Don’t let Trump be Trump

People my age recall the “Let Reagan be Reagan” chant from his true believers. With Trump it’s the opposite; you don’t want him to to be himself. Here’s what Steve Bannon thinks is the real Trump:

“We still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency. But that presidency is over. It’ll be something else. And there’ll be all kinds of fights, and there’ll be good days and bad days, but that presidency is over,” Bannon said. He added that it would be a miscalculation to assume Trump will change.

“His actual default position is the position of his base,” Bannon said. “I think you saw it this week on Charlottesville.”

I think that’s right.  The real Trump is a guy who’d like to be a fascist dictator committing war crimes, but our country won’t let him fill that role.  (That’s why Trump respects people like Duterte and Putin more than the Angela Merkels of the world.)

Right after the election, I pointed out that early appointments like Flynn and Bannon were either loony or scary.  Now they are gone, as are many others.  Don’t get me wrong; it’s still a bad administration, but it’s no longer horrific, off-the-charts bad.  People like Cohn and Kelly are now in charge.

It’s been interesting to watch the National Review pivot once again.  They were strongly anti-Trump during the campaign, before tilting more in his favor after the election.  Now they are once again appalled:

In One Tweet, Donald Trump Just Spread Fake History, Libeled a Hero, and Admired an Alleged War Crime

[Trump’s recent tweet] is almost certainly referring to a story he told during the campaign. He claimed that General John J. Pershing crushed an Islamic insurgency in the Philippines by committing a heinous war crime. Here’s Trump at a South Carolina rally:

They were having terrorism problems, just like we do,” Trump said. “And he caught 50 terrorists who did tremendous damage and killed many people. And he took the 50 terrorists, and he took 50 men and he dipped 50 bullets in pigs’ blood — you heard that, right? He took 50 bullets, and he dipped them in pigs’ blood. And he had his men load his rifles, and he lined up the 50 people, and they shot 49 of those people. And the 50th person, he said: You go back to your people, and you tell them what happened. And for 25 years, there wasn’t a problem. Okay? Twenty-five years, there wasn’t a problem . . .

Trump isn’t just spreading falsehoods, he’s doing so in a context that puts a presidential stamp of approval on war crimes. Even worse, he’s doing it in direct defiance of the warrior ethos of the American military. There is no possible way that any of Trump’s generals would approve of this sentiment. I’ve never met an American officer who would carry out an order to commit an atrocity like this.

Trump is careening out of control. He says what he wants, when he wants, and neither truth nor consistency nor wisdom nor prudence dictates a single syllable that comes out of his mouth. By many accounts he’s taken to directly defying his advisers simply for the sake of declaring that he’s in charge. This isn’t leadership. It’s a collection of temper tantrums. Unfortunately, those tantrums have consequences.

People are shocked that we’ve ended up with a madman in the White House, but this was all clearly spelled out in the campaign.  GOP voters apparently had no problem with a candidate advocating war crimes.

Going forward, the key will be whether the grownups in the room can keep the big baby in his crib.  I hope and pray that our generals have privately decided not to carry out a order to launch a nuclear attack, unless of course the generals agree with Trump that there is a threat that would justify that sort of action.

PS.  Heh Mr. Macho Trump: How come you didn’t tell us during the campaign that there was a Washington establishment that would emasculate you once you took office?  You told us that you were a man of action that would get things done.  “Who knew the deep state could be so complicated?”

PPS:  The bigger the threat, the bigger the overreaction:

1.  WWII leads to internment camps for Americans wrongly called “Japanese”.

2.  Stalin leads to McCarthyism

3.  9/11 leads to TSA and NSA abuses, plus the Iraq war

4.  The alt-right is leading to a rise in left-wing opposition to free speech.

The right attitude was to oppose internment camps, McCarthy, and the NSA, but to oppose the Nazis, Stalin and Al Qaeda even more strongly.  Much more strongly. That seems pretty simple, but it’s remarkable how few people are able to do so.

So oppose the left-wing overreaction, but oppose what provoked that overreaction even more strongly.



75 Responses to “Don’t let Trump be Trump”

  1. Gravatar of Kgaard Kgaard
    19. August 2017 at 09:47

    Hi Scott … Are you familiar with the concept of a holiness spiral? I think that is what’s gripping the left. And these things don’t tend to stop … they just keep getting more and more whipped up. The idea that the alt right is causing left-wing opposition to free speech … man … I mean … yeah, that’s happening. But the growth of the alt-right itself is so obviously a response to overreach by the left. Look at James Damore. He’s not alt-right. He’s just a computer dweeb and they fired him for quoting science.

    I think an interesting way this is going to play out is in the implosion of the university system. It’s a voice-vs.-exit type of situation. The right has no voice in the university clerisy, so they are going to leave it and defund it. Mizzou’s freshmen enrollment down 16% this year.

  2. Gravatar of Hana Hana
    19. August 2017 at 10:25

    #4 on PPS is not true. The alt-right is not the cause of the left-wing to shut down free speech. The left has been more than willing to shut down free speech for decades. I don’t recall the alt-right trigger event that caused the riots in Seattle in 1999, do you?

  3. Gravatar of TravisV TravisV
    19. August 2017 at 10:41

    Prof. Sumner,

    I think David French at NRO has consistently been strongly anti-Trump.

