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Old 04-17-2019, 08:10 AM
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Why did the world go crazy in 2016?


I'm mainly talking about Brexit and Trump since those were the two big unambiguous results in two major powers but any answer would have to cast a wider net both for causes and effects. Maybe the answer comes down to one fundamental thing or maybe the interaction between many parts or maybe it's just one big black swan.

But still, it's like we were in a boring office party that turned into a gross orgy and then a beer brawl and then a Molotov-throwing riot and now what the fuck is even going on?
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Old 04-17-2019, 08:21 AM
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Successful use by white nationalist elements of social media and outlets for blatant propaganda, such as Fox News, convinced a sufficient number of people to vote in favor of those elements' agenda. IMO this was against those voters' own best interests, but that's just my opinion.

Really, I wouldn't necessarily say the world went crazy, though. IIRC both the Brexit vote and Trump's election were really rather close-run things.

Last edited by El_Kabong; 04-17-2019 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 04-17-2019, 08:24 AM
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Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachan have a tremendous amount of media power world wide. As Rupert's grasp on his multi billion dollar, global media empire slips his grasp, his favored son's views are taking hold. Lachan us much more of a racist than his dad.

The Murdochs have always been right wing, cut tax, anti government, pro inequality types. To grow their media empire, they have literally gained influence over powerful government figures in Australia, Britain, Europe and obviously the US, getting them to change restrictions on media monopoly laws for the Murdochs' benefit. They have used this to sow confusion, to encourage the lowest common denominator everywhere, to sow controversy because it sells papers, to heighten divisions for the drama of it.

I am sure there are more reasons, but things came to a head decades after the Fairness Doctrine (remember that) got revoked in the US, at the urging of the Murdochs, and similar moves in the rest of the English speaking world.

Tl dnr: propaganda.
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Old 04-17-2019, 08:59 AM
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People tend to go from one end of the pendulum to another. In the many years leading up to 2016, there had been steady movement towards globalization, liberalism, multiculturalism, etc. Eventually people got agitated and the backlash happened.
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Old 04-17-2019, 09:10 AM
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The election of Trump and Brexit are rather tame incremental changes.

The reaction has been extreme because people don’t remember what extreme looks like. There are elements in the media, social and otherwise, who play things up for ratings and attention. Nothing has actually happened on any large scale.
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Old 04-17-2019, 09:38 AM
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People tend to go from one end of the pendulum to another. In the many years leading up to 2016, there had been steady movement towards globalization, liberalism, multiculturalism, etc. Eventually people got agitated and the backlash happened.
IMHO the backlash to that backlash shows how misleading the media from Murdock and other reactionaries was.

The interesting thing is how similar the opposition to those items is now. While more people are now against Brexit or Trump, Brexit and Trump do however get just enough support to continue going on the bad path. There is now almost a 10% difference against approval, more disapprove of Brexit and there is a similar percentage of disapproval for Trump.

https://www.businessinsider.com/youg...erendum-2019-2

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com...roval-ratings/

Last edited by GIGObuster; 04-17-2019 at 09:42 AM.
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Old 04-17-2019, 10:04 AM
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The increasing ubiquitousness of the internet, real demographic changes and economic stagnation in the WEIRD countries. 2016 was not a discrete point though. These changes were a long time coming. The death of mainline Protestantism was one of the big canaries in the United States. It was long the glue that held our great experiment together and there really hasn't been a glue to rise and take its place. Political polarization really took off after the rise of Facebook and sorting into extremely large, but politically homogeneous online communities. Economic dissatisfaction following the end of the recession, but no real gains to the working class. When you are economically dissatisfied, you have no uniting ideology and there is a growing demographic that is easy to demonize, you brew a recipe for fringe political positions. You end up with Trumps.
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Old 04-17-2019, 10:17 AM
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People tend to go from one end of the pendulum to another. In the many years leading up to 2016, there had been steady movement towards globalization, liberalism, multiculturalism, etc. Eventually people got agitated and the backlash happened.
Yup, I came in here to say mostly the same thing...in fact, I was crafting a post in my mind and using 'pendulum swings' and 'backlash' but you obviously beat me too it. I think that, for a long time the media and the politicians (in a lot of countries) took some things for granted, and 2016 is when the backlash happened and all those people saw their chance to basically do a huge fuck you to the establishment. Sure, a lot of it was based on ignorance and also based on politicians using them and their ignorance for their own ends, but the fact that there was this vast pool of people who were disgruntled and felt they weren't being heard or being ignored or just being screwed over boiled up, and now we have what we have. It's not just in the US and the UK that this happened, either. Which should tell us all something about all the folks out there and perhaps what we should do to prevent something like this in the future.
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Old 04-17-2019, 01:33 PM
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I'm pretty confident that the widespread sense of dissatisfaction that made people push the pendulum was largely caused by targeted propaganda.
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Old 04-17-2019, 01:43 PM
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I'd add in general political apathy as a culprit. When voter participation is low, what matters stops being "which idea is more popular" and becomes "whose base is more enthusiastic", and the types of leaders/campaigns are different.
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Old 04-17-2019, 01:51 PM
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Eight years of recession. Just like in every other time in history.
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Old 04-17-2019, 02:46 PM
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Taking a global view, I'm not convinced it's a case of pendulum swings, as insanity has cropped up in places that were far more multipolar or where the trend has been mostly in one direction without any swings. The lunacy isn't just in the UK and US, there are also populist fascists in Brazil, Russia, and the Phillipines, and populist wannabe-fascists in Hungary, Italy, et al.

