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jerryking : commonwealth   6

Donald Trump Poisons the World
JUNE 2, 2017 | The New York Times | David Brooks.

This week, two of Donald Trump’s top advisers, H. R. McMaster and Gary Cohn, wrote the following passage in The Wall Street Journal: “The president embarked on his first foreign trip with a cleareyed outlook that the world is not a ‘global community’ but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage.”

That sentence is the epitome of the Trump project. It asserts that selfishness is the sole driver of human affairs. It grows out of a worldview that life is a competitive struggle for gain. It implies that cooperative communities are hypocritical covers for the selfish jockeying underneath.

The essay explains why the Trump people are suspicious of any cooperative global arrangement, like NATO and the various trade agreements. It helps explain why Trump pulled out of the Paris global-warming accord. This essay explains why Trump gravitates toward leaders like Vladimir Putin, the Saudi princes and various global strongmen: They share his core worldview that life is nakedly a selfish struggle for money and dominance.

It explains why people in the Trump White House are so savage to one another. Far from being a band of brothers, their world is a vicious arena where staffers compete for advantage......In the essay, McMaster and Cohn make explicit the great act of moral decoupling woven through this presidency. In this worldview, morality has nothing to do with anything. Altruism, trust, cooperation and virtue are unaffordable luxuries in the struggle of all against all. Everything is about self-interest. David Brooks contends that this philosophy is based on an error about human beings and it leads to self-destructive behavior in all cases.

The error is that it misunderstands what drives human action. Yes, people are self-interested but they are also wired to cooperate....Good leaders like Lincoln, Churchill, Roosevelt and Reagan understand the selfish elements that drive human behavior, but they have another foot in the realm of the moral motivations. They seek to inspire faithfulness by showing good character. They try to motivate action by pointing toward great ideals.

Realist leaders like Trump, McMaster and Cohn seek to dismiss this whole moral realm. By behaving with naked selfishness toward others, they poison the common realm and they force others to behave with naked selfishness toward them........By treating the world simply as an arena for competitive advantage, Trump, McMaster and Cohn sever relationships, destroy reciprocity, erode trust and eviscerate the sense of sympathy, friendship and loyalty that all nations need when times get tough.....George Marshall was no idealistic patsy. He understood that America extends its power when it offers a cooperative hand and volunteers for common service toward a great ideal. Realists reverse that formula. They assume strife and so arouse a volley of strife against themselves.
commonwealth  op-ed  climate_change  Donald_Trump  Gary_Cohn  decoupling  worldviews  WSJ  H.R._McMaster  selfishness  U.S.foreign_policy  Greek  morals  realism  George_Marshall  Marshall_Plan  self-interest  autocrats  Thucydides  David_Brooks  transactional_relationships  national_interests  institutions  international_system  values  human_behavior 
june 2017 by jerryking
How Covenants Make Us - The New York Times
David Brooks APRIL 5, 2016

there are four big forces coursing through modern societies. Global migration is leading to demographic diversity. Economic globalization is creating wider opportunity but also inequality. The Internet is giving people more choices over what to buy and pay attention to. A culture of autonomy valorizes individual choice and self-determination.

All of these forces have liberated the individual, or at least well-educated individuals, but they have been bad for national cohesion and the social fabric. Income inequality challenges economic cohesion as the classes divide. Demographic diversity challenges cultural cohesion as different ethnic groups rub against one another. The emphasis on individual choice challenges community cohesion and settled social bonds.....Strong identities can come only when people are embedded in a rich social fabric. They can come only when we have defined social roles...You take away a rich social fabric and what you are left with is people who are uncertain about who they really are....how do we preserve individual freedom while strengthening social solidarity?

In her new book “Commonwealth and Covenant,” Marcia Pally of N.Y.U. and Fordham offers a clarifying concept. What we want, she suggests, is “separability amid situatedness.” We want to go off and create and explore and experiment with new ways of thinking and living. But we also want to be situated — embedded in loving families and enveloping communities, thriving within a healthy cultural infrastructure that provides us with values and goals.

Creating situatedness requires a different way of thinking. When we go out and do a deal, we make a contract. When we are situated within something it is because we have made a covenant. A contract protects interests, Pally notes, but a covenant protects relationships. A covenant exists between people who understand they are part of one another. It involves a vow to serve the relationship that is sealed by love: Where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay. Your people shall be my people....Tolerance, he said, means, “I’m going to stomach your right to be different, but if you disappear off the face of the earth I’m no worse off.” Patriotism, on the other hand, means “love of country, which necessitates love of each other, that we have to be a nation that aspires for love, which recognizes that you have worth and dignity and I need you. You are part of my whole, part of the promise of this country.”
David_Brooks  community  social_collaboration  social_integration  covenants  patriotism  books  Commonwealth  values  social_fabric  social_cohesion  social_contract  tolerance  autonomy  individual_choice  self-determination  college-educated  pay_attention 
april 2016 by jerryking
Joe Clark’s new book: Canada is the country that ‘lectures and leaves’ - The Globe and Mail
Nov. 01 2013 | The Globe and Mail | CAMPBELL CLARK.