  4. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    19. August 2017 at 11:39

    There are many (most?) Trump voters who knew he was a mess but were convinced that Hillary was worse. I don’t agree, but fine that’s your right to think so and vote that way.

    Now that he knocked her out, do these voters still think he’s a mess? Are there any that actually didn’t realize he’s a mess and now realize it? Why don’t these people say “ok the witch is gone, but this guy’s a loony, let’s get him outta there.” Pence can cut taxes and do pretty much anything Trump can but not be a mess about it.

  5. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    19. August 2017 at 11:48

    I disagree with #4 as well. The crusade of the Left against free speech is so much older. Both sides have strong totalitarian tendencies but I’m much more afraid of the Left because firstly they got so much more people with so much more power and secondly they have been implementing their dark fantasies for years and they will continue to do so. Charlottesville is just a stalking horse for them.

    Those neo-Nazis from Charlottesville are really ugly as well but unlike left radicalism they will never get anything done in our lifetimes (and beyond that) ever. They lost the war long time ago and there’s no coming back from that. The radical left on the other hand is pretty much undefeated and that makes them so strong and so dangerous.

  6. Gravatar of Jon Jon
    19. August 2017 at 11:51


    Another day, another post full of reason. You nailed it. But why did Trump “win”? Both Trump and Hillary were dyed-in-the-wool with identity politics. Different identity politics but both nonetheless. The skin heads are far worse as they outright reject pluralism, but as we can see, there was never a chance they would take power of any kind in this country. The progressive movement on the other hand is a potent latent force–as seen from the multiple layers of the resistance and willingness of thought leaders to inveigh.

    It was clear from the outset that Trump would have trouble pulling the levers of power. It was also clear that Hillary would have been quite good at pulling the levers of power–to personal advantage yes but making full use of patronage to do it.

    The country had been creeping toward a certain radicalism–whether that’s the placement of party committees and political officers inside large corporations and universities, to the use of subtly crafted to destroy regulation such as beset the coal industry, to toleration and veneration of authoritarian governments such as Venezuela and Cuba.

    This is why Trump the radical was overlooked and tolerated. It wasn’t because his radicalism is thought to be okay. It was thought to be something containable… and you can see the moderate forces in the republican party gradually contained it–ejecting the radicals from the white house one-by-one. The more you read about how the ousted advisors were actually allies in the White House, you start to see that rather than being the product of chaos, the smarter moderate elements of the white house maneuvered with strategic effectiveness.

  7. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    19. August 2017 at 12:03

    You are explaining it perfectly yourself. A lot of people knew that he is a mess but they preferred a mess that does nothing over a strong leader that leads in the wrong direction. Trump’s messiness is not a bug, it’s a feature. He is working as intended.

  8. Gravatar of Steve F Steve F
    19. August 2017 at 13:10

    Chief tell for cognitive dissonance: thinking you can read peoples’ thoughts.

  9. Gravatar of Matthew Moore Matthew Moore
    19. August 2017 at 13:12

    You hope and pray there has been a silent military coup? Just kidding. As I’ve said before, military personnel are not only allowed to ignore illegal orders to commit warcrimes, they are required to. These generals spend a *lot* of time studying what ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘disproportionate’ means in military and international law.

  10. Gravatar of Morgan Warstler Morgan Warstler
    19. August 2017 at 13:48

    scott is so far off its hard to no where to start.

    The Pershing storey doesnt have to be TRUE. Altho is kind of is, he sh*t all over Muslims norms as strategy. Thats the point. Trump Voters know we arent getting hit, and they know Trump is signalling that we WILL do things to them EU wont. America likes tbis strategy.

    Trump Voters are fully behind his BOTH SIDES, and SOME FINE PEOPLE, bemc they know it was not 100% 4Chan troll nazis. Scott, you really should read some of the forum posts where those 3 gangs of white nationalists were getting ready for their event.

    Its Hilarious. They are all afriad someone might dress up as one of tbem and sceeam the N word. They are Live Action Role Playing.

    Nkw then the Alt-Left, Antifa, they however have been funded and organzinfmg as anarchists for 20 ywars. And we have now NAMED THEM, and America NEEDS A NAME…

    so that we can make war on them af Federal Level. See Organized Crime.

    Its also critical thag now going forward we can measure;

    was Boston BOTH SIDES or just the ONE SIDE Alt-Left.

    This will lead to right throwing events as hwad fakes just to bring out Paid Violence.

    I have been saying over and over this should remind us all of 1969, Left has been dead for 2 years and doesnt know it, and is getting worse and worse… leading to:

    Kent State / Jackson State next year if pattern holds. Called the most popular mass murder in US History. I grew up in its shadow.

    By 1970, even with a god damn war on, America was SICK of dirty bum losers playing anarchist.

    FOCUS! Scott, your ONLY job is to geg left calmed down NOW before America puts her boot on their throats and Trump wins 2020 in landslide like Nixon.

    BTW, Gallups last 80K adult poll two weeks ago?

    MI, WI, NV, NV Trump is over 50% job approval with likely voters.

    And nobody told any of you… you havent HEARD.

    There has been NO movement against Trump in Trump Belt and hes picking up Hispanics and Union households.

    For the love of god, Scott, stop repeating history.

    You should be thinking WHAT can Kelly GIVE Bannon and Breitbart that will cool their jets on rest.

