Donald Trump Wants Surrogates To Defend His Racism

This reportage for Bloomberg Politics, the details of which were sussed out by, not one, but three, journalists, is devastating for the Trump campaign. Two of Trump’s closest surrogates broke ranks today and leaked to Bloomberg their notes on a conference call in which Trump himself sounds completely unhinged mentally, instructing his surrogates to double-down in support of his racist comments on the “Mexican” judge, and to in no way apologize or change the subject. Crazy, crazy stuff. Trump wants to defend his racism and go on arguing the point that, because the judge’s parents are Mexican, this is a disqualifier for his presiding over the Trump University case.

On “With All Due Respect,” Bloomberg Politics’ Jennifer Jacobs discusses a Monday conference call with supporters during which presumptive GOP nominee…
BLOOMBERG.COM

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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18 Responses to Donald Trump Wants Surrogates To Defend His Racism

  1. Kaypius says:

    God save us from this man:-(

  2. Staffan says:

    If it’s not racism – or even anti-racism – to take racial bias into account in jury selection, why is it racism to take it into account in judge selection?

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      That is a great question. I’ve never heard it posed. I’ll take a crack at answering it. Fire away if you see a flaw.

      There is a presumption of innocence until proven guilty going in both directions. In other words, America, being a multiracial and immigrant society, has to be very careful to not break the social contract–most especially where lives or professional careers are at stake.

      America’s social contract is that race and religion should never be factors in employment, and we all agree to presume that, if you are given a judge’s position, or that of a police officer or office holder, you will carry out your sworn duties, upholding this social contract with others, not just with regard to yourself.

      The presumption of guilt thus does not run ahead of professional behavior. Being a multiracial and integrated country, it would grind to a halt if this basic trust and assumption fails. Thus, with Trump, if his lawyers believe he has received an unfair trial at the end of the process with this particular judge, regardless of the race of the judge, they can appeal the ruling and present evidence to a panel of judges that the ruling was unfair. In other words, Trump already has recourse to appeal–and that appeal must be grounded in evidence, not because the judge is Mexican.

      Now think about a prosecuting attorney who, knowing sociological and psychological behavior, vetoes at pre-trial every racial minority from a jury, seeking to guarantee an all-white jury against a black defendant. In a jury trial, the presumption of innocence is compromised straight-off. And since the judge has to honor the jury’s verdict–not reverse it–it is important that race and religion are not the over-riding factors in conviction. America’s social contract entails that race and religion should never be a factor in determining your innocence or guilt in a court of law.

      So notice two things here: the American social contract is biased toward the presumption of innocence where harm is potentially greatest. You cannot have a professional career as a judge if your race or religion disqualifies you from the bulk of cases. Neither can you have a fair trial if the jury is taking race or religion into blatant account.

      For example, an antisemite in Los Angeles who is caught painting a swastika on the wall of a synagogue must surely know that he may end up before a Jewish judge, but it is not among his rights of appeal to dismiss the judge on the grounds of his Jewishness. He also knows that the lawyers at his trial may exercise their limited number of “no-reason” peremptory objections to exclude practicing Jews from the jury.

      In other words, broad competing goods are at work (the stable employment of multiracial and multicultural judges vs. presumption of innocence for defendants), and the system has brokered ways to balance these competing goods.

      So what Trump has done in attacking the judge’s heritage is he’s broken the implicit social contract on which the very country functions: the multicultural, multiracial social contract. I see the violence outside of Trump rallies as a product of this: Trump is running for president having already broken the social contract on which one holds the country together. He’s trying to put whites in a boat over here, and brown people over there, no longer having a shared destiny.

      So I think the judge-thing is a fatal blow to his campaign, for how can one want to be an American president if one wants to resegregate the country–and most specifically, the justice system, making it impossible for a Jew to hear the case of a Christian, or a Mexican-American that of an Anglo-American?

      It’s an ugly, ugly thing that Trump has opened up.

      • Staffan says:

        “America’s social contract is that race and religion should never be factors in employment…”

        Affirmative action?

        “In other words, Trump already has recourse to appeal–and that appeal must be grounded in evidence, not because the judge is Mexican.”

        Which is about as hard to prove as proving a jury is biased. A problem addressed in the latter case but not the former.