Our country, Mr. Clark argues in How We Lead: Canada in a Century of Change, should “lead from beside.”
foreign_policy  foreign_aid  diplomacy  Canada  Canadian  leadership  books  soft_power  Joe_Clark  NGOs  international_relations  Commonwealth 
november 2013 by jerryking
This Column Is Not Sponsored by Anyone - NYTimes.com
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: May 12, 2012

Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel’s new book, “What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets,” Sandel sees a negative trend in which “Over the last three decades,” he states, “we have drifted from having a market economy to becoming a market society. A market economy is a tool — a valuable and effective tool — for organizing productive activity. But a ‘market society’ is a place where everything is up for sale. It is a way of life where market values govern every sphere of life.” ...“The great missing debate in contemporary politics,” Sandel writes, “is about the role and reach of markets.” We should be asking where markets serve the public good, and where they don’t belong, he argues. And we should be asking how to rebuild class-mixing institutions.

“Democracy does not require perfect equality,” he concludes, “but it does require that citizens share in a common life. ... For this is how we learn to negotiate and abide our differences, and how we come to care for the common good.”
books  civics  commonwealth  covenants  democracy  engaged_citizenry  free_markets  market_economy  market_society  public_goods  social_fabric  Tom_Friedman  way_of_life 
may 2012 by jerryking
Modern citizens know a library’s worth
Aug. 30, 2011 | Globe &Mail | VINCENT LAM. There are two
priceless features of each of the 18 million annual library visits in
this city. First, sharing wisdom through the library & its programs
increases the wealth of our community. We learn, innovate and enrich our
city by sharing knowledge through books, films, lectures and
discussion. Second, the library is completely democratic. It provides
access to information, culture &leisure for new immigrants and
established Canadians, to children and the elderly, and to all
Torontonians whether they’re rich or going through tough times.

Speaking of tough times, in which we’re told that all belts must
tighten: Such are the precise times in which those with less disposable
income need access to good libraries more than ever. Those who can’t buy
books need to access the library’s collections, not to see acquisitions
or library hours cut. The destruction of the ancient Library of
Alexandria is one of the intellectual tragedies of antiquity.
civics  citizenship  libraries  Toronto  Rob_Ford  cutbacks  hard_times  austerity  TPL  social_fabric  commonwealth  institutions  engaged_citizenry 
september 2011 by jerryking
How does U.S. democracy survive without its newspapers?
Tuesday, Jun. 16, 2009 | The Globe & Mail | by John Ibbotson.

The Globe has also still been spared the savage budget cuts that eviscerated so many once-great American newspapers as the recession accelerated chronic declines in readership and advertising revenue.

But in the U.S., it's time to ask: How will the seemingly inevitable extinction of many metropolitan daily newspapers influence politics and political culture there?

The answer isn't entirely grim. Some newspapers are bound to survive in print form, at least for a few more years, as competition thins and enlightened corporate owners recognize that laying off half their reporters is the surest way to destroy the only thing of value a newspaper has: the reputation behind its name.....there is another, very disturbing, trend. A recent survey by The Pew Center for the People and the Press reported that "a new Washington media have evolved, but they are far from the more egalitarian or citizen-based media that advocates of the digital age might imagine. Instead, this new Washington media cohort is one substantially aimed at elites, often organized by industry, by corporate client, or by niche political interest."

These publications may have an audience of a few thousand, or even a few hundred, willing to pay thousands of dollars in subscription fees for specialized coverage. "These are publications with names like ClimateWire, Energy Trader, Traffic World, Government Executive and Food and Chemical News," the Pew study says. They are proliferating, and hoovering up reporters and editors who have lost their jobs in mainstream media. "Today, it is the niche, not the mainstream, media that [provide]blanket coverage of Congress and other important arms of the federal government," the Pew report concludes.

The collapse of print journalism - network newscasts are also in terrible shape - threatens to bifurcate the public square. Those who know the power of information will pay to obtain it, and use that knowledge to influence the agenda.

Those who lack the means or interest will depend on blogs, social networking and whatever information they choose to look for online. How does democracy survive on that?
brands  budget_cuts  commonwealth  decline  democracy  engaged_citizenry  industry_expertise  influence  information_sources  Inside_the_Beltway  John_Ibbitson  local_journalism  magazines  mass_media  market_intelligence  newsletters  newspapers  niches  political_culture  politics  print_journalism  reputation  sophisticated  specialization  Washington_D.C. 
june 2009 by jerryking

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