    Id say WALL. I think you shoukd be picking tbe thing thaf does least damage and screaming to give it to Trump Voters.

  11. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    19. August 2017 at 15:29

    Agreed. But for the purposes of this blog, do you think GOP establishment monetary policies will be any better or worse than those that might be seen under Trump?

  12. Gravatar of Patrick Sullivan Patrick Sullivan
    19. August 2017 at 15:52

    ‘Stalin leads to McCarthyism’, which is a good thing, you mean? Opposing a great mass murderer is the right thing to do, especially one who has his minions established in the US State and Treasury Dept and the US Army.

    I take it, Scott, that since you’ve never managed to meet my challenge of naming anyone who Joe McCarthy treated unfairly, that you no longer hold the belief that McCarthy did any such thing.

    Especially since Jung Chang, in her doorstopper of a book on Mao, vindicated Joe’s judgment of George C. Marshall. I.e. (using Chinese sources) that our then Ambassador to China prevented Chiang Kai Shek from defeating Mao and Chou En Lai’s communist forces in the autumn of 1945, under the influence of the communist-protecting liaisons in Chungking we were paying to protect America’s interests in China.

    We wouldn’t want to be slandering great Americans who aren’t here to defend themselves, of course.

  13. Gravatar of Lorenzo from Oz Lorenzo from Oz
    19. August 2017 at 17:06

    The Alt-Right is fairly obviously a product of Pomo Progressivism. In particular, they self-consciously copy what they see as successful “left” tactics.

    I agree with the action and counter-reaction point, it is just that since Pomo Progressivism has much more of the commanding cultural heights and is an patently insatiable “ever more demands” source, so is much more of the original motivating force in the pendulum/cycle.

    Leninism led to Fascism, Stalinism led to Nazism, rather than the other way around. Same again. (But this time as farce.)

    Philosopher Stephen Hicks is effect in drawing the dots from Marxism to Postmodernism. (His book “Explaining Postmodernism” is terrific.)

  14. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    19. August 2017 at 17:06

    Travis, It’s not just French–the NR has recently been highly critical of Trump. They’ve turned on him.

    Patrick, You said:

    “I take it, Scott, that since you’ve never managed to meet my challenge of naming anyone who Joe McCarthy treated unfairly, that you no longer hold the belief that McCarthy did any such thing”

    No, I said the burden of proof was on you. You need to convince the conservative historian establishment that they are wrong about McCarthy. If you can’t even do that, can’t even convince conservatives, why should I waste my time with your arguments? I’m not even a historian. Heck, the only way I know Columbus discovered America is that the historians told me. I wasn’t there seeing it first hand.

  15. Gravatar of Lorenzo from Oz Lorenzo from Oz
    19. August 2017 at 17:09

    Movement conservatism’s actual “Southern Strategy” was to change the political conversation away from race (which Southern Democrats had owned for decades) to family values, small government, anti-communism etc (i.e. make it Republican). It is modern progressivism which insists on turning the conversation back to race, race, race. One can see how the National Review is recurrently appalled but hates agreeing with their longer term opponents.

  16. Gravatar of Cornflour Cornflour
    19. August 2017 at 17:58

    Hana and Christian List are both obviously correct about point #4.

    Unfortunately, the mainstream Left media and so-called Progressives have been spreading the line that “[t]he alt-right is leading to a rise in left-wing opposition to free speech.” Also, they argue that limits to free speech are justified. They even say that violent opposition to hate-speech is understandable.

    Soon, the mainstream Left media and politicians will firmly attach the mysterious alt-right to conservatives and libertarians. Already, so-called alt-right internet sites are being taken down — faster than statues — by Google, Apple, GoDaddy, and others. Since most internet traffic is mobile, and mobile traffic is controlled by Apple and Google, all views dissenting from theirs — i.e. hate — may soon be deleted.

    I can’t believe that Mr. Sumner agrees with their views on limiting free speech, but he wasn’t too clear about it. Maybe his Trump-hate will be enough to let him sneak past the new speech police. I know I’d miss the blog, so I hope everybody takes care that their hate comments aren’t misdirected. I’m pretty sure that Trump will always be a safe target. On that score, Mr. Sumner’s predictability acts as a safety net.

  17. Gravatar of Patrick Sullivan Patrick Sullivan
    19. August 2017 at 18:05

    So, we’re now using the appeal to authority (ad verecundiam, iirmyl). One wonders how we ever escaped the belief that interest rates are the prices of money, with that as the standard.

    Why should a non-historian care what the facts are? Gee, I don’t know. How about intellectual curiosity? You’d be surprised how many non professional scholars exhibit that trait? Of course that does seem to be lacking in Donald Trump….

  18. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    19. August 2017 at 19:47

    None of this post makes any sense, or contains the least bit of truth. Nobody really knows what’s going on with the Trump administration at this point. I think that’s deliberate.

  19. Gravatar of Scott Freelander Scott Freelander
    19. August 2017 at 21:28


    Many conservatives used dog whistles for decades. They didn’t want to talk about race explicitly.

  20. Gravatar of Massimo Heitor Massimo Heitor
    20. August 2017 at 08:32

    “So oppose the left-wing overreaction, but oppose what provoked that overreaction even more strongly.”

