Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Archive for August 2020

Closing down this blog

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I have decided to (almost entirely) close down this blog, effective immediately. The decision has two motivations:

Firstly, blogging is currently a hard-to-shake distraction at a time when I cannot really afford a distraction, between my professional writing and a number of other tasks that I have to perform. This especially as there are limits not only on my time and energy, but also on my fingers. which are currently in need of some recuperation. (Note that an official “closing the blog” declaration will be harder to violate than an informal promise to my self.)

Secondly, WordPress is a shitty platform on a number of counts, including usability and traffic (cf. a number of prior posts), while the mere ability to publish here reduces my incentives to fix my real website. I hope that the incentives will shift sufficiently that I do get around to it, after which I will be much better off.

At some point between today and eternity, I will likely publish on my website again. When the time comes, I will post an update. Following that, I might or might not post occasional updates on texts published there (especially, when it comes to my backlog and future texts that I have already mentioned that I wanted or intended to write.)

I will leave the comment function on for the time being, but beware that I might only moderate comments irregularly or with great delay. (Not that there have been many comments in recent times.)

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August 28, 2020 at 4:35 pm

Pointless smoke-detector tests and waste of other humans’ time and money in Germany

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I have repeatedly written on both undue government interventions and undue invasion of privacy and other intrusions through various service/test/measurement/whatnot companies, e.g. in A German’s home is not his castle / a few issues around inspections and meter readings ([1]).

Earlier this week, I had the yearly smoke-detector test: a professional service company (Objektus) came by, a man walked in with a broom stick (or something similar), used it to push the test button on the two smoke-detectors, noted that they made a hellish noise, and left again—after having spent likely less than twenty seconds in my apartment and doing nothing that I could not have done myself.

This for a legally mandated yearly check that involves paid professionals, a load of travel and bureaucracy, and which forces the victims to take large chunks out of their days to meet the dictated times, with direct and indirect costs that are in no proportion to the value* of the service.

*Even assuming that smoke-detectors bring significant value to begin with, to which I am at least somewhat skeptical (this appears to be more propaganda and lobbying than science and data, cf. parts of [2]); and even assuming that a yearly test, as opposed to e.g. simply swapping the detectors every three-or-so years, has more than the slightest value added, to which I am extremely skeptical.

For instance, this particular company dictates a yearly date with short notice (around a week) and allows one dictated back-up date with (this year) six days’ notice. At least the back-up date had a two-hour interval (12:15–14:15). For many, the time of day, length of interval, and a bit of a commute might well mean that half the work-day is gone. For someone with a longer commute, it might take out an entire day—in extreme cases, an entire week!*

*I have repeatedly done weekend commutes over very long distances, e.g. Düsseldorf–Munich. The current date was a Tuesday, implying that I would have had no realistic choice but to miss both Monday and Tuesday. With five-or-so hours of travel in each direction (main station to main station, not including “local” travel, not including time to deal with hotels, whatnot), I might then have been better off foregoing the entire week. Had the date been on a Wednesday, I more or less would have had to. If the lost time is not enough, consider the considerable travel costs relative the smaller amount of billable hours per travel.

Last year, at least, some actual work was done in that the smoke-detectors were swapped, but this is apparently not a yearly task. (I have owned the apartment for longer, but in prior years various factors have lead to no service at all taking place, including one case of my being entirely oblivious to the dictated dates as I did not occupy the apartment and one case of the service company simply not showing up on their own dictated date. But, apparently, the legal mandate extends even to uninhabited apartments.)

A much saner system would, as in the past, leave smoke-detectors to the discretion of those actually living in the apartments. Barring that, a system where a service company replaces them every X years and the inhabitants are simply mandated to confirm that “we pressed the buttons and a painfully loud noise followed” once a year, would be much better. Barring that, some better solution of date handling must be found (some variations are mentioned in [1].)

