Err, yes. Or no, maybe maybe

A Medical Theory for Donald Trump’s Bizarre Behavior
Many mental health professionals believe the president is ill. But what if the cause is an untreated STD?

Valuable diagnosis here:

Physicians like me have also taken notice of Trump’s bizarre, volatile behavior. Given our experience, we can’t help but wonder if there’s a medical diagnosis to be made. After all, many medical conditions exhibit their first symptoms in the form of psychiatric issues and personality changes. One condition in particular is notable for doing so: Neurosyphilis.

Yup.

Does Trump suffer from this condition? I cannot, of course, establish this diagnosis from a distance.

Tertiary syphilis sometimes produces insanity and delusions of grandeur. Trump appears insane and has delusions of grandeur.

And that’s the extent of the diagnosis.

At which point allow me to add my own diagnosis, one that has the advantage of coming from someone with no medical training at all. It’s extremely unlikely that we’re going to see tertiary syphilis is someone exposed to the regular use of antibiotics common in the last 50 years of American medicine.

118 comments on “Err, yes. Or no, maybe maybe

  1. Medics who have never met, taken a history or examined a patient yet feel free to diagnose people in the news or history suffer from pathological self aggrandisement, because they are operating way ahead of any expertise they may possess.

    Remember that fella who diagnosed some poor woman had killed her baby on the basis of news reports? And was believed by the police? And in a rare act of justice was struck off after putting her through hell? Unfortunately none of his assets were confiscated to begin to make amends.

  2. This is merely the latest straw they’re clutching. First it was fake news. That didn’t work when everyone realised the fake news was being peddled by the MSM and helped Hillary. Then it was voter fraud, which didn’t work because the Dems were the ones doing it. Then it was the Russians, which didn’t wrk because nobody could provide and evidence and so they went with a story about Trump getting hookers to piss on a bed. Now they’re pushing the mentally ill angle, perhaps trying to tap into the concern voters expressed over Hillary.

  3. It is actually contrary to medical ethics to diagnose someone over the TV. It has happened and the professionals were not best pleased.

    They think they are destroying Trump but all they are doing is destroying themselves. I would have thought that this group has gone from 100% anti-Trump to about 50% hard core Trumpkins.

  4. Why do they feel the need to make things up about Trump. There he is at his press conference, an arsehole behaving like an arsehole and doing their job for them. Are they concerned his ‘the president is a complete arsehole’ real news will render their fake news redundant and them with it?

  5. Ironman – “Why do they feel the need to make things up about Trump.”

    Says the c*ck-end who is famous only for accusing others of racism without the slightest piece of evidence.

    Self-awareness is so hard, innit?

  6. There is speculation that Idi Amin had Neurosyphilis.

    Perhaps Trump has Toxoplasmosis, it encourages risky behaviour in rodents.

    Perhaps he is just getting old and grumpy, it happens to most of us.

    Maybe all his detractors are suffering from delusions.

    One could speculate all day.

  7. Purge all journalism “schools” and courses. Shut them down and amend the law to make journalism so-called qualifications illegal. In future you get to be a journalist by finding and writing up the story. No more leftist graduates whose activities consist of regurgitating gubmint press handouts so that they have plenty of time to make up CM propaganda.

  8. Ironman – “Christ on a bike, you Thick.Racist.Prick”

    Not even a little. Still obsessed with my genitalia I see.

    And yet again you show you are one of Them. You have no place attacking the media for your own failings. Motes and beams dear boy.

  9. He may be an arsehole, Rusty boy, but he’s our sort of arsehole. The stiff middle finger being given to the political establishment, on a daily basis, is a digit of great joy.
    Respect.

  10. So the MSM considers discussing the health of a politician who collapsed in public is off limits, but pure speculation about an apparently perfectly healthy politician is fine?

    Can they not see they are destroying themselves?

  11. Ironman: Why do they feel the need to make things up about Trump?

    One does wonder. Minds are already made up so nobody is getting converted to the “liberal” media view so what we have is a stupedous and bad tempered international therapy session for “like-minded”, “informed”, “liberal” people.

    It would be funny if it wasn’t side-splittingly hilarious. I’m an unashamed Trump fan and the press conference was a hoot.

    Have a look at this piece by Douglas Murray at the Speccie where he talks about an angry BBC presenter called James O’Brien committing credibility suicide on Newsnight.

  12. May well be the same people who were horrified that people would think Clinton was ill after she collapsed in public and was thrown into the back of a van like a sack of spuds.

    Standards? Not for middle-class professionals, thank you.

  13. Given the incidence of Trump Derangement Syndrome, perhaps there’s an undiscovered epidemic of syphilis in the left-liberal media.

  14. I’m with the other decent Republicans who are disgusted by him.

    But then I’ve long had a problem with a certain fantasist from Bootle who now so clearly represents the mentality and academic capacity of Ukippers.

  15. It seems to me that the leftist media, i.e the majority of American media, are so used to Republicans being good losers that after spending the whole campaign comparing Trump to Hitler and Mussolini, calling his supporters Nazis, Fascists, racists, xenophobes and every other lie and smear they can come up with, they’re horrified that Trump won’t play nicely with them, so mental illness is the explanation they desperately want to be true. It isn’t , of course, he just hates them and loves his country.

  16. He’s a rich old man. Like many other rich old men he wants what he wants and he’s going to get it.
    So acting very much in character.

    He may or may not be ill, that is not a requirement to be the president is it? Presumably at some point every year or two he has a medical check up for his own health and a qualified medical professional with access to his medical records and the patient in front of them then provides the patient with any advice or suggestions as needed. As well as treatment if necessary.
    You know, like doctors who do not do long distance diagnosis via the media do.

  17. It’s interesting that no commentatoms on this blog seem ever to.mention his economic policies or his tax ideas. This is after all what might turn out to be his most enduring legacy.

    Interesting.

  18. Ironman, maybe that is because he has not yet presented a budget? THe BBC, Guardian and you delight in displaying your prejudices and resolutely closed minds for everyone to ridicule. We might prefer to wait until we get some evidence

  19. By the way, I watched Trump’s press conference, the whole lot of it. The disparity between what I saw and what people are saying reminds me of listening to Brian Moore commenting on an England game.

  20. ‘Trump appears insane and has delusions of grandeur.’

    Grandeur is so hard to achieve now. He has billions and he’s fucking President of the United States! Has he got to get the Pope to drive his limo to have actual grandeur?

  21. “It’s interesting that no commentators on this blog seem ever to.mention his economic policies or his tax ideas. This is after all what might turn out to be his most enduring legacy.”

    Because it’ll take more than 2 nanoseconds (which appears to the Lefts attention span) for such policies (when they are formally proposed and enacted) to have any effect. So there’s not much point until at least the details are known.

    On what is known so far on tax the idea of lower corporate taxes and a special low one off rate for money brought back into US jurisdiction seems like a good idea, no complaints there.

    On trade, while our host on here constantly says free trade is a positive, I have to say we have reached a situation where most of the pluses accrue to people either outside the West, or to people in the West who already have plenty of money (corporate interests). And the downsides are increasingly felt by more and more ordinary people. So while I am in favour of free trade, it doesn’t surprise me that many Americans have voted for less of it, and it also wouldn’t surprise me to discover that less free trade might help the people in the US who voted for Trump. It might not do so much for Wall Street, or Chinese workers, but as we don’t have One World Government (yet) the Chinese don’t get to decide US trade policy. And I don’t blame a person in Nowheresville for voting for less free trade when the one decent employer in his town fucked off to Mexico or the Far East, leaving him jobless and the town gutted.

