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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The coming raids

What will Trump do starting January 20? It’s not always easy to guess, but one thing is a near-certainty: Massive raids and deportations. He made this a centerpiece of his campaign, and a lot of his followers want to see it happen.

What can we do to prevent it? Probably not much. Bush and Obama have given him enough tools. It will happen, and all the people wearing safety pins won’t be able to stop it. People will be hauled out of their homes and offices. Families will be broken up. What’s to be done?

The most important thing: Don’t help the government in any way. If you know someone’s immigration status is questionable, don’t tell anyone except people whom you strongly trust and can offer help.
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Freedom and the art of persuasion

If you look at Twitter and Facebook, it appears that Democrats are convinced that Trump beat them by tapping into rage more effectively, so they’re trying to catch up. They’re denouncing anyone who skipped the election and anyone who voted for a minor-party candidate. They’re saying anyone who voted for Trump is a “collaborator,” regardless of their reasons. By this logic, anyone who voted for Clinton, for any reason, must also be a “collaborator” with her militarism, with her hostility to free speech, with her “Manhattan project” for breaking secure communication.

It’s a perfect achievement. If you were eligible to vote, you’re evil. Everyone’s evil. Except them.

But that’s Twitter and Facebook. They’re practically designed to encourage fury and promote echo chambers. Talking with people in person, I’ve found considerable common ground, even if it’s just that Trump is very dangerous. It’s possible to reach people with a lot of patience. (Which I’ll freely admit is a virtue I’ve never been strong on.)
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Practical steps to defend freedom against Trump

Before getting back to theoretical aspects of a liberal coalition, I’d like to talk about practical action to counter what Trump will try. The courts are the best chance to stop him, and there are organizations ready to take him on. They need financial support.

An envelope is sitting on my shelf for mailing, with a check made out to the Institute for Justice. The IJ has beaten Trump before, when he tried to grab Vera Coking’s home under eminent domain to turn into a parking lot.
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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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Understanding Trumpism and progressivism

The election will soon be over, and it’s likely that Trump will lose. Once it’s over, we need to understand what happened and why, in order to understand what will follow.

The core of Trumpism is a highly authoritarian movement that wants a leader with unprecedented power. This is a small group compared with the number of voters who simply consider Trump less bad than Clinton, though progressives keep inflating its importance by ascribing its motives to every Trump voter.
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Colin Kaepernick has hurt people’s feelings!

Would Colin Kaepernick would have been kicked out of MidAmericon? He was “inciteful” and made people uncomfortable by deviating from the program. He committed the worst of sins in modern America: He hurt people’s feelings. In a time when people are supposed to not upset anyone, his rejection of polite acquiescence deserves applause.

He refused to stand up for the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at a game. That shouldn’t have been a big deal. However, he’s stirred up some ugly outrage. The Santa Clara police union threatened to have cops leave football games unprotected because they don’t like Kaepernick’s socks. They portrayed police as pigs; the response showed that these particular cops deserve it. A stranger on Twitter told me he was buying a Kaepernick jersey in order to burn it.
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Anti-free speech vandalism in Massachusetts

Trumpists and the anti-free speech left are mirror images of each other. Both hate freedom and want the other side silenced. Trumpists recently booed protesters who silently held up copies of the U.S. Constitution, who were then ejected from Trump’s rally. In Massachusetts, there have been many incidents of vandalism against pro-Trump signs.

Haverhill, a bike ride from where I live, has been a major center of vandalism. One sign provider reports having had to replace more than forty signs just in that city. In some cases, people have vandalized not just the signs but the home of the person displaying them. One of the vandals unashamedly declared she’s part of “the movement.”
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The cliff of force

When people resort to force to defeat other people’s views, they aren’t starting down a slippery slope. They’re stepping off a cliff. It doesn’t matter how strongly they feel, how contemptible the opponent is, or how carefully legal they are. Resorting to force to silence an opponent means substituting muscle for reason.

Many news outlets reported that “violence broke out” at a white supremacist rally in Sacramento on June 26, but are vague on who engaged in violence. This isn’t necessarily unreasonable; it can be hard to sort out where things started, especially if both sides are spoiling for a fight. All the evidence I see, though, indicates that it was a gang of “counter-protesters” who launched the first attack.
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US Senate votes to enslave women into military

While the Orlando killings had the country distracted, the US Senate voted to require all women to register for military slavery. Most of the opposition, from Republicans, isn’t principled opposition to the draft but merely opposition to including women. Ted Cruz said, “The idea that we should forcibly conscript young girls in combat to my mind makes little sense at all” Forcibly conscripting young boys into combat makes perfect sense to him, though. Rand Paul introduced a bill to abolish Selective Service, but it appears to be going nowhere. Whether Trump or Clinton gets elected, we’re going to have a president who makes Obama look as if he deserved his Peace Prize.

The government will never end the registration of people for forced, life-endangering service while people comply. People have to refuse. If you’re called on to register for the draft, don’t register. If you’re a teacher instructed to direct your students to register, refuse. It’s time to finish what the abolitionists started.
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