        “So notice two things here: the American social contract is biased toward the presumption of innocence where harm is potentially greatest. You cannot have a professional career as a judge if your race or religion disqualifies you from the bulk of cases. Neither can you have a fair trial if the jury is taking race or religion into blatant account.”

        The overwhelming majority of cases don’t involve people who have a strong view on racially charged issues that are known and potentially relevant. So that shouldn’t be an obstacle.

        “I see the violence outside of Trump rallies as a product of this: Trump is running for president having already broken the social contract on which one holds the country together.”

        This is saying it’s reasonable to resort to violence if you disagree strongly. As an academic you can hardly have missed the SJW movement sweeping over the Anglosphere with protests against people who simply disagree. The ability to disagree is an essential part of Western civilization and a much worse threat to America. The violence seen at Trumps rallies is not upholding any principles, it’s raw and tribal. They are waving Mexican flags, burning American flags – because they care so much about the country? – assualting people at random, women included. This is raw and tribal. Allying yourself with them in a fantasy that they somehow defend basic principles of the American society is frivolous and dangerous.

        Finally, describing and defending the legal system is beside the point. The question was whether Trump is a racist, bigot etc for assuming that there is a conflict in interest with a judge of Mexican ancestry when he has spoken out against immigration in a way that has antagonized a lot of people of that nationality. And if we don’t assume that exact way of thinking when juries are selected according to race and ethnicity. You can’t argue that the system is the optimal solution, you can only make the case that the judge would somehow be above this bias whereas a jury wouldn’t. And that’s a hard case to make.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Some great thoughts, but, I want to go back to the basic analysis of any topic, …defining our terms. Let’s just choose this main one….what is an American? Is it where you were born? (this seems basic but??) Is it what you follow culturally? Is it based upon your ethnic background? Is it your race? Is it your religion? Is it your sex? Is it your political beliefs? Is it your wealth and influence? Is it you belonging to a majority? So, what makes an American…”American?”

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Another good question. My response would be three things: you’re born here; your parents were born here (but your mom may have given birth to you while on a trip overseas); you immigrated here and are recognized by the law as having obtained citizenship.

      The rest takes care of itself. If you are born here, you’ll more likely than not speak English, but it’s not a condition of citizenship for the native born. You might be a Christian, but maybe not. You’ll also, in growing up in the United States, have absorbed a series of evolved and contingent cultural assumption that give you some characteristically American sensibilities (about gay people in 2016, etc.). But this also is not a requirement (shared cultural sensibilities).

      In short, after you’ve met the minimal legal requirements as outlined in the first paragraph above, being an American means living in a democracy that is evolving with you as a part of it. You’re a part of the democratic, multicultural experiment that is America.

      And this gives a hint as to what’s key: we’re all in the same boat. Once you’ve met the minimal point of entry, you’re in: the Muslim, the Hindu, the black, the Asian, the Caucasian, the atheist, the Christian–they’re all in, and they’re equal citizens under the law. No gods in the public space–no culture–automatically trumps the others. We’re all Americans sharing an evolving destiny that is a work-in-progress.

      And this is what makes Trump so unsettling–and why I think his candidacy will be roundly reduced to electoral rubble in November. Trump has opened up the American psyche at its most fundamental faultline: are we in the same boat or not? The American social contract says, Once you’re in, you’re in. Trump is reintroducing segregation and hierarchy (whites better than blacks, Christians preferred to Jews, etc.). Race, religion, and his conception of white ethnic nationalism trump multicultural citizenship. Trust and a shared fate–the oils that grease the engines of the American cultural experiment–are suddenly open to renegotiation.

      Muslims are therefore rendered automatically suspicious in just being Muslim; Mexican-Americans as suspicious just in being of Latino descent, etc.

      Think of anchor babies, for example. A child gets born on American soil to Chinese parents who happen to be, say, a physician couple visiting a relative who teaches at UCLA. They are on vacation; the mother delivers two months earlier than anticipated. A new American citizen. Groovy.

      But Trump wants to not grant that baby US citizenship.