Excursion on opportunity costs:
The opportunity costs do not just involve time and money, but can also include lives—and I am far from convinced that this mandated yearly check leads to a net-savings in lives. For the check to bring value, we have to assume that the batteries run out (or some other problem occurs) between changes, that the inhabitants do not voluntarily make tests, that a fire actually does occur, and that the circumstances are such that the smoke-detectors actually would have saved lives in that fire. (Which they would not have e.g. if a crucial exit was blocked, if the fire was too small, or if the fire was discovered by someone awake before the smoke-detectors triggered—and I do suspect that most fires take place in the day time.) How many lives this will be per year, I cannot judge, but it will not be many—it might even be none in a typical year. Against this we have to measure deaths caused by the checks, e.g. through unnecessary traffic accidents due to travel by testers or inhabitants, increased stress at work,* negative effects through extra costs,* and similar. Here, too, I cannot judge the number of lives, except that it will be a low number. The relevant question is, will it be a higher or lower number? Here I would strongly suspect a higher number …

*Looking at aggregates over sufficiently many humans such factors are relevant, even if they are highly unlikely in any given case (and far less spectacular than a car crash).

Right now, there is also the whole COVID-thing to worry about. Considering how much else has been banned in wild panic, I find it inconsistent that the comparatively high-risk task of having service staff move from apartment to apartment and contact with stranger after stranger has not been banned. This, however, is likelier to be an issue with the Pinning the tail to the COVID-19 donkey approach to policy than with the current topic.

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August 28, 2020 at 10:19 am

The insanities of political hypocrisy

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Want proof that the world is sick, that there is as ridiculous difference in treatment of Leftist and non-Leftist ideologies, individuals, etc., and how unjustified the constant German Leftist cries of “Rechtsruck” are? Happy to oblige.

I just received an automatic email from the city of Wuppertal, which in its footer contained:*

*Some minor typographic changes have been made for technical reasons. Links have been removed.

Engels2020 – Denker, Macher, Wuppertaler.
Wuppertal feiert den 200. Geburtstag von Friedrich Engels!
Jetzt geöffnet: Sonderausstellung “Friedrich Engels – Ein Gespenst geht um in Europa” in der Kunsthalle Barmen

Engels2020 – Thinker, Doer, Wuppertalian
Wuppertal celebrates the 200th birthday of Friedrich Engels!
Now open: Special exhibition “Friedrich Engels – A spectre is haunting Europe” in the Barmen* art-hall.

*A part of Wuppertal and Engel’s birth place.

Now, that there is a focus on Engels around his 200th birthday in Wuppertal is unremarkable—but a celebration?!?! No, that is simply insanity, in light both of the result of his collaborations with Marx, which ultimate have resulted in more deaths than Hitler, and the incompatibility of his ideas with the norms that Germany (and other Western democracies) claim to support.

At the same time, even the slightest connection to anything even remotely Nazi, or even migration critical, even slightly nationalist, often even just traditionally Conservative, can be cause of condemnation.

In extreme cases, listening to Wagner can be a greater cause of suspicion than reading Marx or Engels …

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August 27, 2020 at 9:21 am

Continued problems with gas company and chimney sweeps / Follow-up: Life as a (bad) cosmic joke, disturbances, and my rotten-to-the-core building

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As I wrote a while back:

I have terminated my contract with the gas supplier, seeing that I use very little gas and have to pay an entirely disproportionate amount through fix monthly fees and that I can avoid the annoying chimney sweep (cf. at least [1], [2]) . I received a notification from the gas supplier that my contract was terminated—and, a little later, a second notification amounting to “someone has terminated the gas supply to apartment XYZ, likely an old tenant moving out. Because you are the owner, we have automatically opened a new contract for you.”, an interpretation of events and an action that is utterly absurd. (I have written back.) To boot, the chimney sweep also refuses to accept either that I have terminated my gas supply or that a terminated gas supply would be a valid reason to not check the heater, which from my point of view is just scrap-metal still hanging on the wall. Performing this check without any gas might be an interesting challenge. I wonder whether physically removing it would be enough …

In the mean time, I have sent I-do-not-know-how-many emails and letters to the gas supplier in order to get this fraudulent contract terminated. About six weeks ago, this Kafkaesque situation seemed to be concluded. However, today, as I went through this week’s mail, what do I find? Yes, you guessed it: a second message of “Someone has terminated the gas supply to apartment XYZ, likely an old tenant moving out. Because you are the owner, we have automatically opened a new contract for you.”, which is absolutely intolerable.

