Thursday, November 10, 2016

Awe Topsy

Yes, it really happened
One of the premiere Topsy-turvey autopsy institutions ("Hindsight & Hindsight, Inc.") is busy these days daze.

Down through time, there have been many autopsies of historical events.

They are conducted because of the concept of "who knew?" or "should have known" how to stay the course.

The should-have-known is a legal term emanating from one of the legal concepts about the knowledge we are, as adults, required to have and to use.

Under our system of jurisprudence we are held to factors such as "what did we know" and "when did we know it", but, that is not the end of the matter, because we are also held to the standard of "what we should have known" and "when we should have known it" (You Should Have Known Better, PDF).

You might call it "the law of when," which can be made to seem out of the reach of comprehension where the dynamics involved in some way challenge our trance package or our world view:
"The First Law of 'When': the more critical an issue is to the future of our civilization, the difficulty of determining when that critical issue will take effect tends to increase exponentially.

The Second Law of 'When': the greater the amount of time it takes for that critical issue to play out completely tends to exponentially diminish Civilization's grasp of that critical issue.

The Third Law of 'When': the more destructive the impact which that critical issue would have on civilization tends to exponentially increase the time when that critical event will be understood to have begun to take place."
(Quotes Page). The recent election is a case in point because it does beg some of the questions about "should have known."

In terms of prescience, there are none more blind to the future than those who refuse to be prescient, and none more prescient than those who simplify it:
Professor Allan Lichtman ... has correctly predicted the winner of the popular vote in every presidential election since 1984.

When we sat down in May, he explained how he comes to a decision.

Lichtman's prediction isn't based on horse-race polls, shifting demographics or his own political opinions. Rather, he uses a system of true/false statements he calls the "Keys to the White House" to determine his predicted winner.

And this year, he says, Donald Trump is the favorite to win.
So very, very narrowly, the keys point to a Trump victory. But I would say, more to the point, they point to a generic Republican victory ...
(Trump is headed for a win, says professor who has predicted 30 years of presidential outcomes correctly). Others that were better equipped to discern the matter utterly failed to do it (Why HuffPost’s Presidential Forecast Didn’t See A Donald Trump Win Coming).

Similarly, but long ago, a German uh-oh (shown by the book cover at the top of this post) is a culture-wide case where many should have known, but didn't.

The book details the blindness of many in Germany and the world at that time, and is an indictment of those people who should have known it was tending to happen, but utterly failed to take note.

Anyway, for developing vision the basic drill is to be well read and aware:
The United States is extremely lucky that no honest, charismatic figure has arisen. Every charismatic figure is such an obvious crook that he destroys himself, like McCarthy or Nixon or the evangelist preachers. If somebody comes along who is charismatic and honest this country is in real trouble because of the frustration, disillusionment, the justified anger and the absence of any coherent response. What are people supposed to think if someone says ‘I have got an answer, we have an enemy’? There it was the Jews. Here it will be the illegal immigrants and the blacks. We will be told that white males are a persecuted minority. We will be told we have to defend ourselves and the honor of the nation. Military force will be exalted. People will be beaten up. This could become an overwhelming force. And if it happens it will be more dangerous than Germany. The United States is the world power. Germany was powerful but had more powerful antagonists. I don’t think all this is very far away. If the polls are accurate it is not the Republicans but the right-wing Republicans, the crazed Republicans, who will sweep the next election.”
(Noam Chomsky, April 2010, emphasis added). That was spot on, some six years ago, concerning the wrong direction the people polled in the say the country is going, and has been going (for decades).

So let's consider the source of the prescience, the foresight:
Noam #Chomsky isn't a figure that a lot of American voters are going to be overly familiar with. He's certainly not ignored as he is one of the most-cited people in the history of writing. In fact according to an ancient article from MIT News "his 3,874 citations in the Arts and Humanities Citation Index between 1980 and 1992 make him the most cited living person in that period and the eighth most cited source overrall--just behind famed psychiatrist Sigmund Freud and just ahead of philosopher Georg Hegel"
(ibid). Yep, there are two types of being "well read," one is reading and writing a lot, the other is when lots of people are reading your writings.

Nevertheless, as Professor Lichtman has shown by 30 years of exact prediction of who would win each presidential election, one does not have to be a Noam Chomsky to be prescient.

On to another case.

The two political parties competing for power in this election had different reactions to the two (in establishment eyes) radical candidates (Trump & Sanders) who were surging and giving the establishment sleepless nights (The Donald University vs. The Lord GOP University, Doomer Tuesday).

Eventually the party that won had backed off from their decision to crush their "unworthy radical candidate" (Trump), however, the other party (that lost) took the opposite approach and surreptitiously worked to thwart the will of the primary election voters.

They officially (albeit surreptitiously) resisted their "unworthy radical candidate" (Sanders).

They had no vision, thus, were doomed to experience the pain of unawareness.

The result of the autopsy, then, is demise by way of a type of ignorance, which is ignoring the plight of the people (cf. Goodbye, American neoliberalism. A new era is here).

In short, they suffered from a lack of vision.

They should have known better.

"The country I come from is called 'The Midwest' " ...


  1. "the balance of opinion by constitutional scholars is that, once electors have been chosen, they remain constitutionally free agents, able to vote for any candidate who meets the requirements for President and Vice President. Faithless electors have, however, been few in number (in the 20 century, one each in 1948, 1956, 1960, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1988, and 2000), and have never influenced the outcome of a presidential election." - link

  2. "Tragically, America has elected a man who has repeatedly called global warming a “hoax” and who put a climate science denier in charge of his EPA transition team. We’ve elected a man who has vowed to kill the Paris climate deal, end all efforts to help other countries deal with climate change, stop domestic climate action, reinvigorate coal, and zero out all research into climate science and clean energy." (Will Trump go down in history as the man who pulled the plug on a livable climate?)

  3. "It's Hillary's Fault, Not Comey's" - Bill Clinton


  4. "First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” - Martin Niemöller


    First they came for the Japanese, and I did nothing because I am not a Japanese. Then they came for the Muslims, and I did nothing because I am not a Muslim ... (Trump Supporter Cites Japanese Internment As ‘Precedent’ For Muslim Registry)