      So at fundamental levels (as with Judge Gonzalo Curiel), Trump is repeatedly trying to call into question or break outright the American social contract, rendering some Americans un-American or “lesser” or “doubtful,” and thereby placing them in a different boat (or putting a wall, you pick the metaphor) between “us” and “them.”

      That’s why the younger males outside and inside Trump rallies are starting to clash violently: Trump’s politics strike at the very heart of one’s reason to want to be an American at all; to participate in a dynamic multi-racial, multi-cultural immigrant society where we’re all in the same boat together and have a certain level of trust that we won’t take advantage of the delicate cultural experiment we’re conducting.

      Trump’s reputation thus precedes him from rally to rally. His incivility (political incorrectness about race and religious equality), and his contempt for the American social contract in general, has made people feel that, if you don’t want me to be a part of you, we may as well bar-brawl. The basic civility is gone before the event even starts. One doesn’t reason with someone who has already decided in advance that you cannot be part of his extended family; that you are always already under racial and religious suspicion with him as “not American” in the same way he is.

      It recalls the scene in one of Woody Allen’s early films where neo-Nazis, who have already blatantly broken the social contract with Jews, nevertheless expect to walk through Jewish neighborhoods, baiting them in the perfect safety of their bodily person. Allen jokes that bricks and baseball bats are more effective in such a context than a satirical opinion piece in The New York Times. The neo-Nazis have already abandoned a shared destiny with Jews. There is no covenant or social contract between the two groups. The logic of neo-Nazism is genocide. The logic of Donald Trump is segregation. Neither are reading The New York Times.

      • Anonymous says:

        So, there is no specific single profile of an “American.” Rightly so. Then a major characteristic of any president of America is to “take diversity, tension, and conflict and integrate them into a cooperative effort.” This is not Donald Trump!

      • Santi Tafarella says:

        Anonymous:

        Great way to put it. I like an idea floated recently by Charles Murray and others recently to have a universal minimum income for adults in the United States. That would be one of the definitions of an American: you’re one of the ones to whom the ever increasing per capita productivity of the nation is distributed to. As we move deeper into the robotic age, and the strains this will put on employment, it’s probably going to become necessary in any event. Every person over 21 would get cut a check each month of about $1,000 in exchange for dropping Social Security, welfare programs etc. Those who are reasonably well off could then share their $10,000 with their poorer friends and relatives (they know their friends and relatives better than the bureaucracy)–and everybody would be in the same boat without the stigma of handouts, the resentments directed at freeloaders, etc.

        One of the dysfunctions–perhaps the chief dysfunction–of our contemporary politics is that we are no longer sure we share the same boat.

  4. Santi Tafarella says:

    Staffan:

    Let’s be clear. Trump is unmistakably signalling to Hispanic Americans that he wants less of their kind entering the United States, and the ones that are here, he’ll only tolerate. He won’t want them serving on juries or presiding as judges over his matters; he won’t be dominated by them (which I suppose is what has wound him up with Judge Curiel–a “Mexican” with some degree of legal power over his fate).

    I also assume he’ll want no “Mexicans” in his security detail, however distinguished their military service, were he to become President. And certainly he wouldn’t want to be touched by a Mexican or Muslim surgeon.

    Trump has thus broken his social contract personally, not just with a tiny minority (Muslims), but with Hispanics. He doesn’t trust them now that he wants to build a wall–and that’s about 17% of the US population that he doesn’t trust. Include Muslims, and we’re up to 18%. He’s basically grown paranoid and self-conscious in his relations with these two groups. His attitude is corrosive of the social contract, and ineffective in any case, for demographers tell us that by 2050 there will be 400 million Americans, half white, half non-white. That’s a country that looks more like California than Kentucky. Trump is not going to stop the demographic wave, and thus his is not the correct model for the country going forward. Rather, it’s something more like the politics of California politicians–which is relentlessly multicultural and inclusive. In California, for example, the two highest vote-getters for Senate in today’s primary are likely to be two women: an African American and a Latina.

    • Staffan says:

      “Let’s be clear. Trump is unmistakably signalling to Hispanic Americans that he wants less of their kind entering the United States, and the ones that are here, he’ll only tolerate. He won’t want them serving on juries or presiding as judges over his matters; he won’t be dominated by them (which I suppose is what has wound him up with Judge Curiel–a “Mexican” with some degree of legal power over his fate).”