    What provoked left-wing overreaction is that they lost political power and narrative control over interpretation of political news that they felt is rightfully theirs and they are furious and hysterical.

    We shouldn’t oppose those things, we should celebrate. The left deserved to lose power, their control of narrative was outrageous, and it’s good that is is being challenged.

    Arthur Herman has a good article on National Review on preserving the Confederate Monuments and pushing back on left-wing offensive culture war.

  21. Gravatar of Patrick Sullivan Patrick Sullivan
    20. August 2017 at 09:03

    Thanks Massimo, the piece by Arthur Herman is good. Herman just happens to be something that Scott is in denial about. A respected historian who has written an honest book about…Joe McCarthy! One that Scott badly needs to read (if he wants to continue to make assertions about McCarthy, in good faith, that is).

    Also, Holman Jenkins checks in in the WSJ with a good piece with some factual evidence that Trump was correct in his assessment about Charlottesville;

  22. Gravatar of Major-Freedom Major-Freedom
    20. August 2017 at 10:06

    Antifa are communists, who call all opposing ideologies fascism:

  23. Gravatar of Major-Freedom Major-Freedom
    20. August 2017 at 10:14

    I want Trump to be himself because as flawed as it is, it is still far better than the morality Sumner is implying he should act in accordance with. All Sumner has is “Muh Russia”, which the Alt Left media has suddenly completely given up on like they never spent a year trying to brainwash people, because it was a lie the entire time and now they have to deal with the Awan scandal, the murders, the election fraud, which Sumner the propagandist completely ignores of course, to “Thou shalt listen to the swamp, thou shalt listen to the pedophile Globalists who are using communist civilian/paramilitary groups to bring increased statism to the US”.

    Sumner do you have anything that you have on Trump that you also wrote post after post for Obama or any of his commie advisors? Nothing substantial you have written in the last year has any evidence. All you keep doing is quoting the Alt Left-Deep state propaganda outlets.

    Why should anyone believe in these conspiracy theories you keep pushing?

  24. Gravatar of Major-Freedom Major-Freedom
    20. August 2017 at 10:16

    And no, your “nose” has already been proven a failure.

    Try actual evidence.

  25. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    20. August 2017 at 10:31

    The Communists in Russia, and in China, and in Cambodia, they too tried to destroy historical monuments, books, buildings, etc.

    Meanwhile, as Antifa, paid for by Soros, destroy monuments, this blog’s reaction is to muse on slippery slope arguments.

    Missing the forest for the trees.

  26. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    20. August 2017 at 10:37

    Remember when many months ago I wrote on this blog about actual evidence based news concerning the IT staffers of the Democrats, the Awans, and the usual yokels and blockheads on this blog couldn’t put two brain cells together to do their own research because it contradicted the Alt Left narrative?

  27. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    20. August 2017 at 10:46

    And those disgusting communists are now trying to equate, psychological warfare style, the incredibly important institution of free speech, with racism.

    Do you yokels see the threat here?

    Someone says there is going to be a free speech rally, in Boston for example, and the communists cannot handle free speech, since they lose in the realm of argumentation and debate against their own claims, so they turn towards violence and call all free speech a fascist threat.

    Attacking free speech, destroying statues and monuments, attacking innocent people.

    Where have we seen that before? Oh that’s right, Trump is calling for all of that. Oh wait, no, Trump is a fascist. There, that makes me feel better.


  28. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    20. August 2017 at 10:52

    Now of course the bigger threat is not the parent basement dwelling troglodytes with masks and baseball bats, waving the flag of the Third Communist International in Germany in 1932.

    It is those financing them.

    We have to dig and find out who these people are, and why they are trying to brainwash the general public into equating free speech with Nazism.

    We need to find out why they are threatened by open dialogue, debate, science, and reason.

  29. Gravatar of major.freedom major.freedom
    20. August 2017 at 11:24

    Adolf Hitler is the story of a failed liberal arts student who blamed it on ethnicities he deemed privileged.

  30. Gravatar of major.freedom major.freedom
    20. August 2017 at 11:25

  31. Gravatar of major.freedom major.freedom
    20. August 2017 at 11:29

    Antifaschistische Aktion:

    Their whole purpose was to fight and disrupt all political opponent speeches, marches, and rallies, much like Antifa does now. Once WW2 was over and Berlin was split into east and west, specialized workers like doctors and engineers were flooding into the western section of the city and the soviet block was freaking about about the potential revenue they were losing. They then built the wall and told us that this was an: “Antifaschistischer Schutzwall” or Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart by GDR authorities.

    If you just google: ‘anti fascist wall’, the Berlin Wall wikipedia page will come up first.

    Speaking of GDR authorities. Many of the previous KPD who survived the war were put into power by the soviets, and many prominent antifa then were placed in positions to form a new police that the world knew as the Stasi. One of the reasons why the Stasi were so good at tracking down is that the community was put on edge to each other so everyone was submitting info on everyone. The main thought was if you were submitting more info you wouldn’t be taken away into the night and shot. Official Stasi were not able to really be able to do this on every single citizen; they had ‘unofficial’ officers which shouldn’t be too hard of a stretch to figure out ‘who’ those people may be. These people were so dedicated to their anti fascism that they almost brought the world to war by shooting and leaving to bleed out and die on the wall an 18 year old who wanted to flee to the ‘fascist’ west.

