What is this blog about?

What is this blog about?

I am a political philosopher. My 'political philosophy' is a form of 'liberal egalitarianism.' So in this blog I reflect on various issues in political philosophy and politics (especially Canadian and American politics) from a liberal egalitarian perspective.

If you are curious about what I mean by 'liberal egalitarianism,' my views are strongly influenced by the conception of justice advanced by John Rawls. (So I sometimes refer to myself as a 'Rawlsian,' even though I disagree with Rawls on some matters.)

Astonishingly, I am paid to write and teach moral and political philosophy. I somehow manage to do this despite my akratic nature. Here is my faculty profile.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Trump and the rise of racism and violence in contemporary American political discourse

The Republican party ‘establishment’ is in a state of panic over the likely nomination of Donald Trump as their party’s 2016 presidential candidate. Of course, they have no one to blame but themselves, having cravenly catered to the prejudices and fears of the ‘Tea Party’ movement (a movement funded heavily by the plutocratic Koch brothers) over the past several years. Trump is the Frankenstein monster that the Republican elite created but no longer can control.

It’s highly unlikely that Trump will prevail next November, given that his campaign thus far has alienated women, Muslims, Mexicans, African-Americans, and pretty much everyone else who is not a white, male, heterosexual, angry ‘true American’. (“Stories of Trump piñatas flying off the shelves in Latino communities aren’t myths.”) Trump would need to win 70 percent of the white male vote this November in order to become president. That’s just not going to happen.

Nonetheless, Trump’s candidacy will have – and indeed already has had – a corrosive effect on American political discourse. Trump’s campaign is rendering acceptable racist and violent language and messages (including threats aimed at political rivals) that less than a year ago would’ve been considered completely beyond the pale.

This is the central point of philosopher Jennifer Saul’s short piece, “Habituation and Hate.” I recommend reading it in order to understand better the dark turn that American political discourse has taken over the past 10 months. (A similar point recently was discussed on the Nightly Show, as mentioned in this piece at Vox.com.) Sadly, things look to be getting only worse…

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