      He wants to stop illegal immigration. He has not said anything (as far as I know) about restricting legal immigration. He recognizes that people are biased – as most people do when it comes to jury selection. But judges are people too. This was the original issue here, whether he is racist or not. I don’t think you have established that unless you think judges are above such biases.

      “I also assume he’ll want no “Mexicans” in his security detail, however distinguished their military service, were he to become President. And certainly he wouldn’t want to be touched by a Mexican or Muslim surgeon.”

      This is pure speculation. Let’s cross that bridge when and if we get to it.

      “Trump has thus broken his social contract personally, not just with a tiny minority (Muslims), but with Hispanics. He doesn’t trust them now that he wants to build a wall–and that’s about 17% of the US population that he doesn’t trust. Include Muslims, and we’re up to 18%. He’s basically grown paranoid and self-conscious in his relations with these two groups. His attitude is corrosive of the social contract, and ineffective in any case, for demographers tell us that by 2050 there will be 400 million Americans, half white, half non-white. That’s a country that looks more like California than Kentucky. Trump is not going to stop the demographic wave, and thus his is not the correct model for the country going forward. Rather, it’s something more like the politics of California politicians–which is relentlessly multicultural and inclusive. In California, for example, the two highest vote-getters for Senate in today’s primary are likely to be two women: an African American and a Latina.”

      The wall is to restrict illegal immigration. This doesn’t reflect his trust in legal immigrants in any way. That said, you really need to take a vacation in Europe to wake up about Muslims. We have no-go zones where they patrol and tell women how to dress. We had an entire school class here where the girls were victims of female genital mutilation (and not the “nice” way). Many were born here. We have large-scale massive sexual assault on women and children that appear to be organized. Trust them at your own peril.

      Whether Trump can stem the influx or reverse demographic changes is also besides the point. But personally, I think you’re right. America will become like California. As I said before, no countries are doing well at IQ 97 and California is now at 95. No American states that have been at that level for any length of time either – not Alabama, not West Virginia or New Mexico. No one. You’d be the exception to the rule. Why would you be that? If America goes there it would also have to be the exception.

      And again, nothing you’ve said demonstrates that Trump’s belief in a conflict of interest on the part of Judge Curiel is racist.

  5. Santi Tafarella says:

    Staffan:

    One more quick thought: parvenu vs. pariah. If you treat people like pariahs–if you give them no stable route to integration–of course they’ll behave, with irony, to stereotype as the pariah, waving Mexican flags instead of American ones. It’s pure reductio ad absurdum theater for those who wave Mexican flags outside of Trump rallies. It’s a way of saying, “Racist asshole! You don’t want us on your team? Then we’ll take on the role of the team of your darkest and most idiotic imaginings!”

    Then the images loop on Fox News. Trump trolls and baits for this sort of division. I think it’s part of what’s motivates him: he likes to exacerbate gender, racial, and religious tensions. It stimulates him. It’s part of his impulse to segregation (the building of walls between people; his living like Rapunzel in high towers). It justifies (to his mind) the building of even higher walls; of doubling-down even harder on outsiders and opponents. Of being rigid.

    • Staffan says:

      The reluctance to offer that route to integration is to a great extent due to the fact that they are illegals – they broke the law. You may have noticed that criminals are not as well behaved as the average.

      And the second paragraph sound a lot like violence is an appropriate response to offence. Maybe he gets off on pissing people off (believe it or not but I don’t particularly like the guy), but freedom of speech gives him the right to do so. Responding to offence with violence is what we typically see in honor cultures (along with poverty and low IQ averages).

      • Santi Tafarella says:

        Staffan:

        I don’t know about your responses. It seems (at minimum) an indefensible position (politically) that his attacks on the judge aren’t racist. You and Ann Coulter can go on litigating the nuances of what Trump said, and why it’s not racist, but if what he said isn’t racist, it will do until the racism gets here.

        And what will it do? What does it accomplish (the attacks on the Mexican-American judge)? It breaks the social contract with about 15% of the American population. Neo-Nazis marching through a Jewish neighborhood are rightly protected by police in terms of their free speech, as is Trump in relation to protesters outside of his events, but the tension generated is because free speech is being invoked in the context of breaking the social contract with others in the community.

