The counterpoint to that interview, from the highly respected Richard J Evans:
I had a (very) brief skim of the blogpost in question, and to be fair to The Archdruid, and Farmer Green, that isn't exactly the suggestion being made.
More like a food miles kind of thing, I think, and pragmatic enough to import what can't be produced locally.
This is essentially about the de-selection process . . . . getting rid of the entrenched oligarchy without having to invoke the guillotine solution.
If Trump succeeds in only one policy outcome during his tenure , a limit on politicians' terms- in- office would satisfy many people.
There's plenty of other tweaks that could be made, which would probably improve the outcome, yes. Proportional Representation in some form or other (rather than the electoral college), term limits maybe (I don't know enough about that - the counter-argument is that you end up kicking people out of office just as they're learning how to do the job. There are many effective MPs in NZ and the UK, for example, who keep their seats for decades), effective caps on campaign funding and contributions, effectvie checks on professional lobbyists.
I never would have thought the US with their war-on-drugs would make it legal
To be a bit pedantic, my understanding is that the legal situation in the US is a bit more grey than it is green. While things at a state level might be green-lit, as it were, it's still technically illegal at a Federal (National) level. Still, baby steps, and all that.
....although it's quite funny that the first half-dozen or so posts after I put the test up are people trying to answer the questions.
I’m pretty sure Rich posted it as a joke
I suspect it was to illustrate what happens once you start setting voter eligibility tests. These tests were from the 1960s.
Correct. It's a 1960's voter registration test from the South (Louisiana), set by white people in power in the state with the specific intention of preventing black people from registering to vote during the civil rights era (can't pass the test? Can't register).
My point is that while it might be superficially and in theory an extremely attractive proposition to set some sort of eligibility test for voting, and exclude those deemed incompetent by way of stupidity and/or ignorance, in practice it's hugely dubious.
Who sets the test? How do we decide what the pass criteria are? If you were in the US right now, would you want a Trump administration setting this test? Here comes Steve Bannon with a draft for you to sign off, Mr President.
Even if you get a first run that has full-spectrum consensus, we'd assume you'd want to update it at intervals, so what about if the government of the day decides to update it in a way you're not happy with - setting a minimum household income threshold, for example. Hey, it's not so unreasonable if you argue that national economic participation is a prereq for enfranchisement. And there's almost precendent! The UK at least takes away the right to vote if you've lived abroad for over a certain time period. We could exclude the unemployed that way as well. And what about people with learning difficulties or similar? I mean, they can't make an informed choice, right? So really, it's kinder if we exclude them altogether and don't confuse and scare them by asking them. Gay people? They're never going to contribute to the future of the country by having children, so maybe we should exclude them, too. And stay-at-home mums aren't contributing economically, either (and have enough on their plate without keeping up with the issues of the day), so let's exclude them, too. For their own good.
And let's say you think a test in that form is a bit much, but your milder agreed version has been in place for a few years, people are used to it, part of the political landscape, unremarkable. Those who couldn't pass probably shrug it off. They weren't going to vote anyway. But things aren't moving as fast as wanted, and we still can't make changes and laws quick enough, so let's tighten those criteria! Lean Government! Nimble, manoeuvrable! Highly responsive! So let's limit this baby to only those with a degree! Still not quick enough! Only those with a politics and economics background! Still not quick enough! Only those with direct governmental/council experience!
Et voila. One small step at a time, none of them seeming too unreasonable at the time, and we have an Oligarchy. Remain calm, subject-citizen, The Families are in control, for your own good.
That was a very pointed response to Greer via Tom Rich, I think comments are still open on Greer’s piece, you might like to challenge him directly on his reasons for voting as he did, all things considered it was Greer’s opinion that Tom was commenting on.
More blunt than pointed, but yeah.
The thing is this, though: I've already spent more time than I should researching and commenting on this type of stuff, and it's beginning to draw time away from various other aspects of my life. Which is a micro-example of the macro problem.
To paraphrase a quote generally attributed to Winston Churchill, "a lie gets liked and shared half a million times before the truth has a chance to get its pants on."
Farting out a good made-up story that's based on a half-truth or misinterpretation, that 'feels' right, takes very little time, and spreads like a virus. A decent rebuttal, which involves carefully unpicking the strands of it - doing the research, finding the original sources, deconstructing the argument - takes ten times as long, and reaches 1/10th of the audience. There's a lot of time and effort involved, speaking from personal experience.
There are swarms of people literally paid to make up shit - kids in Macedonia, the 'fancy bear' organisation in Russia, Fox News, Breitbart, Alex Jones, The Daily Mail.
How does one go about countering that?
an American population that is war weary voted to end war
Tom, sometimes you make some good points, but you're way off base this time.
To take just the example above (angry liberal "factual error” cherrypicking, amirite?)
Since when has Trump indicated he'll end the war? Since fucking when?
He explicitly told the American people he'd be popping back to Iraq to help himself to their oil, as repayment or something. He explicitly indicated that more force should be used to defeat ISIS (I quote from his website: "Pursue aggressive joint and coalition military operations to crush and destroy ISIS"). He explicitly indicated he'd not only be killing those he thought were terrorists, but their families, too. He's explicitly said that the nuclear option is on the table. The number of times I've heard 'bring our troops home' as part of the campaign is zero.
How the fuck do you go from that, to 'war weary population just voted to end war'? Is there some depth to American presidential candidate bizzaro-sarcasm that I'm just not grasping? Fucking catch yourself on, Tom.
Admiral Michael Rogers, head of the NSA and commander of the US Cyber Command, has just described wikileaks as "a conscious effort by a nation-state [Russia] to attempt to achieve a specific effect".
In other words, he's just openly accused Russia of using wikileaks as a tool to get Trump elected.