The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists.

Johanna 'Hannah' Arendt



  • Arthur Baker says:

    This reminds me of something I read recently, I think it was in the New Yorker magazine online.

    A writer expressed the opinion that the real problem with Donald Trump was not that he didn’t know stuff. Demonstrably there’s an ocean of gaps in his knowledge of the world, since his only field of knowledge seems to be making his much-vaunted business deals to make money, and even that knowledge is flawed, since some of the deals he has made have sent him bankrupt, and even since his ascension to the presidency even his deals with his own party have frequently gone awry.

    The writer said also that the real problem was not his unawareness of his own lack of knowledge (shades of Donald Rumsfeld’s much-maligned “unknown unknowns”).

    No, Trump’s problem goes even deeper, to an incredible third level of ignorance: that he does not comprehend, and probably never has comprehended, just what it is to KNOW something properly. He simply doesn’t seem to grasp what is necessary to verify the truth of a statement. So he has no understanding of how science works, or how reliable and truthful journalism works, and a swag of other verification skills which would be necessary to own in our modern world. I fear there are a lot of people out there in the same position.

    • admin says:

      It was a quote from George Will, which I put up on the blog a weeks or so ago. I thought it encapsulated Trump perfectly. I agree that there are lots of people out there who are in the same boat; they are completely ignorant of just about everything, but when talking to them online, they betray themselves by their lack of ability with grammar and punctuation. They know absolutely nothing about science and think it is just opinion, and can be disagreed with without presenting any countervailing evidence. One good thing I have noticed is that the strident, less grammatically ignorant trumpettes are starting to disappear from online ‘discussions’ and I suspect they are reaching that realisation that they have been conned.

      • Arthur Baker says:

        I’m not sure the Trumpettes are reaching any conclusion at all. On the contrary, I think they are beyond reaching reliable conclusions other than the ones that are already etched permanently into their own brains.

        Bear in mind that because of the non-compulsory voting system in the USA, and the Electoral College system which favours smaller states, Trump got elected on the votes of just over 25 percent of Americans entitled to vote, The major factor there was the huge number of people who either couldn’t be bothered to go to a voting station or considered that their vote couldn’t make a difference.

        Since Trump’s inauguration, his approval rating has dropped to around 30 percent. That’s as bad as it ever has got for a US President, but it still suggests that the 25% who voted him in may still, almost all, favour what he’s doing. They’re rusted on, and no atrocity he commits or is proven to have committed is likely to shake them out of their support. That’s because they’re simply not evidence-based people, and probably never will be.

        The only way Trump will get the push will be either (a) impeachment by his own party (unlikely, you’d have to say, unless they desperately want Pence in); or (b) the non-voting masses in the USA wake up to the same extent as, or to a greater extent than, they did in the UK recently, and realise that walking down the road to a polling station may rid them of the numbskull in the White House.

        The rusted-on 25 percent who carried the vote in 2016 aren’t likely to change their minds any time soon. Pointless even to target them. Our targets ought to be the previously unmotivated non-voters.

        • admin says:


          I think that is where the most effort is being directed; at the non-voters, many of whom are young. Theresa May found out, to her cost that the young are increasingly fed up with the business as usual model of politics and, I suspect, the failed trickle-down economics. One can only hope. As Nick Hanauer said, things better change or the people with pitchforks will be coming.

  • Arthur Baker says:

    Apologies. I read it here. Your quote from George F. Will, a few days ago. How could I forget that so quickly?

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