I think the reason is that there are no consequences to anything anymore. Well into the second decades of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there's been no action on war crimes, torture, and imprisonment without trial in Guantanamo, just for examples (indeed, instead there is still pushback on even investigating some of these things). A decade ago there was discussion about to what degree the West is now responsible for "fixing" things in Iraq, which now appears to have ended. Before, the West at least showed public shame and held hearings regarding involvement in torture and extraordinary rendition, without real action being taken; now there's not even any display of shame about shameful actions. Why should there be? The Saudi government has murdered a journalist and carries on a brutal war in Yemen, and there are no consequences. Turkey, oppression of journalists and Kurds, nothing.
Russia continues to have troops in Ukraine (and Georgia? Not even sure anymore), and it's barely discussed. Duterte promotes the murder of his citizens, Bolsonaro is publicly opposed to a majority of his population (by denigrating women, the non-white, and non-heterosexuals), and both continue in power by popular vote.

Of course there's an economic factor to this too. Amazon, Apple, Google, and more pay essentially nothing in taxes, yet with their business being movable, countries fight to give them the best tax breaks, because getting 0.1% of their fortunes in taxes is still better than 0%. Banks caused a recession but it's the taxpayers who pay for it by bailing them out while getting nothing in exchange apart from increased bank fees.

Since there are no consequences, there's no reason for anyone to promote sensible long-term policies. Sensible government, and socially conscious long-term business policy, is too complex in modern systems to gain attention, while the other side always has solutions that are simple, easy to grasp, and also stupid and wrong. "A sensible environmental policy would involve a gradual transition to renewable energy and nuclear power at the cost of the coal, oil, and shipping industries which cause a majority of our pollution, with an interim period of either higher taxes or higher energy costs for all citizens" is a mouthful - "recycle and buy an electric car if you feel you must" isn't. Or, for example, "Britain's relationship with its European partners is a complex web of treaties and hard-fought multilateral economic benefits that are not easily unravelled, and were we to do so, it would take time and carry enormous costs in the short and long term, so taking other measures to safeguard our sovereignty while maintaining our European relationships would be preferable to a summary exit to an unclear future" is boring and seems vague. "Strong and stable, brexit means brexit" is memorable, and sounds decisive despite being meaningless. "With decreasing first world birth rates and aging populations, immigration is a net positive and steps should be taken to maintain and even promote legal immigration of those willing and able to contribute to our society" is wonky and uninteresting. "Build a wall" is idiotic, ineffective, and easy to remember.

At the end of the day, I think the insanity we see in populations' votes is from a mixture of factions ending up voting for the greater evil, for different and even opposing reasons. You have the well-meaning misinformed (e.g. those in Norway calling to ban diesel cars outright because they pollute - what about biodiesel, which is carbon-neutral?), the willfully misinformed (save our NHS, Britain out of the EU!), the outright malicious (build the wall! No migrants into Hungary! Death to drug addicts!), the economically dissatisfied (climate change is a hoax, protect my coal mining job!), and the angry who just vote for any anti-establishment candidate (why have there been no consequences to those who lied us into wars in the Middle East, the bankers who crashed our economies, or the Brazilian politicians who bribed a majority of their parliament on a monthly basis using public funds?). In the "good old days" even pretty bad leaders seemed to intend the best for their countries most of the time and tried to do good work, even if it just meant keeping a quietly competent and effective corps of public servants running. Now there's always a gleefully incompetent halfwit willing to spread comforting lies and bullshit for personal fame, likely getting paid by business interests along the way. As always, it's the population that suffers.

As a postscript, a handful of companies and businessmen have apparently already pledged 600 million Euros to rebuild the Cathedral of Notre Dame, despite the Catholic church being one of the richest organisations on the planet. When it comes to receiving public glory for restoring a building, there is money. When it comes to paying taxes for the health, schooling, housing, and feeding of their fellow citizens, instead it's the plebs who must tighten their belts.
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Old 04-17-2019, 03:10 PM
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Mostly agree Toffe, but, about that last bit...

