Saturday, September 26, 2015

What I have in common with Donald Trump

I have almost nothing in common with Donald Trump. I haven't been divorced, haven't done deals or written books, don't have a terrible combover, and don't traffic in the swallow analysis like this: "I like the evangelicals, and it's really shown in the polls."

So, to stop being coy, I'm like the Donald because neither of us has to stay on a script. Donald can break with the business orthodoxy about immigrants. He can remind other GOP candidates that ripping up the Iran deal isn't the best course (while saying plenty of stupid shit about the deal too). He can talk about tax rates being too low for hedge fund managers. He can slam other Republicans for being foolish warmongers. He can respect someone in the past and slam them unmercifully now.

Liberty . . .

This liberty to say whatever, untethered from party or factional talking points, is absolutely great, and a lot of fun. At least the Donald certainly appears to be having fun.

For me, it's different. I don't want to be a zipperhead or dittohead, and I know it's actually hard work to avoid that. It's hard to question all your received ideas and political positions. For one thing, there are a hell of a lot of political positions, and reexamining them takes time.  You can't do it in a short span. It's going to be a long process, and an ongoing process.

For example, I don't take the typical liberal or moderate view on immigration. It took me a long time to accept what reason told me about immigration--that the high level during the last three decades has had enormous negative consequences. Despite my pride in my immigrant roots and my personal empathy for immigrants, I can't ignore the results I see. This is a bad situation, and we've been following the wrong policy for 25 years.

Liberty, Analysis, Socrates

What motivates me to be different, and to examine all these positions? I want to be realistic, grounded, and right about my opinions. I can only feel confident that I'm right if I've subjected the opinion to a lot of fact-checking and questioning.

That is what I learned nearly four decades ago when I first learned about the Socratic method. It was a powerful lesson--to question honestly, answer honestly, and examine honestly. That's hard work and a very high standard, but it's what I try to do on every important question.

Somehow, I bet the Donald can't say that.


(My first attempt at Photoshop. Argghhh.)

1 comment:

Dangerous said...

As they say, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. So The Donald isn't always wrong, but he is always self-promoting.

Immigration is a complex topic, but people's motives for coming into this country are pretty simple: life is better here. I'd worry when they stop wanting to come here.

It's true that an influx of cheap labor suppresses wages for working people, but that's the primary benefit to the GOP's benefactors so don't expect them to do much to stop it. They are all talk, but they definitely don't want citizenship for these immigrants who will immediately vote against their interests. Looks like a stalemate to me.

Sure people who come to this country and work with official permission break the "law", but the borders are artificial compared to the human desire for a better life for themselves and their families. It may cost our society some, but on balance it's probably a net benefit because immigrants, illegal or not, are customers and providers in our economy.

Perhaps you should consider a native-American's perspective of immigration.