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#138- The Edge of Humanity A Conversation with Yuval Noah Harari

 
Russco79
 
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Russco79
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21 September 2018 08:53
 

Look there’s an idiot in charge of the most powerful country in the world, no doubt.  Is there reason to be alarmed?  Yes.  Is there reason to absolutely freak out?  Not yet.  Think about some of the threats from the other side. Abolishing ICE and open borders.  Universal Income.  Embracing socialism.  Threats to free speech.  You may applaud some of these— fine.  But they are certainly more radical than anything Trump is proposing.  He’s unlikely to initiate any foreign wars, unlikely to brutally cut any public programs, unlikely to initiate any huge social change.

If you ignore all the noise things really aren’t that scary.

 
goedselhoeg
 
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goedselhoeg
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21 September 2018 14:39
 

Just having listened to the podcast I think it was the best I ever heard. I read the first of Yuvals books and found it very good and the two others are now on my christmas wish list.

Dear Russco79
maybe I am on “the other side”, because I think that UBI might be a good solution. In another thread of this forum some guy wrote that UBI is socialist, and for him this was a disqualification of the idea. In your post UBI is next to “embracing socialism”. So I think for you this are neighboring ideas, but I don’t know really what socialism means to you in terms of policy.

 
RedSeed
 
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RedSeed
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21 September 2018 17:36
 
Russco79 - 21 September 2018 08:53 AM

He’s unlikely to initiate any foreign wars, unlikely to brutally cut any public programs, unlikely to initiate any huge social change.

Wait though, didn’t he *try* to repeal Obamacare? Isn’t he gunning to overturn Roe vs Wade? He’s already cut funding to lots of indispensable federal projects and governmental wings, the EPA, FEMA, he tried to make big cuts to NASA but was blocked by congress if I recall, he gutted the State Department(!). He thinks more guns in schools is a good idea. He’s given huge tax cuts to the rich as the rich/poor divide grows even larger. Puerto Rico was hung out to dry. He’s failing to protect your elections, your democracy, by not tackling the problem of interference. Who knows how long it will take to repair the US’s image on the world stage, if it will ever hold as much soft power ever again? We could be here all day, he is doing tangible harm.

He may not start a war but let’s not pretend his personality isn’t extremely conducive to it, he’s capricious, thin-skinned and likes using force. A safe pair of hands he ain’t!

And that’s to say nothing of the wider societal effects of elevating such a lying bully to the very tippy top of your society. For a specific example look at the white supremacists and their leadership, openly saying they feel emboldened by Trump. His violations of norms, be they social, moral, constitutional, whatever, have a great danger of becoming normalised, in some cases emulated, and thus long-lasting. He may have opened the door to much worse to follow, shutting it seems important, and the GOP ain’t gonna do it, hopefully the Dems win and have the cojones.

If any Democrat with an ounce of leadership credibility is advocating for completely open borders, that’s crazy. I’ve never heard that though, who is saying that? Likewise I’ve not heard anyone pushing UBI as policy, although the jury is still out on that one as to whether it would work. Whilst we’re here why is socialism a dirty word with regards to policy? It’s not a threat to democracy, public health care for example is rather common in western democracies and awesome if you’re in the 99%. I can vouch for that. Hell if public health care is socialist, aren’t your fire services etc? It seems like such a strange boogieman to have from over here, particularly if you’re not rich - which is most people.

 

 

 
Russco79
 
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Russco79
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22 September 2018 00:49
 

Overturning Obamacare isn’t what I’d call radical since the policy is only a few years old anyway plus Rs have been committed to overturning it since it’s inception.  Cutting spending again not radical, 100% of Rs have always wanted to do the same.  Saying “huge tax cuts to the rich” is a childish take on economics and the actual opposite of what he has done, regardless, Rs always wish to cut taxes so again nothing radical there.  “Emboldening white supremacists” is a meaningless statement, you could say “Obama emboldened Stalinists or Islamic terrorists”, there will always be fringe elements “emboldened” when they think the pendulum is swinging in their direction but in reality it means nothing.

Onto Roe vs Wade.  This would be radical though I don’t think any serious commentator sees this happening, I put this down to noise.  Teachers with guns again would be radical, personally I think this is noise too though in this case maybe yes there is some cause for real alarm, this would be a radical move and a terrible one.

