Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Why Trump is President Part II

In the last comment on the first part of Why Trump is President, Keith posited..........  Regarding societal evolution.  I guess I am not too sure I understand the concept as well as you do.  Evolving to what?  What are the characteristics that differ or can be compared to human evolution which is improvement in adaptation environmentally exhibited by higher intellectual capacity.  is it the ability to maximize our intellectual capacity in ways that benefit mankind's survival as a whole?  Which brings us to the Reds vs the Greens.  Why does it seem that the greens have progressed towards maximizing their intellectual capacity more than Reds -Oranges?  Or is that just a contextural elitist bias.   We are all born with this intellectual capacity that makes us superior to the animal kingdom intellectually.  So why do some people become greener than others?  Is it an organic brain formation, environment ?  Clearly, some parts of the country are more Red than others, but you can find greens amongst them and vice-versa for greens.  Some points to ponder.

My response.........

Regarding societal evolution, one of the best examples is slavery.  As societies evolve, slavery disappears.  Previous studies have shown that in ego/ethno-centric cultures 15% practiced slavery and it was black on black, white on white and yellow on yellow.  Race did not matter in those studies on indigenous populations and they practiced slavery because worldcentric morality had not yet emerged on a wide scale)—hence this unfreedom is not primarily due to the presence of an oppressive force but to the absence of a higher development. This is key to understanding the far-right today - they are not being deliberately oppressive - they lack the higher development needed to see they are oppressing others with their beliefs and subsequent actions.    

Quoting Wilber "This evolutionary stage also meant that identity could expand from ethnocentric (“my-special-group” identity) to worldcentric (or “all-groups” or “all-humans” identity, which strove to treat all people—not just a special group but all people—fairly regardless of race, color, sex, or creed). This was  a staggering shift in values—from ethnocentric group-centered to worldcentric all-humans centered—and for this reason, in a one-hundred year time period (roughly 1770-1870), slavery was outlawed in every single worldcentric modern-rational society on the face of the planet—the first time anywhere in human history that this had happened".  

So, the ending of slavery in all modern and post-modern societies is an example of societal evolution reflecting a 100th Monkey type of result though the actual numbers to drive societal change are around 10%. The integral studies showed that, for example, the abolitionist movement in the US took place with only about 10% of the population at a world-centric view which is where slavery obsoletes itself - it is too obvious at 10% that slavery is wrong.  

That is an example of a societal stage driven by a percentage of people at a personal stage of development.  For background I quote Wilber again "People are not in any way born with green values; those values are rather the product of 5 or 6 major stages of human development,  1st-person perspective of red, to a 2nd-person perspective of amber, to a 3rd-person perspective of orange, to a 4th-person perspective of green, to a 5th-person perspective of early integral, to a 6th-person perspective of late integral, and higher. Each of these stages “transcends and includes” its predecessor."

To me, from an evolutionary question of "why is green or later turquoise an evolutionary improvement?" the answer seems to be that in a complex society of specialization, earth resource depletion, and interdependence that we currently have, these advanced stages become essential for species and planet survival. If the human race does not evolve to these higher stages, it could destroy the planet at worst, or maybe more likely just kill off 90% of its own population.  

And, back to your question of why some stall at different stages (everyone has to go through all of them through their life), it appears to be complex with many factors contributing: intellectual capacity (a mentally disabled person is not going to progress at all which means on a spectrum of intelligence there are likely max levels one can achieve); education certainly plays a role in maximizing potential; personal drive and curiosity to know; personal practices (previous studies show that the single best practice to move people on the cusp from one to the next level is meditation); and then of course the supporting activities/systems to all these like diet, exercise, schools, health-care, etc which without you cannot achieve max intelligence, emotional control, sound thinking processes, etc.  The meditation effect is particularly interesting because prayer is a form of meditation - so religious practices can play a positive role in moving people along if they don't get trapped by the dogma.   