  32. Gravatar of major.freedom major.freedom
    20. August 2017 at 11:35

    Antifa codebook:

    1. Get everyone to agree that violence against is allowed against Nazis.

    2. Increase the definition of Nazi to include everyone right of center.

    3. Now you can beat up anyone you disagree with because they are Nazis.

  33. Gravatar of major.freedom major.freedom
    20. August 2017 at 11:37

    The idiots aren’t even trying to hide it:

  34. Gravatar of major.freedom major.freedom
    20. August 2017 at 11:39

    Life in a Communist country. Two Cambodian soldiers play a game involving throwing children on top of a bayonet, sometime around 1974:

    Those children were probably Nazis.

  35. Gravatar of major.freedom major.freedom
    20. August 2017 at 11:40

    “Racism is not dead, but it is on life support – kept alive by politicians, race hustlers and people who get a sense of superiority by denouncing others as racists” – Thomas Sowell

  36. Gravatar of major.freedom major.freedom
    20. August 2017 at 11:42

    CNN *supports* the violent communists:

  37. Gravatar of major.freedom major.freedom
    20. August 2017 at 11:44

    Slippery slope just went full retard:

  38. Gravatar of major.freedom major.freedom
    20. August 2017 at 11:47

    Dont’ forget Hillary!

    And her black slaves:

  39. Gravatar of Lorenzo from Oz Lorenzo from Oz
    20. August 2017 at 15:48

    Scott Freelander: the “dog whistle” point is way overdone and is a standard “but they are REALLY talking about race so it’s fine if we continue to obsess about it” line. Scott Alexander takes it apart nicely here:

    Arnold Kling’s “The Three Languages of Politics” point is also relevant.

  40. Gravatar of Scott Freelander Scott Freelander
    20. August 2017 at 17:14


    Scott Alexander also once said Rush Limbaugh isn’t racist, right? Limbaugh played the song “Barrack the Magic Negro”on air repeatedly, laughing. I don’t think Alexander is right at all about this stuff.

  41. Gravatar of Patrick Sullivan Patrick Sullivan
    20. August 2017 at 17:54

    AS EVERY CARBON-BASED life form on this planet surely knows, Barack Obama, the junior Democratic senator from Illinois, is running for president. Since making his announcement, there has been no end of commentary about him in all quarters — musing over his charisma and the prospect he offers of being the first African American to be elected to the White House.

    But it’s clear that Obama also is running for an equally important unelected office, in the province of the popular imagination — the “Magic Negro.”

    The Magic Negro is a figure of postmodern folk culture, coined by snarky 20th century sociologists, to explain a cultural figure who emerged in the wake of Brown vs. Board of Education. “He has no past, he simply appears one day to help the white protagonist,” reads the description on Wikipedia….

    He’s there to assuage white “guilt” (i.e., the minimal discomfort they feel) over the role of slavery and racial segregation in American history, while replacing stereotypes of a dangerous, highly sexualized black man with a benign figure for whom interracial sexual congress holds no interest.

    As might be expected, this figure is chiefly cinematic — embodied by such noted performers as Sidney Poitier, Morgan Freeman, Scatman Crothers, Michael Clarke Duncan, Will Smith and, most recently, Don Cheadle. And that’s not to mention a certain basketball player whose very nickname is “Magic.”

    Before everyone erupts in indignation…the author of this LA Times piece is, himself, an African American.

  42. Gravatar of Scott Freelander Scott Freelander
    20. August 2017 at 20:47

    More people are coming around to the idea that Trump may be mentally ill:

  43. Gravatar of Major-Freedom Major-Freedom
    21. August 2017 at 03:35


    I have been reading about the fake news narrative of “Mentally ill” since last June. It is a deliberate Alt Left political strategy.

    In real news:

    Judicial Watch found that 108% of California voted:

    Election fraud, murder of Seth Rich, DNC emails leaked not hacked, and the yokels on this blog are talking about Trump’s mean Tweets.

  44. Gravatar of Major-Freedom Major-Freedom
    21. August 2017 at 03:36

    Reporter who exposed the BBC’s coverup of pedophilia has been found dead:

  45. Gravatar of Scott Freelander Scott Freelander
    21. August 2017 at 04:26


    It is speculation about Trump’s mental health. I personally think he’s likely suffering from some form of senility, but testing would be needed to confirm. My opinion is growing more popular, and appears to be widely shared in the medical community.

    You have descended into deep, deep conspiracy theory, and I don’t say that to be insulting. You’re way, way off on Trump and Trump will be considered a failed President even by most of his supporters, eventually, like W.

  46. Gravatar of Mark Mark
    21. August 2017 at 05:35

    Scott Freelander: it’s commonplace for ideologues to accuse their opponents of being mentally ill; maybe it’s occasionally true, but generally it can be safely dismissed as the usual punditry (people said it about Reagan too; maybe you agree). Also, if Trump completes his tenure without a major war or recession his will likely be remembered as one of the most successful administrations in decades. Now that may be mostly a matter of luck and circumstance (which is why Obama will be remembered fondly: right place at the right time) but posterity will care more about the recessions and wars, or lackthereof, than anything the president actually said.

