Streetwise Professor

January 28, 2017

Trump’s Finger Is On the Button!

Filed under: History,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 12:43 pm

Fearing Trump, the Union of Concerned Scientists has advanced the Doomsday Clock, indicating their belief that the risk of nuclear war has increased. This is actually quite confusing. After all, the Clock has historically waxed and waned based on the perceived (by the pointy heads at the UCS, anyways) threat of a nuclear exchange between the US and the USSR, and since its demise, Russia. So wouldn’t Trump’s supposed softness on Russia and the prospect of a rapprochement between Trump and Putin (which elicits shrieks of horror from the Democrats) reduce the risk of such an event? Shouldn’t the clock have moved backwards, not forwards?

But that’s not the button I refer to in the title. Actually, I should have written buttons, plural, because what I am thinking of is Trump’s pushing of the progressive left’s buttons. We’re only a week into his administration, and already he has pushed so many of their buttons that they are on the brink of psychological collapse–many past the brink, actually.

I could mention several examples, but one stands out even though it is the most symbolic and least substantive of the things he’s done since January 20: the announcement that he will return a portrait of Andrew Jackson to the Oval Office.

Trump’s core constituency is Jacksonian America (as Walter Russell Mead and then I pointed out in 2015), but truth be told, most Jacksonians don’t know a lot about him. Pace Willie Dixon, he’s just one of those Dead Presidents they’d like to get their hands on: “Jackson on a 20 is really great.” But the left does know Jackson, and hates him with a passion: he is one of their bêtes noires. Slaveholder. Ferocious Indian fighter. Author of the Indian Removal Act (a/k/a Trail of Tears). Unabashed American nationalist (heaven forfend!). Further, the left also hates his political heirs: they are the kind of people that an execrable candidate for DNC chair said it would be her job to shut down.

So Trump’s announcement regarding the portrait probably didn’t really make a ripple in his Jacksonian constituency, and that’s not why he did it. But it did unleash an uproar among the progressives–and that’s exactly why he did it. A very deliberate push of a prog button.

Personally, I have considerable ambivalence about Jackson. Much of the criticism is presentism that ignores the historical context: of course men of the 19th century frontier thought and decided differently than those on the Upper West Side for whom Harlem is the frontier. Jackson’s greatest modern biographer, Robert Remini, argues that Jackson believed that removal was the only way to prevent the annihilation of the eastern tribes at the hands of rapacious whites. Others clearly disagree, and believe that Jackson was motivated by bigotry and hatred. The point is that the story is much more complicated than the morality play presented by the left.

Jackson’s economic policy was a very mixed bag. He was in favor of small government, and was the last president to leave the US with no government debt. But his banking policy was disastrous, and was directly responsible for the Panic of 1837.

Politically, of course, he was the avatar of populism and popular democracy. This is is also a mixed bag, but the pluses are bigger and the minuses smaller when the government is small than when it is large.

He was a slaveholder, but an ardent foe of secession, as his actions during the Nullification Crisis showed.

He was also one of the most consistently successful military commanders in US history, beating both Red Coats and . . . Indians (and Spaniards too) in both conventional and unconventional warfare.

But the progressive left is anything but ambivalent about Jackson. To them he is a devil figure, which Trump surely knows–and which is why his portrait will hang in the Oval Office.

As men, Jackson and Trump have myriad differences. Their biographies are obviously utterly different. Where Trump only mused about shooting people in the street, Jackson actually did it. But they have some great similarities, and these will loom large during Trump’s presidency. Both are outsiders who express their disdain for the system and the supposed elite–and the disdain is returned with interest. Neither is constrained by elite convention, and indeed, each takes great glee at sneering at convention and brutally trampling the political establishment. Both rely on advisers who are outside the establishment. Both easily take offense, hold grudges–and take revenge.

It is therefore deeply symbolic that one of Trump’s first acts was to restore Jackson to a place of prominence in the White House. It is pushing the left’s buttons, yes. But he is also signaling how he will act as president. Aggressive–indeed, truculent. In your face. Defiant of the political establishment. Totally unafraid of confrontation and driven to prevail–utterly.