    I also think if there’s one country in the world that could make a go of less free trade (ie it have a positive effect within that country if not without it) it would be America. Its such a huge country, with all the natural resources it needs (particularly now the shale oil/gas revolution has occurred) that it is really a free trade area that just happens to be one country.

    If the EU can operate with an external tariff (and we’re told this is a ‘good thing’, the Left is desperate to stay in the Customs Union don’t forget) then so can the US. If on the other hand an external US tariff barrier is a ‘bad thing’, what does that say about the EU?

  22. The Hillary thing had at least some evidence other than “I don’t like him”.

    – she had a very bad bang on the head 3 or 4 years ago.
    – wearing odd blue lens sunglasses which are related to such problems
    – the wierd rigid collapse at the memorial ceremony

    I don’t know if she has Parkinson’s, but I think there’s definitely something wrong with her.

  23. Stalin – paranoia (+)
    Buonaparte – grandiosity
    Charles II – sex addiction
    Thomas More – masochism
    Henry VI – schizophrenia
    Nero – psychopathy
    Mithridates – manic depression
    % of Christian martyrs – suicide

    Spot the historical loonie is a fun parlour game, but should be strictly for amateurs.

  24. Diogenes

    What a load of bollocks. So he hasn’t presented a budget, so what? Did he not don’t go through those many months of campaigning? Did he not present a protectionist anti-knowledge economic platform that was the mirror of Bernie Sanders? Has he not gone after NAFTA and TTIP?

    And isn’t that exactly the sort of bollocks that Ukip is pushing in Stoke, lead by there fantasks liar of a leader?

    At least Jim has stopped pretending he is anything other than what he is: a protectionist socialist with an emphasis on the ‘people’ of a nation. Just like Colin Hines in fact.

    So closed minded? You’re damn rightIi am. I am closed to socialism.

  25. And Tim Newman, I also watched it.. through my fingers of course.

    All he can talk about is Donald Trump, Trp, Trump. He is lost in Donald. I think he genuinely believes he is running a smooth running machine. That he cannot appoint senior members of his administration without them needing to resign or pull out of the running before taking up their postales no difference to him.

    He is a vulgarian embarrassment to himself and his family but he won’t ever see it because he has idiots who love him and can’t see it; you guys.

  26. “He is a vulgarian embarrassment to himself and his family but he won’t ever see it because he has idiots who love him and can’t see it; you guys.”

    How shallow of you to dwell on appearance. Us guys are interested in what he’s doing, not what he looks like.

  27. So if Jim is a socialist for expressing approval of lower corporate taxes, then you are seriously delusional. You are making a fool of yourself. Take your meds. Get a puppy and sit in a darkened room.

  28. “Vulgar” Mmm….. Pretty much like “bigot”, isn’t it? Expressions generally reserved for use by cunts. (No quote marks required)

  29. Well, it’s over:

    ‘Most Read from The Washington Post: John McCain just systematically dismantled Donald Trump’s entire worldview’

    I guess Mike Pence will be the new President.

  30. I think I’m pretty much with Ironman here. I know it’s fun to watch the left losing their minds over Trump, but I don’t see much good at the moment, and plenty of bad.

    What troubles me most is the economic stuff. He was at Boeing yesterday talking up how the 787 was made in America, and well, that’s just not true. Boeing run things from there, but lots of it was made abroad.

    Maybe it’s all just political rabble-rousing about bringing back jobs, but I don’t think so.

  31. Gamecock –

    +1

    Pretty sure it’s no longer a delusion when you’re the most powerful man alive, have a supermodel wife, more money than Midas and golden skyscrapers with your name on them.

  32. “At least Jim has stopped pretending he is anything other than what he is: a protectionist socialist with an emphasis on the ‘people’ of a nation. ”

    I’ve been called many things in my time, some of which were true and some not, but none as insulting as ‘socialist’. How you can go from me expressing sympathy with a voter from the Mid West of the USA who has lost his job and seen his town gutted by the globalisation of trade to me being a socialist beggars belief. I thought it was the Right who were supposed to be the evil bastards who knew the price of everything and the human value of nothing?

    Apparently I was wrong, the Left are now baby eating Free Traders, if one can get a penny of extra benefit from free trade it must be enforced rigidly, and stuff the people who lose out, and stuff democracy.

    We live in strange times.

  33. “John McCain just systematically dismantled Donald Trump’s entire worldview”

    Strange how John McCain is now the MSMs darling again, when he was the devil incarnate when he ran for President.

  34. Why do they feel the need to make things up about Trump. There he is at his press conference, an arsehole behaving like an arsehole and doing their job for them.

    What Ironman isn’t bright enough to understand is that the asshole being an asshole at the press conference has an approval of 55%, and the people he’s being an asshole to have a collective approval rating of 32%.

    Acting like an asshole to those who deserve the treatment isn’t normally frowned upon out here in the fly-over regions of ‘Merica.

  35. ‘Most Read from The Washington Post: John McCain just systematically dismantled Donald Trump’s entire worldview’.

    The people who put Donald Trump in the White House don’t read The Washington Post and they really couldn’t give a fuck about anything John McCain has to say about anything.

    Throughout his political career, only time John McCain has managed to garner attention is when he has attempted to undermine his own party and his own party’s president. He did it with Bush and he’s doing it again with Trump. And that’s about all you need to know about John McCain… When he’s someone else’s tool, he finally becomes a useful tool.

  36. Did he not present a protectionist anti-knowledge economic platform that was the mirror of Bernie Sanders?

    No, he didn’t. If he’d offered a genuinely anti-knowledge economic platform you’d be singing his praises at this very moment.

  37. + Several to Jim. (Especially the EU tariff wall point).

    We don’t even know yet what Trump’s attitude to trade actually is. He’s been sounding off for months about:

    a) China not playing fair. This is true, is disadvantageous to ordinary Chinese, and is Trump promoting Free Trade.

    b) US Companies offshoring jobs. Is he being a Protectionist, or complaining about US Companies taking the benefits of being American, and then sticking the US with the tab for social security and all the rest?

    I really don’t know, and I don’t see how anyone else could at this point.

  38. Stalin – paranoia (+)
    Buonaparte – grandiosity
    Charles II – sex addiction
    Thomas More – masochism
    Henry VI – schizophrenia
    Nero – psychopathy
    Mithridates – manic depression
    % of Christian martyrs – suicide

    Others who have exhibited varying degrees of mental illness:

    Henry VIII, Caligula, Tiberius, About a third of the House of Valios, Ivan the Terrible and Pol Pot.

    And according to Wikipedia (so it must be true)…

    Donald Trump!

    Malignant narcissism, no less.

    What’s funny about that diagnosis is that after eight years of watching Barack Obama love himself, why would anyone be concerned about a president being a narcissist.

  39. Bloke in Wiltshire: thanks

    Bloke in Spain: You think I’m a cunt; that’s good news as well.

    Look there are two main thrusts of sensible objection to Donald Trump as president, both of which should trouble Republicans greatly.

    First: the president must be emotionally stable. We have moved from one president, Obama, so emotionally stable and self-satisfied that he could watch cities burn, women and children being gassed to death and respond by shrugging and heading off to the golf course and on to an unstable narcissist. We have often pondered the disasters that would befall us if Richard Murphy ever achieved power. Well he has, only in this universe the Richard Murphy with power is called Donald Trump.