        Trump is running for president, and yet needs to invoke his protection in a way akin to a neo-Nazi.

        Yes, he has a right to say what he says, and he should be protected against violent protesters, but he’s having his cake and eating it too. He’s invoking the social contract, even as he’s calling it into question. He expects rights for himself, but won’t grant them in exactly the same manner to others, or with the same degree of trust. His new segregationism obviously is going to fray at the edges basic civility and civil cooperation with him–as is the case with Jews encountering neo-Nazis marching in a Jewish neighborhood.

        As for your comment on Muslims, notice the segregation. Many Muslims in Europe are self-segregating in extreme ways even as they insist on enjoying the benefits of the secular social contract. They’re claiming a right to control women in their community, making them beyond the reach of the secular law, etc.

        That’s what Trump is doing in the United States. He wants to place heritage markers ahead of secular procedures in the courts. Non-Muslims can’t decide legal issues between Muslims (according to many Muslims in Europe), and “Mexicans” can’t preside over Trump’s court cases. In both cases, we’re no longer in the same boat together. There is an affirmation of segregation grounded in religion or race clashing with the norms of the shared civic space that puts everybody in a country in the same boat.

        The result is alienation, incivility, cynicism, and sometime violence because the social contract is being unequally applied.

        Think of how many Hispanic Americans sit in prison in the United States, put there via court cases presided over by white judges. The logic of Trump’s argument is that only Mexican American judges should hear cases where Mexican Americans are on trial, because obviously Trump can only get a fair trial from a white guy, etc. It’s the same logic as the Muslim who wants independent Sharia courts in Muslim communities in Europe.

        What is at stake in the United States–as in Europe–is the survival of the Anglo-French Enlightenment experiment. Trump threatens it in the United States. He’s a Herderian without knowing what a Herderian is.

  6. Staffan says:

    “…but if what he said isn’t racist, it will do until the racism gets here.”

    This is the he-didn’t-say-it-but-he-meant-it argument. I won’t argue against it since it’s basically guessing. Maybe you’re right, maybe not.

    The analogy of Trump versus illegals and Neo-nazis versus Jews is flawed, and somewhat histrionic. Trump isn’t looking to exterminate Mexicans. He isn’t even criticizing Mexicans. He is addressing the issue of illegal immigrants. American Jews are – as far as I know – 100% American citizens. I’m still not sure exactly what you mean by social contract but I’m guessing/hoping it only applies to American citizens. It’s also hard to understand how pointing out the potential bias of the judge breaks this contract with anyone as he only points out that judges have the same biases as everyone else and that the legal system fails to take this into account.

    “That’s what Trump is doing in the United States. He wants to place heritage markers ahead of secular procedures in the courts. Non-Muslims can’t decide legal issues between Muslims (according to many Muslims in Europe), and “Mexicans” can’t preside over Trump’s court cases. In both cases, we’re no longer in the same boat together.”

    No,Trump is not putting ethnicity over secular procedures. He is pointing out that ethnicity in this case can impair such procedures – as most of us agree on when it comes to jury selection. But sure, there is probably some bias even in regular crime with no particular relevance to race or ethnicity (liberals often argue this in other cases). If so, it would become a trade-off between having a case tried at all versus the quality of the outcome. I would argue that extreme cases like Trump’s merit extra precautions.

    Muslims on the other hand are arguing that they should have their own set of laws, so their attitude is completely different. They’re not arguing bias, they’re arguing they do as they please. Not the same logic.

    “What is at stake in the United States–as in Europe–is the survival of the Anglo-French Enlightenment experiment. Trump threatens it in the United States. He’s a Herderian without knowing what a Herderian is.”

    In this case it’s harder to prove anything conclusively. As a fan of Human Biodiversity, I would argue that while there is no Volksgeist as Herder claimed, there are most likely differences in intelligence and personality between populations, and they form the basis of different cultures around the world.

    This is relevant to the distinction between Enlightenment and Herderianism. Essentially the proponents of the first are more loyal to principles while the latter are more loyal to relatives or other ingroups. These are behavioral traits and all such traits that have been researched have been found to be highly heritable. Research has also shown that natural selection can work very fast in human populations. So ask yourself, what kind of selective pressures could result in some people being highly Clannish/Herderian and other Enlightened/WEIRD?