Now, back to green.............. "But this postmodern stage—Integral Meta-theory’s “green”—brought a 4th person perspective into significant existence, which had the capacity to reflect on—and critically analyze—these 3rd-person “global” productions, and this is where green postmodernism (so named because it came after, and reflected on, the products of modernism) decided that this rational-modern mentality had, in too many ways, veered off course in destructive and counter-productive ways. And thus the civil rights movement, the worldwide environmental movement (which became larger than any political party anywhere on the planet), personal and professional feminism, the sustainability movement (in business and elsewhere)—all of what I have called “the many gifts of green. And yet, in the course of that, driven largely (if often unknowingly) by arcane arguments in academia, the originally healthy pluralistic postmodernism increasingly became an extreme, overblown, self-contradictory, utterly dysfunctional relativism, which soon collapsed almost entirely into nihilism and narcissism. It’s the nature of the leading-edge stage that its values, although they are only directly embraced by the stage itself, nonetheless tend to permeate or seep through the culture at large. (For example, when the leading-edge was orange rational world-centric, whose world-centric or “all-humans-treated-equally” values inherently included an anti-slavery stance, the Civil War was fought in America in order to end slavery, and over a million white boys died in the fight to end black enslavement—and yet not much more than 10 percent of the population was actually at the orange stage—but that value had seeped throughout the culture of the North, and many were willing to die for it—as many were in the French and American revolutions, which marked an orange democratic overthrow of amber monarchy/aristocracy.)"

Where he talks about green falling back into nihilism and narcissism is when I reflect on the rabid attitudes of progressives manifesting as overbearing PC, taking up causes like stopping water bottling (just an example I see), the micro-aggression issues colleges have had to deal with where people find the least little thing to be offended by, etc are when Green veered off course. It got stuck in its own loop. Reds actually came up with what I thought was a ridiculous saying that "liberals eat their own young" which i only now understand.  But, the progressives who lost emotional control did become so vicious I can see how someone could make that statement. Think about the vitriolic attacks on GMO's, energy producers, etc - on one level I agree those things are problematic but some of these people would blow up Monsanto, Exxon, and Chevron with no solution what to do next figured out. They substitute one wrong with a much greater wrong.  And, some of these far-left activists will cut off their nose to spite their face because they see certain things as so wrong - they have lost perspective.  That is the negative side of green that caused the backlash that ultimately was that little extra that pushed Trump over the top.   

Sorry for probably giving you more than you asked but it all started to fit together and I just kept going

Why Trump is President

This post and the extensive comments are a transcription of an email exchange I had with a friend.  Other readers should feel free to jump in as they feel inclined.

If you feel like diving into some deep-think analysis where this guy (Ken Wilber) uses lots of big words check this out.  First I will give you an excerpt that will either capture your attention so you will be willing to invest the few hours it takes to digest this overly-complicated way of viewing the current social issues in the US and world or you will say Nah, I would rather do my other things.  When this guy says "Green" just substitute "progressive politically correct"  and when he says "amber" think alt-right nationalistic and fundamentalist.   

Here we go..........

Here’s just one example of this slowly but widely growing realization of green’s complicity in the election of an amber ethnocentric Trump—and an indication that the self-correcting drive of evolution is indeed kicking in.  In an online article by African-American Jeremy Flood (cofounder of At the Margins), entitled “The Revolution Must Be Felt,” after emphasizing that Trump’s election was the victory of an ethnocentric current, Flood very perceptively confesses, “But in the very same vein, we [liberals] must acknowledge the way in which we refer to Trump’s base, the way we emphasize his support from the ‘non-college educated,’ the way we approach the premise of rural white America generally, relies on that very same prejudicial inference.  Our hatred for these people is at its very essence class-ism [his bold].  This cannot be stressed enough.  

Contempt for white ruralites is built into the fabric of the modern liberal lexicon.  We set them up as a vessel of every oppressive construct university liberalism has aimed to dismantle [i.e., the single great cause of all forms of oppression]—from fundamentalist religion, to sine qua non nationalism, to a general distrust in science, we’ve sculpted these people into a caricature of barbarian ignorance.  And then when we come knocking for votes, we expect them not to have noticed.  In taking these people’s votes for granted while unabashedly airing our hostility, we pushed them ever closer to the precipice, and then watched in shock as they jumped.” Exactly one of the points I’ve been making.  