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As a postscript, a handful of companies and businessmen have apparently already pledged 600 million Euros to rebuild the Cathedral of Notre Dame, despite the Catholic church being one of the richest organisations on the planet. When it comes to receiving public glory for restoring a building, there is money. When it comes to paying taxes for the health, schooling, housing, and feeding of their fellow citizens, instead it's the plebs who must tighten their belts.
https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/n...in-paris-11196
Quote:
3. [Notre Dame] It’s not actually owned by the Archdiocese of Paris.

Due to France’s laws regarding secularization, the French government owns all churches built before 1905, including Notre-Dame. The government lets the Archdiocese of Paris use the building for free, and will continue to do so in perpetuity. The Archdiocese of Paris is responsible for the upkeep of the church, as well as for paying employees.

Last edited by GIGObuster; 04-17-2019 at 03:12 PM.
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Old 04-17-2019, 03:35 PM
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Thanks for that GIGObuster, I actually figured the building wasn't owned by the church but couldn't be bothered to look it up. Still, your same cite also states "The Archdiocese of Paris is responsible for the upkeep of the church"

Rather than church ownership, my point was more that wealthy figures can earmark their money for rebuilding monuments while avoiding paying taxes when the money might go anywhere else. I would rather see the same 600 million ending up in the public coffers as normal taxes, with the state paying for the church restoration as simple good policy (public interest, value as a tourist destination with attendant revenue, etc), and one would hope also with a tax-based contribution from the church involved since it's also in their direct interest to maintain it. What offends me is that businesses and wealthy individuals can choose when to contribute even a tiny portion of their wealth to society while the vast majority of individuals have no such choice. That they then might be praised for this tiny contribution is even worse. For another example, Ingvar Kamprad, who founded IKEA, left half his fortune ($46 billion) to charity in his will, yet him and his company paid sod-all in taxes for decades. Yet he's considered a hero in Sweden!
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Old 04-17-2019, 10:34 PM
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Mostly agree Toffe, but, about that last bit...



https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/n...in-paris-11196
Oh, shit. We must keep this a secret. Over in the Fox News comments they are already saying the socialist firefighters couldn't put the fires out because of environmental regulations. If they find out that the French government owns all churches from before 1905 they will go into full meltdown about the socialist takeover of religion.
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Old 04-18-2019, 07:02 AM
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I'm pretty confident that the widespread sense of dissatisfaction that made people push the pendulum was largely caused by targeted propaganda.
I don't think that you're giving people in the "red states" the credit they deserve for thinking on their own. From their perspective, they were being left behind and no one spoke for them, until Trump came along. (A hard sell for millions of African Americans I know.) In my family, cousin after cousin was laid off and couldn't find a job in the manufacturing industry in which they had previously made a living. Not having a pay check to pay the rent wasn't a "sense of dissatisfaction" to them, it was real life. Even this "liberal city boy from Washington" as I was called felt the increasing discomfort as I'd go to the mid-west to see them. They didn't need Fox News telling them that their lives were worse off than they had been.

Or as one politician once said, "It's the economy stupid."

My relatives out there would argue that CNN/MSNBC is propaganda as well.

Last edited by spifflog; 04-18-2019 at 07:06 AM.
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Old 04-18-2019, 07:05 AM
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I don't think that you're giving people in the "red states" the credit they deserve for thinking on their own. From their perspective, they were being left behind and no one spoke for them, until Trump came along. (A hard sell for millions of African Americans I know.) In my family, cousin after cousin was laid off and couldn't find a job in the manufacturing industry in which they had previously made a living. Not having a pay check to pay the rent wasn't a "sense of dissatisfaction" to them, it was real life. Even this "liberal city boy from Washington" as I was called felt the increasing discomfort as I'd go to the mid-west to see them. They didn't need Fox News telling them that their lives were worse off than they had been.

My relatives out there would argue that CNN/MSNBC is propaganda as well.
Funny how this disaffection and attraction for Trump only seemed to hold widely for working class white people. Not working class people of color, who overwhelmingly opposed Trump.

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Old 04-18-2019, 08:03 AM
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Mostly agree Toffe, but, about that last bit...
https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/n...in-paris-11196
FWIW, this peculiar state of affairs is part of the reason the cathedral's maintenance work had been pretty terrible up until the fire : while both France and the Vatican knew something had to be done soon-ish, they both insisted the other oughta pay for it, with France arguing that "hey, it's a big catholic building, that's your turf !" and Rome answering "yeah, but you went and revolutionized it, it's yours now !".
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Old 04-18-2019, 08:12 AM
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I share the disbelief of the Original Poster.

About Trump's election, I find the usual explanations inadequate.

Recession? Unemployment? But we went through the Great Depression! Not to mention the 2008 recession! These were far more stressful times than the situation in 2016.

Immigration? White racial anxiety? These have been explosive issues before.