    The most obvious would be a history of inbreeding. There is research showing almost all of us have a slight clannish tendency in that we favorize our closest and youngest relatives. This is easy to understand since they are the one we pass our genes to the next generation with. But it stands to reason that this clannishness varies depending on how many genes (alleles strictly speaking) you pass on. If you married your cousin there is a lot more of them. If your ancestors have been marrying their cousins for thousands of years, then clannishness should have been selected for much stronger than for people who haven’t married relatives.

    There is a blogger called HBD Chick, at hbdchick.wordpress.com/start-here/ , who has tracked historical records of inbreeding to see if this difference in custom translates to differences in clannishness. She has gathered some pretty good evidence that this is the case. That the people who have been inbreeding closely and for long time periods are indeed the most clannish. And that the English, who are the candidate for the most outbred population are the least clannish. Indeed, the English singel-handedly created Enlightenment. The French were merely early adopters. And as you travel further outside Northwest Europe you find increasing levels of clannishness with its typical correlates of corruption, organized crime, lack of democracy & human rights etc. You can find this in your own country when you look at states with English ancestry and those with a history of inbreeding, most notably the Scotch-Irish in Appalachia, Texas, and Oklahoma. And with a litte effort I think you could see it in the violent reactions against Trump too.

    If you accept the theory of evolution then this should be enough to make you at least consider the possibility.

  7. Santi Tafarella says:

    Staffan:

    When Trump says he’ll identify, arrest, and incarcerate for extradition eleven million people, escorting them to the Mexican border, it’s not genocide. But it is the formula for escalation to a police state in which Hispanics are targets of suspicion, forced to choose between hiding family members or obeying the state and turning them in. In that sense, it breaks the social contract. Trump is disrupting a delicate cultural balance of respect and civility.

    So the logistics and context prevent it from being an innocent law-and-order proposal. To get rid of 3% of the population in this part of North America, which could simply be given amnesty with a saner Congress, he would spend billions of dollars searching among the 17% of the population that is Hispanic, and disrupt the lives (and waste enormous sums of money) to get rid of people who are mostly working peaceably in the country, contributing to the economy, and living among their relatives. It’s idiotic. Many of these eleven million go back and forth in seasonal agricultural work. And they give birth to children in the United States who then go on to be productive, English-speaking members of their local communities (the Dreamers, as Obama calls them). Trump wants to kick them out as well. He’s a racist. It’s not about border control, it’s about brown border control, and that breaks the social contract of America’s Anglo-French Enlightenment experiment.

    His attack on the judge thus attaches a face to the abstract. It is Trump breaking the social contract in a more direct and personal way with an individual who has a name, and Trump has hereby declared that he has rendered suspicious the intent of any “Mexican” who now interacts with him (“Because I’m building a wall”). His relationship with Mexican Americans has essentially been broken. So when you argue that having a Mexican American judge is impossible for Trump (you said, “I would argue that extreme cases like Trump’s merit extra precautions”), I say that you are offering an exit for Trump where he ought to be seeking an on-ramp.

    By contrast, here’s how I would advise Trump to heal the situation: Give a speech in which he welcomes the existing judge presiding over his case, emphasizing that he likes and respects a multiracial court system and society, and apologizes. Of course the “Mexican” judge can preside over his case fairly, and has done so. If there’s a problem, his attorneys can put forward evidence on appeal–and they’ve not even formally put forward evidence within the case itself. They haven’t even filed such papers–obviously because there is no evidence for it whatsoever.

    And what you say of Muslims (they act privileged, above the secular law, a law unto themselves, wanting to do exactly as they please without outside interference or consequence)–this is actually how Trump has lived his whole life. The Trump University scam is an example of this. He has lived like Rapunzel. What you say Muslims do with religion, Trump has done with money, encircling himself with teams of lawyers who ward off all manner of corner-cutting in his life–from draft dodging, to not paying contractors, to Trump University. Trump is a walking, rich man’s, law unto himself.