    Second: history is as much as anything a battle of ideas. After Reagan and Thatcher the Washington concensus ruled and the world experienced an unparalleled period.of growth and prosperity. Now though, even if centre-right parties have won elections, liberalism is in retreat. In its place we have authoritarian ideas of intervention and protectionism. Hilary Clinton, 20 years after basking in the glow of NAFTA being signed,tried to retreat and ape Bernie Sanders’ socialism. She would have won the White House had she not been so nakedly inauthentic. Donald Trump was authentic, he is an illiberal interventionist. The Conservaitves in the UK and Republicans in the US may be faced with speaking this language in elections to come.

    I think though that this pleases most people here on this blog. I think that most people here are authoritarians. They believe in interventionist, protectionist, mercanilist economics. I think they would to believe they share the views of the ASI ; they don’t though.

  40. He may be an arsehole, Rusty boy, but he’s our sort of arsehole.

    Yes. Trump may be an arsehole, but we live in a world that desperately needs more arseholes. Not cucks.

    But it’s funny. The left actually think the right are still listening to them. They still haven’t noticed that the world changed last year, and keep trying the same old crap that used to make cucks do what they were told, but makes arseholes just laugh at them.

  41. How is Donald Trump of the right?

    Three times I’ve that question in different ways and the only response has been been the usual asinine name calling from the usual sources.

    But hats off to Gamecock. His response to anyone questioning Trump’s fitness for office is to scream “ad hominem”. I expect that line to make its way across to your Corbynista twins.

  42. “How is Donald Trump of the right?

    Three times I’ve that question in different ways and the only response has been been the usual asinine name calling from the usual sources.”

    He isn’t. But he isn’t of the Left either, and for reasons unbeknown to even themselves the Left have decided he is their mortal enemy. And on the principle of my enemy’s enemy is my friend I’ll cheer him on, because he’s sticking it to the Left, and they are doing a great job of destroying themselves over him. And anyone who can take on the Leftist nightmare that the Western governmental class has become is OK by me.

  43. Ironman,
    in what way is Trump of the Left? Actions I mean, not words.

    Ripping up an unsigned Trade Agreement, TCP or whatever it was, is not proof of Protectionism. He’s saying that he doesn’t think the US is not getting a good enough deal (rightly or wrongly). He’s been talking about NAFTA in the same way.

    I think we all pretty much think Trump’s a bit of a gold-plated twat, blah blah, but he’s entertaining and melting Snowflakes in every direction. You can’t deny he has a talent for politics. And for putting bums on seats.

  44. Given NAFTA is over 20years old the idea it needs a review and some changes doesn’t seem an unreasonable idea, saying you will be getting rid of it sounds like trumps typical negotiation tactics

  45. For example, Trump is probably NOT going to make rust-belt coal mining great again because the economics don’t work.

    What he did make clear is that he understands how the affected communities feel, and maybe he can help them towards doing something else.

    Hillary, on the other hand, promised to wipe out coal, and asked everyone to love her greeniness. It didn’t occur to her AT ALL, that she might be a little insensitive.

    Thatcher is still a hate figure over coal, and she was a long way short of Hillary on the subject.

  46. How is Donald Trump of the right?

    You still seem to think that left == socialist globalist and right == capitalist globalist, as though it’s still 1990.

    Trump is neither. He’s an American nationalist.

    In the real world, the American left are anti-American, and the American right are pro-American. Arguing about ‘protectionism’ is irrelevant if you don’t have a country to protect.

    The next election will very clearly be Trump and the American Party vs some crazy old leftie and the Anti-American Party. That’s the new right and the new left.

    And arguments about ‘protectionism’ and ‘free trade’ will seem laughably quaint in a couple of decades when most production is local. ‘Trade’, at least in physical items, is about to collapse. Forever.

  47. Strange how John McCain is now the MSMs darling again, when he was the devil incarnate when he ran for President.

    Hasn’t Soros been funding McCain for decades? I’m sure I read an article about that recently.

  48. I think we all pretty much think Trump’s a bit of a gold-plated twat, blah blah, but he’s entertaining and melting Snowflakes in every direction.

    Trump is proving that the left are paper tigers who would have been smashed long ago if they didn’t have so many ‘decent Republicans’ protecting them. And invigorating the right all around the West to toss out the cucks who’ve worked with the left to destroy their countries, and get down to making those great again.

    That’s enough for me.

  49. “On trade, while our host on here constantly says free trade is a positive, I have to say we have reached a situation where most of the pluses accrue to people either outside the West, or to people in the West who already have plenty of money (corporate interests). And the downsides are increasingly felt by more and more ordinary people.”

    That gets it backwards. Protectionism (of the trade deal sort) is a conspiracy between manufacturers and government to rip off the general public by excluding foreign competition, enabling them to raise prices. Ordinary people buying stuff in the shops pay more. Corporate interests benefit individually from protection of their own industry, but lose just like all the rest of us because of the protection applied to everyone else’s industries.

    It’s like the trade union closed shop. You erect barriers to exclude competition from outsiders (non-union members) and thereby force your employer to raise your wages. The stupid think no further, and say “Wage rise! Great!” And then they wonder why the price of goods in the shops is inflating at over 10% a year and they’re somehow all getting poorer. (1970s, right?) It never occurred to them that everyone else is doing the same, demanding wage rises, and with less efficient production methods being protected there’s less goods being produced overall to go round.

    It’s the same with foreign trade. Everyone loves the idea of excluding cheap foreign workers from their own trade, but forget that everyone else is doing the same, and that makes putting food on the table more expensive.

    Only by doing everything the cheapest way it can be done is production maximised. Barriers to trade, if they have any effect at all, always reduce productive efficiency. It’s always the consumers who lose.

    Societies get richer not by raising our wages, but by making goods cheaper. Stuff that raises wages is bad – it implies shortages. Stuff that lowers prices in the shops is good – it implies the creation of a greater surplus.

  50. Jack C, exactly. It is logically odd that Harold Wilson, who closed down many more mines than Fatcha, is still regarded as almost OK while all the Trots are desperate to pee on her grave. I suppose it was the warfare quality of the Scargill strike and how it definitively closed down mining towns

  51. Niv, your logic is exemplary but we have lived under the CAP for so long that we cannot see the damage it has done

  52. Tinribs–How is Trump of the right?

    How are you?

    The white-hating cultural Marxist waycist cockrot you spew makes you an SJW in all but name. The one element missing is that –warped as you are–you aren’t quite far enough gone to accept the economic bollocks of the left.

    And –even tho’ a pseudo rather than a fully-fledged SJW –you share their attitude of oh-so-superior snobbery and bogus moral rectitude.

  53. Only by doing everything the cheapest way it can be done is production maximised.

    That’s fine in theory.

    In practice, it means the market is flooded with cheap Chinese crap that catches fire, poisons you, or breaks within a few weeks.

    And, when people finally get fed up and decide they’re not buying anything from China any more, they find that the cheap competition has put all the local manufacturers out of business.

  54. Perhaps it takes an unstable narcissist to recognise one. And it is important to update political nomenclature. The differences between Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron, May are paper thin. Heseltine and Ken Clarke could easily have served under Brown and Blair. What does centre right even mean? . If anything, the UK has been governed by the centre left since about 1985 or whenever it was that Thatcher wrecked local authorities and the GLC, and began to centralise the British state

  55. “In practice, it means the market is flooded with cheap Chinese crap that catches fire, poisons you, or breaks within a few weeks.”