With regard to war I think he is a safe pair of hands just not a safe mouth.  My thrust is ignore the endless crap he says, focus on actions.  I think his foreign policy with regard to aggressors so far has been pretty much faultless.

His breaking down of PC norms is a step in the right direction.  We need to reach a climate where the “bad faith” take on language is not the take we use.  This is in fact why we hear so much noise about Trump, like I’ve been saying he’s a loose-talker, but so is the rest of the world during their day to day lives.  If he stays in power for 8 years then maybe by the 6th of 7th people will tire of the media using bad faith interpretations to twist everything he says and finally people will actually say “but did he actually mean that?”.

Lastly I didn’t mean UBI was socialism, I was listing the more radical ideas being espoused from the other side.  The merits of socialism is another conversation, but instantiating it would be radical and that is what the dems are proposing in some areas.

So like I said, strip back the all the noise and really Trump isn’t actually that radical.  Just a loudmouth idiot.  Chill people smile

 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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22 September 2018 02:38
 

the Right’s response to the current complete control of Government by Republicans is putting up Strawman:

- no elected Democrat is calling for Open Borders - not ONE!
- no elected Democrat is calling for turning the US industry in state-owned enterprises
- no elected Democrat wants to abolish Capitalism
- the ACA is not Socialism: it’s a state-run insurance

There are plenty of ways in which the US is already Socialist: Medicare, Defense, Police, Fire, Insurance for natural disasters, subsidizing of inefficient industries (coal, nuclear, defense, farming).
Alaska had a small UBI for neigh on 30 years now.


Lastly, it is intolerable to have a President who, according to his own lawyers, is unable to tell the truth. How can anyone accept a leader who’s every word is a lie?

 

[ Edited: 22 September 2018 02:40 by Twissel]
 
 
Russco79
 
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Russco79
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22 September 2018 03:08
 

Bernie Sanders is an extremely popular Democrat.  If a clown like Trump can get elected so can Bernie.  Now who would be more radical out of the two?

Again this is not a discussion about policy, it is about whether Trump is a radical to be scared of.  Unlike what comes out of his mouth I don’t see his actions as an aberration or likely to be.  You must appreciate that historically it was on the cards a Republican was going to win.  The last few dems have all lasted 8 years or less.  So the question becomes is Trump that much of a radical Republican policy wise?  I don’t think the evidence speaks to that.

He is of course a radical personality which creates neverending outrage.  This is sad for the country as most people swallow all the media generated bs whole.  I agree Trump is an appalling pathetic child of a man. Would it be better if someone else had won?  Of course. But in Kahnemann and Tversky’s model that appears to be his system1.  His system2 so far doesn’t seem worthy of freaking out.  Thats all I’m saying, Trump is much less of a threat than is being made out.

 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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22 September 2018 03:50
 

Russco, the fact that you aren’t worried is proof that Trump has moved the Overton window radically. Constitutional scholars agree that many things that Trump is saying are impeachable offenses - but because he tweets them out loud instead of saying them on tape like Nixon, everyone is ok somehow.

Trump has done, and is doing terrible damage to the trust Americans have in their institutions. And his constant attacks on any press critical of him is utterly undemocratic.
He is an Authoritarian, through and through, and if you are not appalled by that, so are you.

 
 
RedSeed
 
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RedSeed
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22 September 2018 03:51
 

So which Democrat with any standing is calling for open borders and UBI as policy? You didn’t address that but your entire point about the Dems being more radical than the GOP hinges upon it, so you’ll have to cough them up or concede that one I feel.

There’s cuts there or attempted cuts that directly affect the people, that’s why I brought them up. His tax breaks absolutely benefitted the rich and few others, look up some expert analysis. We haven’t even talked about his conflicts of interest business-wise yet either!

With Roe v Wade, he has explicitly said he wants to overturn it. A group of people with the power of the government, control of the house etc. and lobbies egging them on have said that its in their crosshairs, its serious! Maybe its just in your nature to tell everyone to chill until the appalling has actually manifested and damaged lives, but a lot of people rightly get riled up at the very prospect of such terrible things, and if anyone it’s those people that might just prevent them ever happening.