    As for evolution, I think you can have clannish behavior and a functioning democracy IF there is a shared civic space where people meet the basic social contract of baseline civility and respect–as when one moves about in Los Angeles, roaming from Olivera Street (highly Hispanic) to Chinatown, to the Cambodian-heavy area near Hollywood, to West Hollywood (where the gay community tends to cluster), etc.

    In other words, the United States is at the forefront of an experiment grounded in the Anglo-French Enlightenment: that different peoples have just enough in common that we can build a collective secular civic space that promotes peace and prosperity, trade with one another, and share a nationality and humanity without having the same religion or skin color.

    I would thus call 21st century America: The United Nations of America (as opposed to the United States of America). That’s our experiment, and the whole world is watching. If we can do it here, it can be done everywhere. Trump is the stress test on whether we can do it here.

    In other words, the beginning of our country’s history was whether 13 diverse states with different religious traditions (Pennsylvania was Catholic, Virginia Protestant, etc.) could span their differences in a way that they could also be a nation together. This has evolved into the question of whether a global society where quite literally everyone is here can also function as a united entity (a United Nations of America).

    Hillary Clinton and California are on the side of this question that says: Yes. I’m also on this side, obviously. As a native Californian, I can see how it is achieved every day. Whites are just 35% of the state, Asians 15%, and Hispanics and African Americans make up the rest. It’s fine here. It’s more than fine. It’s the wealthiest state in the country. It’s desirable to live here on many, many levels.

    Trump is a reaction to California. He is calling into question the ability of the country as a whole to absorb a multicultural, non-white male dominated, future. But if we can defeat the Trumps of this world (in whatever form Herderian segregationists take, including isolated Muslim communities, not just Southern racists), then the country will be a beacon for other countries. Democracy combined with multiculturalism can work–or it can’t. And we’re at the forefront of that experiment.

  8. Santi Tafarella says:

    Staffan:

    One more quick point: what’s also putting strain on multicultural democracy is inequality. You have, encircling and frustrating the Anglo-French Enlightenment project, not just Southern racists and isolationists Muslims–but you also have the fabulously wealthy, like Trump, who, if they are not conservative cultural segregationists like Trump, are nevertheless sufficiently wealthy that there is no longer a sense of shared destiny with those they claim nationality with. They’re not in the same boat with the rest of us. Part of the problem that Trump faces in releasing his taxes–which he has refused to do thus far–is his facing the fact that he relies on the police and military without actually paying for them (like his fellow countrymen do). In this sense, he is breaking the social contract with his fellow Americans in yet another way. He undermines the Anglo-French Enlightenment project that we can be wed together in the same boat, in a shared community (white/black, rich/poor, Muslim/Christian, etc.). Wherever the rich feel no responsibility for the poor in their country, or serving in the military, etc., we have a fraying of the social contract in the same way as Muslims or Southerners withdrawing into segregated communities that minimize or abolish contact with outsiders frays the social contract.

    Think of the Kennedy family. Aristocratic, to be sure, but their sons served and sacrificed in war. Even Ted, after his boozing days and appalling behavior at Chappaquiddick, became a champion of the poor and elderly in Congress. Contrast this sense of the wealthy in politics with Trump, who is trying to protect essentially two groups of people in America: the rich (he wants to get rid of Obamacare, the Paris Climate Agreement, and Dodd-Frank the moment he reaches the presidency) and the white. He will be their champion. It’s the wrong model for an Aristocratic politician. Hillary’s is better–and maybe Chelsea will run for office someday.

  9. Staffan says:

    Yes, Trump will force people to choose between helping relatives who broke the law or respect the law. It’s not exactly the road to a police state to start upholding the law. Surely your concept of social contract must include respecting the law? Not doing so is a clear message to minorities: if you break the law you can always play the race card. And that is the road to chaos.

    Whether his plans are realistic or not remains to be seen. I think it is possible and certainly worth a try given the alternative. You insist Trump is racist but so far you haven’t been able to demonstrate this. As we both can agree racism is a serious issue you do well to consider using the terms only when you can show that it actually applies. And consider the fact that Finland has a similar economic gradient along its border to Russia and they are even more eager to make sure that no Russians get into their country. And Russians are White, in fact, that region has the most White people on Earth. Racism isn’t the only reason why people guard their borders.