  47. Gravatar of Mark Mark
    21. August 2017 at 05:42

    Also, regarding swinging pendulum of politics, here’s a creative theory: it’s the lack of good, apolitical entertainment that’s the problem. How do polarization and escalation get defused? Maybe by people just not caring about politics; getting distracted by sports, TV, video games; allowing them to cool down.

    Maybe the increasing politicization of entertainment keeps everyone perpetually reminded what tribe they’re in, keeps them amped up. The escapism of apolitical art and entertainment may be crucial to keeping society on an even keel (I.e. The opium of the masses).

  48. Gravatar of Scott Freelander Scott Freelander
    21. August 2017 at 07:20


    Early in my career as a psychologist, I used to do as many as 50 mental health evaluations in a day. It isn’t ideology for me. I have plenty of reasons to dislike and oppose Trump. I don’t need mental illness as one of them.

    Once again, thorough testing would need to be done to confirm senility, but on the other hand it can be easy to spot, when severe.

    Compare Trump’s media appearances in recent years with those of many years ago. Trump was much sharper back then, more focused, less rambling, and less anger and craziness. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t a terrible person or was well-informed. He just seemed much sharper.

  49. Gravatar of Scott Freelander Scott Freelander
    21. August 2017 at 07:38

    By the way, I am aware many psychologists and psychiatrists were ridiculous in claiming Goldwater was mentally ill. The profession was much different back then, with unscientific Freudian theory still holding sway. It wasn’t until DSM IV, for example, in the early 90s, that Freudian concepts were left out of official diagnostic criteria.

  50. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    21. August 2017 at 11:03

    @Scott Freedlander

    Rather than comment on the Professors usual nonsense about politics, I would direct you and other readers to Wikipedia’s entry “Magical Negro”. Your comment about Rush Limbaugh’s parody shows an unfortunate lack of awareness about the derivation of the term in cinema and literature. Don’t worry, its short, informative and better than my summary. Its actually quite interesting. I would point you to a blog I once wrote on Breitbart, but self referencing is a sign of madness!

  51. Gravatar of Patrick Sullivan Patrick Sullivan
    21. August 2017 at 12:26

    It’s The Show Me State, and they got shown, by the paying customers;

    As classes begin this week, freshmen enrollment is down 35% since the protests, according to the latest numbers the university has publicly released. Mizzou is beginning the year with the smallest incoming class since 1999. Overall enrollment is down by more than 2,000 students, to 33,200. The campus has taken seven dormitories out of service.

    The plummeting support has also cost jobs. In May, Mizzou announced it would lay off as many as 100 people and eliminate 300 more positions through retirement and attrition. Last year the university reduced its library staff and cut 50 cleaning and maintenance jobs.

    Mizzou’s 2016 football season drew almost 13,000 fewer attendees than in 2015, local media reported. During basketball games, one-third of the seats in the Mizzou Arena sat empty.

    I’ll leave it to the mental health professional to connect this dot with Charlottesville.

  52. Gravatar of Mark Mark
    21. August 2017 at 18:59

    Scott Freelander:
    “Early in my career as a psychologist, I used to do as many as 50 mental health evaluations in a day. It isn’t ideology for me. I have plenty of reasons to dislike and oppose Trump. I don’t need mental illness as one of them.”

    Then maybe you should focus on those reasons instead of speculating about his mental health?

  53. Gravatar of BC BC
    21. August 2017 at 21:16

    Everyone, yes, the left has been anti-speech even before the alt-Right, but the alt-Right has made it more difficult to oppose them. Similarly, there has always been a faction favoring more surveillance, weaker civil liberties protections, etc., but 9/11 made them more difficult to oppose. The Patriot Act passed in the wake of 9/11 because no one wanted to be seen as “soft on terrorism”. Charlottesville makes it harder to defend free speech because no one wants to be seen as defending neo-Nazis.

    Scott’s basic point is correct. Oppose internment camps and McCarthy and support civil liberties and free speech, but oppose Nazis, Stalin, and Al Qaeda even more strongly. Many people seem to get half of it right, but 1 out of 2 isn’t really enough.

  54. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    22. August 2017 at 05:51

    There is more to life than seething about Trump. Here’s an interesting sentence from the NYT:

    “Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s former chief strategist, worried that the generals were leading the president down the same path as Mr. Obama, who felt boxed in by his generals in 2009, his first year in office, when he agreed to send 30,000 additional troops.”

    Yay deep state?

  55. Gravatar of Scott Freelander Scott Freelander
    22. August 2017 at 06:29

    Those blaming the left for the behavior of the right have an even lower opinion of the rightests than we liberals. We at least hold them completely responsible for their own actions. Many of you seem to consider them children, easily turned toward white nationalism by strict, mean liberals. Snowflakes indeed.

  56. Gravatar of Scott Freelander Scott Freelander
    22. August 2017 at 06:36

    I think it’s more parsimonious to say those of us on the left were right all along. The conservative and libertarian movements have been full of racists for decades. There are real libertarians like Scott, Bryan Caplan, etc. and then there are those who joined the so-called alt-right, which has much to do with bigoted nationalism.

    To paraphrase Warren Buffett, when the moral tide went out, many were caught skinny dipping. To blame liberals is to surrender the last pretension of dignity in the form of taking responsibility for oneself.

  57. Gravatar of Benny Lava Benny Lava
    22. August 2017 at 10:30

    Conservatives are all doves when a Democrat is president but hawks when a Republican is president. Remember their schizophrenia regarding Syria? You conservatards love war so much you want a monopoly on it. But why are you so bad at winning them?