And yet never before did U.S. voters decide that the "solution" was to put an ignorant demagogue con-man in the White House.
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Old 04-18-2019, 08:58 AM
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Funny how this disaffection and attraction for Trump only seemed to hold widely for working class white people. Not working class people of color, who overwhelmingly opposed Trump.
Great point. Wish I had thought of that and mentioned that. Ohh, but I did.

Last edited by spifflog; 04-18-2019 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 04-18-2019, 08:58 AM
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I'm mainly talking about Brexit and Trump since those were the two big unambiguous results in two major powers but any answer would have to cast a wider net both for causes and effects. Maybe the answer comes down to one fundamental thing or maybe the interaction between many parts or maybe it's just one big black swan.

But still, it's like we were in a boring office party that turned into a gross orgy and then a beer brawl and then a Molotov-throwing riot and now what the fuck is even going on?
Why did it go crazy in 1914?

How about 1517?

It's been my contention for about 20+ years now that the 2nd decade of this century would see vast political shifts which possibly won't sort themselves out for up to a century. And it's a historical pattern we've seen before in the West:

Change the way people communicate and the world explodes sixty-odd years later.

60 years prior to the Protestant Reformation, which destroyed any hope of Christendom, the Printing Press was invented. The Reformation could not have happened without the press - Luther was, in many ways, the worlds first media sensation.

60 years prior to the madness which led to WW1, which destroyed any hope European Monarchs might have had of continuing in importance (and eventually destroyed the European's control of the globe), the high speed rotary press was invented (as well as the telegraph and, in 1876, the telephone, but I think the rotary press is the big player in this one). The impact of the rotary press in 1847 allowed newspapers to become the dominant form of information for hundreds of millions. However, diffused ownership of multiple properties pushed individual agendas onto their readers, creating "bubbles" (even though they didn't think of them this way) who were then primed... ala Fox News... to act on the burgeoning nationalist impulses. Here in America, Pulitzer and Hearst performed the same function that Murdoch (or Ailes) did at Fox: Put their spin on what happened, fuck the societal consequences. Do the same in Europe, and by 1914, we're all ready to kick some nationalist ass.

60 years ago? DARPANET was founded. I doubt I need to go further into explaining how the internet... like the printing press, like the newspaper explosion of the 19th-century... has changed how people communicate, who they communicate with, and who they associate with.

Obviously, there are other forces which come into play, but the one thing that is common among the two biggest civilization-defining challenges the West has faced over the past half-millennium is the fact that the way people interacted with each other profoundly changed in the 60 years prior.

And that's, imho, what you're seeing today. The internet is rending society apart and will continue to do so until we, again, come to terms with the impact caused by this shift in communications and develop means and attitudes to handle this.

It won't be easy: Europe went to war with itself from 1517-1648, then Europe involved the entire world in their 20th-century "civil war" of 1914-1945.

My guess is that, big picture historically-wise, we're looking at the first stages of the ascendency of the East and the beginning of a slow, relative decline for the West. Future historians may date the beginning of this process back in 1991-92, when the USSR collapsed, but 2016 is a good guess too.

My biggest worry: We didn't have nukes during the Reformation or WW1.

Last edited by JohnT; 04-18-2019 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 04-18-2019, 09:03 AM
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Great point. Wish I had thought of that and mentioned that. Ohh, but I did.
Your post implied the jump in white working class Trump support was about economics/jobs/finances. The polling data, as I understand it, does not support this, and in fact indicates that this change was mostly about race and culture.
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Old 04-18-2019, 10:08 AM
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Your post implied the jump in white working class Trump support was about economics/jobs/finances. The polling data, as I understand it, does not support this, and in fact indicates that this change was mostly about race and culture.
You can do poll shopping and find what you want. IIRC, Trumps numbers by race were very similar to those or Romney four years previously. I didn't hear that support for Romney was based on culture or race, but I might have missed that.

I'm in no way a supporter for Trump, and I hope the Dems can find someone who can beat him, but painting the 63 million Americans as folks that couldn't think past Fox news isn't correct (or helpful).
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Old 04-18-2019, 11:47 AM
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I don't think that you're giving people in the "red states" the credit they deserve for thinking on their own. From their perspective, they were being left behind and no one spoke for them, until Trump came along. (A hard sell for millions of African Americans I know.) In my family, cousin after cousin was laid off and couldn't find a job in the manufacturing industry in which they had previously made a living. Not having a pay check to pay the rent wasn't a "sense of dissatisfaction" to them, it was real life. Even this "liberal city boy from Washington" as I was called felt the increasing discomfort as I'd go to the mid-west to see them. They didn't need Fox News telling them that their lives were worse off than they had been.

Or as one politician once said, "It's the economy stupid."

My relatives out there would argue that CNN/MSNBC is propaganda as well.
From my perspective Democrats were and still are talking to them, they just didn’t like what they were and still are hearing. The whole episode with Clinton and what she said about coal is a good example of that.