    That’s what brands are for. If you want cheap, by the generic non-brand version from China. If you want quality, buy the branded stuff for a premium.

    “And, when people finally get fed up and decide they’re not buying anything from China any more, they find that the cheap competition has put all the local manufacturers out of business.”

    So start new ones. It’s easy. (If it wasn’t, the Chinese wouldn’t be able to do it.) Although in practice if people stop buying Chinese because it’s cheap and low quality, Chinese manufacturers will just raise the quality and prices themselves. Markets supply what people want. If you want quality, markets will supply it as fast as they possibly can, so as to make as much money as they can.

    China only succeeds because ‘cheap’ is what people actually want. Continuing to supply ‘quality’ when it’s not what the customers want – just because you think they ought to want it – is why you’re losing business to China. You beat them by producing something people want more than anything they can offer – by competition, not protectionism.

  56. So start new ones. It’s easy.

    So, let me get this right. The guy whose factory was just put out of business by Chinese competitors selling cheap ripoffs that catch fire, and lost millions of dollars as a result is now going to go back into the same business?

    Yeah, right.

    Look, let’s put it this way. When you’re on an airliner over the middle of the Atlantic and it gees down in flames because the battery in someone’s cheap Chinese tablet has no safety features to prevent it from overheating, will you go to your death happily shouting ‘free trade! free trade! free trade!’?

    Free trade makes sense because Britain and Germany, because they have similar cultures, and crooked businesses will rapidly be put out of business. It makes no sense between the West and China, or any other nation whose manufacturers have no qualms about selling crap that will kill you.

  57. That’s what brands are for. If you want cheap, by the generic non-brand version from China. If you want quality, buy the branded stuff for a premium.

    Oh, yeah. And Amazon is absolutely full of reviews saying ‘I paid extra for this brand-name product’, but I actually received some cheap, counterfeit Chinese crap that doesn’t work’.

    Germans manufacturers won’t ship you crap with some other manufacturer’s brand on it. Many Chinese manufacturers won’t think twice.

  58. “Look, let’s put it this way. When you’re on an airliner over the middle of the Atlantic and it gees down in flames because the battery in someone’s cheap Chinese tablet has no safety features to prevent it from overheating, will you go to your death happily shouting ‘free trade! free trade! free trade!’?”

    If people know Chinese tablets are dangerous on airplanes, they’ll get banned. Same way you’re not allowed to take gas cylinders and fireworks on airplanes.

    And when word gets around that certain cheapo brands are being banned, people who want to take their tablets on airplanes are going to stop buying Chinese.

    “And Amazon is absolutely full of reviews saying ‘I paid extra for this brand-name product’, but I actually received some cheap, counterfeit Chinese crap that doesn’t work’.”

    So the brand loses value. People stop buying from Amazon because it dropped its reputation in the crapper by selling junk under its own label. Word gets around.

    It means anyone who manages to set up a business that doesn’t do this will be able to beat out Amazon.

  59. I think that most people here are authoritarians. … I think …

    Bollocks. You “want to believe that …” Okay.

    But there’s no actual thought involved.

    Btw – our host regularly fulminates about Trump’s view of trade policy on the blog where he gets paid for readers. But, no, not for you. You might not be able to pretend that you are the brightest and most reasonable person there.

    You aren’t that here either.

  60. “But there’s no actual thought involved.”

    Easy enough to provide some, then. Just count up the number of people above who commented in favour of protectionism of some sort, and count the number who were unequivocally against it and supported free trade.

  61. I love the idea that syphilis is involved. Syphilis! How romantic and nineteenth century! You’d think a billionaire could afford a prescription or two of antibiotics but no, apparently not. Does that mean Trump is not a neo liberal at all but a paleo conservative? You don’t get more paleo than dying of syphilis.

    Interestingly, Wikipedia believes Lenin died of syphilis, which explains a few things.

  62. Jack C,

    “What he did make clear is that he understands how the affected communities feel, and maybe he can help them towards doing something else.

    Hillary, on the other hand, promised to wipe out coal, and asked everyone to love her greeniness. It didn’t occur to her AT ALL, that she might be a little insensitive.”

    But actually, that isn’t what Trump said to people. That’s what Hilary Clinton said to people. Coal was going to get killed off, but things like clean energy would come along. You can question whether she’s lying, the effect of that, but that isn’t what Trump has talked about.

    What Trump has emphasised is that he is anti-globalisation. Not creating new jobs, but “bringing them back”. What he’s said: “Our politicians have aggressively pursued a policy of globalization — moving our jobs, our wealth and our factories to Mexico and overseas,”. He talks about the decline in manufacturing jobs, even though those are gone everywhere (and even most “manufacturing jobs” in the West aren’t what most people think a “manufacturing job” looks like).

  63. Ironman – “I’m with the other decent Republicans who are disgusted by him.”

    Who is this “we” Kemosabe? Given you are neither a Republican nor decent. You are in fact a sh!t who shares the world view of the Guardian but for some reason trolls here.

    Ironman – “It’s interesting that no commentatoms on this blog seem ever to.mention his economic policies or his tax ideas. This is after all what might turn out to be his most enduring legacy.”

    Because his economic ideas might be bad. They may be partly formed. Who knows? This battle is not being fought on economic lines. It is being fought on Culture. Either you are on the BBC’s side or you are on the side of normal people. Lena Durham or pretty much every married White woman on the planet. His legacy, if he fights, will be in the Culture Wars, not in economics.

    Now you are on the other side of that battle. It is understandable you do not like Trump. We get it. But your constant Concern Trolling is annoying. You don’t give a damn about the rest of us. You should stop pretending.

  64. “This battle is not being fought on economic lines. It is being fought on Culture. Either you are on the BBC’s side or you are on the side of normal people.”

    Normal people would take one look at you lot, and decide they’d rather be on the BBC/Guardian’s side.

    It’s the same effect we’re getting with the left’s collective freakout about Trump – the more aggressive and deranged their invective gets against their culture war opponents, the more it puts normal people off them and ‘their side’. The same applies to Ecksian rants in exactly the same way. Trump is deliberately provoking the derangement, in the same way the left keep doing things to provoke the Ecksians, for exactly the same reason. It’s the best way to discredit them in the eyes of normal people.

  65. “But hats off to Gamecock. His response to anyone questioning Trump’s fitness for office is to scream “ad hominem”.”

    I shouldn’t interfere with an enemy while he’s in the process of destroying himself. Keep it up, dumbass.

  66. I’m with the other decent Republicans who are disgusted by him.

    Ah, spoken like a true effete, ineffectual Bill Kristol pussy boy.

    Hasn’t got the balls to fight for what he says he believes in, so he sits around with other pussy boys bemoaning the coarsening of political culture in ‘Merica.

    Would rather try to pass off his lack of testicles (and backbone) as a sign of good breeding than to actually fight to win a battle.

    We know your type and we’ve had our fill of you. That’s why we went with Trump in the first place.

    Now run along and sulk in the corner… It’s what you do best, Nancy.

  67. BiW,
    But actually, that isn’t what Trump said to people. That’s what Hilary Clinton said to people.

    With both candidates, the actual words were immaterial. Both were unbelievable (literally), even by political standards.

    It’s what came across that matters. In short, Trump sounded like he gave a shit about what might happen to people other than himself. Clinton came across as a space alien from the Planet Me.