I fully expect that Trump will share other similarities with Jackson. I think that it is likely that his economic policy will be a mixed bag with extremely varied effects: protectionist insanity will sit juxtaposed with a sensible rollback of regulation and the administrative state. Trump will face international issues as president that dwarf anything Jackson had to, but his American nationalism will also lead to very varied effects, as did Jackson’s various foreign engagements (most as a general, rather than president, as in Florida).

And along the way he will push many buttons. But not the nuclear one.

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51 Comments »

  1. I am only new to reading your articles, I was introduced to you by a blog I read here in Australia.
    I am enjoying reading you very much, and look forward to many more articles from you.

    Comment by Peter — January 28, 2017 @ 4:45 pm

  2. Professor, putting philosophical and historical discussions aside, how do you feel about Trump’s executive order on immigration? Immigration is long ripe for reform, and some of the things in his order make a lot of sense (like abolishing the H1-B lottery). But how is it ok to kick out permanent residents simply for having been born in Iran?

    Comment by aaa — January 28, 2017 @ 8:00 pm

  3. An economists insanity is the electorates sanity. The elites will never accept that trade policy as usual has destabilized the US to the point that Trump was elected. I am willing to wager that the standard of living for the average US citizen will improve after four years of more protectionist trade policies. Most inconvenient for those models that consider optimization at the global level. The elites will double down to demonize any policy that can be labeled as protectionist since just an ignorant provocation to those governments that want desperately to ensure that trade is a win win situation for the average US citizen.

    One way to look at some of the Trump policies is as the Israelification of the US so recognition that the US is not magically immune to Jihad.

    Comment by pahoben — January 29, 2017 @ 6:35 am

  4. Prof: Since you raised as discussion matter the 19th. century and possible analogs to Trump, I would like to throw this little thought into the ring.
    Trump is undeniably a truly, authentic American but the figure he is closest to in all its colorful history is that extraordinary 19th. century character: P.T. Barnum. Although Barnum never ascended to the Presidency, it is thought he had ambitions in that direction and he did attain office as Mayor of Bridgeport. But what distinguished Barnum was his tireless entrepreneurial energy, his showmanship and his unfailing intuition for what would most strongly appeal to the common man and woman. Remind you of anyone?

    Naturally the elites despised Barnum – with good reason! His name was closely associated with accusations of humbug and hornswoggle. And who can deny that Barnum was master of both linguistic and performance arts? Unfortunately, both terms have fallen into disuse and may even be considered archaic. I think it then only fitting that in honor of the new President that we restore such terms to common parlance. Enough with allegations against Trump of lies and falsehoods. Let’s speak instead of Trump’s humbug and hornswoggle!

    Comment by Simple Simon — January 29, 2017 @ 10:22 am

  5. @aaa-Are you referring to the actual executive order, or the totally false characterization thereof? It is not aimed at Muslims specifically. It has precedents under the Obama and Bush administrations. It is temporary, not a ban. Other than that, calling it “Trump’s Muslim ban” is totally accurate.

    It is more accurate to call it a temporary restriction on immigration from failed states. Muslim states that are merely atavistic medieval autocracies, but have moderately functioning state institutions, are not included. The real question should be why failed states are disproportionately Muslim.

    I consider it very interesting that today there was horrific news of the death of a US special operator, the wounding of 4 more, and the destruction of a costly V-22 Osprey on a raid in Yemen. Why doesn’t it make sense to treat immigrants from such countries differently?

    And re H1-B visas, why are the tech companies so up in arms about this? Do they have loads of engineers and programmers in Sudan that won’t be able to get back to Silicon Valley?

    Immigration needs a total revisit. Unfortunately, the hysteria over the EO shows that a reasoned discussion of this issue is impossible.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 29, 2017 @ 11:03 am

  6. @Peter-Thanks much. Hope I meet and exceed your expectations 😉

    What blog, might I ask?

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 29, 2017 @ 11:13 am

  7. President Trump benefits tremendously from media hyperbole. Add 4 miles to the existing barriers between Mexico and the US? He’s trying to build a 100 hundred foot high wall and won’t ever allow a Mexican to step foot in the country. Ban travelers from Yemen? Trump wants to ban Muslims.