I have just written a very, very angry email to the management, demanding immediate actions. I will also make a complaint about fraud to the police and more general complaint to the mayor (this being a city-owned enterprise).

I will also at this stage abandon my policy of being cautious with naming names, especially of individuals: The culprit is WSW (Wuppertaler Stadtwerke), involved people who have not done their job sufficiently include, but is likely not limited to, Diane Rieke and Aline Scheffler.

At the same time, the aforementioned chimney sweep is now illegally and through defamation attempting to force a visit to my apartment to make an impossible check (no* gas, remember) by involving the Ordnungsbehörde (a German law-enforcement agency with an unclear translation). This has caused me immense additional, unnecessary efforts, including emails and letters back-and-forth with the Ordnungsbehörde and a four-page complaint to a supervisory agency. This has been made the harder, because the replies from the Ordnungsbehörde are often delayed in an inexcusable manner—for instance, the last letter was dated on the 28th (!) of July and was marked as delivered on the 10th (!) of August.

*With some reservations for an existing gas supply through the fraudulent pseudo-contracts above. I have not turned on the heater since the end of February, and I do not intended to do so even to check “whether”, because I fear that the result will be a message from WSW along the lines of “You are using gas after all, so our contracts are legitimate, Pay up!”.

Consistent with my policy change, I explicitly name Uwe Heinbach (running his company under that name) as the chimney sweep and his co-worker Sabine Wacker as the incompetent, lying, irate, and spoiled brat that I have been forced to interact with (cf. e.g. [2]).

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August 23, 2020 at 11:28 am

Odd language use / Swedish journalism

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This text turned out to be much thinner than I had anticipated. I would normally have foregone it entirely or waited until I had more material. However, as I explicitly mentioned it in the linked-to text, I prefer to get it out of the way.

The poor style and grammar of many journalists often annoy me. Recently, I have become increasingly annoyed over the Swedish use of “då” (roughly, “then”, in at least some meanings) as a sentence or even paragraph opener. Unfortunately, this is not even limited to journalists.

For instance, consider a sentence quoted earlier today:

Då menar jag att med hänsyn till dessa omständigheter har det varit försvarligt av Krister Petersson att i sitt beslut namnge den personen.

Here the word is used to imply “in light of this”, “considering this”, “in this situation”, or similar; while a literal translation might be “then”, or something like “at that time” or “in that [sic!] situation”. Looking at the logic of language, not the typical actual use, this seems quite odd.*

*This is not a unique example. Consider e.g. the English use of “since” to imply causality instead of timing; or the French “sans doute” to imply “probably” instead of the literal “without doubt”. Indeed, such small traps are so common that an attempt to save writing from them might lead to unrecognizable texts. Some uses are worse than others, however, and “då” is quite bad.

However, this is a comparatively harmless case. Common uses include e.g. the pattern:*

*I have kept no specific example. The quote is hypothetical, put directly into English for illustration. The division into two paragraphs is deliberate and matches the pattern used; however, the actual examples tend to be a little wordier.

Last year, boxer-X and boxer-Y fought to a controversial draw. Last night, they met again.

Then* boxer-X won on knockout.

*In a past sense. The English “then” is actually less misplaced than “då”, because “then” can be used for sequencing in another manner, as with “I went to the movies and then I went home”. In Swedish, this would likely have been resolved with “sedan”: “Jag gick på bio och sedan gick jag hem”. The same sentence with “då” would likely have been taken as something simultaneous, as with “I went to the movies and while I was there I went home”.

Unnatural, contorted, and with some risk of confusion? It is the same in Swedish. Even “now” (“nu”) would have been better, and something like “this time” clearly so. Moreover, the entire construction is dubious. I might have gone with:

Last night, boxer-X defeated boxer-Y on knockout in a re-match of their controversial draw from last year.

(Of course, many other variations are possible—but few as poor and odd as the original.)

Still, this type of pattern appears again and again: A first paragraph with background information. A second paragraph, beginning with “Då”, with the event. (Optionally, followed by further paragraphs with more details.) This is the odder, as someone reading about a sports event in a newspaper will want to see the result in the first sentence of the first paragraph.

