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Archive for October, 2017

Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative
John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)

Sociological Context of Values
Social values form an important part of culture in society. The broadest conduit through which values are formed includes folk ways, mores, and codified rules known as laws.
It is a sociological observation that values influence every aspect of human behavior and belief in every society. It is “a person’s principles or standards of behavior, one’s judgment of what is important in life.”
Some values are relatively unimportant while the principled “inner-core values” of an individual are ingrained from childhood and are considered of great importance. Why are ingrained values so important? It is because principled core values form the basis of one’s own identity.
So what are Values?
Values are defined as, “the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.” Besides beliefs about the value of something, at a higher level of abstraction, values are tied, not just to objects or minor preferences, but to human conduct with a moral assessment (or belief) about what is considered “right” and “wrong.”
Donald Trump’s Values
Much of human behavior in this and every other society is the result of values people hold. In America today, under the Trump administration, there are hidden values that belie and confute as a smokescreen for white nationalism. White nationalism is itself the antithesis of long-standing American values that are embodied in both the people of this country and documented through the United States Constitution.
What motivates most White nationalists is a fear of losing power and privilege in what sociologists so accurately describe as “white fright/white flight.” The nexus of this social phenomenon of “white fright/white flight” is its unadulterated circumlocution to racism.
Live and let live is a concept that is absolutely foreign to the White nationalist in America. And, it is important to point out to my reader that any world view is also influenced by one’s core and collective values. Never are these values more socially destructive as when prejudice translates into behavior known as discrimination.
Donald Trump’s World View
Donald Trump’s world view of white nationalism is reflected in his disguised view of his own racially motivated behavior. This includes: (1) his racial discrimination in preventing African Americans from renting Trump properties in the 1970s (2) his ruthless morally critical and cruel castigation of the Central Park Five (five African American young men that were falsely incarcerated in the Central Park jogger case). This case concerned the assault, rape, and sodomy of Trisha Meili, a female jogger. That crime occurred on April 19, 1989), (3) his repudiation of a Hispanic judge over a legal case involving Trump himself, (4) his total disrespect of the Muslim Kahn family, a gold star military family, that had lost their son in Iraq, and (5) more recently, his incompetent offensive mishandling of a condolence call to the widow of La David Johnson, an African Staff Sergeant who was killed in Niger. These racially biased views of Donald Trump and his White nationalism protecting whites and their historical position of dominance and privilege, reflect his values.
Values can either bring people together or split people apart. Values are just values until one gets to the notion of “value judgments” made collectively or by individuals. Donald Trump’s base reflects the values of racism and White nationalism as a collectivity, In Washington D.C. today the mouthpiece for these White nationalist values falls primarily on just one individual—Donald Trump.

Nationalism as a World View
Nationalism is the belief that your country is superior, without question or doubt. In some cases, nationalism can inspire people to break free of a foreign oppressor, as in the American Revolution, but nationalism can also lead a country to cut itself off from the rest of the world. American isolationism prior to the onset of World War II was a self-protection world view.
“From a political or sociological outlook, there are three main paradigms for understanding the origins and basis of nationalism. The first, known as primordialism or perennialism, sees nationalism as a natural phenomenon. It holds that, although the concept of nationhood may be recent, nations have always existed.
The second paradigm is ethno symbolism, which is a complex perspective seeking to explain nationalism by contextualizing it throughout history as a dynamic, evolutionary phenomenon and by further examining the strength of nationalism as a result of the nation’s subjective ties to national symbols imbued with historical meaning.
The third and most dominant paradigm is modernism, which sees nationalism as a recent phenomenon that needs the structural conditions of modern society to exist.” Also, “National symbols and flags, national anthems, national languages, national myths and other symbols of national identity are highly important in nationalism.” Does this ring a bell anyone?
Trump’s appreciation and fondness of world dictators is a very troubling insight into his character. Trump’s general manifestation of paranoia is tied to his psychological suspicions of the American values of inclusiveness, an open society, and a country stepped in the values of the Bill of Rights. Donald Trump, the wannabe dictator bears an uncanny similarity to a very vicious nationalist of the 1930s—Germany’s Adolf Hitler, who kept his secret agenda away from the German people until he had seized total control and power.
In order to better clarify this often perplexing phenomena of differing values one must glean at least some semblance of insight from the field of sociology. The emotional life of the individual is best understood by studying psychology. But our emotional life is definitely intertwined with our identity, reflected in the many beliefs and values one holds.
To understand any group is to look at their professed and sometimes hidden values. To understand the individual is to focus on the mental or emotional state of the individual and its interplay with the values one holds. This type of scientific study or analysis is a very complex undertaking when it seeks to test hypotheses across academic disciplines. One very influential book written tying individual needs or characteristics to sociological constructs of beliefs and values was the seminal work of Eric Hoffer’s 1951 book, The True Believer.” I recommend this book to everyone. Despite the fact this book was published more than 66 years ago, it is of great relevance today. It will provide great insight into the bizarre, confusing and strange government we have now led by Republicans.
Final Comments
Collectively, values can either pull people together in a common cause and direction (e.g., during a hurricane or during a terrorist attack like September 11th), or split people apart along the lines of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion (or no religion), education, age, or social class.
The values of Donald Trump, his supporters and white nationalists, favor the politics of division. They are the dividers in our society with hidden motives related to the sociological concept of “white fright//white flight.”
Currently political values are playing a major role in dividing people like never before. My sense is that hatred between the political right and political left is at an all-time high. Ideologues and intransigent demagogues on both the far right and the far left care little about democracy. And there unfortunately has been a decline in those of the political center. These are people and voters I would characterize as rational centrists.
Rational centrists tend to see the world through the prism of data and logic, not exclusively by dogma or bias. They value the principles this country was founded on—equality, justice and freedom for all.
I would be remiss if I did not point out that there is an inescapable “truth. And that “truth” is that bias and prejudice exist in all of us, yet, it is also true that we possess a living document more sacred than the Bible, Torah, or the Koran put together. And for Americans that document is the Constitution of the United States and its most honored principles—The first 10 amendments to the Constitution known as the Bill of Rights.
Right now our country has a colossal failure in the White House. He is a miserable, insecure, mentally unbalanced buffoon. Nevertheless, the predominantly Republican Congress can’t seem to differentiate between real moral conviction in protecting democracy, and their own self-serving, self-aggrandizing motives.
As French sociologist and political theorist Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) said in the 18th Century, “everybody feels the evil, but no one has courage or energy enough to seek the cure.” What is the cure to all this widespread American misery? It’s called impeachment.

Breaking News
And, as I write this Blog putting the finishing touches to it, there is great news. On Friday October 27th Special Counsel and Investigator Robert Mueller announced that a grand jury he had convened has brought the very first charges into the Russian probe of the 2016 election.
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, “At least one person was charged Friday in connection with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s criminal investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, according to people familiar with the matter. That person could be taken into custody as soon as Monday, these people said. The number and identity of the defendants, and the charges, couldn’t be determined.
A spokesman for Mr. Mueller, Peter Carr, declined to comment. The news of the charges, marking the first in Mr. Mueller’s investigation, was reported by CNN on Friday.”

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