Friday, 22 January 2016

Donald Trump and memories of Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men

A good read this morning from Bradford DeLong - one of my favourite bloggers

NAIL 'EM UP!!!!: "Methinks it is time to go reread Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men again..."

Just a sample from quite a long piece that's worth spending time on.
First an extract from Molly Ball: How Sarah Palin Created Donald Trump:
To find a home in the then-nascent organs of the GOP fever swamps, which, as McKay Coppins has noted, Trump savvily courted for years before launching the current campaign.... Palin’s people are Trump’s people.
Now, as Trump and Cruz battle for the nomination, the right is split between its policy commitments and its attitudinal id. Palin has made her choice—and now she may finally get her chance to be Vice President...
Then DeLong descibes a dinner with a very old, very good friend—one not born and raised in the United States, and not a political junkie .
He asked me what he should think of American politics in view of the rise and durability of Donald Trump. I pointed to Burlesconi. I pointed to Mussolini. But the problem is that, for all of the experts and all of the different schools of interpretation, the rise and durability of Donald Trump is a zero/probability event. And, as David Kreps taught me many years ago, rationally-updating one's beliefs in the wake.of a zero-probability event is a... genuinely hard problem. For a zero probability event to happen means that your visualization of the Cosmic All is simply wrong--or it would not strike you as a zero probability event.
However, the herds and hordes of journalists and political scientists are not coming to grips with this. Rather than come to grips with this, they work hard to “save the phenomena” and save their models--analyzing the rise and durability of Donald Trump by making the smallest possible tweaks to what they thought last year. They are not stepping back and absorbing the lesson. They do not want to recognize that the rise and durability of Trump teaches them that what they thought last year was wrong. They do not want to face the reality that they need to pretty much throw everything away and start over.
But if they were willing to throw pretty much everything away and start over, the place to start over is with Robert Penn Warren

And so to All the King's Men:  "‘Friends, red-necks, suckers, and fellow hicks..."
Read on for a history lesson in US politics.

'via Blog this'
Post a Comment