As for why it happened, my best guess is that the oligarchs who care only about themselves (Putin chief among them, but many others like Rupert Murdoch ad well) upped their game between 2008 and 2016. If the nationalists think CNN is propaganda that just demonstrates how successful the actual propagandists have been. This led to not just Trump, but things like Brexit, Orban in Hungary, Duterte in the Philippines, and all the other nationalists and fascists that have come to power recently.

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Old 04-18-2019, 01:07 PM
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It's fitting that the two most stunning political earthquakes occurred in the US and UK, the two countries which are mostly responsible for the post-WWII economic and political world order. It is the perceived failure of that world order to provide domestic security and economic stability that undermined the faith and confidence in democratic institutions that had stabilized our politics up to that point. By failures I don't mean just the financial crisis; I also mean the collapse of stability and security in the Middle East. It took a while for the Iraq war and the financial crisis of 2008 to be visible politically, but 8-13 years later, the chickens finally came home to roost. And I think this may be just the beginning.

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Old 04-18-2019, 01:18 PM
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Why did it go crazy in 1914?
Actually for reasons that may be familiar to us in 2019. Attitudes began to sour on global trade and immigration. Countries went from operating more cooperative to taking a posture that was more competitive. Liberal ideals of tolerance gave way to fears about perceived scarcity.
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Old 04-18-2019, 01:55 PM
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I don't think that you're giving people in the "red states" the credit they deserve for thinking on their own. From their perspective, they were being left behind and no one spoke for them, until Trump came along. (A hard sell for millions of African Americans I know.) In my family, cousin after cousin was laid off and couldn't find a job in the manufacturing industry in which they had previously made a living. Not having a pay check to pay the rent wasn't a "sense of dissatisfaction" to them, it was real life. Even this "liberal city boy from Washington" as I was called felt the increasing discomfort as I'd go to the mid-west to see them. They didn't need Fox News telling them that their lives were worse off than they had been.

Or as one politician once said, "It's the economy stupid."

My relatives out there would argue that CNN/MSNBC is propaganda as well.
For decades there's been a message coming out of the right wing that cities are at war with the countryside, that (liberal) elites are at war with the common salt, and that the various topics of anything-but-christianity, abortions, environmentalism, and health care are all sides of the same multifaceted notion which I'll call "liberals are satan". When the plant closes they don't accept that it's an economic reality; they look for somebody to blame and conservatives give it to them. Admittedly sometimes the non-conservatives make this easy - lose one job to a spotted owl and you'll hate environmentalists forever. But the situation is exacerbated by the way working together and compromise have been completely thrown out of the political lexicon, which is reflected in republican news media and trickles down to the public consciousness.

The truth of the matter is that nobody, neither liberal nor conservative nor Trump, can make your cousin's manufacturing job reappear. Liberals can claim that they'll try to support welfare, which can maybe help but is different and distasteful, and republicans as best I can tell never promised jack regarding helping the common man except for blatant lies about trickledown. Trump also told lots of even more blatant lies, but also grabbed them by the burgeoning rage and promised to crush their enemies and let them hear the lamenting of their enemies' women. This is an appealing notion to unhappy people, even if they're not the sort of people who immediately envision those theorized enemies as having dark skin.
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Old 04-18-2019, 04:24 PM
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The truth of the matter is that nobody, neither liberal nor conservative nor Trump, can make your cousin's manufacturing job reappear. Liberals can claim that they'll try to support welfare, which can maybe help but is different and distasteful, and republicans as best I can tell never promised jack regarding helping the common man except for blatant lies about trickledown. Trump also told lots of even more blatant lies, but also grabbed them by the burgeoning rage and promised to crush their enemies and let them hear the lamenting of their enemies' women. This is an appealing notion to unhappy people, even if they're not the sort of people who immediately envision those theorized enemies as having dark skin.
There's been pain and anger and heartache in the heartland ever since Reagan started globalization, a policy that's been continued by ever President since. Either they completely blown off hard working Americans that are now thrown out of work (Obama, The Bushes, or they're actively making the problem even worse (Reagan, Clinton). The bill for this was going to come due at some point, I'm surprised as anyone that it happened as soon as the last election

When you just want to work hard and make an honest living, but are suddenly out of work because your job at Carrier or Ford is now in Mexico, who are you going to vote for:

A) The politicians that completely blow you off, and call you a bitter, gun clinging deplorable racist?
B) The politicians that completely blow you off, and give tax breaks and encouragement to the companies that moved your job overseas?
C) The politician that doesn't blow you off and in fact promises to get you your job back and make America great again?