    Trump is not nearly as self -centred as he likes to pretend.

  68. Edward – In the real world, the American left are anti-American, and the American right are pro-American. Arguing about ‘protectionism’ is irrelevant if you don’t have a country to protect.

    +1776

    Prior to Trump, the GOP/Democrat plan was to liquidate the American people by drowning their communities in the acid bath of third world immigration while gaslighting the public about “reform” and simultaneously cackling about how whites better get used to being a minority, bigots!

    And not just by demographically merging the United States with biddable Toltec midgets from south of the border.

    The H1B programme is designed to flood the tech industry with cheap Asian labour, so all those American kids who did what they were told and got into huge debt to obtain STEM degrees can either compete with Indian diploma mill graduates who live 10 to a bedsit, or go kill themselves.

    Refugee policies are designed to settle the worst people imaginable from the most backwards, inbred, cousin-fucking, clit-chopping, child-raping parts of the horn of Africa into formerly beautiful, peaceful communities in places like Minnesota and Maine.

    They even have a green card lottery designed to import people who still think pissing in your own drinking water is a really neat idea. A lottery, mind you. I know, let’s choose our new guests and neighbours AT RANDOM!, said nobody who wasn’t insane.

    ‘Cept it’s not insane, of course. All the above were done with malice aforethought.

    Conservative and libertarian ideals are just farts in the wind if your country is turned into a more depressing IRL version of the Mos Eisley cantina. If you’re surrounded by semi-retarded foreign peoples who think witch-doctors, designated shitting streets, or sporadically murdering folks in the name of Allah are normal, reading John Stuart Mill tracts at them is about as productive as trying to get Diane Abbott away from a buffet table.

    Demography is destiny.

    Ironman must understand this, or else why isn’t he back in South Africa?

  69. “It’s interesting that no commentatoms on this blog seem ever to.mention his economic policies or his tax ideas. This is after all what might turn out to be his most enduring legacy.”

    He hasn’t put forth specific policies on either, yet. So, unless you subscribe to a Spudsy sort of mind-reading of those you don’t know (and you probably do), there really isn’t much to comment on. Often the adults in the room prefer to wait for fact to emerge before sounding off…

    By the way, he’s a month into his first term and Congress is a month into its 2017 session, moron. Time is being spent on assembling an administration and getting confirmations of cabinet appointments, not putting forth detailed policy initiatives… Duh.

  70. Jack C,

    “It’s what came across that matters. In short, Trump sounded like he gave a shit about what might happen to people other than himself. Clinton came across as a space alien from the Planet Me.”

    I am 100% convinced that Adolf Hitler cared about Germany. There are few leaders of the 20th century that expressed so much love for their country as that man. He took many personal risks to gain power, and when he did, he took nothing for himself. Not saying at all that Trump is Hitler, BTW, but “cared about people” is not necessarily a good measure of outcomes.

    Trump is just the easy answer for lazy fuckers who aren’t trying hard enough. Never mind bettering yourself so that you can compete with the Chinese in the 20th century. Just expect the world to roll back to a romanticised version of the 1980s (but while preserving all your cheap goods). Those Chinese are working their butts off – staying away in dorms working 12 hour days making iPhones for a few dollars an hour. Are these people prepared to do that? So why do they deserve more? When they add $200 to the cost of an iPhone, do they think the rest of the world is going to buy it? Or even that people in the USA will do so rather than sneaking them over from Canada?

  71. NiV – “Normal people would take one look at you lot, and decide they’d rather be on the BBC/Guardian’s side.”

    You know, I don’t mean this personally but I don’t think our resident Tranny lover is really in a position to comment on what is normal. Besides, we tried this. Or at least the US did. The voters decided they were not on the BBC’s side.

    “Trump is deliberately provoking the derangement, in the same way the left keep doing things to provoke the Ecksians, for exactly the same reason. It’s the best way to discredit them in the eyes of normal people.”

    Nonsense. They both do it because it is what they believe. Perhaps there is a more moderate third path but I have not seen it. The Establishment Republicans made precisely your argument – by being moderate, by bending over and giving the Democrats everything they wanted, somehow that would make people vote for them turns out to be wrong. Trump offered the voters some honesty. They like it.

  72. Bloke in Wiltshire –

    Trump may be the easy answer for lazy fuckers who aren’t trying hard enough, but babbling on about how ‘Mericans should, in effect, pack themselves into dorms, work 12 hours a day and accept a below minimum wage pay scale is the easy answer for lazy fuckers who won’t or can’t put forth the sort of critical thinking necessary to understand that part of the government’s job is to work at finding an appropriately balanced trade policy that benefits consumers while protecting industry and workers.

    “Let ’em eat cake” really doesn’t involve much intellectual toil, son.

  73. Some big leaps there BiW.

    Not saying at all that Trump is Hitler, BTW, but “cared about people” is not necessarily a good measure of outcomes

    Did no one tell you that two wrongs don’t make a right? Which restaurant would you use, the one that didn’t care less whether you ate or not, or the one that did care?

    Trump is just the easy answer for lazy fuckers who aren’t trying hard enough.

    For how many people? The electorate was anti both candidates.

    As for the Apple stuff, I’m not arguing for Protectionism. Trump does want China to play fair, and I did mention that earlier. And that is absolutely a Free Trade position. (Ordinary Chinese would be the main beneficiaries long-term).

  74. Those Chinese are working their butts off

    Think about this for a second.

    It may be better than what the Chinese had previously, but normal wouldn’t want this to continue forever surely? There’s no reason that the Chinese can’t (eventually) have Western standards of living as well.

    If your economic policy depends on having a Third World under-class toiling away for you, then you’re a bit of a thoughtless cunt aren’t you?

  75. BiW – Never mind bettering yourself so that you can compete with the Chinese

    Tell unemployed American computer science grads they should be bettering themselves because Mark Zuckerberg has a stiffie for importing unlimited numbers of cheap Asian programmers.

    I dunno what the answer is to competing with China. Maybe there isn’t one. Obviously asking Westerners to become high tech coolies working 18 hours a day in factories where conditions are so poor they installed suicide nets isn’t gonna work, unless we think we need another Peasant’s Revolt and/or Chartist uprising.

    Also worth noting the Chinese aren’t playing the game, they’re notorious IP thieves and China itself is a crony capitalist dictatorship.

    The problem with globalisation is the narrative is patently bollocks:

    1) Sorry Mr Coal Miner, Factory Worker, etc., your jobs are disappearing because technology, duh. Just become an entrepreneur, or something. It’s [Current Year] for fuck’s sake!

    AND

    2) Oh yeah, we also need to import millions of hostile foreigners to do the Jobs You Just Won’t Do. And don’t worry about the externalities – you’ll be paying for that. And if you object, you’re a racist. It’s [Current Year] for fuck’s sake!

    Who does this benefit? Not us, unless “us” includes autistic tech billionaires, lefty politicians and welfare doler-outers salivating over new client groups, and hijab manufacturers.

    So who are we and what do we want? The Americans have decided they want to be American. Trump is the most perfect loving embodiment of the American spirit – warts n all. So I wasn’t surprised when he defeated the eerie cruel-eyed cosmopolitan elitist.

    Brexit indicates the British still want to be British. We could debate the issues, but that would be a mistake IMO. I believe the issues – on both sides – were ultimately rationalisations. The real action was in that ancient part of the brain – half lizard and half caveman – where identity lies.