    The H1-B is most interesting. The rationale for the program is allowing highly skilled workers. Yet setting a minimum salary of 100k would undermine that? A skilled programmer should be paid twice that…

    Comment by FTR — January 29, 2017 @ 11:24 am

  8. @pahoben-I have to disagree re trade policy and protectionism. I am no fan of gargantuan deals like TPP. Who the hell even knows what’s in it? But freer trade generally is a good thing. No trade policy is Pareto improving–some people lose. But most of the analysis of the distributive effects has been extremely misleading, and the impacts of trade specifically have been exaggerated.

    You also have to consider how trade reflects other policies and differences across nations. A trade deficit implies a capital surplus. US government spending must be financed. When it is financed by borrowing, that must be funded either by domestic savings or from foreign savings (i.e., Chinese buying UST). Foreign funding necessitates a trade deficit. Protectionism will not change that one iota.

    Of course this interacts with mercantilist Chinese policies too. But the basic point remains. Trade deficits, either in the aggregate, or with particular countries, is a symptom of broader underlying causes, most notably government fiscal policies, and the saving propensities of Americans vs. others (which reflects demographics, other government policies, and on and on).

    Historically, it has worked out OK for the US in some ways. We gave the Japanese pieces of paper (or better yet, electronic book entries) and overpriced real estate and they gave us useful stuff. Two things can happen. We give them real stuff later in exchange for the pieces of paper/book entries (i.e., we run a trade surplus with Japan) or we don’t give them real stuff later. So either the trade deficit evens out over time, or we get stuff for free.

    I think Japan is a great example to look at. Compare the relative economic performance of the US and Japan since the late-80s, when Japan was supposedly going to take over the world and were running massive trade surpluses while we were running deficits. I predict a similar outcome with China.

    It is not correct to say that “these models consider optimization at the global level,” or at least to insinuate that global exploitation of comparative advantage is a win-lose. Trade is about mutually beneficial exchange.

    There would be some severe distributive effects of greater protectionism. Think of any industry that adds value to imported inputs–refining or petrochemicals for instance. They would be hammered by import taxes on oil. This is a fairly straightforward example, but there are many others.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 29, 2017 @ 11:30 am

  9. It makes no difference whether you call it a Muslim ban (and I didn’t). It’s a foolish decision made off-the-cuff by uninformed people, and it will cause a lot of pain to innocent people. The reason tech companies are up in arms about this is because every Google or Facebook has a couple hundred of people affected. If you have graduate students, and one of them was barred from re-entering the US based on random politics, I hope you would also be up in arms.

    Comment by aaa — January 29, 2017 @ 11:38 am

  10. @Professor
    Thank you for responding.

    I don’t see that Japan is a certain analogy. Japan was (is) a dependent state so certainly not the same as China and in fact much of Japanese manufacturing relocated to China.

    US debt is now about $20 trillion and trade deficit with China say about $500 billion per year and non medical care US entitlement programs also about $500 billion/year and China only holds about $1 trillion of the debt so a couple years of trade deficit. US trust funds and the Fed hold maybe $9 trillion of the debt.

    Every manufacturing job lost in the US increases the likelihood of an increase in government entitlements that in turn increases the likelihood of either higher US taxes on the ever declining portion of the US population that are net tax payers or further increases in debt. I don’t see how this situation reflects a strong capital position by the US. Rising standards of living globally are great except at the expense of the US population that have lower net household income now than in 1999. US labor has been horribly impacted by trade with China and no matter how much economists explain to them that it isn’t true they see that it is in fact true. It is now seen that the entire paradigm of-no worries when manufacturing goes to low cost labor countries becaus all of you will be highly educated with good incomes and enjoy lower cost goods- is bollix. Economic theory does not recognize the constraints that population genetics and human biology provide.

    A country the size of the US that has little or no manufacturing has a large marginalized population. A large marginalized population of US males will not end well. It never does and particularly will not in the US.

    Comment by pahoben — January 29, 2017 @ 3:50 pm

  11. > A large marginalized population of US males will not end well. It never does and particularly will not in the US.

