Friday, June 22, 2018

The Descent of America

Paul Krugman is a pretty bad economist, but he understands what is going on in Trump America

He writes:
The speed of America’s moral descent under Donald Trump is breathtaking. In a matter of months we’ve gone from a nation that stood for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to a nation that tears children from their parents and puts them in cages.
What’s almost equally remarkable about this plunge into barbarism is that it’s not a response to any actual problem. The mass influx of murderers and rapists that Trump talks about, the wave of crime committed by immigrants here (and, in his mind, refugees in Germany), are things that simply aren’t happening. They’re just sick fantasies being used to justify real atrocities.
And you know what this reminds me of? The history of anti-Semitism, a tale of prejudice fueled by myths and hoaxes that ended in genocide.
First, let’s talk about modern U.S. immigration and how it compares to those sick fantasies...
What these policies a vision of “American carnage,” of big cities overrun by violent immigrants. And this vision bears no relationship to reality.
For one thing, despite a small uptick since 2014, violent crime in America is actually at historical lows, with the homicide rate back to where it was in the early 1960s. (German crime is also at a historical low, by the way.) Trump’s carnage is a figment of his imagination.
True, if we look across America there is a correlation between violent crime and the prevalence of undocumented immigrants — negativecorrelation. That is, places with a lot of immigrants, legal and undocumented, tend to have exceptionally low crime rates. The poster child for this tale of un-carnage is the biggest city of them all: New York, where more than a third of the population is foreign-born, probably including around half a million undocumented immigrants — and crime has fallen to levels not seen since the 1950s...
So the Trump administration has been terrorizing families and children, abandoning all norms of human decency, in response to a crisis that doesn’t even exist.
Where does this fear and hatred of immigrants come from? A lot of it seems to be fear of the unknown: The most anti-immigrant states seem to be places, like West Virginia, where hardly any immigrants live.
Read the rest here.


  1. "Moral descent" under Ronald Grump?
    Roe Wade anyone?

    Next dude is gonna give us an acapella rendition of Marvin Gaye's Save the Children.

  2. "The speed of America’s moral descent under Donald Trump is breathtaking. In a matter of months we’ve gone from a nation that stood for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to a nation that tears children from their parents and puts them in cages."

    Krugman is either lying, ignorant, or he's been asleep for decades.

    We're talking about the government that put people on 'reservations', fought a bloody war rather than end slavery peacefully, put citizens in internment camps because of what another government did, waged wars overseas killing people in large numbers for about 140 years now with little rest. Has a prison industry that thrives on putting people in cages for personal vices. Experimented on the population in numerous ways. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

    Trump decides to move one horrid fedgov practice from selective to everyone and now, suddenly, the nation has decayed from liberty into barbarism? Really? Is this some weird sci-fi where Trump used some secret government technology and bumbled around and changed the time line for the last 160 years?

    What does Krugman take his readers for? Morons?

    If Trump brought the nation to barbarism it was already 3rd and goal on the half foot line when he got the ball.

    1. @Jimmy Joe Meeker

      I agree, only I’d go even farther and say that it’s probably been CENTURIES not just decades that nationalism has been in vogue. It’s likely hard-coded into our DNA, as people tend to transfer their primeval feelings of clan loyalty onto the nation-state they inhabit. And it’s totally fair to point out that people like Krugman and his idols like FDR have contributed to its perpetuation with their interventionist policies that create a zero-sum game which limits the possible benefits of international cooperation.

      THAT BEING SAID, I think some of us were hopeful that this trend would begin to reverse. The end of the perpetual crisis of the Cold War would allow us to tune out the reptilian side of our brain long enough to engage in some reflection. The rise of the internet and mass communications would allow us to interact with foreigners to an unprecedented degree, wearing down the “us-versus-them” dichotomy.

      The Trump movement stings a little because it’s a clear reminder that this hasn’t really happened. Especially disturbing is the large proportion of young, technologically savvy people who continue to place such importance on nationality and national loyalty. Attitudes may not have gotten worse, but they sure haven’t gotten a lot better despite absorbing what we thought would be a couple of our best bullets. If peace, knowledge, and increased trans-national interaction can’t slow down tribal nationalism, then what will?

    2. Evan, I've been hoping that the federal government will lose a lot of credibility while Trump is president, both on the world stage and domestically. My hope, domestically, is that more Americans will start to identify more with their state, or village, and start to shun the feds. As Jeff Deist keeps noting, everything is decentralizing these days except governance, but, if it's true that politics follows culture, maybe that too will change. Brion McClanahan's mantra is "Think locally, act locally," and while I'm not sure (regrettably) that we'll be returning to the Articles of Confederation any time soon, pushing for more secession, nullification and sanctuary cities -- not just on immigration, but on guns (as in Illinois recently), drugs etc. -- might be one way to make progress.

    3. @TheNAPster

      I don’t necessarily disagree with that strategy, but I am a little skeptical of its ultimate potential. After all, local action has been technically feasible for thousands of years. And yet the prospects of political secession and decentralization seemingly haven’t greatly improved.

      The internet was to be an x-factor that would allow us to get around the limits of geography in our commerce and our activism. Or at the very least, yield a body of knowledge that would inform more effective methods of local activism.

      But that generally hasn’t happened. Instead the internet has largely become a self-reinforcing ideological echo chamber. Instead of fostering greater understanding, it’s amplified existing biases and fears. I used to laugh when people said this, and see them as cynics who underestimated the individual and rationality. But I can no longer deny that there’s some truth to their warnings.

      I still think that, on balance, the internet will be a major net positive for liberty. More information has to > less information in the long run. But it’s just kind of disappointing that it’s not going to be a magic bullet that will drastically accelerate the arc of liberty.

    4. Evan:

      All good observations. However, Trump is so unconventional, and viewed as so anti-Establishment in demeanor (even if not in substance), that he might uniquely be able to destroy the credibility of fedgov faster than anyone before him.

  3. How is the moral descent a recent development? What Trump is doing adds just one more layer of depravity. Trump tearing a handful of children away from their parents pales in comparison to the atrocities that have been committed in the USA by police in the war against drugs during the last decades. Trump will help the situation get closer to the point of boiling but the heat has been building for a long time.

  4. What is different in 2018 versus 2016?

  5. First of all, with respect to "The speed of America's moral descent," like most statists, Krugman is both a collectivist and conflates the state with the people. I would agree that the individuals with power in the federal government are getting worse and worse from a moral perspective with each administration -- which is what Hoppe predicts in "Democracy -- The God That Failed" -- but this says little about the morality of individual private citizens. I haven't found that the people I mix with or know personally are getting worse.

    Second, note this observation: "...violent crime in America is actually at historical lows, with the homicide rate back to where it was in the early 1960s." It would be interesting to know whether Krugman would repeat this observation after the next mass shooting, when I'm sure he will be calling for more gun-control legislation in the wake of an increasingly violent America. [I admit that I'm only guessing at Krugman's stance on firearms, as I haven't researched it, but I'd bet money I'm not too far off the mark.]