About The Hopeful Realist

For as long as I can remember, I never felt comfortable with either of the two pseudo-philosophies of Optimism or Pessimism. Whatever the circumstance, pessimism seemed arbitrarily fatalistic, but so did optimism. Both, I think, are forms of intellectual laziness. In a world of increasing chaos and confusion, predicting a rosy result seems ever more tenuous. But predicting a priori doom would imply that there is nothing we can do about dire circumstances. More fatalism. Only by engaging Reality without such foolish biases can Hope be sustained. And without Hope, what can we do?

While it is possible that we have allowed things to “go too far” to save ourselves from the consequences of our own past and present foolishness—let me count the ways…later—only one path can determine whether or not that is true. The path that leads to truth is the path of action. But action must be predicated on a careful reading of reality if it is to be effective. Contemplation helps, but only observation and action can build real hope. That is why I am The Hopeful Realist. From the perspective of Hopeful Realism, one can much more readily see the social illusions that seem to drive much of contemporary life and respond effectively.

In this blog I explore the various social illusions and distorted estimates of reality that seem to be driving so many events in all sorts of whacky ways these days. Exposing social illusions may be critical in determining the future of our lives. Escape the chains of optimism and pessimism and become a Hopeful Realist!

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Trump, the Manchurian President: Culture Jam from Far Away

Remember the 1962 movie, The Manchurian Candidate based on Richard Condon’s 1959 novel? There was a remake in 2004, with Denzel Washington playing the man who knows something is wrong about the presidency. A slick candidate for the U.S. presidency has been “brainwashed” to do the bidding of a foreign power. The inevitable struggle between good and evil ensues and the crisis approaches apocalypse.

Atomic TrumpI think we have an apt metaphor here for the Trumpery we all now experience. After all, his election rested on more than one form of electoral fraud, from Russian trolls and bots to widespread Republican voter suppression by tampering with voter rolls and extreme gerrymandering.

These days the US president appears to be helping the Russians in several ways. One has to wonder what Putin and his henchmen have on the Empty Clown Suit pretending to be president. Could it be the laundering of oligarch money or the Deutsche Bank loans of suspicious origin when no other bank in the world would loan him a nickel? He is also jamming core American values and interests in national security in service to the Billionaire Class and especially his own (largely secret) financial interests. I am not the first to suggest the Manchurian Candidate as an appropriate metaphor for this situation.

The whole thing, morally as well as socially and economically, is far, far away from the everyday lives of ordinary Americans. It is, in a word, foreign, although many Americans have been infected by the “new normal” of demagoguery covering political corruption and possibly treason. The financial and corporate elites control the Senate. They support the endless executive orders and appointments undercutting the public interest in established law and administrative regulations by the Manchurian President.

The reality TV show that now guides the nation brands the President as the only real winner among the rest of us “losers.” Every vulnerable ethnic group is cast as some form of evil. The amoral Trump brand touts greed, meanness, and blatant racism as its central principles of governance. Yet, the man himself has no idea how to govern a nation. He has gained the power that allows him to take what he wants, whenever he wants, from whomever he wants by ignoring the law and democratic principles. He exposes thereby the fragile nature of democracy when so many of its citizens remain uninformed by their lack of critical thinking.

I still cannot get over how easily he dupes so many Americans. I was in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, the day before his arrival for one of his rallies. Along some major streets, I saw hawkers selling MAGA tee-shirts, hats, and other paraphernalia of the New American Fascism (Shall we call it NAF? No, let’s not. That would just reify the insanity.)

When will we realize the destructiveness of this evil vindictive brand of irrational self-dealing hate and gross political corruption, masked as patriotism, which projects itself across the world in our name? Our nation’s security suffers severely for it. When American power is projected around the world based on the whims of narcissistic sociopathy, it only instills confusion and mistrust among our allies, as well as everyone else.

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