I know of no rights of race superior to the rights of humanity, and when there is a supposed conflict between human and national rights, it is safe to go to the side of humanity.
All administrations lie, but what we are seeing here is an attack on credibility itself.
The Russian dissident and chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov drew upon long familiarity with that process when he tweeted: “The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.”
Asked whether federal workers are dissenting in ways that go beyond previous party changes in the White House, Tom Malinowski, who was President Barack Obama’s assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, said, sarcastically: “Is it unusual? . . . There’s nothing unusual about the entire national security bureaucracy of the United States feeling like their commander in chief is a threat to U.S. national security. That happens all the time. It’s totally usual. Nothing to worry about.”
Being a historian right now feels like being kept awake through brain surgery.
– Elizabeth Catte on Twitter, January 28, 2017
From the historian who brought us Ordinary Men:
But Hitler was a fixated ideologue with a strong party organization, while Trump is an opportunistic narcissist driven above all by the need for adulation. Hitler was the “little corporal,” the man of the people, who feigned austerity, while Trump is a billionaire who flaunts his wealth and luxurious life-style. Ultimately, Trump seems far more a hybrid of Berlusconi and Putin, potentially merging kleptocracy and autocracy, than the reincarnation of an ideologically driven, war-mongering, and genocidal dictator.
I would suggest that a major source of our unease — beyond Trump’s personal unfitness for the presidency — is not that Trump is going to attempt to construct some fascist-style dictatorship, but rather that the trends that are manifested in his triumph represent a threat to our democracy that has arrived from an unexpected direction. That is what has left me, in any case, bewildered and unprepared.
I recommend reading Browning’s whole piece. See also the earlier comments by the sociologist and political scientist Theda Skopol, “A guide to rebuilding the Democratic Party, from the ground up,” Vox, January 5, 2017, which is about much more than the Democratic Party. She understands something that conservatives of various stripes have long acted on, but which Democrats have ignored to everyone’s detriment.
Cognition is the most socially-conditioned activity of man, and knowledge is the paramount social creation [Gebilde].
Hate speech is like mold: Its enemies are bright light and fresh air.
. . . A friend called me full of sadness, full of anxiety about conflict, about war. Why not leave the country? But despair is no answer. To combat authoritarianism, to call out lies, to struggle honorably and fiercely in the name of American ideals—that is what is left to do. That is all there is to do.
American national leaders gain their legitimacy by competing in compliance with not merely the outward forms but the clear values of our Constitution—equal dignity, religious freedom and tolerance, open deliberation, and the rule of law. These values don’t bind Donald Trump; norms of decency do not apply; he shrugs off the very burden of fact itself.
It is no surprise that the American face of fascism would take on the forms of celebrity television and the casino greeter’s come-on, since that is as much our symbolic scene as nostalgic re-creations of Roman splendors once were Italy’s.