    Large marginalized population in the US? Sirisly? Surely it is not worse than the Great Depression out there, is it? It worked out then despite the Trumps of the era making things much worse by offering simple counterproductive solutions to complex problems. The Germans, on the other hand, took the “won’t let them prosper at our expense” idea to a whole new level, and we know how that ended. Turned out there was no Ubermensch then – no reason to believe there will be any now. Suicide through arrogance, on the other hand, is a recurring theme that can be and possibly is already being repeated. Whether this constraint is genetic or can be broken through learning is a fascinating topic, but it is indeed beyond the scope of economics.

    Comment by Ivan — January 29, 2017 @ 6:19 pm

  12. (6.@Peter) The Blog is Catallaxy Files.

    Comment by Peter — January 29, 2017 @ 7:09 pm

  13. H1-B immigration, as currently structured (i.e. employer sponsorship, requirement to post formal job openings) is effectively a wealth transfer from tech workers to large tech employers. For the latter, it is an important tool to fend off smaller, nimbler (but less adept at soliciting favorable public policy) competitors who are better at recruiting and utilizing technical talent. An economically rational visa program for skilled workers would be an auction (fixed quantity, floating price) or a sale representing the value, $25k/yr perhaps, of working in the US (fixed price, floating quantity). If these skills are so valuable, someone would be willing to *pay* for them. The notion that H1-B’s enhance the competitiveness of the US tech industry is a myth, obviously so to anyone who has ever been involved in the actual process of hiring technical people.

    Most of the H1-B’ers I have encountered are accustomed to the on-again off-again nature of employer sponsorship and keep a fallback in their native countries. If the H1-B program got shut down, it would be disruptive in the short-term of course, but in the longer term, they would have less competition from any *new* H1-B’ers and their experience in the US will be that much more valuable to employers in their home countries. The savvy ones among them will likely end up just fine; the sad sacks among them (whose personal or financial lives are messed up) would have flamed out no matter what immigration policy is.

    Comment by M. Rad. — January 30, 2017 @ 12:05 am

  14. @Ivan
    Jeez-quick compliance with Godwin’s Law. Only an ideologue can conclude that abilities are distributed evenly in a population. Only an ideologue would confuse equal opportuntiy under the law with distribution of innate abilities.

    If you look at historic correlations betweeen GDP growth and protectionism you will not find any simple correlation. Protectionsim is not always negative nor is it always positive.

    Per Capita GDP didn’t return to pre Great Depression until after the start of WW2 so yes WW2 was in practice a complex solution to a complex problem. In fact to blame the Great Depression on Smoot Hawley is a simple view of a complex problem.

    Comment by pahoben — January 30, 2017 @ 4:51 am

  15. If someone would have taught me how to jump three times higher than I am able and to be twice as fast as I am and to be able to routinely bury an NBA three pointer than I would be a Hall of Fame candidatee in the NBA right now. If someone would have taught me how to be a world class physicist or mathematician than I would be a Nobel candidate or have a Fields Medal right now. I guess poor teachers are to blame-is that right Ivan?

    Comment by pahoben — January 30, 2017 @ 5:41 am

  16. @pahoben You seem to be assigning opinions to me which I have never held. Correlation between protectionism and GDP I don’t care about. Correlation between minimization of political interference with deployment of productive resources and expected wellbeing, on the other hand, I believe to be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

    I’m not talking about learning to be Michael Jordan. I’m talking about learning not to support populism, be it “lefty” or “righty” versions of it, or at least learning to stop supporting it before the worst catastrophies happen.

    Comment by Ivan — January 30, 2017 @ 6:37 am

  17. @Ivan
    Government interference in internatinal matters would not be neccessary in a global Kumbaya Utopia but alas not everyone has the interests of the US foremost in their mind nor learned fair play in kindergarten. I also support minimal interference of Government except in the case of protecting US interests in international economic affairs. I really could care less about optimizing the global economy because most major participants in the global economy have national interests that motivate their actions except for the US and EU who have deluded themselves into believeing that everyone thinks as they do.

    Sorry but I am a populist in that I do care about the general welfare of US citizens and the stability of the US. What is patriotism other than tribalism writ large.