On war it’s not just policy in question here, he has the power to start wars on a whim. He’s the perfect personality type if you wanted to find a person who would do just that, impulsive, bragadocious, thin-skinned, reckless. I hear his generals and advisors have walked him back from the military option on numerous occasions, and they will again I’m sure. So yeah I’m not saying he will with cooler heads around him, but you must see how it’s harder to trust that personality type with that responsibility. The chances go up.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3WqBFPhdKM

I agree about PC language being a problem, but we need to put a bigot on a pedestal to fight it back? Sometimes CNN may take the worst possible interpretation of his words, but we are supposed to take lessons in what fake news is from a man who lies 6 times a day? He calls everything fake news and it is extremely harmful. Dictators do it. His effect is worse than the problems you think he counteracts.

I think it’s you who needs to get your head out of the sand and get a bit more pissed off about Trump! :D

 

[ Edited: 22 September 2018 03:55 by RedSeed]
 
RedSeed
 
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RedSeed
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22 September 2018 03:52
 
Twissel - 22 September 2018 03:50 AM

Russco, the fact that you aren’t worried is proof that Trump has moved the Overton window radically. Constitutional scholars agree that many things that Trump is saying are impeachable offenses - but because he tweets them out loud instead of saying them on tape like Nixon, everyone is ok somehow.

Trump has done, and is doing terrible damage to the trust Americans have in their institutions. And his constant attacks on any press critical of him is utterly undemocratic.

Hear, hear.

 

 
Russco79
 
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Russco79
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22 September 2018 04:25
 

Don’t get hung up on the open borders or the UBI stuff, I was just giving examples of dem talking points which are more radical than Trump’s ideas.

I don’t want to get into a policy discussion and you keep deviating into it.  Republicans believe citizens are better off keeping their money than the state.  Don’t be surprised when they win an election when that happens as that’s what people are voting for.  They also are majority pro-life and make-up half the country.  If you believe in democracy then attacks on Roe vs Wade are again to be expected.  A lot of what I’m hearing is you simply do not like Republican policy.

The attacks you make on Trump’s character are largely correct (though I think he’s smarter than to launch a foreign attack on a whim, whilst he’s no warren buffet you do need some brains to run a business empire he’s not braindead), though I take issue with the accusation of bigotry.  Every single republican has been slandered by the dems as being a bigot.  John McCain, the man who Obama saw fit to speak at his funeral, was a sexist racist bigot homophobe when he was a threat to the dems.  Mitt Romney, loved by the dems at one point for his stance on health, decides to run for president and then suddenly wanted to “put y’all back in chains”.  Outrageous.  Now surprise surprise Trump is too after spending his WHOLE LIFE in the public eye without any such accusations.  Now we all here for our love for science (and sam). Would it be scientific to expect an animal to behave one way it’s whole life then suddenly bait and switch?  The accusations of bigotry are all twisted language games that the media have jumped on and it’s absolutely despicable.

Trump is worrying, but really there is much more worrying stuff happening here in Europe.  Being European gives me perspective I guess.

 
RedSeed
 
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22 September 2018 07:20
 

I’m getting hung up on that because it doesn’t add up, but maybe you can explain it. Your point was ‘yeah the republicans do some crazy stuff but just look at the Dems’ and then you gave those examples of radical things the Dems supposedly do, I assume the most radical you could think of. You’re comparing the reality of Trump and what he’s actually doing and trying to do, to things the Dems *aren’t* actually trying to do. The point falls down, right?

When we talk about Trump and the damage he does, I don’t see why we shouldn’t talk about his policies, whether they’re traditional republican ones perhaps with a Trumpian spin or new ideas unique to Trump or the Alt-Right wave he surfed in on - and there’s definitely both. There’s also how these policies are presented, which is inseparable from Trump - he makes an astonishing Tax cut for the rich (in which he has a personal interest, and I can’t imagine it’d have been so large if not for Trump), and tells the public emphatically it’ll benefit the little guy. How many Republican voters would be happy with these things if they were presented truthfully? Much less.