I watched some of the debates. All I heard from Trump was "I'll give you your job back and make America great agin" and all I heard from Hillary was "I'm not Trump"
  #29  
Old 04-18-2019, 04:45 PM
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There's been pain and anger and heartache in the heartland ever since Reagan started globalization, a policy that's been continued by ever President since. Either they completely blown off hard working Americans that are now thrown out of work (Obama, The Bushes, or they're actively making the problem even worse (Reagan, Clinton). The bill for this was going to come due at some point, I'm surprised as anyone that it happened as soon as the last election

When you just want to work hard and make an honest living, but are suddenly out of work because your job at Carrier or Ford is now in Mexico, who are you going to vote for:

A) The politicians that completely blow you off, and call you a bitter, gun clinging deplorable racist?
B) The politicians that completely blow you off, and give tax breaks and encouragement to the companies that moved your job overseas?
C) The politician that doesn't blow you off and in fact promises to get you your job back and make America great again?

I watched some of the debates. All I heard from Trump was "I'll give you your job back and make America great agin" and all I heard from Hillary was "I'm not Trump"
Do the working class people in the midwest really believe this, and if so why? If the problem is globalization, I doubt that any US president could have stopped it, and even if they could have, the cure would be worse than the disease. Turning into an isolationist country that shuns the outside world is a recipe for ending up like North Korea, not for fixing the problems of the working class people in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, or anywhere else. The only two presidents on this list who actually did the things claimed in the bolded statement would be Reagan and Bush Jr., both via their support of trickle down tax cuts. Bush Sr. infamously raised taxes, which actually hit rich folks harder than the working class, and he was voted out of office for his efforts in this direction. I'm not sure what Obama or Clinton did to make the problem worse (although I assume you're referring to NAFTA and other trade treaties), since globalization was coming one way or another. The only way I think it could have been avoided is in a negative way, i.e. what Trump is trying to do with things like tariffs, pulling out of trade treaties, etc. As mentioned by other posters this isn't going to make the steel mills of Pittsburgh or the car factories in Ohio and Michigan magically open back up. The solution is to work on modernizing the economy and helping the displaced workers train in new areas. What's happened, though, is that those workers have chosen to believe a lie that we can be dragged back to the old days rather than accept the difficult truth that the old days are gone and we need to work on making the new days as good as possible rather than making things even worse.
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Old 04-18-2019, 05:03 PM
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There's been pain and anger and heartache in the heartland ever since Reagan started globalization, a policy that's been continued by ever President since. Either they completely blown off hard working Americans that are now thrown out of work (Obama, The Bushes, or they're actively making the problem even worse (Reagan, Clinton). The bill for this was going to come due at some point, I'm surprised as anyone that it happened as soon as the last election

When you just want to work hard and make an honest living, but are suddenly out of work because your job at Carrier or Ford is now in Mexico, who are you going to vote for:

A) The politicians that completely blow you off, and call you a bitter, gun clinging deplorable racist?
B) The politicians that completely blow you off, and give tax breaks and encouragement to the companies that moved your job overseas?
C) The politician that doesn't blow you off and in fact promises to get you your job back and make America great again?

I watched some of the debates. All I heard from Trump was "I'll give you your job back and make America great agin" and all I heard from Hillary was "I'm not Trump"
My read of the situation is:
A) The politicians that completely blow you off?
B) The politicians that completely blow you off, and give tax breaks and encouragement to the companies that moved your job overseas?
C) The odious politician that doesn't blow you off and in fact promises to get you your job back and make America great again (every word of which was blatant lies)?


I don't think that most democratic politicians made a habit of dissing the heartland before the heartland decided to throw itself wholeheartedly behind Trump-the-racist-paragon. And I definitely don't think that any other politician was selling a better-sounding line than Trump - even the most Republican of them were still constrained by at least a passing relation to reality back then. Trump's lies were definitely appealing. Also transparent, and inextricably surrounded by multiple flavors of odiousness, which the faithful had to ignore...or embrace.
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Old 04-18-2019, 06:50 PM
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My guess is that, big picture historically-wise, we're looking at the first stages of the ascendency of the East and the beginning of a slow, relative decline for the West. Future historians may date the beginning of this process back in 1991-92, when the USSR collapsed, but 2016 is a good guess too.
I don't think so, the 'magical east' will have the same problems, if not worse, than the US in the years to come. I really hate this myth.

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I think the reason is that there are no consequences to anything anymore. Well into the second decades of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there's been no action on war crimes, torture, and imprisonment without trial in Guantanamo, just for examples (indeed, instead there is still pushback on even investigating some of these things). A decade ago there was discussion about to what degree the West is now responsible for "fixing" things in Iraq, which now appears to have ended. Before, the West at least showed public shame and held hearings regarding involvement in torture and extraordinary rendition, without real action being taken; now there's not even any display of shame about shameful actions. Why should there be? The Saudi government has murdered a journalist and carries on a brutal war in Yemen, and there are no consequences. Turkey, oppression of journalists and Kurds, nothing.
I'd expand on that and also include nobody going to jail for massive fraud during the financial crisis.
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Last edited by Ryan_Liam; 04-18-2019 at 06:53 PM.
  #32  
Old 04-18-2019, 07:29 PM
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Someone has cited the decline of religion, but other homogenizing factors have taken a hit as well. Military service, whatever you say about it, can see the son of a banker having to take orders from the son of a bricklayer. Used to be that the CEO and the janitor might attend the same church, send their kids to the same schools, watch the same TV shows, etc. etc.