    And what do we want? Ponies, solid gold toilets, three hour lunch breaks, rocket-cars… the usual, natch. The Rolling Stones were right, though. We can’t always get what we want, but we can get what we need.

    For me, and this is my highly personal and possibly eccentric take on things, we need our own country. We won’t get another. I’m a conservative by instinct. And I reckon that the root of all conservatism is the preservation of your own people. Just as the root of libertarianism is wanting to be free to live your life. The two are connected, in my opinion.

    Dunno if you’re a Tolkien fan, but his romanticised vision of England as The Shire struck a chord with me. So did the ending, where the halfling heroes come home to find a bunch of strange men have taken over their little country. But – progress! They built a bunch of ugly brick factories, which probably boosted Hobbiton’s GDP! Unimpressed, the racist hobbitses drove the blighters out.

    If we don’t have a country, it really doesn’t matter all that much how we compete in the widget trade with China.

    “It’s the economy, stupid!” isn’t reductive enough. Doc Brown was closer to the mark: “it’s your kids, Marty! Something’s got to be done about your kids!”

    For why else do we toil, except to give the wee ones a future?

  76. You can have your own country. Just buy an island and declare it your own country.
    However here in Britain you cannot have your own country while living among over 60 million other people. You can get a collective country however – just have to accept that you don’t get to make all the decisions.

    Great, we can have politicians in London running things. That appears not to have worked in the previous several centuries but I’m sure you can make it work this time. Giving you all that you need.

  77. Edward M Gant – Amazon has Chinese sellers who come along with an inferior product, list against an establish quality product page and the buyer, not knowing the difference, buys the cheapest and gets an inferior product. Its not what they ordered as its not what the product page is for.
    And the brand who does provide quality goods loses out – best they can do is start a new page at the bottom of search results and try again. With then more Chinese jumping on with inferior products.

    I see it often. As a seller I choose not to buy the inferior products as can usually spot the Chinese. Most buyers don’t know and don’t care, they just want that item at cheap price.

  78. – – “Have a look at this piece by Douglas Murray at the Speccie where he talks about an angry BBC presenter called James O’Brien committing credibility suicide on Newsnight.”

    Entertaining also this week to see Trump call-out biased mainstream media and the leftie BBC fake reporter immediately makes his point for him with a ‘question’ which was in fact nothing but a snide remark: “On the travel ban, would you accept that that was a good example of the ‘smooth running of government'”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ivqo5WfRCj0

    I mean, what an utter dick: the opportunity to do a bit of real journalism, to ask the President of the United States absolutely anything, and he just couldn’t resist wasting it with an attempt at partisan, juvenile point-scoring; which blew up in his smug face.

  79. Trump induces cognitive dissonance in virtue signallers unlike nothing previously seen. Once confronted with facts which shows their interpretation to be an hallucination, you quickly see a physical change in such people and eventually the only response they can make is ‘oh f-off’ or a politer equivalent. Argue to them that Trump does not rant and rave, is not thin skinned and has never had a meltdown and you will trigger such behaviour in these people within a few minutes.

  80. @NiV: I have no problem with a Chinese company inventing the iPhone and exporting them to the West. Or indeed a Chinese company making their own brand of phone and making them cheaper than the West can. Thats free trade.

    What I have a problem with is companies being legally based in the West, and thus benefiting from the things that go with that (rule of law, stability, financial markets, IP protection etc) but shifting all the actual production to some godforsaken hell hole, because the peasants will work for tuppence ha’penny for a 70 hour week, and tip the toxic waste in the nearest river. Then shipping the goods back to the very country they don’t deem suitable to manufacture in. Thats not free trade. Thats just allowing corporate interests a free hand to do exactly what it likes to make the maximum amount of money regardless of the human or environmental cost. Its also morally hypocritical – if its immoral to treat workers and the environment badly in the West, its just as immoral to import loads of cheap shit thats only cheap because the manufacturers exploit their workers and the environment somewhere far away.

    Basically if the Germans are better at making cars than us, fair play to them, we’ll have to get better at doing it, or lose out. What isn’t right, or fair, is what Dyson did – shift all his UK production to Malaysia while he stays put (with all the millions he thus made) in the safe old UK. If he wants to be a Malaysian manufacturer of vacuum cleaners he should have to go and live in Malaysia. Not still swank around in the UK, having put the workers who used to make his products out of a job.

  81. Incidentally I think a very simple law change could solve all this – a company can only be registered in a country if at least 51% of its production (however one defines that) occurs within that country. If you want the legal protection that being in a Western style country brings, you have to actually BE part of that economy, not just a holding company drawing in money from sales of products made in manufacturing plants (or offices of software developers) all around the world.

  82. Dennis the Peasant,

    “Trump may be the easy answer for lazy fuckers who aren’t trying hard enough, but babbling on about how ‘Mericans should, in effect, pack themselves into dorms, work 12 hours a day and accept a below minimum wage pay scale is the easy answer for lazy fuckers who won’t or can’t put forth the sort of critical thinking necessary to understand that part of the government’s job is to work at finding an appropriately balanced trade policy that benefits consumers while protecting industry and workers.”

    OK, so those workers are going to be working at US wages, making iPhones. That’s going to add how much to the price of an iPhone? And let’s remember that’s across the whole supply chain e.g. the glass produced by Corning and the Samsung batteries. The result is that the iPhone made in the USA is going to be more expensive than the one made in China. Which means no-one but the Americans forced by duties to buy them will buy American. Everyone else will buy Chinese. So, at best, you’ll create jobs for the iPhones sold in America. Of course, you then face the problem of people taking a trip to Toronto or Tijuana and picking up iPhones. Or what, you’re going to have customs officers checking every phone?

    Jack C,

    “Did no one tell you that two wrongs don’t make a right? Which restaurant would you use, the one that didn’t care less whether you ate or not, or the one that did care?”

    Why would a restauranteur not care if I ate or not? It’s in his interest to sell me food.

    But let’s say I’ve got a restauranteur that tells me how much he cares about me, and maybe even believes that in his heart. Maybe he’s a sweet guy. But what if he doesn’t know about cooking chicken through, or about good kitchen hygiene? Would I want to eat there then?

    “As for the Apple stuff, I’m not arguing for Protectionism. Trump does want China to play fair, and I did mention that earlier. And that is absolutely a Free Trade position. (Ordinary Chinese would be the main beneficiaries long-term).”

    China are mostly “playing fair”. This is just classic “blaming of the other”. Pretending that resolving that will solve the problem. And it won’t. If we sort out even things like China’s problems with intellectual property, that won’t make more than a hill of beans difference to US unemployment.

    The Inimitable Steve,

    “Tell unemployed American computer science grads they should be bettering themselves because Mark Zuckerberg has a stiffie for importing unlimited numbers of cheap Asian programmers.”

    Oh, really? Please, show me the websites of these comp sci grads who are unemployed. I did meet one working in Starbucks recently but it was out of choice – he didn’t want the stress of the job. I was begging him to come with me and talk to my boss who is struggling to get people.

    “Dunno if you’re a Tolkien fan, but his romanticised vision of England as The Shire struck a chord with me.”

    I could never quite square someone who seemed to be so anti-industrial in his writings, yet didn’t employ scribes to write out each copy by hand.

  83. “You know, I don’t mean this personally but I don’t think our resident Tranny lover is really in a position to comment on what is normal.”

    [rolls eyes] About 75% of the UK population support TGs. That’s normal now.

    ” Besides, we tried this. Or at least the US did. The voters decided they were not on the BBC’s side.”

