Donald Trump pointing at Melania Trump's chest

“Grab’em By The Pussy”: Why Pootus Trump’s Sexism Is Worse Than His Racism

President Trump's "Grab'em by the pussy" speech

Image Credit: TBD

Is it just my imagination, or does it seem like folks-in-general care more about Pootus Trump’s racism than they do about his sexism? Apologies if I’ve misread the evidence here, but in case I haven’t, then I’d like to try to explain why I think we need to re-prioritize these issues. To be clear, I’m not suggesting we ignore his racism entirely, but that we tend to invest more resources into solving the problem of his sexism than that of his racism.

To begin with, I’ll point out that sexism is actually a form of racism, in which girls and women are fallaciously considered a separate and inferior “race”1, and as such the most populous2 one comprising a full fifty-percent of the Earth’s population — roughly 3.5 billion human beings. So, even if I’m wrong and the problem of Trump’s racism really should trump that of his sexism, really the largest “racial” minority and consequently the one most in need of help is that of girls and women. And in case you’re worried that rich, white, crazy women like Betsy DeVos (or Hilary Clinton, if you’re on that side of things) will somehow be the primary beneficiaries of that help, remember that I’m not suggesting we ignore the racism problem entirely, only that we treat the sexism problem as our first priority.

Furthermore, no matter who you are or where you live, whatever obstacles you struggle against due to your apparent “race”, these tend to be minimized if you are a male and maximized if you are a female. Really, both racism and sexism are specific examples of what we might call physical-powerism — the fallacy that “might makes right”. And since men tend even within a given “race” to be bigger and stronger than women — more physically powerful — they are prone to committing the fallacy of physical-powerism, even against the female members of their own “race”.

So, yes, by all means, “black-lives matter”, but what I’m asserting here really is that the lives of “black” girls and women ought to matter even more. Again, please forgive me if you think I’ve misread the evidence that has lead me to this opinion. I’m open to changing my mind, of course, but I would need to encounter the right sort of evidence, which appears to be lacking at the moment.

But all of that applies to sexism and racism in general, and thus to Trump’s sexism and racism specifically. But there’s at least one more reason we should focus in particular on Trump’s own sexism: we have that Access Hollywood, “Grab’em by the pussy”, hot-mike recording of Donald Trump boasting about his own total disregard for the idea that women are actually human beings.

Honestly I think this single document may be the most overlooked and underutilized resource in the resistance against Trumplethinskin. To my view it should probably be the opening salvo in any and every conversation about T-Rump. Alongside the Lord’s Prayer, the Serenity Prayer, and Desiderata, I think Trump’s hateful, anti-Presidential words should be memorized and recited as often as possible — especially by Senators and Congresspersons. I think it should head every email or letter sent to a public official. I think teachers should teach it to school children. I think it should be printed on T-shirts, hats and bumper stickers. Most importantly, these disgusting, vile words must never be forgotten.

And in case you have accidentally forgotten about them, here’s the original recording:

 

 

 

 

 


1 I put the word race in scare-quotes to express my current opinion that the idea of race is scientifically dubious. I’ll use the same technique when referring to any specific “race” (e.g. “black”). For explanation, see “Race Is a Social Construct, Scientists Argue“, Scientific American, Feb. 5, 2016. Last accessed Jan. 18, 2018, 7:02 AM.

2 I should admit that his is more of an assumption I’m making, but I believe it’s a reasonable one. More explicitly, I’m assuming that fifty-percent of the total Human population are female, and that the total population of any other “race” is less than fifty percent of the total Human population. In any case, even if this assumption were false, I’m not sure my opinion would change much concerning the relative priorities of Trump’s racism versus his sexism.

Is Rational Centrism just the Disciplined Acknowledgment of Uncertainty?

Woman looking uncertain

Image Credit: Shutterstock

I think I may have finally nailed down what I mean by this term rational centrism. If I’m right (and I’m only fairly but not absolutely confident that I am), then it’s a really simple idea, which I can approximate, perhaps ironically, with the following rule:

Never speak or write in absolute terms.

Or without the irony:

As much as reasonably possible, avoid speaking or writing in absolute terms.

Another way to say it:

When speaking or writing, be generous with qualifiers such as fairly, almost, nearly, perhaps, maybe, possibly, somewhat, more-or-less, probably, etc. And be sure to acknowledge to your listeners and readers that you are aware that your opinions are in fact opinions.

Or how about:

For the most part, treat facts as if they were really just opinions that appear to be more or less true. Allow few exceptions.

To summarize: rational centrism is a discipline, or practice. It is essentially a firm commitment to explicitly acknowledge to your readers and listeners the uncertainty that is associated with pretty much everything outside the realm of mathematics and deductive logic.