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August 19, 2020 at 1:45 pm

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No defamation charges against Krister Petersson (murder of Olof Palme)

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In an earlier text, I noted that prosecutor Krister Petersson risked prosecution, himself, for defamation of a dead suspect for the murder of Olof Palme ([1]; cf. [2] for more context).

It appears that he will remain unprosecuted:

A (likely paywalled*) Swedish site cites the överåklagare** Anders Jakobsson as saying:

*This newspaper usually is. Currently, 2020-08-19, it claims that all articles are free until September 1st.

Min bedömning är att Krister Petersson visserligen pekat ut en person på ett sätt som kan vara förtal enligt brottsbalken, men sedan är frågan om det var försvarligt att lämna ut namnet. Och det anser jag. Mordet på Olof Palme och den utredning som sedan har genomförts har varit föremål för ett betydande allmänintresse, och i massmedierna och av så kallade privatspanare har den så kallade Skandiamannen vid flera tillfällen pekats ut som mördaren. Då menar jag att med hänsyn till dessa omständigheter har det varit försvarligt av Krister Petersson att i sitt beslut namnge den personen.

My estimation is that Krister Petersson did point out a person in a manner that could be defamation according to brottsbalken [roughly, “criminal code”], but then the question is whether it was justifiable to provide the name. And I am of that opinion. The murder of Olof Palme and the investigation that followed has been of considerable interest to the public, and in mass media and by so called privatspanare** the so called Skandiamannen*** has been pointed out as the murderer on several occasions. Then**** I opine that, with consideration of these circumstances, it has been defensible for Krister Petersson to name this person in his decision.

*The original is in overly complicated and poor “government language”. I have not made any greater attempts to provide additional clarity or to translate into a more English idiom (governmental or otherwise).

**A term that probably arose during the Palme investigations, to refer to amateur investigators with an interest in the Palme murder. A somewhat literal translation is “private scouts”, but “investigator” is likely more idiomatic than ‘scout”. These, however, are typically not “private investigators” in the U.S. “P.I.” sense.

***An anonymizing alias commonly used for the man whom Krister Petersson mentioned by name.

****Translation of the idiomatically awkward word “då”, which I will discuss in a later text.

I am far from certain that I would concur with the above, as I am highly skeptical to “the public has the right to know” arguments,* as fingering Skandiamannen seems unnecessary to me, and as there was no true gain from mentioning him by name (as opposed to alias). Note that Anders Jakobsson, himself, uses the alias and not the name. Krister Petersson could simply have said something like “Personally, I favor Skandiamannen, but as things stand, we can never know for sure.”, but he went a fair bit further and did mention the name. I stress that I would see a considerably stricter standard for a public official speaking in his official capacity than I would for a private individual expressing his private opinions, including the privatspanare.

*Excepting matters that are truly of public interest and public nature, say governmental policy, professional misbehavior by politicians and civil servants in office, and similar. The fact that Palme was murdered qualifies, that this-or-that celebrity has a drug problem does not, and whether Krister Petersson’s statements is on the right side of the border is disputable.

As an aside, I would not necessarily reason “it is very easy to find out the name of Skandiamannen; ergo, there is no harm done in mentioning the name over the alias”, as Anders Jakobsson might have. The opposite might be more reasonable (“[…]; ergo, we should not mention the alias either”).

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August 19, 2020 at 12:17 pm

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The misleading “red pill” metaphor and the sleeping “woke”

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In light of the “woke” phenomenon, I have been contemplating the “red pill” metaphor. While it is often a convenient way to refer to an epiphany or revelation, it more often misses the point. Even looking at “The Matrix”, swallowing the red pill was not so much the source of revelation, or the achievement of revelation, as it was the choice of exposure to potential revelation: By taking the red pill, Neo woke up from the virtual world, began to live in the physical world, and was exposed to a set of experiences that allowed him new insights. The red pill was not the conclusion of the journey, nor even the first step of the journey—it was the opening of a door. (Or, to take a related metaphor, the fall down that rabbit-hole.)

