Links and Comments: The Coup Attempt; Human Nature; Republican Fantasies

It’s hard to know where to start given events of the past few days. The general consensus among the pundits and sites that I read is that we knew this was coming all along, that this particular event (the seditious coup attempt, by hooligans and morons, on the nation’s Capitol) was easily foreseen, given chatter on right-wing websites, and that DC police should have been better prepared. (And why weren’t they?, is increasingly being asked. Why did some of those police seem to let the hooligans through?) And that Trump is the authoritarian, without concern for country or anything besides himself, that we saw him to be when he first announced he was running for office.

Let’s look at just a few headlines.

Vox: Republicans own this, subtitled, The Capitol Hill mob was the logical culmination of years of mainstream Republican politics.

Salon: The dangerous mind of Donald Trump has been exposed.

Washington Post: Trump’s evangelicals were complicit in the desecration of our democracy.

Examples of the last item at Slate: “God Have Mercy on and Help Us All”, subtitle: How prominent evangelicals reacted to the storming of the U.S. Capitol. With some of them simply denying what was plain to everyone else: that the seditionists were Trump supporters. No, some of them, say, they were “antifa” in disguise. They live in a fantasy alternate reality.

And this, which appeals to my sense that what is playing out is an expression of human traits that will always be with us. Democracy is an attempt to quell such tendencies, and in all of history, it hasn’t lasted for long.

NYT: Stop Pretending ‘This Is Not Who We Are’, subtitled, Electoral violence is in our DNA. The very paintings in the Rotunda of the Capital depict episode of violence as we saw this week.

This is an example of the No True Scotsman fallacy: “This is not who we are”; yes it is. And recognizing this truth, alas, undermines most of science fiction’s visions of techno-socialist utopias, from Arthur C. Clarke’s to Star Trek TOS’s.


It’s not just Trump; it’s the entire conservative Republican establishment, which appeals to the paranoid and ignorant.

NPR: 1 In 4 Americans Thinks The Sun Goes Around The Earth, Survey Says (Oops, this is from 2014 (I saved the link from Fb), but there’s no reason why this would have changed.)

CBS News: 50 years of tax cuts for the rich failed to trickle down, economics study says. Cutting taxes for the wealthy is an article of faith for Republicans, and one of the few things Trump accomplished was passing a tax cut for the wealthy. But conservatives are apparently immune to evidence. Paul Krugman has discussed this topic endlessly, and characterized these kind of argument in his latest book called Arguing with Zombies.

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