It’s a story out of a bad Hollywood message movie:
A black man is shot in the back seven times by police, in front of his kids.
In the ensuing protests, an armed white teenager is allowed by police to freely patrol the streets until he kills people and then is allowed to get away.
If this was a movie, I’d write a scathing review of how contrived the plot is.
It’s Crash-level bad writing.
And yet, it happened.
And events like it will continue to happen.
And what’s worse, a large portion of the population of the United States seems to believe that the police were justified in shooting a man in the back…
And the police were justified in allowing an armed teenager to patrol the streets after a government curfew others were being arrested for breaking…
And a teenager was justified in killing two people.
Why is that?
Supply-side economics, popularly known as ‘trickle-down’ economics, has been the most dominant approach to economic policy in North America (and some other countries) since the 1980s. Despite all economic evidence to the contrary, it is a policy that is still pursued today, to some extent or other, by both conservative and centrist parties in liberal democracies. The primary real-world consequence of these policies is a drastic increase in the economic differences between the rich and poor. The record is not good. Why is the policy so popular?
Donald Trump was recently elected President of the United States of America on the slogan “Make America Great Again.” Few thought he would win for most of his 18-month campaign. Then he won. Donald Trump – the huckster Donald Trump, who doesn’t read a book and doesn’t appear to know anything at all about, well, anything except his own branding, is now President of the United States of America.
Trump won for many reasons, but one compelling reason was the use of the word ‘again’ in his primary slogan. We human beings long for the past. When someone promises the past to us we believe him, no matter how incompetent he appears. Why?
The world is a weird place in 2017. Suddenly the term “Alternate facts” is being thrown out by the administration of The Most Powerful Country in the World (TM) and we are confronted with a regime in the US that seems to believe they can make up the truth.
But this shouldn’t be that shocking to us. The powers that be have manipulated “the facts” since there were people in power. It’s just that the Trump administration is more open about it than most governments of liberal democratic countries.
Whenever the television news media shows violence stemming from a protest on TV, the tacit assumption is always that the protesters started the violence: they chose to protest, they must have chosen to be violent. When the protesters come prepared for tear gas and the like, it is all the easier for the television media to look down on the protesters as instigators.
We the viewers come to these images of violent protests with the same assumptions: the protesters started it because, had they not protested, there would be no violence. Both media and audience believe that any violence by the police is justified as retaliatory. But why?
The last two years have witnessed a migration crisis in Europe the likes of which hasn’t been seen in 70 years. Though there have been plenty of migrations of people throughout the world over these decades, we in The West have been blissfully unaware because these migrations usually didn’t affect us (and there wasn’t 24 news coverage). But with Europe seemingly overwhelmed with immigrants, and with Americans and Canadians fearing they’re next, it’s worth wondering what we’re so afraid of.
To an outsider, it often appears as though there is no middle ground in the gun control debate in the United States: the left want weapons restricted or outright banned and the right wants even fewer restrictions than currently exist. The ferocity of the debate is both completely understandable and enormously perplexing. On one hand gun ownership is enshrined as a civil liberty. On the other, by global standards the United States is very developed economically and has rule of law, which makes fervent gun ownership advocacy seem extreme at worst and unnecessary at best.
Perhaps the trendiest electoral strategy for populists in North America in the last decade or so is the appeal to “Taxpayer Rights.” The idea is that you, payer of taxes, supporter of society and civilization, are not getting your money’s worth under the current (and past) administration. The populist, the champion of the rights of taxpayers, will change all of that. There will be new levels of accountability, efficiency and transparency if you elect the populist (and their party, where applicable).
The rise of Donald Trump has been one of the more unexpected events in recent U.S. electoral history. If you throw your mind back to 2015, Donald Trump becoming the official nominee of the Republican Party, for President of the United States of America, was something that no one was thinking was actually going to happen. He ran for President in 2000 (well, he ran for the nomination of the Reform Party) and withdrew the February prior to the election. In the summer, 538 pointed out that never in recent U.S. history has someone who was a front-runner a year and a half out in an election cycle ever won the presidency.