its sensible applications).
Then there is this:
It is not hard to understand the
skittishness of the press regarding the L word. When you say
the President lied, you are accusing him of immoral activity. You are
saying that he is speaking falsely in the face of abundant
evidence to the contrary and is trying to deceive the public on a
matter where they have a right to the truth.
But why should the President be spared
the appropriate ethical term for his actions? The sacred calling of the
press, well understood by the founders of this republic, is to speak
the truth especially to those in power. Why would they betray that
noble mission by shrinking from calling a powerful liar on his lies?
The lies of President Trump and those of
his mendacity agents like Kellyanne Conway are more insulting than has
been generally noted. They are despicably cynical because they
insinuate that the American public and the press have no right to the
truth. Fictional “alternative facts” are all they deserve.
Yes and no. Here it is by paragraph:
First paragraph, first statement: In fact,
for me it is completely the other way around. Of course
the president lies (whoever it is, also), indeed not always, but
regularly. And of course the government lies: "All governments
lie", as I.F. Stone
very correctly insisted. And the reason for both "of
course"s is that all politicians lie, and indeed few seem to
lie more than politicians. (And perhaps - for the very naive -
I should repeat all, and again add "though not
always, of course".)
First paragraph, second statement: No, not
necessarily at all. For example - and this holds for many
supporters of any president - supporters may be quite convinced
their president lied, but consider this to be quite excellent (e.g.
"because he lied to our mortal enemies").
First paragraph, third statement: No, you
may be quite convinced that the president is lying, and indeed be quite
correct in your belief, but you may lack - as is the case about the NSA
and other secret servicves - most of the evidence you
would like. And second, in any decent democracy, "the public" should
have "a right to the truth" about nearly everything, and indeed
the cases where this may be denied should be argued
carefully and objectively, and in something like a court.
Second paragraph: As it happens, I agree
with most of this. Then again, to show how much Maguire's addition of
people who have "a right to the truth" may make for problems: Trump can
simply reply that He knows that He Is The Smartest, and that His
"people" have - in His presidential opinion - only the right to
know as much as He thinks fit to tell them. (Indeed, his supporters may
wildly applaud him for this.)
Third paragraph: I agree again with most,
but again like to point out how much the addition of "who has a right to the truth" to the Oxford Dictionary's definition of "lie" can
complicate Maguire's own position: Kellyanne Conway and Donald Trump
quite probably are already convinced that the American public
does not have "a right to
the truth" except when they
approve of it.
And here is the end of the article:
I agree with the conclusion but, as I have
explained, not with the argument:
The lies of this liar must be cited and
he must be called by the name his deeds merit.
The definition of a lie does not need to be complicated with
explicit references to the truth (all that matters for a statement to
be a lie is that one says it while not believing it); and the definition of a lie does not need to be complicated
with explicit additions of a "right to know" (for that introduces
6. Hannah Arendt: From an Interview
The sixth and last item today
is by Hannah Arendt (<- Wikipedia) on the New York Review of Books.
It is originally from 1974 and was published in 1978:
I will quote three bits of this, but I have
already indicated that I am not a fan of Hannah Arendt, and
that my reasons are mainly (i) my family, that was
revolutionary and radical for 45 years of my parents' lives, which made
them - among other things - members of the resistance in WW II, which
also meant both my father and grandfather were arrested for resisting
the Nazis, and committed to the concentration camp as
"political terrorists", which my grandfather did not survive, and (ii) my
being a - logical, analytical, realistic - philosopher who has read
all the great philosophers, and Hannah Arendt,
although she meant well, was certainly not among the great
Here is the first bit:
No, I don't think so at all.
First, here is the beginning of my definition of totalitarian:
Totalitarianism begins in contempt for what
you have. The second step is the notion: “Things must change—no matter
how, Anything is better than what we have.” Totalitarian rulers
organize this kind of mass sentiment, and by organizing it articulate
it, and by articulating it make the people somehow love it. They were
told before, thou shalt not kill; and they didn’t kill. Now they are
told, thou shalt kill; and although they think it’s very difficult to
kill, they do it because it’s now part of the code of behavior. They
learn whom to kill and how to kill and how to do it together.
Totalitarian: Ideology or religion that is
pretended to have final answers to many important human questions and
problems and that is pretended to be thereby justified to persecute
persons who do not agree with the ideology or the religion.
This is the usual form that every
assumes - religious, political and otherwise, with science as the
almost only partial exception.
The reason for the first property that
defines a totalitarian attitude is apparently in part political
and in part zoological:
One very important end ideologies and
religions serve is to provide a human social group with
a set of shared agreed upon supposed truths for the
group and supposed ends
of the group, and it is simply convenient and also seems to feel
pleasant to most humans if these supposed truths and supposed ends
simply are taken to hold for everyone, or at least for everyone who has
the fundamental decency and human excellence of belonging to Us.
The reason for the second property that
defines a totalitarian attitude derives from the first property plus
the fact that ideologies and faiths of a social group
serve to define and defend the group's territory and practices.