    No, there’s a difference between compromising on policy and just screaming abuse at all and sundry.

    Look at what the lefties are doing now. They could calmly sit down as they usually do when an opposition president comes in and try to figure out what deals they can do and what they can rescue, or they can throw a tantrum and shout about “Literally Hitler!” and “Not my President!” and try to figure out how they can impeach him, block his nominations, riot in the streets, smash shop windows, intimidate Trump supporters, and so on.

    Do you seriously think that’s their best and most persuasive tactic for persuading “ordinary voters” that Trump’s side are the bad guys here?

    “The Establishment Republicans made precisely your argument – by being moderate, by bending over and giving the Democrats everything they wanted, somehow that would make people vote for them turns out to be wrong. Trump offered the voters some honesty. They like it.”

    I agree. I like it too.

    That doesn’t mean I have to agree with his economic policies.

    “… who won’t or can’t put forth the sort of critical thinking necessary to understand that part of the government’s job is to work at finding an appropriately balanced trade policy that benefits consumers while protecting industry and workers.”

    No, the government’s job is to benefit consumers. “Protecting industry” winds up hurting the workers, because workers are also consumers.

    Labour market protectionism is essentially socialism. Lots of people think that sounds like a good idea too – we all care about protecting workers jobs, right? And the obvious way to do that when somebody else comes along able to do it cheaper, by paying its workers less, is to ban them from doing that, right? It’s the labour union closed shop (executed on a national scale), and the 1970s all over again.

    Socialism, like all forms of Protectionism, always sounds very plausible, and makes for good evidence that you “care” about the voters/workers, but the economics is too simplistic. It doesn’t work.

    ““Let ’em eat cake” really doesn’t involve much intellectual toil, son.”

    The trick is to teach them how to make their own cake.

    “It may be better than what the Chinese had previously, but normal wouldn’t want this to continue forever surely? There’s no reason that the Chinese can’t (eventually) have Western standards of living as well.”

    It won’t continue. They’re going through the same process we went through 150 years ago. It’s *how* they get out of poverty.

    “If your economic policy depends on having a Third World under-class toiling away for you, then you’re a bit of a thoughtless cunt aren’t you?”

    That was pretty much Karl Marx’s entire point, yes?

    The economic policy doesn’t depend on an underclass toiling away – in fact, it’s a bloody nuisance we want to fix as soon as possible. We’ve got too many underclass (which is why their pay is low), and not enough educated workers (which is why their pay is high). The pay disparity is meant to motivate and pay for people to move from the underclass to the educated class.

    Blocking that progression – either by preventing poorer workers from competing with you on price or by subverting the mechanism entirely with welfare – traps the underclass in poverty forever. It’s the great tragedy of the early 20th century, that the very methods invented to help the poor ended up putting them through hell.

    “I dunno what the answer is to competing with China. Maybe there isn’t one. Obviously asking Westerners to become high tech coolies working 18 hours a day”

    Every job that pays more than minimum wage does so because they can’t get enough workers. That’s how the law of supply and demand works.

    So all you have to do is figure out what’s stopping the unemployed getting those jobs, and fix it. Increase supply, and the wages come down, prices come down, they sell more goods, and can afford to employ more people.

    “Sorry Mr Coal Miner, Factory Worker, etc., your jobs are disappearing because technology, duh. Just become an entrepreneur, or something. It’s [Current Year] for fuck’s sake!”

    That’s how the industrial revolution started. “Sorry Mr farm labourer, weaver, farrier, etc. your jobs are disappearing because coal mines and factories. Just become a factory worker, or something. It’s the year of the industrial revolution for fuck’s sake!”

    Industrial wealth doesn’t come for free – it requires skills. Learn them, or your share of the wealth is going to be very small.

    “Oh yeah, we also need to import millions of hostile foreigners to do the Jobs You Just Won’t Do.”

    You can’t employ non-union labour here! What about our jobs?!

    “I’m a conservative by instinct. And I reckon that the root of all conservatism is the preservation of your own people.”

    No, it’s the preservation of the past. Of tradition. Of “the way we’ve always done things”. Even if that destroys your own people.

    “And the brand who does provide quality goods loses out – best they can do is start a new page at the bottom of search results and try again. With then more Chinese jumping on with inferior products. I see it often. As a seller I choose not to buy the inferior products as can usually spot the Chinese. Most buyers don’t know and don’t care, they just want that item at cheap price.”

    Sounds like a business opportunity! Offer a service (for a fee) identifying cheap knockoffs versus genuine brands for the people who can’t manage it for themselves.

    “What I have a problem with is companies being legally based in the West, and thus benefiting from the things that go with that (rule of law, stability, financial markets, IP protection etc) but shifting all the actual production to some godforsaken hell hole, because the peasants will work for tuppence ha’penny for a 70 hour week, and tip the toxic waste in the nearest river.”

    Why?

    If you can get peasants to work for tuppence ha’penny for a 70 hour week, that must mean the alternative is even worse. By stopping their factory jobs, you force them back onto that worse alternative. That’s what you want, is it?

    We get all those benefits and protections because we’re productive enough to be able to afford it. We can demand them because there is a shortage of people with our skills, and the only way they’ll get us to work there is if they give us those extras. If it’s a choice between a second foreign holiday or cleaning up the environment, we’d like a clean environment, please, because we’re nice people. Poor people have different priorities. Not watching your kids starve to death takes priority over the environmental virtue of the nearest river.

    If you fix their problem by making them more productive and therefore able to afford/demand more, then good. If you try to ‘fix’ their problem by simply refusing to trade with them, without offering the workers any better alternative, that’s not what I call ‘moral’.

    “Incidentally I think a very simple law change could solve all this – a company can only be registered in a country if at least 51% of its production (however one defines that) occurs within that country.”

    OK. And every business that is no longer viable as a result of this law, all its workers are now out of work. Happy?

    Every law made to stop businesses doing something they currently do destroys the jobs involved in doing it, and more importantly the production of goods it allows. They do it that way because it’s cheaper. If you make things more expensive, they’ve got less money to pay the workers, to make the goods cheaper, to produce more, to grow faster.

    The free market solution is not to ban things you don’t like, it is to offer your better solution in competion. If you don’t like companies exploiting workers, set up a new company yourself that doesn’t. All the workers will come and work for you, they’ll have none left, and be forced to improve working conditions themselves to get them back.

    If you’re right and it’s what people want, you’ll succeed. If you’re not, you won’t. Forcing your solution on others via legislation is to concede that you can’t get people to follow you out of choice, because they disagree with you about it being “for their own good”.

  84. “Every law made to stop businesses doing something they currently do destroys the jobs involved in doing it, and more importantly the production of goods it allows. They do it that way because it’s cheaper. If you make things more expensive, they’ve got less money to pay the workers, to make the goods cheaper, to produce more, to grow faster.”

    Exactly right, and thats why we in the West can’t compete with the non-West because of all the rules and regulations that apply to businesses here. So if the public in the West want all the employee and environmental protection here they should have to pay for it, via higher prices of goods, not legislate to stop their countrymen doing things, but then buying cheaper stuff in from abroad produced in exactly the same conditions they deplore at home. Thats rank hypocrisy.

  85. ‘but shifting all the actual production to some godforsaken hell hole, because the peasants will work for tuppence ha’penny for a 70 hour week, and tip the toxic waste in the nearest river.’

    False characterization.