    Comment by pahoben — January 30, 2017 @ 7:28 am

  18. It is not even the folks at the bottom that require concern now but folks in the middle also so maybe call it post modern populism.

    Comment by pahoben — January 30, 2017 @ 7:53 am

  19. Prof

    For this simple Brit, the restoration of the Chruchill bust to the Oval Office was a highly symbolic gesture as well. Obama’s systematic denigration of the UK was hard to stomach, right up to the point when he intervened very heavily in the recent Brexit referendum in favour of his favoured status quo. How he had the brassneck to complain about Russsian interference in the presidential election is between him and whichever god he worships – I suspect Mammon. He even gave our Queen (a lady of advanced years) an Ipod as a State gift when he visited – what a sign of contempt and disrespect! I would hope that my Monarch would not stoop to presenting him with one of those store Indian figures. Fortunately, Prince Philip was on hand to deride the security apparatus – “You managed to get here safely, then” was what he is reported to have said when the entourage of vehicles and armoured personnel carriers pulled up in the yard, after inconveniencing the road network of London for about 2 hours.

    Comment by Graeme — January 30, 2017 @ 9:15 am

  20. @pahoben Fundamentally, you cannot increase general welfare in any meaningful way by artificially making goods/services expensive. How is creative disruption due to globalization any different from the disruption due to innovation? Why is going around smashing all those robots and 3d-printers not a good way to “save jobs” whereas smashing optimal supply chains and trade patterns is?

    Comment by Ivan — January 30, 2017 @ 1:02 pm

  21. @Graeme–Oh, I know. I remarked on Obama’s hypocrisy to a friend. I might even have mentioned it in a blog post or response to a comment. I remember thinking that if I were British I would have been outraged.

    Re the iPod. It’s worse than that! What was on the iPod? Obama’s speeches! Ponder that for a moment.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 30, 2017 @ 1:40 pm

  22. @pahoben Actually, I can see one important way how it is different: you probably cannot stand on the podium and proclaim that those robots have outnegotiated us – and not be ridiculed. At least not yet.

    Comment by Ivan — January 30, 2017 @ 1:47 pm

  23. @Ivan
    You are right, the robots are next in line after the Chinese

    @Graeme
    Unfortunately there will never be another Prince Philip.

    Comment by pahoben — January 30, 2017 @ 2:54 pm

  24. @M. Rad. Well, duh. Of course H1-Bs keep a fallback in their native countries. H1-B is a nonimmigrant visa. When you are interviewed for an H1-B, you are supposed to provide evidence that you will return.

    Comment by aaa — January 30, 2017 @ 9:53 pm

  25. @pahoben And just in case that also fails, digging trenches with spoons is guaranteed to work. With all that crumbling infrastructure…

    Comment by Ivan — January 30, 2017 @ 11:46 pm

  26. Fortunately, Prince Philip was on hand to deride the security apparatus – “You managed to get here safely, then” was what he is reported to have said when the entourage of vehicles and armoured personnel carriers pulled up in the yard, after inconveniencing the road network of London for about 2 hours.

    Ah, we’re all gonna miss Prince Philip.

    Comment by Tim Newman — January 31, 2017 @ 4:57 am

  27. Woo wee. Reading some of the Progressive website you would think he had pushed the button. An Ivy League faculty member calling for a military coup and many now speaking of civil war.

    Comment by pahoben — January 31, 2017 @ 2:24 pm

  28. @pahoben. Pretty amusing, given that us right wingers have all the guns. No thanks to the Progs, of course.

    Reminds me of a story. Here is how I remember it. Back in the early-70s some left wing actress told Clint Eastwood that everything would be different after the revolution. Clint said: “We already had the revolution. You lost.”

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 31, 2017 @ 3:33 pm

  29. @Professor
    LOL. It’s that lost part they don’t get. Similar to a post above they can’t imagine the Untermenschen even dared to win. I get so sick of the fascist references. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Godwin’ Law has leaked from the Internet into the fundamental conversational fabric of the Progs.

    Comment by pahoben — January 31, 2017 @ 5:17 pm

  30. Every physical attack I have seen on a Trump supporter has been a sucker punch. Real principled ant-fascist courage in action.