There is more there, and here is my
definition of "Group"
I will not argue anything here, but
only refer you for more to Groupthinking.
in society: Human society is
composed of groups i.e. collections of people that know each other personally, and
that play roles
in that society.
Indeed, "society" is
an abstract, theoretical
term, and such society as humans know in their own experience is
made up of face-groups.
Most of what people believe they know
about 'society' is propaganda or wishful
thinking, and generally uninformed. Few
people realize that, if they are 75 years old, there are - in the 21st
Century - some 3 times more human beings in the world than seconds in
their lives, namely 2,365,200,000 at age 75.
Also, it is noteworthy that there is
little human awareness about their own mammalian and apish nature,
although there is both amusing and bitter evidence about this gathered
by e.g. Stanley Milgram and Desmond Morris. Some relevant points are
In brief: Totalitarianism is much deeper than most seem to
think it is.
Then there is this about lies:
I agree with most of this, but I would have
added "rational" before "opinion": People can have opinions for many
reasons, but indeed they can have no rational opinions
The moment we no longer have a free press,
anything can happen. What makes it possible for a totalitarian or any
other dictatorship to rule is that people are not informed; how can you
have an opinion if you are not informed?
without proper information and some rational knowledge.
Finally, there is this:
No, I don't agree (and the "domino theory"
asserted that countries go communist
Facts and Theories
A good example of the kind of scientific
mentality that overwhelms all other insights is the “domino theory.”
The fact is that very few of the sophisticated intellectuals who wrote
the Pentagon Papers believed in this theory. Yet everything
they did was based on this assumption—not because they were liars, or
because they wanted to please their superiors, but because it gave them
a framework within which they could work.
as row of dominoes do: if the first one falls, all fall).
I take it Arendt is correct in saying that "very
few of the sophisticated intellectuals who wrote the Pentagon Papers
believed in this theory".
But people who adopt "a framework within which
they could work" (which effectively meant in
this case: being ready to go to war against any nation identified as "a
domino") in fact - and at the very least - are deceiving
themselves into adopting a false framework simply because
it allows them to do as they politically please.
In fact, it seems as if Robert McNamara (<-Wikipedia) in the end
understood this. (See The Fog of War
 The "as
a communist" is quite meaningful: Communists, although the
whole Dutch Communist Party went into the Resistance on May 15, 1940,
in which many of its members acted quite heroically, and some 2000
Communists were murdered by the Nazis, did not get any
knighthoods since 1945.
Some did after the Dutch Communist Party was extinguished in
1991, but to the best of my knowledge my father was the only one to get
one before 1991, indeed in 1980, which is also the year he died.
I do not pretend to understand the reasons for either, though
it is possible my father got a knighthood for organizing and
designing much of the exhibition (which was quite good) without it
being known then he was a communist (although he was one since 1935,
and had been briefly in the highest regions of the Dutch CP, around
 And again I am sorry, simply because this is
a fact, and what I am sorry for is that I do not know any other family
like mine. Then again, I do know of quite a few families, also in
Holland, some members of which did behave heroically in WW II. (But not
with a father, a mother, and a grandfather in the resistance, with a
father and a grandfather in concentration camps for resisting, and with
also two anarchist grandparents).
 In fact,
I recall both the day and the event, and in fact I was 7 (though nearly 8):
It was on May 1, 1958, when my father unrolled the red flag to hang it
on the balcony, in order to commemorate the Day of Labor (which fell on
May 1). We then talked, also about the fact that very few did this
then, and that talk connected quite a few things for me that I had not
understood as well before.
 I am stating the facts as I know them,
which includes the facts that (i) I do not know that the
politicians of the Dutch Labor Party were as corrupt as I say they
were, but (ii) this is the only rational explanation for very
many refusals I received from the City of Amsterdam to do anything
for me, in spite of the fact that I complained about being threatened
with murder, being kept for years out of sleep by enormous amounts of
noise, about their illegality, about their dealing not only in hashish
and marijuana but being arrested with 2 kilos of heroine and 1 kilo of
cocaine - absolutely nothing could move absolutely anyone who worked
for the City or the law in Amsterdam to do anything whatsoever for me,
whatever I said or wrote.
And I do know that the only way to get at the truth about
drugscorrupted Holland is to arrest most politicians, and have them
tortured. I think this would deliver a lot of information, but I am
an opponent of torturing people (also if I detest them as much as I do
the politicians of the Dutch Labor Party).
 They are ethical because
both of my parents and three out of four of my grandparents were
genuine radicals, most for all their lives; they are intellectual
because both of my parents and all my grandparents very
probably had IQs over 130, as my brother and I do; and these
differences count simply because differences in beauty, in athleticism,
in sports, and in singing also count, whereas these ethical and
intellectual differences are both more important and rarer than being
somewhat beatiful or running very fast.
 I am sorry, but I think this is simply
true and has been consistently neglected in everything that I
have read the last four years.