For the last year or so, I’ve been too depressed by what’s happening to write. However, irritation can overcome misery, and I felt compelled to jump in on this “Russian collusion” nonsense.
Let’s get the obvious question out of the way:
But Prussian! You’re an Objectivist! Trump is a big state corporate cronyist; he’s everything you guys hate! How can you defend him?
When I wrote my Anti-Racialist Q&A, I said that anti-racialism was important enough to be done with good arguments, not shitty ones. The same thing applies to anti-Trumpism.
Also, and this is where there’s a difference between this and my anti-racialist pieces, as much as I dislike Trump, many of those set against him are worse.
The Russia-Trump case
Here’s Scott Alexander:
Okay, but did you look through the evidence that Russia was involved in the hacking? And don’t you agree it’s pretty strong?
Repeat fifteen times.
Not that I don’t agree. It’s that I don’t care. It’s hard to remember this in the middle of the yells of “RUSSIA! HACKING!” but what’s being alleged here is that Russia got hold of DNC emails and then decided to publish them selectively so as to torpedo the Clinton Campaign. This is no different from, say, Deep Throat leaking to take down Nixon or the current leaks against Trump.
That’s not the same! For a start, this was dishonestly and deceptively edited! They were clearly pro-Trump!
You mean like the 90%+ of U.S. Reporters who are registered Democrats or the way Time misrepresents Charles Koch’s words ?
But there may have been collusion between Trump and Russia! That’s deeply unethical!
You mean the way that CNN fed Hillary Clinton questions ahead of time?
Okay, okay, but those are true-blue Americans! We can’t have foreigners interfering in our elections!
You mean like when the British Guardian openly campaigned for John Kerry?
But, but RUSSIA! Russia is scary! What if Trump ends up owing favours to Putin, favours that could be damaging to America and the world?
You mean like when Hillary Clinton got Bill Clinton to revise India-Pakistan policy in exchange for 50 grand from the Pakistani junta? (you cannot imagine how happy I am that this sort of thing goes on along the world’s most likely nuclear flashpoint)
And if Trump is so in Putin’s pocket, what’s with all these sanctions?
But Russia! And Hacking! Those are SCARY WORDS!
Okay, so much for the factual basis. As I said, I have a good reason for hating some of the people pushing this. Let’s start with the selective release of these emails. As far as I know, no one is disputing their authenticity, and I have a suspicion that if they were bogus, we’d have heard it by now.
On the other hand, if you want to see what fake news interfering in an election looks like, read this story:
Back in 2013, Kenya had an election. A peaceful transition of power, something the Kenyan people are rightly proud of. CNN decided that it would be more fun for the elections to face trouble, so they searched and searched and then found four idiots messing around in the outback (who were worse armed than the average American rally), and decided to run a story about dangerous militias arming and getting ready for civil war.
I know plenty of Kenyans who loathe Trump and still cheered when he said to CNN:
“I am not going to give you a follow up question. You are fake news.”
I believe CNN’s official line is: “How dare Putin interfere in democratic elections! That’s our job!”
Then there’s this business of the Deep State…
Ha! You call yourself a skeptic, but you’re just parroting the crazy Alex Jones far-right conspiracy theories!
Well, as I’ve said before:
One can’t go around believing conspiracy theories, can one? If you start down that route, you end up believing really weird things, like, I don’t know, that Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon conducted secret diplomacy to extend the Vietnam war, and got tens of thousands of American GIs and who knows how many Vietnamese killed, just to put Nixon in the white house, or that the CIA betrayed Nelson Mandela to the Afrikaner Police, or that the CIA itself was formed from former Nazis, hired en masse at the end of the second world war, or that JFK was sharing a bird with a mafia don and used her to help set up an assassination attempt on Castro, or that Clinton used cruise missiles to destroy the Sudan’s only medicine factory just to distract from Monika Lewinsky.
That’d be just terrible, wouldn’t it?
Alex Jones is nuts, and that does not mean that these sorts of things don’t happen. May I suggest you look up an article in that crazy far-right publication Harper’s Magazine, in 1991, by Christopher Hitchens, titled The State within the State. You can find it in his collection For the Sake of Argument, and it is a hair-raising summary of the CIA’s role in subverting democracy both in the United States and abroad. When Trump picked a fight with the CIA – well. I’m an atheist, but I couldn’t help but feel that somewhere Nelson Mandela is laughing his socks off.
In case you can’t get that article here are some of the salient points:
- That the CIA repeatedly and flagrantly refused all democratic oversight, including budgetary oversight.
- That the CIA pushed through pacts with American crime families
- That it deliberately set up deniable funds and think-tanks to spread disinformation (‘fake news’)
- That it built up the Russian empire (the then USSR) into something way scarier than it actually was in order to ensure that it is still well funded and protected from anything like democratic oversight.
Sorry, any of this sounding familiar?
Someone put together the following compilation:
I notice that the deeply dishonest Doug Saunders has crawled out to say that the Deep State exists and that it’s a good thing. Comforting to the victims of Saddam Hussain, Zia ul-Haq and the Taliban I’m sure.
At this point I find myself wondering whether I’ve somehow staggered through the looking glass. Trump is everything I dislike in politics, and I wrote an article arguing against him (that went unpublished by the people who dismissed Trump as a joke). But I keep coming up against the fact that there are far worse things than Trump out there.