Tag Archives: Trump

Today’s Quote: Tolstoy on groupthink

All the papers say the same thing… they are like frogs before a storm! They prevent our hearing anything else.

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Via Douglas Carswell’s intriguing new book calling for a free market revolt  against the new oligarchy of power and capital.

If you enjoy books that help you think differently, you might like mine. It’s short, fun and practical.

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Filed under Economics, Politics, Today's Quote, What I'm Reading

How To Get Free, Together

How free societies think about the common good is the great question of our time. In the wake of Brexit and Trump, while most thinkers on the left and right have descended into simplistic cheerleading or paranoid denial, a few brave souls are seriously reassessing the role of politics in an age where nations are back on centre stage. It’s vital that at least some on the classical liberal/libertarian side of the argument take up that challenge as well.

In an effort to sharpen my own thinking, I’ve been reading Michael Novak’s excellent Free Persons and the Common Good this week. Published in 1989, it’s out of print but extremely worthwhile. There can be few books that move so smoothly from quoting Ludwig von Mises to adjudicating disputes between Catholic theologians. At one point, Novak laments the want of a book studying Friedrich von Hayek’s work “in the light of the political and social thought of Aristotle and Aquinas”.

This is not a perfect book. It repeats itself and descends too deeply into minor doctrinal controversies of the time. But it is a thoughtful, provocative reminder of the liberal project’s longstanding, deep interest not just in individual freedom but in creating self-sustaining political communities built on liberty.

Today, elite power is in full and open flight from politics, resisting democratic results for higher reasons of its own. At least some libertarians are running in the same direction. And yet even as they do so, it seems that suspicion of both the common mind and the legitimacy of politics is an idea whose time has gone. 

 So it’s refreshing to read Novak’s analysis of de Tocqueville, who looked at the early American republic and saw a commitment to maximise political participation at the local level as one of its great strengths, a source of durability.

In local affairs, citizens quickly see the connection between their private interests and the general interest… the federal principle at the root of the American experiment draws as many citizens as possible into the exercise of local responsibilities.… Thus, local freedom “perpetually brings men together and forces them to help one another in spite of the propensities that sever them.”

There is much to think on in our new times. But among it all, remembering that liberty is hard-won and hard-kept may be the most important of all.

If you want some practical advice on communicating persuasively in a new age of celebrity politics, you should probably read my book.

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Filed under Freedom, Politics, What I'm Reading

Today’s Quote, 24 January 2017

“Considerate people, before they declare themselves, will observe the use which is made of power; and particularly of so trying a thing as new power in new persons, of whose principles, tempers, and dispositions they have little or no experience, and in situations, where those who appear the most stirring in the scene may possibly not be the real movers.”-Edmund Burke

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Trump’s FDA Pick Could Be Inspired

Trump’s willingness to surprise continues with the people he is considering to head America’s medical watchdog, the FDA.

Yesterday Trump met with two contenders. One was Balaji Srinivasan, a brilliant and thoughtful man with deep ties to Silicon Valley and Peter Thiel, a key Trump backer.

Thiel’s justified frustration with the FDA is longstanding. When I interviewed him six years ago, he told me that if the tech industry was regulated that way, it wouldn’t exist.

As he said to me, “Imagine if Twitter had to go through the FDA drug approval — how efficacious, how does it affect the brain, phase II, phase III trials.”

And Srinivasan is of a similar mind, publishing a tweetstorm in March last year criticising the FDA’s chilling effect on innovation.

One example:

“New tech allows far better regulation than the FDA.”

Which means that Srinivasan even being considered for the role is a sign that priorities at the FDA are set to change. Fantastic. Because freeing things up will save thousands of lives.

Srinivasan is an experienced, successful biotech entrepreneur and venture capitalist. But more than that, he is incredibly thoughtful and original in general. His tweetstorm on “the cloud versus the land”
is one of my favourite reads on the year so far.

Trump’s first 100 days just got even more interesting.

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Filed under Business, Innovation, Politics, Trump

Trump makes an unlikely new friend

When you’ve got Glenn Greenwald arguing Trump’s corner, it may be a sign that your attack is not working.

“Cheering for the CIA and its shadowy allies to unilaterally subvert the U.S. election and impose its own policy dictates on the elected president is both warped and self-destructive.”

Trump has also noticed the value of this moment. He’s not just waiting for figures like Greenwald to protest on his behalf. Trump has also started using this witchhunt against him by the deep state to break the frame of himself as the dangerous fascist. Scott Adams, who has been arguing for Trump’s tactical nous since well before the election, captures it well in a new blogpost, “The Master Persuader Scrambles the Frame”.

Read the whole thing.

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Peter Thiel Talks Trump, Authenticity and Pro Wrestling

Was Trump real in a way that his opponents couldn’t match?

“Maybe pro wrestling is one of the most real things we have in our society and what’s really disturbing is that the other stuff is much more fake. And whatever the superficialities of Mr. Trump might be, he was more authentic than the other politicians. He sort of talked in a way like ordinary people talk. It was not sort of this Orwellian newspeak jargon that so many of the candidates use. So he was sort of real. He actually wanted to win.”

Via, as Trump would say, the failing New York Times.

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Gingrich Talks Trump

Interesting throughout, especially on the idea of Trump as a watershed moment, and how that makes it a moment to supply the incoming administration with watershed ideas.

Also interesting that Gingrich is going to write more on Trump. He evidently sees it as a good field to be in.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/12/30/newt-gingrich-trumpism-explained.html

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