Flood continues, “And if our own class-ism prevents us from caring about the emotional needs of those we derided as deplorable, we are not really progressives.”  He explains: Do you disagree with the substance of this narrative?  Are you aching to insert how [their] views are misleading, the byproduct of sexism, unfair media attention, and double standards?  Me too.  It doesn’t matter.  That was the narrative that we sold to millions of people.  And they told us what they thought of it.  We lost Michigan.  We lost Pennsylvania.  We lost Ohio.  The razed waste of Unionland.  How did we get here?  How indeed?  Says Flood, “Pundits can argue forever about whether economic or racial anxiety triggered the detonation.  But here is the bottom line: the Left failed [his bold].  We failed not because we didn’t have the facts on our side, not because our policies weren’t better for the working class, not because the redneck sods of the Trumpian horde were too racist to see reason.  The left failed because the story they were selling wasn’t strong enough to overcome these not at all new resentments [his italics].” Ressentiment, indeed.  Flood notes that “Solidarity is a story.  It’s composed of our actions and our authenticity.  It’s about collective [worldcentric] identity and collective struggle.  We are not ‘stronger together’ when half of us are ‘deplorable.’”  Amen, brother.  

“We embraced an academic, impersonal style of politics [postmodern poststructuralist], and through our tone and narrative, the Democratic party came to embody exactly the kind of elitist hierarchy it was built to overcome.”   Right on the money.  And as we’ve seen, one of the primary reasons that this comes about is that whenever we deny growth hierarchies, then automatically, unavoidably, and by default, we strengthen dominator hierarchies.  Without a countervailing current tilting and trending us toward our highest worldcentric and integral possibilities, we slide into our lowest common denominators, our egocentric and ethnocentric drives.  (And when originally worldcentric notions regress to ethnocentric displays, they take on the flavor of all amber-stage productions: an absolutistic, fundamentalist, “one-true-way” attitude, and we buy into it with a religious fervor that takes no prisoners.  We have seen this happen with science itself—as it slid into amber scientific materialism and reductionistic scientism; with feminism—as, for many, it slid into an absolutistic religion, the slightest disagreement with which was viewed as deeply demonic; we saw it with Marxism—as it slid into a de facto zealot religion for millions: while religion may or may not be the opiate of the masses, Marxism became the opiate of the intellectuals; and we’ve seen it with many political ideologies, even those coming from orange or green, when latched onto with an  unquestioning fervor and absolutistic enthusiasm, slid into their lowest ethnocentric and even egocentric displays, with disaster a short step away.)  When that happens, then this slide from growth holarchies into dominator hierarchies is deeply unavoidable—and catastrophic coming from the leading-edge itself.  No wonder evolution imploded. 

This link should take you to the whole thing if you are interested.  I think it is needlessly long, repetitive and hard to understand though the general thesis is that the progressive movement imploded because being PC made it impossible for progressives to reflect on where they were because it isn't PC to see stratas of society and consciousness which set up a cognitive dissonance that shorted out the movement and prevented it from leading.  If you can read it though it really hammers this idea home so you can fully and completely understand the schizophrenic left and why the other half of society rebelled - they had to because it was leading to a dead-end.  I ended up reading the whole and am glad I did because now I can translate some of it into easier to understand language.   

Once I read this, then it was really easy for me to see the manifestation of the progressives I know in basically embracing this idea of stupid, ignorant, racist, greedy, uneducated, sheeple on the right who fall for idiotic rhetoric over and over.  And, I realized that these so-called progressives have embraced a hatred for this group though they will not call it that because it is not PC to hate someone.  Quite the societal schizophrenia.  

Keith's Response:
 I took the time to read the entire paper.  Since it was so long, I took notes along the way which has motivated me to put down a long reply. 

 It is both disturbing and thought provoking relying heavily on imparting self guilt to anyone who is not a Trump supporter as well as his foundational premise on "truth".  That truth for everyone has de-evolved to being contextural based.  Truth, in spite of being contextural today's truths can still be tested for mistakes in logic using the set of fallacies we discuss during the course of the campaign last year.  The Trump campaign and administration continue to violate logic for nearly all the 12 Fallacy arguments that I am aware of. 

