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Ignorance in Democracy

First, back when Mr. Trump was railing against trade deals, he had no idea what he was talking about. ...
Talking nonsense about trade didn’t hurt Mr. Trump during the campaign. But now he’s finding out that those grossly unfair trade deals he promised to renegotiate aren’t all that unfair, after all, leaving him with no idea what to do next. ...
Mr. Trump came into office talking big, sure that his predecessors had messed everything up and he — he alone — could do far better. And millions of voters believed him. ...
A few weeks ago Mr. Trump whined, “Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.” Now, one suspects, he’s saying the same thing about trade policy.
- Paul Krugman, Trump Is Wimping Out on Trade, NYT, APRIL 3, 2017


One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the Oval Office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington. Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven true; ideologues hold stoutly to a world view despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. When ideology and theology couple, their offspring are not always bad but they are always blind. And there is the danger: voters and politicians alike, oblivious to the facts.
Remember James Watt, President Reagan's first secretary of the Interior? My favorite online environmental journal, the ever-engaging Grist, reminded us recently of how James Watt told the U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. In public testimony he said, "after the last tree is felled, Christ will come back."

Beltway elites snickered. The press corps didn't know what he was talking about. But James Watt was serious. So were his compatriots out across the country. They are the people who believe the bible is literally true – one-third of the American electorate, if a recent Gallup poll is accurate. ...
So what does this mean for public policy and the environment? Go to Grist to read a remarkable work of reporting by the journalist, Glenn Scherer – "The Road to Environmental Apocalypse." Read it and you will see how millions of Christian fundamentalists may believe that environmental destruction is not only to be disregarded but actually welcomed – even hastened – as a sign of the coming apocalypse.
- Bill Moyers, Battlefield Earth, AlterNet, Dec. 8, 2004


Remember when Donald Trump declared that “nobody knew that health care could be so complicated”? It was a rare moment of self-awareness for the tweeter-in-chief: He may, briefly, have realized that he had no idea what he was doing. ...
...Trump’s promises on trade, while unorthodox, were just as fraudulent as his promises on health care. In this area, as in, well, everything, he has no idea what he’s talking about.
- Paul Krugman , Oh! What a Lovely Trade War, NYT, JULY 3, 2017


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