No more. The E Pluribus no longer Unums.
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Old 04-18-2019, 09:30 PM
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I feel that Mark Blyth has one of the better coherent explanations of the market forces and economic policies that are helping fuel the rising extremism worldwide. TLDR Austirity=bad. Its an hour long but worth playing in the background.

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

From what I've seen, after you adjust for inflation the wages of the working class has effectively been stagnant since the 1970 despite increased productivity and education. To make matters worse the cost of housing, college, and healthcare has sky rocketed. People are working harder for less reward and that is fueling resentment.
  #34  
Old 04-19-2019, 02:19 AM
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Eight years of recession. Just like in every other time in history.


Cite? I despise both Brexit and Trump, but neither the UK nor the USA were in recession in 2016.
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  #35  
Old 04-19-2019, 03:10 AM
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For decades there's been a message coming out of the right wing that cities are at war with the countryside, that (liberal) elites are at war with the common salt, and that the various topics of anything-but-christianity, abortions, environmentalism, and health care are all sides of the same multifaceted notion which I'll call "liberals are satan".
In Spain we've had that going, sometimes stronger, sometimes weaker, since the second time Napoleon Bonaparte lost a war. I hear similar stories from France, Italy, the UK... and suspect it may actually have been going on since we started having towns where you had neighbors you weren't related to. It was a vast oversimplification in the 10th century BC and it's a vast oversimplification now, but "othering" strategies are popular with propagandists precisely because they work so well.

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Reagan started globalization
That part makes as much sense as the notion that Louis XIV of France invented absolutism. Or less: Reagan isn't a symbol of globalization.
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  #36  
Old 04-19-2019, 04:32 AM
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...

My guess is that, big picture historically-wise, we're looking at the first stages of the ascendency of the East and the beginning of a slow, relative decline for the West. Future historians may date the beginning of this process back in 1991-92, when the USSR collapsed, but 2016 is a good guess too.
That was a great post JohnT, thanks.

The question would be : which "East" ? China ? Russia ? An Islamic Caliphate ? Perhaps India ? All very different civilizations with various likelihood of dominance and very different implications in terms of balance of powers.

I also note that you mention a "slow, relative decline for the West", which happens to coincide with a recent analysis I read in Le Monde : the West is not going anywhere soon, due to its massive dominance in the economic, military, scientific and to some extent cultural fields, no matter what alarmist media would have us believe.
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  #37  
Old 04-19-2019, 08:42 AM
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I don't think so, the 'magical east' will have the same problems, if not worse, than the US in the years to come. I really hate this myth.



I'd expand on that and also include nobody going to jail for massive fraud during the financial crisis.
I don't think it has anything to do with "magic" but maps like this do exist and tells of the reversal of a thousand-year trend.

Regardless, you did bring up an excellent point which, quite frankly, I am quite embarrassed to have completely overlooked: That this communications fracturing won't be limited to (or mostly impact) "the West" as it was in 1452, 1847, 1876, etc, but will be the first time this impacts the entire globe, regardless of culture or originating civilization. Ugh. How provincial of me.

Which, frankly, just makes me more worried. Thanks.

Last edited by JohnT; 04-19-2019 at 08:44 AM.
  #38  
Old 04-19-2019, 10:10 AM
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That was a great post JohnT, thanks.

The question would be : which "East" ? China ? Russia ? An Islamic Caliphate ? Perhaps India ? All very different civilizations with various likelihood of dominance and very different implications in terms of balance of powers.

I also note that you mention a "slow, relative decline for the West", which happens to coincide with a recent analysis I read in Le Monde : the West is not going anywhere soon, due to its massive dominance in the economic, military, scientific and to some extent cultural fields, no matter what alarmist media would have us believe.
Yeah, tbh, I just kinda threw in that last line and while I don't want to derail this conversation, when I wrote that I wasn't really thinking "East" as in "China/Japan", I was more thinking of it in terms of "Non-West", including Africa, Asia, etc. Sloppy wording on my part, frankly.

Anyway, the rise of the West was the story of global civilization for the past 1,000 years, the relative decline of the West will be the story for the next few hundred. This will be assisted by this fracturing caused by the shift in communications and the creation of new factions due to this shift.