    Comment by pahoben — January 31, 2017 @ 5:35 pm

  31. Who will be the Nicholas Biddle of 2017?

    Comment by redslates — January 31, 2017 @ 5:44 pm

  32. @redslates. Janet Yellen!

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 31, 2017 @ 10:51 pm

  33. Great news that Berkeley is burning. Hopefully the wholesalers make sure plenty of fuel in the city. Wonderful if one pulled up a full gasoline tank truck to campus and put a Free Gasoline-Take All You Want sign on the side.

    Comment by pahoben — February 2, 2017 @ 11:48 am

  34. @pahoben But the usefulness of the physics department there arguably outweighs the harm from all the commies. See, them just ain’t working, those attractively simple solutions.

    Comment by Ivan — February 2, 2017 @ 3:42 pm

  35. To the Gang:

    Vlad watches like a fly on the wall.

    It is truly amazing which SWP posts draw the most bees.

    It reminds Vlad of a former chat room shortly after Al Gore invented the internet: Alabanza. Some very creative & clever folks visited & contributed there. Of course, it all devolved into name-calling & snark, but what a wonderful place to exchange ideas while it lasted.

    Since SWP moderates his blog, it won’t happen here.

    What an amazing marketplace of ideas. Like Speaker’s Corner.

    https://longreads.com/2017/02/01/xenus-paradox-the-fiction-of-l-ron-hubbard/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAUJXAEh-n8

    VP VVP

    Comment by VP Vlad — February 2, 2017 @ 5:48 pm

  36. @Ivan
    Wouldn’t want to disturb the string theorists preparing their latest works of science fiction. Must not delay the Government funded atmospheric physics papers demonstrating imminent climate catastrophe that must be finished before the grant trough goes dry.

    ..and cases of empty liter bottles beside the truck.

    Comment by pahoben — February 3, 2017 @ 5:32 am

  37. Prof, what do you think of the Modern Monetary theory as described by Warren Mosler? I am going through some of his writings and find it fascinating.

    Comment by Surya — February 3, 2017 @ 1:15 pm

  38. Pretty much every department in Berkeley is in the top 10 in the world. Universities like Cal are among the greatest assets that the United States has. It’s just like Trump to destroy UC Berkeley because some campus hooligans mistreated his buddy there.

    Comment by aaa — February 4, 2017 @ 4:21 pm

  39. @aaa
    What you say makes no sense. Trump had nothing to do with the destruction on the Berkely campus. In fact it was the usual Berkeley crowd that would not tolerate a conservative speaker on campus. The sad part is that this has been common on many campuses because that type of intellectual intolerance is what has been promoted on those campuses and is fostered by much of the faculties that work there.

    Much of the University system in the US has been corrupted by politicization. They have become indoctrination centers that no longer support what traditionally has been the fundamental educational objectives of a University including support for critical rational thought and open unfettered exploration of diverse ideas. Please see Thiel’s critique of Stanford as an example.

    A defining feature of an ideologue is that their expectation of future events is poorly predictive of those events. This is true because they do not use objectivity to understand the world but rather some set of thoughts or principles that poorly model reality. I see this in your statement that Trump will destroy the unversities that are among the US’s greatest assets.

    Please consider that the US’s University system has deteriorated and now instead of promoting intellectual tolerance they often promote intellectual intolerance. Now instead of promoting objectivity and rationality they often promote simple reflexive ideology.

    I do not know about Livermore labs during recent years but the fact that Obama chose Chu to legitimize politicization of science suggests it would be Interesting to see how research topics have changed during recent years.

    I believe you have it exactly backwards and that the Universities themselves are destroying one of the US’s greatest assets.

    Comment by pahoben — February 5, 2017 @ 3:29 am

  40. When was there unrest and firebombings on a campus when Bill Ayers was to speak there? When were students punched and pepper sprayed for wearing a Hillary hat on a campus?

    Who is intolerant? Who are fascists? What will destroy US universities? They reap what they sowed and they sowed and are sowing intolerant ideological educations that provide an inflated sense of intellectual abilities with far too much certainty that their beliefs are correct. Rather than questioning their personal beliefs they are certain in their beliefs. Poor educations.