However, if we look at most peddlers of red pills, including various PC and “woke” versions, the internalized attitude seems to be the opposite: a certain set of pre-formed opinions are provided, as a pill of sorts, and these opinions are to be accepted, or pill swallowed. Once you do, you are “woke”. This then divides the world into three categories of people: the “woke” (“righteous”, “Liberal”, “Feminist”, whatnot), the bigots (“racists”, “sexists”, whatnot) who have simply yet to be offered the pill of salvation, for whom there is still hope, and the irredeemably evil bigots who have had the audacity to reject the pill of salvation.

Notably, it is the true believers in the first category who tend to lack the most in critical thinking, different perspectives, historical insight, etc. Mostly, they have been offered a “truth” and swallowed it just as blindly as those who found religion through exposure to Christian missionaries.

In many ways, the “woke” are more asleep, more deeply buried in the Matrix, than the average person. They might even be best compared to the likes of Cypher (not Neo), who wants to be put into the Matrix for a life of lies and his own convenience. (In his case, some version of fame and fortune; in the case of the “woke”, e.g. a chance to get other people’s money, the ability to blame others for the absence of fame and fortune, and the ability to have that self-righteous “holier than thou” feeling.)

The same, m.m., very often applies to e.g. Feminists, Communist supporters, and the general PC crowd.

Thus, I suggest to only ever use the “red pill” metaphor to refer to those who have entered a journey of discovery and neither for those who have reached the end of that journey nor those who have just read someone else’s travel tale. Similarly, never use “woke” to refer to those who sleep, never use “enlightened” to refer to those who have not reached insights through own thinking, etc.

As an aside, Neo’s exposures post-pill do have a negative similarity with what e.g. the “woke” are offered: these were, at least originally, almost entirely one-sided accounts. In the movie, it might have worked well, but in real life? “Hi there! You have been mislead about the world your entire life and now you have to join us to violently overthrow the evil oppressors!”

Topics around the general issue of e.g. knowledge and world-view have been discussed repeatedly, often with an eye at the Left. Among these I note as particularly relevant:

Other aspects of opinion than right and wrong

Plato’s cave and the dangers of a limited world-view

The problem of too shallow knowledge / experiences in Sweden

Utterly insufficient data, insight, and thought

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August 18, 2020 at 12:20 pm

Blogroll update

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Earlier today, I encountered the Philadelphia Statement. The website is atrociously poorly designed and the contents are thin (possibly, because it is a new site; possibly, because it is strongly focused on the “statement”, cf. below).

In today’s world of censorship and intolerance of opinions, it and its many signatories make a valuable contribution by taking a firm stances for free speech. The document is well worth reading in full and is so compactly written that it is hard to cherry-pick instead of just quoting the entire document. However, in an attempt at such cherry-picking:

Freedom of expression is in crisis. Truly open discourse—the debates, exchange of ideas, and arguments on which the health and flourishing of a democratic republic crucially depend—is increasingly rare. Ideologues demonize opponents to block debates on important issues and to silence people with whom they disagree.

Our liberty and our happiness depend upon the maintenance of a public culture in which freedom and civility coexist—where people can disagree robustly, even fiercely, yet treat each other as human beings—and, indeed, as fellow citizens—not mortal enemies.

A society that lacks comity and allows people to be shamed or intimidated into self-censorship of their ideas and considered judgments will not survive for long.

The American tradition of freedom of expression […] trains us to think critically, to defend our ideas, and, at the same time, to be considerate of others whose creeds and convictions differ from our own.

Common decency and free speech are being dismantled through the stigmatizing practice of blacklisting ideological opponents, which has taken on the conspicuous form of “hate” labeling. […] Even mainstream ideas are marginalized as “hate speech.”

These policies [against hate-speech, e.g. in U.S. colleges] and regulations assume that we as citizens are unable to think for ourselves and to make independent judgments. Instead of teaching us to engage, they foster conformism (“groupthink”) and train us to respond to intellectual challenges with one or another form of censorship.

If we seek to change our country’s* trajectory; [etc.] then we must renounce ideological blacklisting and recommit ourselves to steadfastly defending freedom of speech and passionately promoting robust civil discourse.

*I.e. the U.S.’s. A flaw with this statement, albeit an understandable one, is the focus on the U.S. while the problem is present in a good many other countries, including my native Sweden and adopted Germany.