    Also re: Rush Limbaugh remember when he got fired from the NFL because he said Donovan Mcnabb was over rated because he’s black? Lol but hey not racist lol!

  58. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    22. August 2017 at 19:16

    Sumner, I didn’t know you were such a big fan of the War in Afghanistan.

  59. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    22. August 2017 at 19:59

    Lorenzo, Actually it was Trump who turned the conversation to race and ethnicity—Mexicans, Muslims and Chinese.

    Patrick, In order to be successful in life a person has to budget their time. Long ago I decided not to waste time with loony conspiracy theories, and instead let others sort it all out. When they reach a conclusion then I’ll take a look. Not before, and certainly not on the recommendation of someone who defends Trump.

    Mark, You said:

    “Also, if Trump completes his tenure without a major war or recession his will likely be remembered as one of the most successful administrations in decades.”

    Historians have already made up their minds. And since when is “recession” the test of a good economy? Trump told us that Obama did poorly on the economy, despite presiding over steady growth. Was the Obama economy good?

    Harding, When a country attacks us I believe in fighting back. When the Taliban surrender then it’s time to leave.

  60. Gravatar of Dots Dots
    23. August 2017 at 09:46

    Prof. Sumner,

    Wasn’t economic growth under Obama slow, relative to other postwar Presidents? Trump is, thus far, in a more favorable part of the biz cycle than 2x elected Obama enjoyed. ‘hiring’ signs r everywhere. I’m carrying mail during this summer break from school, and the mailman union recently agreed with USPS on big raises for all mailmen – more than a hundred thousand souls. sales and property taxes will bulge public employee and contractor rents. the military is paying higher reenlistment bonuses and recruiting thousands of additional enlistees. the most populous economies in the world grow fast and buy more US oil, coal, uni diplomas, weapons, and coastal housing. Reagan’s protectionist noises seem to have worked on Japanese auto firms. why shouldn’t we expect Trump’s to have some utility for his base, at the margin?

    Baby Boomers r aging into Florida and millennials r aging into skills. after years on an organic farm co-op during the recession, my sis recently completed nursing school. I read that nursing is the 3rd most popular major now. my buddy was working his butt off as a chef at an ok restaurant, but he’s received much better pay and bennies as a pipefitter, since he changed jobs in June. does it matter who deserves credit for this latest jump? the largest generation in US history will remember these years as some of the best of our lives

    a tax cut and long-term military stalemate with a growing roster of great powers, including the largest economy in the world..maybe software will soon eat the truckers, but for now it seems like boom times for he-men

    Most Rs seem to have voted for John McCain after 2 GWB terms, so I don’t expect any great contrition after Trump. It seems unlikely, to me, that Trump will go as far in any wrong direction as born-again Bush 2 did. Clinton doesn’t seem to get much shtick for Rwanda, and Trump won’t get it if S. Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, or Nigeria goes real bad. the dude abides

  61. Gravatar of Patrick Sullivan Patrick Sullivan
    23. August 2017 at 12:27

    For those who are not resistant to the facts, here’s video evidence that Donald Trump was right about what happened in Charlottesville;

    The young man in the Dodge Challenger was attempting to flee a mob of thugs who’d surrounded his car and was beating it with clubs and bats. There’s another video that shows the car driving at a slow rate of speed up a street, when it’s surrounded by people. One of them is clearly shown striking the rear of the car with a baseball bat, before the car hits anyone.

    The news media has gotten it exactly backwards yet again. Just as it did in the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case. In that one, the prosecution’s star witness vindicated Zimmerman. She admitted that Trayvon attacked Zimmerman because they’d convinced themselves he was a homosexual, stalking Trayvon (Who, she told Piers Morgan, after the verdict, ‘wasn’t that way [i.e., gay]’.

    Waiting til all the facts have been uncovered. The best revenge!

  62. Gravatar of rabidwombat rabidwombat
    23. August 2017 at 12:49

    The alt-right is a reaction to the mainstream right rejecting racism, isolationism, and extreme nationalism. It’s not a reaction to a dang thing the left is doing – the left has been the left for a long time now, and it’s not doing anything new. That’s part of the reason why Hillary lost, after all. When was the last time the left had a new idea?

    Any perceived rise in left-wing opposition to free speech is likely a response to the alt-right (especially “hate speech”), but historically, the right has been far more hostile to speech than the left. Unless you’re talking about boycotts and such, which strike me as a very free-market response to speech you disagree with.

  63. Gravatar of Scott Freelander Scott Freelander
    23. August 2017 at 14:53

    Patrick Sullivan,

    I don’t doubt there were counter-protestors at that rally who came looking for trouble. That’s not the point. The point is, there were no “very fine people” marching with the Nazis and other white nationalists.

    Also, anti-fascist sentiment is always a good thing. There were often at least a handful of bad actors at MLK demonstrations, but they certainly didn’t characterize his movement.

  64. Gravatar of Patrick Sullivan Patrick Sullivan
    23. August 2017 at 21:06

    ‘The point is, there were no “very fine people” marching with the Nazis and other white nationalists.’

    How do you know that to be true?