A term I first heard from your brother and Jeff Roach was "elitist" which Wilbur seems to have lifted from the Trump supporter lexicon.  I still cannot understand why being elite is a bad thing.  It never bothered me for someone to think I was better than them when I never thought I was.  Elitism is criticizd by Wilbur for the loss or for the recent developments in evolutionary self-correction yet his entire thesis is presented using esoteric, elitist words and sentence construction throughout.  To gain a better understanding of the nature of the world we now live in I am beginning to read a book Invitation to Philosophy-Issues and Options .  Lots of sections on Logic, Ethics, Fallacies, Perceptions, and Truth- the entire gamut of philosophy in brief.  Arming up for alternative facts.

So, though I do not agree with Wilbur on "there is no truth" or that it is a best relativistic, seems too much the self blame.  Perhaps for the Democratic Party, but for the vast majority of centrist Democrats and Independents I don't think it can be applied.  And we should not accept blame in terms of what Wilbur is proposing.  Nor progressives in general.  Party affiliates yes.  For me it is a combination of factors that account for Trump's election.  The elephant in the room being simply the wrong opposition candidate being pushed through by the Democrats.  The missteps by Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Donna Brazile in putting historic precedence before what was best for the country.  Trump didn't win, the Democrats lost.  And it was a screwy election since he won the Electoral College not the popular vote which puts a pall over his legitimacy.  Keep in mind that it wasn't just that Hillary beat Trump in the popular vote by 3million votes, there were another nearly 8million cast for other than Trump or Hillary.  That means nearly 54% of the popular vote did not go to Trump.  Of 136.6million voters 73.65million did not vote Trump and with his popularity dropping by the week his ability to govern will become more and more of a problem. 

I think that Strauss and Howe in the Fourth Turning, captures in their minds, as a product of the cycles of history which they explain to my satisfaction the why's and mechanisms that apparently repeat and have repeated throughout history.   Since this is a cyclical process I would not agree with the idea it is evolutionary.  At best evolutionary and de-evolutionary, ie cyclical.  Very much a pendulum that reaches an extreme followed  by a counter reaction moving towards center and on to the other extreme.  The positive regarding Trump is he represents and extreme so though it may get worse it will reach an end point.   I think Wilbur adds to the details of what Strauss and Howe have already proposed.  However they add greater depth and dimension by characterizing the effects on each generation as they arrive in a specific Turning be it the High, Awakening, Unraveling or the Crisis and how their response shapes the successive generations as they all approach the next turning.  Theirs is an optimistic view that we pass though Crises to the next Highs and the First Turning.  It really depends upon the foundation for our values and how strong our Constitution and three branches of government can maintain balance.  After all, all can be lost.  It is an option.

it appears, and bothers me that the foundation premise for Wilbur's further arguments is what he refers to as  "there is no truth", that it is relative, which if my interpretation is correct, I reject.  Truth is not relative.  That statement alone is false.  Truth can be tested.  That is what is happening right now.  Too many people already know what "truth" is and is not.  People know how to test for fact vs alternative facts as evidenced by the inability for the Trump Administration to even get itself off the ground caught up in their own lies.  Wilbur's paper is analysis of the fallacies (though he doesn't state this) that have currently been used to gain hold by the Right with Brexit and Trump,  However, for those of us with the tools to sift fact from fallacy, truth has been and will be a continuum,  Only if yo believe there are no facts and "what really counts is we truly believe this" do you get duped. 

This is why, in spite of the fact I didn't vote for Trump, I wanted him to be the GOP candidate (as long as it couldn't be Kasich or some other reasonable Republican).  Since we were headed for "Crisis" phase anyway let's just jump in and get it over.  Given the first 3 weeks performance all is working according to plan and the  more the outrageous the better. 

I take even more umbrage with the description by Wilber of Boomers as not teaching truth, but self-esteem.  This his "truth", not mine nor most Boomers, but again he establishes this as fact then expands upon it committing the same fallacy that he criticizes.  The Boomer Generation is the "question authority" generation who were still taught critical thinking,(not emphasized today) keeping in mind the No Child Left Behind and Common Core BS were brought to you by the Orange administrations.  (An aside doing away with the Department of Education at this point would not be a bad thing, letting the states handle it with Fed Funds only to ensure equivalency in buildings.)  But Wilbur's "no truth" premise is a false foundation up which much of the rest of his argument does not hold up and is more a criticism of the Right than the Left rather than the fault of the Left. 