It is added to my temporary blogroll for now.

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August 16, 2020 at 8:58 pm

Spiegel Online and Cancel Culture

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Looking for some information on the current heat-wave, I made the mistake of visiting the truly loony Left German magazine Der Spiegel/Spiegel Online.* I found nothing on the heat-wave, but stumbled on a frightening and frighteningly ignorant piece on “cancel culture”. I will not even try to analyze this (additionally confused and poorly written) piece in detail, but a few remarks that show how absurdly the Left sees and/or distorts the world:

*A very large proportion of the main newspapers and magazines in Germany are paywalled. Der Spiegel is an at least partial exception.

The main thesis appears to be that the term “cancel culture” is an evil rhetorical trick to avoid justified criticism—an outrageous insult to the many who have been canceled and lost jobs, friends, whatnot, over often harmless or scientifically correct opinions.

That the criticism is justified is taken as a blanket truth, again quite contrary to what is seen in real life. Indeed, the vast majority of all such accusations that I have seen have at best been exaggerated or out-of-proportion, and quite often outright wrong. (Cf. a number of older texts.)

The effects of cancellation are trivialized through claims like “In Einzelfällen verlieren die Kritisierten dadurch einen Job, kriegen aber oft sehr schnell einen anderen.” (“In individual cases* the criticized lose a job, but often rapidly find a new one.”). Not only are these “individual cases” quite common,** but far from everyone manages to find a new job in a timely manner, and even those who do find a new job might pay a major price through a loss of income, a career reset, the need to relocate, …

*“Einzelfälle[n]” has a stronger note of rarity than “individual cases”.

**Indeed, as I recently noted, even a spouse with the wrong opinions can be grounds for a firing in the U.S. The situation is not as dire in Germany, but it is bad and growing worse. Idiocies like the linked-to text do further harm.

The cancellation* of an appearance by Lisa Eckhart** during a literature festival (“Literaturfestival”) is taken as a non-issue: her appearance was canceled at short notice for fear of attacks or whatnot and the author of the linked-to text has the audacity to speak of “ein Gespenst”***. In a best case scenario, this amounts to a dubious “there was nothing to fear but fear itself”; in a worst case, it puts the entire phenomenon of “cancel culture” on the level of “just imagination and exaggeration”. The latter is born out by the rest of the text, which to a large part makes that claim; the former could be a contextual half-truth, in that the fears that lead to the cancellation might have been unfounded. That does not remove the damage done to Frau Eckhart and it sets a dangerous precedent for Germany that follows an established U.S. pattern: “We really do support free speech and would love to have you appear. Buuuut: We simply cannot take the risk.” That too, reduces freedom of speech, the spread of opinions, and whatnot, and ultimately it does not matter how someone is brought to an involuntary silence—only that someone was brought to an involuntary silence.

*Note that some of the variations of “cancel” that appear here are literal.

**She was not previously known to me, so I will not speak on details around her. She is alleged to, as a professional comedian, have made homophobic/racist/whatnot jokes.

***Contextually, “phantasm” or other imaginary threat. However, note “Ein Gespenst geht um in Europa” and how that once turned out.

This is the type of blind-to-the-world (or the-truth-does-not-matter) Leftist populism and extremism that makes Spiegel Online unreadable, a news source for idiots, the type of thing that really would need to be canceled. It is also a proof that there is a “Lügenpresse” and/or an “Inkompetenzpresse”.

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August 12, 2020 at 8:27 pm

A few thoughts on the U.S. election, Trump, and Kamala Harris

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Last time around, I was greatly relieved to see Trump beat Hillary, as the lesser of two evils in a lost democracy. It seemed a critical point of history, where not only the disaster of Hillary Clinton was avoided but where we saw what might be an upcoming Democrat hegemony postponed by another four years.* I thought it the most or second** most important POTUS election during my non-child*** life.

*Note complications like demographic changes. Chances are that the next Republican presidency would have come in a radically different political landscape, e.g. with a very changed Republican party, a Democrat party splintered into mutually hostile “identity” factions, Hispanics turning Republican because they over time had become net-payers to, not net-benefactors of, various Democrat measures, or similar.

