Category Archives: Think piece

David Corn on the Origins of the Trump Disorder

NBC News, Sept. 18, 2022 – The GOP’s American psychosis didn’t start with Trump. It won’t end with him, either.

A line runs from the 1964 Republican National Convention to Trump’s Jan. 6 riot. It has zigged and zagged over the years. But there is a path.

By David Corn, Washington, D.C., bureau chief for Mother Jones
This piece has been adapted from “American Psychosis: A Historical Investigation of How the Republican Party Went Crazy,” by David Corn:

Nelson Rockefeller stared into a sea of hate.

Standing at the podium of the Republican National Convention of 1964, the 56-year-old patrician politician who symbolized dynastic American power and wealth was enveloped by waves of anger emanating from the party faithful. Delegates and activists assembled in the Cow Palace on the outskirts of San Francisco hurled boos and catcalls at the New York governor.

David Corn

He was the enemy. His crime: representing the liberal Republican establishment that, to the horror of many in the audience, had committed two unpardonable sins. First, in the aftermath of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, these turncoat, weak-kneed Republicans had dared to acknowledge the need for big government programs to address the problems and challenges of an industrialized and urbanized United States. Second, they had accepted the reality that the Cold War of the new nuclear age demanded a nuanced national security policy predicated on a carefully measured combination of confrontation and negotiation.

Rockefeller’s crime: representing the liberal Republican establishment that, to the horror of many in the audience, had committed two unpardonable sins.

Worse, Rockefeller had tried to thwart the hero of the moment: Barry Goldwater, the archconservative senator from Arizona, the libertarian decrier of government, the tough-talking scolder of America’s moral rot, and the hawkish proponent of military might who had advocated the limited use of nuclear arms. Continue reading David Corn on the Origins of the Trump Disorder

Gwynne Dyer – longterm thinking

GWYNNE DYER: Thinking in long-termism
How some people are planning for the planet

Gwynne Dyer · Sept. 16, 2022

Which would be worse: a global nuclear war with all buttons pressed, or real, self-conscious artificial intelligence that goes rogue? You know, the central theme of the “Terminator” movies.

An AI called Skynet wakes up and immediately realizes that humanity could simply switch it off again, so it triggers a nuclear war that destroys most of mankind. The few survivors end up waging a losing war against the machines and extinction. But this fantasy has too many moving parts. Let’s try again.

Which would be worse: a nuclear “war orgasm” (Herman Kahn’s description of the Pentagon’s nuclear war strategy circa 1960) or a designer plague created in some secret biowar lab? The plague, obviously, because it could theoretically wipe out the human race, whereas all-out nuclear war probably can’t.

The distinction between a 99 per cent wipeout and a 100 per cent wipeout is insignificant if you happen to be one of the victims, but Oxford University philosopher Derek Parfit thought that it actually made a huge difference. Continue reading Gwynne Dyer – longterm thinking