Much of this is regional.  A function of the Coasts with generally better education systems vs the Right in the fly-over states, more the belief oriented states with belief based education.  The irony is these same Trump supporters who suffer from inadequate education needed to get the jobs and the standard of living the coasts enjoy are the very ones who seem to think the government can fix it, the same government their anti-government movement wishes to diminish.  The 70% of whites with only a high school or lower education who voted for Trump don't see they are a victim of their own device.  They are "the rednecked, oafish, uneducated, gigantic instigator of oppression of all minorities" who above all hate minorities who have become more successful through their own hard work and who conflate the criminal elements of the minorities to bring down all members of an ethnic group or race.  And what of this term "elite", again is this anyone who has become more successful than themselves.  Appears to be the case.  A case of self hate transposed over resentment.

Wilbur seems to suffer from some of his own Green guilt complex which I do not share.  I, unlike the serious hopeful Hillary voter, after 8 years of obstructionism by Republicans wanted to bring this festering sore of an Alt-Right Movement (now that it has been defined as such) to the fore so those supporters, out of ignorance, could see that it's without substance.  To let the disappointment settle in with the reality that there really wasn't anything in it for them.  Green's warned the Oranges, but they need to see for themselves.  Not a problem for me.  Again, it was the wrong major party candidate that lost, Trump did not win.  If it had been Biden or if Obama could have run a third term, just by his popularity numbers we can see either one would have won.  So the underlying theme by Wilbur of gross miss steps by the Greens is overstated.  There is a great deal of self flagellation and attempt to transfer that sense of guilt to those he calls greens.  Going back to the Fourth Turning, I would equate Wilbur's Integral Age to the First Turning, a High as they term it.  An upbeat era of strengthening institutions and weakening individualism.  We are now in the Fourth Turning, it is clear, a Crisis era where secular upheaval exists and the values regime propels the replacement of the old civic order with a new one.  This is why needed a Trump, to bring this to a head, what has been fomenting on the Right for 8 years.  A kind of Anti-Christ who though bordering on evil is needed to bring us to our senses and across this abyss of questionable values.  The future is playing out as it should with Trump only 3 weeks in already floundering on a number of fronts. 

Net-net though I questioned and challenge Wilbur on some of his arguments and his being a bit heavy on the "psycho analysis" and his assignment that the green's fundamental belief is "there is no truth" I think this a good read.  I would also challenge his guilt laden arguments he lays on greens.  Then he needs that to go forward with his thesis.  Simply spelled out, the crisis we are entering into is a Constitutional Crisis and I am betting on the Constitution to prevail.  the alternative will be extreme civil insurrection and perhaps civil war.  It could happen. 

Wilbur speaks of the future, some Pollyannaish green's "reaching out to understand, include in dialogue, care, even love to the deplorables".  Maybe because I come from the 60s and still harbor a great deal of resentment for the authority during those times, I will have none of that.  would rather see it taken to the streets if necessary.  No peace, love incense from my part.  Too much venom on the Orange/Red, Alt-Right whatever for peace/love.   

Per the Fourth Turning Wilbur would be out of synch from an historical perspective.  The Awakening he referred to has already passed.  It started in 1984 and ended in the mid-2000's (at least that was the end point predicted in 1997,  We are actually at the peak of the Crisis stage (again as predicted in 1997) and it feels like it.  Finally Wilbur states, "Humankind has never had a leading edge like this at any previous point in history" which is completely untrue.  Every Crisis stage presents a great existential threat and the chance everything could be lost.  The year preceding the Civil War was the leading edge like none in history whose effects have rippled even to the present day.  Very long lasting effects.

Don't worry.  I have confidence things will work out and even more so with the pushback by the Federal Courts and the total transparent ineptness of Trump and his entire staff from Kelly Conway, Spicer, Flynn, and De Vos.  The scariest guy so far is this Goebbels like reincarnation, Steven Miller.  That guy is dangerous.  However, they too will fall.