**If so, behind the Bush-beats-Gore election in 2000 that prevented a continuation of the Clinton dynasty and a third consecutive Democrat term (as had Hillary won in 2016). To this note the additional complication that long periods of dominance by one party are bad in themselves, through the risk of cementing an entitlement mentality, of distorting institutions like the Supreme Court too far, of increasing corruption, and similar. A repeating pattern of two or three Republican victories followed by a single Democrat victory might be the ideal in the U.S.

***I have very vague and minor recollections of the 1980 election, at age 5, but 1992 might be a better limit.

Looking at the current situation in the U.S., it was a very good thing that Hillary did not win—but what happens in the upcoming election might be even more important. Adding a Democrat president, especially one as weak as the current incarnation of Joe Biden, could lead to a disaster. In contrast, a re-elected Trump, with no need to keep his popularity up, might finally begin to restore order. Even if he fails at that, the U.S. really needs him to win.

Trump has also turned out to be less of a problem than I had feared, and I would certainly rate him above Obama. In particular, with hindsight, I apologize for my 2016 claim that Bernie Sanders would have been the least evil among the then major candidates*. I was very wrong.

*Trump, Sanders, Hillary (during the preliminaries).

While Trump is far from perfect, he currently appears heads-and-shoulders above both Biden and Obama, as well as the likes of Hillary, Elizabeth Warren, Sanders, etc.

His true competition, however, is likely not Biden but Kamala Harris*: Chances are that Biden will (be forced to?) step down for her benefit comparatively soon, should he be elected. He might do so officially or unofficially, but Harris is likely the real question at hand.

*Whose recent appointment as Biden’s running mate is the trigger for this text.

This is issue is not new, and I actually had genuine fears in the past that the reason that the DNC pushed for Biden was to have Hillary Clinton picked as running mate, in order to deliberately make her president through the backdoor—that he was chosen because of his degeneration, not despite it.

Looking at the alternatives, however, Harris is not that bad a choice (given the natural restriction to Democrats, let alone ideas like “must be a woman” or “must be someone non-White”). She certainly appears to be superior to e.g. Elizabeth Warren by almost any standard, and going by Wikipedia on her political positions she appears to be more moderate than many other Democrats.* Still, she has a few problematic opinions, including support for affirmative action and artificial “busing”** to desegregate schools, and a too lax attitude towards illegal immigrants***.**** Moreover, my first superficial opinion is that she rates unusually highly in competence for a politician. (An opinion that I might revise considerably over time.) On the downside, her political credentials are not strong and e.g. a few terms as state governor or mayor of major city would not have hurt.

*Note that I am not familiar with her in detail from the past and that I have not studied this page that thoroughly.

**Apart from the problems that might-or-might-not arise through an increased heterogeneity of ability and whatnot, we have to consider the various costs involved—including the time wasted for the children. I was myself a victim of long bus rides to and from my high school (for geographic, not political, reasons), and it had a very negative impact on both my quality of life and my success in school.

***Notably, with regard to the horribly misnamed DREAM-er issue. (Not only a faulty approach, but a despicable rhetorical trick.)

****For a staunch Republican, which I am not, the list could be quite a bit longer and would include e.g. issues around abortion and gun control, but even here she does not appear to be in the frothing-at-the-mouth faction.

On the other hand, I find it very, very troubling that restrictions like “must be a woman” and “must be someone non-White” are even considered. This is a proof of a fundamentally flawed and anti-democratic attitude. The one positive thing is that once the U.S. has had a female president, this particular obsession might die down. It will certainly be very hard to push someone like Hillary again.

From another point of view, Harris must under no circumstances be elected and she should, instead, bow down in contrition and offer reparations for being irredeemably evil: according to her father’s Wikipedia page, he (and, by implication, she) is a “descendant of slave owner Hamilton Brown”. Nuff said!

Excursion on Thatcher:
Thatcher is, obviously and for multiple reasons, not up for election, but I would have been interested in seeing how she would have done as the next U.S president: she appeared to have little patience for vacuous Leftist arguments and Leftist violence.

Written by michaeleriksson

August 12, 2020 at 11:47 am