    Comment by pahoben — February 5, 2017 @ 4:29 am

  41. The word that best describes the failing of a US university liberal arts education is conceit.

    Comment by pahoben — February 5, 2017 @ 5:01 am

  42. @aaa @Ivan
    Jeez o pete. Look at the following course descriptions for UC Berkeley course offerings in Sociology and tell me not a leftist ideological agenda embedded in the curriculum. I couldn’t go farther reading other course descriptions after looking at these.

    http://sociology.berkeley.edu/course-descriptions

    Comment by pahoben — February 7, 2017 @ 6:22 am

  43. Here is part of a description of a Berkeley class being provided now-

    As such, the course will not be taught exclusively by Sahlins, but rather will feature a number of UC Berkeley professors, including “a psychologist [who] will query the racist and cognitive dysfunctions produced by Trump,” an immigration lawyer who will discuss “the xenophobia of Trump’s campaign” and an economist who will touch on mitigation of the impending “climate catastrophe.”

    Comment by pahoben — February 7, 2017 @ 6:44 am

  44. For UC Berkeley as a wise man once said-It is too late for Herpecide.

    Comment by pahoben — February 7, 2017 @ 11:07 am

  45. @pahoben–LOL. Good memory!

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — February 7, 2017 @ 2:03 pm

  46. @pahoben. You’ll like this, from Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert).

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — February 7, 2017 @ 2:24 pm

  47. @Professor
    I did enjoy it and thanks. Some of these people are hard core by old Red Guard standards.

    Comment by pahoben — February 8, 2017 @ 5:04 am

  48. @pahoben

    I’m not sure that, had Berkeley disappeared, there would be any less commie propaganda around – any third-rate school can easily produce an oversupply of that. Creating a good physics school, on the other hand, is a lot harder. While theoretically it should be possible to have the latter without the former, it should similarly be possible to stop progressive insanity without unleashing populist insanity. Somehow, neither seems to be happening IRL.

    Comment by Ivan — February 9, 2017 @ 4:18 pm

  49. @Ivan
    Sorry I don’t understand the tit for tat (so sorry if this is considered a sexist phrase-I don’t mean an actual tit) referenced in your post. What Populist insanity? Are you defining the election of Trump in and of itself as Populist insanity?

    My comments about the Physics Department at UC Bekeley were intended to suggest that it has been Lysenkoized(this is increasingly a suspect analogy considering recent work in epigenetics)or prostituted (maybe better analogy) by individual and departmental economic considerations. It may be in the future that Lysenkoized needs to be fully replaced by prostituted by (sorry and no sexist meaning intended here also since prostituted has now been openly degendered)when discussing the corruption of science by politics and money.

    Only accepting String Theorists on faculty-be an ideological string theorist. Need someone to legitimize political corruption of climate science-call on a UC-Bekeley physicist. Need some sort of positive atmospheric physics result to demonstrate imminent AGW catastrophe-call on a UC Berkeley physicist. Sorry but I missed the Physics Department standing on the Mario Salvio steps telling people to keep an open mind and allow free speech about atmospheric physics and AGW.

    Our great Progressive thinkers have closed the open questions in science and philosophy with final conclusions and so no further discourse necessary nor will further discourse on these topics be allowed.

    In this vein Darwin is irrefutably correct when it comes to human origins but cannot even be considered when evaluating distribution of abilities in a population. Pick and choose from ideas and then mandate you have created an ultimate unassailable system of beliefs and contrary thoughts not allowed. The physics department at Berkeley is part of this milieu rather than challenging or opposing.

    Comment by pahoben — February 10, 2017 @ 3:52 am

  50. I liked considering Chu’s suggestion that Global Warming be stopped by painting everything white. Not at all inclusive but would mitigate against class distinctions.

    Comment by pahoben — February 10, 2017 @ 6:19 am

  51. What color do you prefer? White please! But just for informational purposes do you offer any other colors? No-our belief system doesn’t allow for the use of other colors and I will have to report your request.

    Great simplification that will allow certain beneficial efficiencies to be realized and all due to the Progressive intellect of Steven Chu.

    Comment by pahoben — February 10, 2017 @ 6:55 am

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