    “…Trump has hereby declared that he has rendered suspicious the intent of any “Mexican” who now interacts with him (“Because I’m building a wall”). His relationship with Mexican Americans has essentially been broken.”

    We’ve already been through this. Trump claims there is a potential bias that the overwhelming majority of people agree exists and that is addressed in jury selection, but not judge selection. But you don’t. If that’s all it takes then most social contracts in America are already broken. Unless you think judges are above these biases. And if you insist that he could appeal instead then you should be ok with the same procedure for jury selection. I get the distinct impression that you’re not ok with that.

    “As for evolution, I think you can have clannish behavior and a functioning democracy IF there is a shared civic space where people meet the basic social contract of baseline civility and respect…”
    Yes, but that’s just it. How clannish a person is will determine their civic-mindedness and respect for others. This goes to the core of clannishness: a loyalty to the family, tribe, group. Only in populations where you have a history of outbreeding – Northwest Europeans, Japanese, to some extent Koreans – do you get a loyalty to principles rather than ingroups. You can see this in corruption, the most conspicuous correlate of clannishness as it is a direct consequence of these loyalties,

    http://www.transparency.org/cpi2015#map-container

    This map is updated yearly but it always looks the same. The populations I mentioned above are the least corrupt and the most clannish are the most corrupt. So then the question is if a “shared civic space” can fix the situation. I would argue that civic-minded people create such civic space rather than the Blank Slate argument of vice versa. If you think California will make your case, consider the stats from the Manhattan Institute based on IRS data. They show that an increase of foreign, largely Hispanic, immigration has been followed by a domestic migration out of the state.This is not coexistence, it’s replacement. Civic-minded people leave and are replaced by people who protect relatives who broke the law when they jumped the fence, rather than respect the law. Clannish rather than civic-minded, no? There is no state-level data from Transparency International, but a state that allows 12% of the population as illegal non-citizens is already pretty corrupt by any standards.

    And corruption always kills economies in the long run, as you can see on the map above. You say,
    “It’s fine here. It’s more than fine. It’s the wealthiest state in the country. It’s desirable to live here on many, many levels.”

    Bureau of Economic Analysis begs to differ. It has California’s Real GDP per Capita at 56K dollars. This is slightly lower than the average for the entire New England and Mideast even though the state relies on illegals to a much higher extent. And according to the US Census, California has the highest poverty rate in America – again not counting those 12% non-citizens.

    You may be at the forefront of the Enlightenment project, but keep in mind that the people who started the Enlightenment based their project on the Blank Slate assumption. They never considered the possibility that populations might differ in intelligence or that some had a long history of inbreeding causing a stronger selection for clannishness. If they lived today they would have noticed that their ideas never caught on much outside Northwest European populations, the people who with the weakest inclination to marry relatives. That made it possible for those early 13 states to come together as a nation. But even that didn’t work perfect. The most clannish group, the Scotch-Irish didn’t integrate very well. Whether you look at the misery of West Virginia or the honor culture of Texas and Oklahoma you can see how these states still remain different, for the worse, than the non-clannish states. So this has failed before, and most likely it will fail again.

    “But if we can defeat the Trumps of this world (in whatever form Herderian segregationists take, including isolated Muslim communities, not just Southern racists), then the country will be a beacon for other countries. Democracy combined with multiculturalism can work–or it can’t. And we’re at the forefront of that experiment.”

    America was that beacon in the 1950s. These days, not so much. Time will tell if you can make it work, but you have to beat the odds. Look at the average IQs of nations over the world. No one is doing well at the Californian level, and according to official stats mentioned above, neither is California. You’re also hoping to be uncorrupt with a large part of the population being clannish. That would also be a first. And last but not least, natives are leaving. You don’t get a clearer thumbs down than that.

    Sources:
    https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/demo/p60-251.pdf (page 9)
    http://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTable.cfm?reqid=70&step=1&isuri=1&acrdn=2#reqid=70&step=10&isuri=1&7003=1000&7035=-1&7004=naics&7005=1&7006=xx&7036=-1&7001=11000&7002=1&7090=70&7007=2015&7093=levels
    http://www.manhattan-institute.org/pdf/cr_71.pdf (page 8)

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