Yeah, that sounds about right…more or less.

Feedback welcome!

I Think This Should Be A Word: Delusionist

Crazy looking man with blue wig and big, green-rimmed glasses.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

In the same way that an illusionist is a master of deception, I’m thinking it could be handy to have a word that means master of self-deception. I nominate delusionist for this purpose. For example,

“After eight failed marriages, he still talked of one day finding his ‘soul-mate’. The guy’s a delusionist.”

Skepticism as Curiosity

Little boy looking at the ground through a magnifying glass

Image found here.

Although I see myself as a skeptic, I’ve never liked that term. It always has a taint of disparagement, and I always feel like I need to explain it, or make jokes like “Don’t worry, it doesn’t seem to be very contagious.” It often seems to be used like a synonym for disagreeable, or party-pooperstuffy, stodgy, closed-minded, old coot, etc.

For me, skepticism is quite the opposite of all that. To my view the word skepticism is more like a synonym for curiosity — an urge to push past my current knowledge and understanding of the world. As I see it, to be a skeptic is nothing like being closed minded. On the contrary, it means to open one’s mind to alternatives, to free oneself from excessively rigid or mindless ideological over-commitments, and to stubbornly refuse to clutter up one’s own nervous system with a tangle of complicated, contradictory, and unnecessary opinions — what we might call belief pollution.

But that doesn’t mean I have no beliefs or opinions, of course. In fact, I seem to have so many of these that I’ve even created this blog as a place to document them. But my blog isn’t just a place for me to put my opinions. As I experience it, writing is actually a better way to think, and the process of a writing a blog post is also the process of formulating, scrutinizing, testing, reformulating, re-scrutinizing, revising, and in general indulging my often relentless curiosity regarding the way my own mind works.

In this way I am skeptical of even my own beliefs.

 

 

Without Luck, We Cannot Hope To Solve A Problem If We Don’t Understand It

Light bulb

Image found here.

One of my favorite problem-solving or solution-finding heuristics was articulated by Nobel Laureate Herbert A. Simon as follows:

“…solving a problem simply means representing it so as to make its solution transparent.” — Herbert A Simon, The Sciences of the Artificial.

To the extent that understanding a problem and representing it are more or less the same thing, and taking luck into account, I think Simon’s core principle can be reasonably and more colloquially paraphrased as:

 Unless we get lucky, we cannot hope to solve a problem if we don’t understand it.

 

Why I Am Not A Conspiracy Theorist

Man wearing hat made from a colander and tinfoil

Image found here.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist because I understand that a conspiracy is just a gang of fools who share the control delusion that they’ve actually got things all figured out and under control. And a conspiracy theorist is just another fool who shares that same control delusion, even though he or she is not actually a member of the gang of wannabe conspirators.

The world is just not that simple. Although I do think it’s true that some people really do have more executive influence than others — at least temporarily and in certain situations — I think really anybody or any group of anybodies who seriously thinks that they’re running things, and especially anybody who agrees with them on that point — is disconnected from reality.

But that’s just my opinion, for now, and until I see a good reason to change it. But enough about me already. What do you think? I’d really like to know.

Notes on Rational Centrism: Introduction and Disclaimer

Introduction

Three stones stacked in concentric circles in sand.

Image found here.

This post is the first of a series I am starting with an eye toward developing an essay on a topic I’m calling (for now) Rational Centrism. I am making these notes public in order to invite feedback from anyone who might have some to offer. If you have such feedback, I invite you to post your comments below, or send them to me privately via my Contact tab.

Although one of my goals for this project is to clarify and elaborate what I mean by this term, for now I believe I have enough of a high-level understanding to have allowed me to write a number of blog posts that either illustrate or relate in some relevant way to at least my current, nascent understanding of Rational Centrism.

Which brings us to the following disclaimer:

Disclaimer

You should know that as I begin this project I am nothing like an expert on its core topic, if the word topic is even appropriate. At this point, and for all I know, the term Rational Centrism may turn out to be nothing more than an evocative neologism, more ribbon than gift, so to speak. And aside from mulling the idea over in my mind for some time, jotting down a few notes here and there, and maybe writing a few blog posts that strike me as illustrative of the concept in some way, I would have to classify myself as a rank beginner with respect to this field of inquiry (if field of inquiry isn’t too strong a term for it). All of which is to say that if you’ve come to these notes with hopes of learning from someone who actually understands in some depth what he’s writing about, you’ve come to the wrong place. On the other hand, if this term does evoke something in you — at least a curiosity about what Rational Centrism might be — or especially if you already know what it is and wish to share your own knowledge and experience with me, well, then you have come to the right place!

One way or another I’m eager to know what you have to say about it.