Last edited by JohnT; 04-19-2019 at 10:14 AM.
  #39  
Old 04-19-2019, 10:14 AM
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If "the East" is rising, it's partly simply because of superior population. A continent with 4 billion people is going to have double the total GDP of North America and Europe that combine for only 1 billion even if each person in Asia has only half the per capita GDP of an American, Canadian or European. Not that high population always guarantees supremacy but it only helps. India and China are well on their way to being solidly middle-class societies; another decade or two and the vast majority of Indians and Chinese likely will be middle-class.
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Old 04-19-2019, 10:16 AM
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Again, to clarify, saying "East" was sloppy wording on my part - I was more thinking "Non-West" which also includes "non-East" regions like Africa and the Middle East, as well as China/India/Japan/SE Asia.
  #41  
Old 04-19-2019, 10:59 AM
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Reagan started globalization
Don't be silly. Reagan wasn't even a member of the Trilateral Commission. That was George H.W. Bush.

Anyway, it was Nixon who started globalization, with his trip to China and wheat deal with the Soviets. Or maybe it was FDR with the United Nations. Or Wilson with the League of Nations. Or Andrew Jackson, who ended South Carolina's threat to leave the Union in 1833 by agreeing to reduce tariffs.
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Old 04-19-2019, 11:02 AM
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Or it was began by the Bretton-Woods Agreement.

Or the Chinese-Middle East "Silk Road".

Or the Voyages of Discovery in the 14th-15th centuries.

Or the British transatlantic trade of the 17th century.

Or... we can ignore 1k years of development and give all the credit to Reagan. But why?
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Old 04-19-2019, 11:03 AM
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Don't be silly. Reagan wasn't even a member of the Trilateral Commission. That was George H.W. Bush.

Anyway, it was Nixon who started globalization, with his trip to China and wheat deal with the Soviets. Or maybe it was FDR with the United Nations. Or Wilson with the League of Nations. Or Andrew Jackson, who ended South Carolina's threat to leave the Union in 1833 by agreeing to reduce tariffs.
Or the British, French, Dutch, Romans, Chinese...it never really went away.

ETA: So - totally - ninja'd by JohnT

Last edited by asahi; 04-19-2019 at 11:04 AM.
  #44  
Old 04-19-2019, 11:06 AM
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At the end of the day, I think the insanity we see in populations' votes is from a mixture of factions ending up voting for the greater evil, for different and even opposing reasons. You have the well-meaning misinformed (e.g. those in Norway calling to ban diesel cars outright because they pollute - what about biodiesel, which is carbon-neutral?)
You've inadvertently demonstrated your own point about well-meaning misinformation there; biodiesel is only carbon neutral if you simply look at the end product and figure that it fits within the natural carbon cycle. If you include the energy use and inputs to grow and process the fuel, in every system yet devised, the production of biodiesel consumes more fuel than it replaces. The only real sustainable source is stuff like old cooking oil, only because it's a waste product and doesn't require much more in the way of processing, but this obviously isn't viable on a large scale. Biodiesel is a lovely theory, but sadly it doesn't work in practice.

The world has got complicated, and there are no simple unarguable solutions. It's also easier than ever before to create your own bubble, to the level that you can even forget there's other viewpoints out there, and easier for those who understand the system to manipulate those bubbles. This is the propaganda revolution.
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Old 04-19-2019, 11:44 AM
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  #46  
Old 04-19-2019, 05:47 PM
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Why did it go crazy in 1914?

How about 1517?

It's been my contention for about 20+ years now that the 2nd decade of this century would see vast political shifts which possibly won't sort themselves out for up to a century. And it's a historical pattern we've seen before in the West:

Change the way people communicate and the world explodes sixty-odd years later.
JohnT absolutely nailing it with this analysis.

And the critical thing (which is implied, but which I'll state outright) is that each of these changes resulted in a democratization of publishing, which led to the erosion of power of existing gatekeepers.

The printing press eroded the power of the Church as the sole disseminator of God's word and blessing.

The newspaper eroded the power of the Nation State in ways that I can't quite capture the pith of in a simple phrase.

The internet has eroded the power of every remaining stable institution as the definer of objective reality.

Trump, Anti-vax, Flat Earth, PewDiePie's minions. They're all symptoms of the fact there are no more gatekeepers. Everyone gets to decide what's true and what's bullshit. Collectively, we're really bad at it.
  #47  
Old 04-20-2019, 01:06 AM
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It seems to me, perhaps, that newspapers didn't hasten the end of the Nation State, but the end of the era of non self-determination based governments such as Monarchy, Autocracy, replacing them with Democracy, Communism, Socialism, etc, all of these new forms based on the idea that the "people's" ability to control their nation will be better than somebody born into the job.

And thank you for the compliment.

Last edited by JohnT; 04-20-2019 at 01:08 AM.
  #48  
Old 04-20-2019, 06:28 AM
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Do we just roll with it?
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