  65. Gravatar of Scott Freelander Scott Freelander
    24. August 2017 at 03:41

    Patrick Sullivan,

    Who were the “very fine people” marching with the Nazis, Klan, and white supremacist militias? Plenty we’re interviewed.

  66. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    24. August 2017 at 22:01

    Dots, Don’t rely on anecdotes from mailmen—growth is no better under Trump than under Obama.

  67. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    24. August 2017 at 22:28

    Scott Freelander:

    It is no longer a conspiracy theory when it has evidence.

    What you have been spewing for months on this blog are the true conspiracy theories in the pejorative sense.

    I am not off on Trump, I am right about the deep state power struggles.

    You have already been proven wrong about the claims made by the Alt Left that you believe without evidence because it suits your prejudices. You say “deep, deep conspiracy theory”, as of the evidence has not already been revealed to the world through Wikileaks. Wikileaks has a 100% accuracy record in over 10 years of operation. The garbage you read can’t hold a candle to this.

    You are the one brainwashed by conspiracy theories, not me. You lack evidence, I do not.

    History will prove me wrong? It has already proven you wrong! He fact that you are oblivious to that speaks volumes about your awareness of the world around you. You are in a bubble, self-imposed.

  68. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    24. August 2017 at 22:36

    I am laughing at you Freelander, because you actually believe in the efficacy of Internet psychological diagnoses. Pathetic excuse for a poster you are, to be completely honest.

    The entire narrative that Trump is crazy I already knew was going to be pushed through the alt left media months ago through various published leaks. It was preplanned before Trump even took office. It is a purely political strategy from Trump’s opponents. it came put again because the fake Russia hacked the election narrative was proven as a lie with the latest research confirming the DNC emails were downloaded locally onto a USB thumb drive, and not hacked into from outside.

    You don’t know what you’re talking about because you are incredibly intellectually lazy. Laziness and sloppiness ooze from your posts. It is like you have little if any energy left, slogging and slugging throu life pretending to be on top of the information. You’re clueless.

  69. Gravatar of Benny Lava Benny Lava
    25. August 2017 at 06:55

    Conservatives have great compassion for the unemployed when they happen to be doxxed nazis.

  70. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    25. August 2017 at 07:20

    Scott, are you all moved in? How are you liking your new digs?

  71. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    25. August 2017 at 08:46

    “Lorenzo, Actually it was Trump who turned the conversation to race and ethnicity—Mexicans, Muslims and Chinese.”
    Muslim is an ethnicity? And Trump didn’t turn the conversation to race; only nationality and ethnicity.
    “When a country attacks us I believe in fighting back.”
    Afghanistan didn’t attack the U.S. on 9/11. Neither did the Taliban. Man; your IQ really does fall bigly when you talk politics.

  72. Gravatar of Dots Dots
    25. August 2017 at 12:33

    ‘Dots, Don’t rely on anecdotes from mailmen—growth is no better under Trump than under Obama.’

    point taken, but I think slow growth near the natural rate of unemployment feels better than slow growth at high unemployment. I am not very good at my job, and I feel much less stress under that condition than I would if replacement candidates were closer to hand and fallback jobs were more scarce. while I was filling up my mail truck at Shell a few days ago, I was comforted by the annoying in-pump TV’s advertisement of Amazon warehouse jobs that provide health and dental insurance from the first day of work. around me the minimum wages is upward bound, so I figure it must be even more striking in places like TX

    whether or not it’s the right thing to do, all things considered, legislative forward guidance that promises years without tax hikes and accommodative policy on fossil fuels, finance, military objectives, and boss power in the workplace seems more conducive to growth than Obama’s skepticism about lending and formal disavowals of prevailing techs for electrification and moving heavy objects. Trump’s even been stimulative for the newspapers, I gather

  73. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    26. August 2017 at 09:39

    Tom, Love it.

    Harding. The Taliban and Al Qaeda were joined at the hip. So Afghanistan most certainly did attack us. Perhaps the alt-right media you read failed to report that fact.

    Dots, Again, there is zero evidence that Trump has helped the economy. You might believe his policies are good for the economy, but the evidence is not there yet. Now perhaps if he gets tax reform through things will be different. But I believe that Trump will fail on his promises of 4% growth and bringing back manufacturing jobs. What do you think?

  74. Gravatar of Dots Dots
    26. August 2017 at 12:29

    Profe Sumner

    4% average growth over 8 years seems unlikely, to me. I expect average growth under admin not struck by 70 year recession to b greater than under admin so struck. I expect the good vibes to exceed the numbers.

    Re manufactures I expect that increases in defense procurement and the ‘u get what u measure’ phenomenon will lead to more manufacturing jobs than we’d have had under Hillary. I also expect lesser bank and fossil fuel extraction surveillance regimes to raise house prices, advantage petrochemical manufacturers, drive mileage, and infrastructure spending that demands cement manufacture. I doubt these things will b mostly good, but I think people will prefer this time to the Great Recession, in part because of Trump’s recognition of future-oriwnted virtues as party-inhibitive today

  75. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    29. August 2017 at 08:01

    Lorenzo, Actually it was Trump who turned the conversation to race and ethnicity—Mexicans, Muslims and Chinese.

    I think that’s just not true. A lot of people (even from the left) say that the focus of the left on “identity politics” turned the conversation to race and ethnicity long before Trump showed up. I think they are right.

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