As for Trump’s intelligence, I’m not sure where he’s actually at. He definitely speaks like he has a very disorganised brain, and he regularly says silly things, contradictory things, untrue things. I’m not sure how much his businesses prove intelligence, a lot of his businesses went under, he’s been declared bankrupt several times. The only reason he even had those businesses in the first place is his silver spoon, and later on his dad still had to rescue his businesses sometimes (one of his casinos for example, it still went under later of course). It’s not a particularly impressive history as far as businessmen go anyway, and he’s also an older man now too so he could’ve lost a few points of IQ on the way. But regardless, someone can be very intelligent indeed, and still gullible in some way, or prone to making bad decisions through ego or emotion, or ignorant of their own limitations or ignorant of the facts. And Trump is absolutely ruled by impulse and ego and reaction, and ignorant of the facts in many cases. Just try getting him to read briefs! Luckily, his generals and advisors are on hand.

There’s been stuff about Trump around for ages, evidence of problematic attitudes towards certain groups. It’s not all new. It just obviously comes out a lot when this huge spotlight is on him, when what he says and does suddenly matters a lot more, stuff gets dragged back up and people speak out. And that should happen, people have a right to know whether the guy they’re voting for has these skeletons in the closet and we should hold our leaders to high standards. He has also said and done some questionable things whilst the presidential spotlight has been on him too of course. I absolutely agree though that sometimes the left are too quick to jump on the ‘racism!’ bandwagon. In one situation I can think of I’d stick up for Trump, recently he called the CNN anchor Don Lemon ‘Stupid’, and CNN ran with it like it was racist, for a white man to call a black man stupid. It is not racist to dislike someone interracially for non-race-related reasons, and throw a generic schoolground insult at them. There’s so much real stuff to criticise Trump for, why stoop?

Hah we’ll have to argue over who has better perspective courtesy of being European smile

 

 

[ Edited: 22 September 2018 07:28 by RedSeed]
 
Russco79
 
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22 September 2018 10:27
 

Ok.  The vast majority of people just wanna go to work, pay their taxes, live a stable life.  Even under the most extreme Republicans this won’t be shaken.  All they propose is smaller government generally.  But democrats could literally wreck the whole country with some of their proposals.  UBI could be a catastrophe.  From inflation to dis-incentivising work, the whole thing would be a wild gamble.  Abolishing ICE like Gilibrand has suggested again a potential disaster.  Expanding socialist programs like Bernie and Cortez champion will never ever end up more efficient than a private solution, though that citizen will suffer a decrease in living standard though if their taxes have to pay for them.  Hate speech laws, diversity quotas, all this stuff is so toxic and ill-thought through again it could be a disaster.  If you just wanna go to work and be left alone then Trump isn’t that much of a threat to you, especially if you don’t watch the news!

Regarding the corporation tax cut (that immediately created hundreds of thousands of jobs). Imagine you are a company.  Suddenly you have more money.  You are in bitter competition with your mortal enemy competitors.  What you gonna do?  Invest invest invest.  Now of course companies don’t actually exist, people exist, and people own companies.  So sure you can say “this is a tax cut for the rich”.  But that’s like say when the economy does well “thats just more money for the rich”. It’s a childish outlook.  Do you support the poor or just hate the rich?

The slime thrown at him I think has no real substance.  He doesn’t strike me as a closet bigot, he’s just not really that type of man.

 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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25 September 2018 14:58
 

I wonder if Harris realizes that Robert Parry died back in January?

Russco79 - 21 September 2018 04:07 AM

Everything about Trump is blown up to proportions never ever witnessed by a flagrantly bias media.  It’s actually jawdropping if you are a neutral observer the extent to which this is occurs though is perfectly easy to explain since the media in the clickbait internet age has completely lost it’s way.

Now I am no fan of Trump.  But once you allow for the fact he is a loose-talker, or put much less charitably he talks endless crap, his actions are perfectly benign in terms of lawbreaking or ethics breaking.  They are conservative and stupid, but nothing illegal or immoral yet.  The Russia investigation may dig up some solid stuff, but it’s been going on so long any betting person would be wise to hold off any money.

Trump really isn’t smart enough to be this evil grandmaster.  He doesn’t think before he opens his mouth but thats pretty much it.  Most of the hate stirred up in his base is just in response to ceaseless poisonous attacks from the other side.  Trump is a product of the toxic state of politics in America, not the creator of it.

Yes, I think you’re exactly right. Trump is a symptom, not a cause. And the reaction to him, in my opinion, poses more of a danger than Trump himself.

 
 
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