How to defeat “alternative facts”

We’ve seen strong signs of a successful liberal coalition in the past couple of weeks, with multiple and varied protests against Trump’s Muslim ban. Efforts like this have to be narrowly focused, in order to bring in the largest number of supporters. It worked very well this time.

(Note: If you aren’t a regular follower of this blog, please read this post to understand how I’m using the word “liberal.” I’m using it in its original sense, from before it became associated with massive government power.)
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Principles, not personalities

Before 2009, Democrats frequently criticized Bush’s wars and presidential overreach. When Obama was inaugurated, most of them slammed on the brakes, fell silent, and even defended Obama’s continuation of Bush’s policies. For them, the real issue wasn’t the principles involved, but who was in charge. Who’s in charge is about to change again, and Trump will have all the expanded power of his predecessors to work his will. Democrats are noticing the problem now, but they’ve got eight years of catching up to do.
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Liberalism and free speech

Any liberal coalition I’d consider joining will have to take a strong position on free speech. This will set it clearly apart from both the progressives and the Trumpists.

Both Clinton and Trump wanted Citizens United overturned, for personal and vindictive reasons. Clinton was the loser in the case, and consequently couldn’t have a video that criticized her censored. Her stated first priority for the Supreme Court was that any judge she appointed had to overturn the lawsuit she lost. She wanted a judge who’d put her bidding above the Constitution.

Trump is in favor of anything that could let him restrict free speech. Citizens United is particularly inconvenient for him, because it affirms the right of groups of people to combine their resources. If he can get a court ruling that says that people don’t retain their Constitutional rights when they form corporations, that gives him lots of opportunities. Before he was elected, it also would have given him, and other rich people, a tactical advantage; he’d still be free to spend his own billions on any cause, while others would have to rely on their lesser, unpooled personal resources.
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The liberal coalition

In several posts, I’ve written about the idea of a liberal coalition against the various authoritarian movements in politics. This is the first of a series of posts I’m planning, to describe some details of what I mean.

I’ll keep repeating, since new readers may drop in on any of my posts, that I’m not talking about “liberalism” in the sense of Democratic Party politics, but the older idea, which still has some recognition in Europe.
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Penn Jillette and liberalism

I wish everyone I know would watch this video by Penn Jillette. It opens on a silly note, but then gets into some very important points. He talks about atheists from Muslim countries who are stuck between the hostility of their own culture and Americans who hate them as “Muslims.” He distinguishes strongly between regarding an idea as wrong and hating the people who hold it.
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Is Donald Trump the new Lenny Bruce?

In most of history, in most of the world, tribalism has held the upper hand over liberalism, or liberalism hasn’t had any presence at all. Liberalism’s foothold in the US is weakening, with Donald Trump as the latest example.

I’m not talking about Democratic vs. Republican politics. Donald TrumpBy “liberalism,” I mean valuing tolerance, freedom, and reason rather than orthodoxy, authoritarianism, and tradition. It prospers when people who may disagree on important matters recognize that peaceful communication is better than attempts to silence each other. It can be passionate and angry communication, but it at least tries to make a point rather than simply demonize the opposition.
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