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Friday, November 11, 2016

Paul Krugman: Thoughts for the Horrified

I started blogging a few months after George Bush was reelected. I didn't feel like I has done enough before the election, so I decided to do whatever I could to try and make a difference.

When Trump was elected, I felt like I had failed, that all the effort over the last 12 years (it takes an immense amount of time each day to do this, and the opportunity cost has been high) had been for nothing. I felt like hanging it up. But I knew deep down I couldn't do that. So time to regroup, drop the complacency I fell into over time (I don't write anywhere near as much as I once did), and do what I can.

The most disappointing part of this is about my plans for the future. I have (tentatively) been thinking of retiring in two years, and cutting back considerably on blogging, writing columns, etc. The time to stop and smell the roses is near. Now those plans are in doubt. If Trump and the Republicans proceed as I think they will, it may be much longer than that before I can scale back and live with myself.

Anyway, here' Paul Krugman:

Thoughts for the Horrified, by Paul Krugman, NY Times: So what do we do now? By “we” I mean all those left, center and even right who saw Donald Trump as the worst man ever to run for president and assumed that a strong majority of our fellow citizens would agree.
I’m not talking about rethinking political strategy. There will be a time for that.... For now, however, I’m talking about personal attitude and behavior in the face of this terrible shock. ...
Unfortunately, we’re not just talking about four bad years. Tuesday’s fallout will last for decades, maybe generations.
I particularly worry about climate change..., the damage may well be irreversible.
The political damage will extend far into the future, too. The odds are that some terrible people will become Supreme Court justices. States will feel empowered to engage in even more voter suppression... At worst, we could see a slightly covert form of Jim Crow become the norm all across America.
And you have to wonder about civil liberties, too. The White House will soon be occupied by a man with obvious authoritarian instincts...
What about the short term? My own first instinct was to say that Trumponomics would quickly provoke an immediate economic crisis, but after a few hours’ reflection I decided that this was probably wrong. I’ll write more about this in the coming weeks...
So where does this leave us? What, as concerned and horrified citizens, should we do?
One natural response would be quietism, turning one’s back on politics. It’s definitely tempting... But I don’t see how you can hang on to your own self-respect unless you’re willing to stand up for the truth and fundamental American values.
Will that stand eventually succeed? No guarantees. Americans, no matter how secular, tend to think of themselves as citizens of a nation with a special divine providence, one that may take wrong turns but always finds its way back, one in which justice always prevails in the end.
Yet it doesn’t have to be true. ... Maybe America isn’t special, it’s just another republic that had its day, but is in the process of devolving into a corrupt nation ruled by strongmen.
But I’m not ready to accept that this is inevitable — because accepting it as inevitable would become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The road back to what America should be is going to be longer and harder than any of us expected, and we might not make it. But we have to try.

    Posted by on Friday, November 11, 2016 at 09:46 AM in Economics, Politics, Weblogs | Permalink  Comments (156)


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