    In line with what NiV says, companies move jobs off shore for reasons. The solution is to eliminate those reasons, not to ban it (or apply punitive tariffs, as Trump threatens). Trump says he’s going to cut regulation. His pick for head of EPA says he means it.

  86. “So if the public in the West want all the employee and environmental protection here they should have to pay for it, via higher prices of goods, not legislate to stop their countrymen doing things, but then buying cheaper stuff in from abroad produced in exactly the same conditions they deplore at home.”

    The consequence is that because of the higher prices the West can afford less of those goods, buy less, and hence employ fewer people to manufacture them.

    Everyone gets to set their own priorities. Some people like regular hours, others like higher pay and promotion. You can refuse to trade with companies that allow the ambitious to work long hours for promotions, because you wouldn’t like to have to work in a long-hours culture yourself. Or you might refuse to trade with a company that banned overtime because you’re ambitious yourself, willing to work extra, and would like the opportunity to advance faster. We can’t make such choices for other people “for their own good”, judging their good by our own standards. The same applies to the priority other people put on environmental protections.

    If you’re an environmentalist doing it for the environment in the abstract, then yes, not to pay the extra for environmental protection when it’s abroad is hypocrisy, and many Western environmentalists do try to pay the premium. But if it’s about what you think the people in that country ought to want for themselves, then butt out. It’s not your decision; it’s theirs.

  87. “We can’t make such choices for other people “for their own good”, judging their good by our own standards. The same applies to the priority other people put on environmental protections.”

    We do precisely that – we legislate so ALL UK production has to meet certain standards. We don’t say ‘The market will decide whether Cheap But Polluting Company does better than Expensive And Ethical Company’. We put Cheap But Polluting Co out of business, despite there being a market for their goods, as is shown by the fact people will buy exactly such goods when bought from abroad. And the people who would vote with their feet for Cheap But Polluting are given a free ride – they don’t care if the ethical middle classes vote for more business regulation, because cheap shit still pours in from abroad. So the system is broken. No-one ever has to suffer the consequences of their votes – other than if their own job gets outsourced, then they become a Trumpist most likely.

    If every voter had to make a choice – vote for more regulation and have expensive goods, or vote for less and have cheaper goods that would be far better all round.

  88. “If every voter had to make a choice – vote for more regulation and have expensive goods, or vote for less and have cheaper goods that would be far better all round.”

    More false dichotomy.

  89. “We do precisely that – we legislate so ALL UK production has to meet certain standards.”

    Yes, the UK voters vote to regulate the UK, they don’t vote to regulate Malaysia.

    I’m personally against even UK regulation, but it does at least have the virtue that we could vote them out if we really didn’t like it. Most people in Britain are not bothered. And there aren’t enough libertarians to change the system to the one I’d prefer. That’s democracy for you.

  90. “More false dichotomy.”

    Why? More regulation of industry in the West = less ‘stuff’ produced in the West, yet the price of ‘stuff’ is unaltered because of cheap imports not affected by regulations. One can vote for more regulation of (say) the textile industry, but still buy cheap imported clothes. Its not a false dichotomy at all.

  91. Dennis the Peasant,

    Go on then: give me specifics of what you mean by fixing *trade policy*, and what the effects would be. Either: the effect on the price of an iPhone, or name another product. Because if *trade policy* is the problem and fixing it is the cure, then you should have numbers to back that up. I mention iPhones because Trump specifically mentions jobs at Apple.

    Because I don’t believe this is the real problem. The real problem is that the Apple workers in Shenzen make $2/hr. The minimum wage in Michigan is $9.25. It’s going to take a ton of fixing of trade policy to bridge that gap, and I seriously doubt that’s there.

    What no-one ever likes to say to people is that they’re going to have to improve what they offer. if you’re a guy that spent years attaching bumpers to Chevvys, you’ve got to learn something else. And there’s nothing new about this. My wife’s grandparents were theatre actors. Along came cinema and put a lot of them out of work. My grandfather was a baker back when towns were full of bakeries. We no longer have secretaries, filing clerks, most travel agents or PC shops.

    And ultimately, this is how you fail. The luddites didn’t win. Nor did the typesetters in their strike against Fleet Street. If someone wants to improve America, it means things like investing in adult education, creating a more skilled workforce for the future, not pretending that you can get the past back.

  92. What the Free Trade At All Costs brigade need to realise is that each vote is equal. So when you have impoverished enough of your population personally through lost jobs and industries, plus all the people who have personal knowledge of such cases even if they are personally OK, plus people who feel sympathy for such people, then you create an Anti-Free Trade bloc that will start to swing (and in the US has swung) elections. The benefits of free trade are spread across the entire population and thus are thus relatively small for any individual, a lost job is specific to one person and family, and often concentrated in specific areas. You can’t go one creating more and more of these people and areas and expect there not to be blow back from those affected. And if enough people think the same way, bang goes free trade and cheap iPhones for all those urban hipsters (my heart bleeds).

    Its a classic case of X is good, therefore we must have as much of X as physically possible and disregard all the negatives as long as it all nets off to one penny better off overall.

  93. “yet the price of ‘stuff’ is unaltered because of cheap imports not affected by regulations”

    No, the price of stuff is *reduced* by cheap imports. Reducing the price of stuff makes everybody richer.

    “So when you have impoverished enough of your population personally through lost jobs and industries, plus all the people who have personal knowledge of such cases even if they are personally OK, plus people who feel sympathy for such people, then you create an Anti-Free Trade bloc that will start to swing (and in the US has swung) elections.”

    Yep. And when every worker has been exploited by the bourgeoisie, or knows someone who has, you get a Socialist revolution.

    People keep on voting left wing governments in because they are ignorant of the economic reasons why it’s a bad idea. The problem is, at first glance socialist/protectionist policies always look like good ideas, because people only see parts of the economy, and ignore or blank out all the other stuff going on behind the scenes.

    Imposing a minimum wage seems like a great idea – higher wages for the poor, right? Who could be against that? But the money has to come from somewhere, and the mechanisms being ignored behind the scenes mean it is the workers themselves who pay the costs of it.

    It’s the same with protectionism. When you’ve just lost your job from outsiders coming in and doing it cheaper (whether from outside the union or outside the nation), it seems like a great idea to ban it. But the price of doing so comes out of your own pocket via those hidden mechanisms, and you lose. Protectionism is as stupid as minimum wage legislation. But when everyone is either on minimum wage or knows someone who is, you’ll get yourself a left-wing government voted in to bring it about anyway.

    People get the government they deserve, good and hard.

  94. Jim,

    “The benefits of free trade are spread across the entire population and thus are thus relatively small for any individual, a lost job is specific to one person and family, and often concentrated in specific areas. You can’t go one creating more and more of these people and areas and expect there not to be blow back from those affected. And if enough people think the same way, bang goes free trade and cheap iPhones for all those urban hipsters (my heart bleeds).”

    But it’s not just iPhones. It’s toys for kids, cheap clothing, all sorts of things. And then, you face a problem that people with skills who can go and live elsewhere start to look to elsewhere in the world where they can get paid as much, but their wages go further. The “urban hipsters” have options. Know who doesn’t? The poor.

  95. NiV

    Excellent stuff; you are wasting you time though.

    I would, however, take issue with this:

    “The Establishment Republicans made precisely your argument – by being moderate, by bending over and giving the Democrats everything they wanted, somehow that would make people vote for them turns out to be wrong. Trump offered the voters some honesty. They like it.”

    I agree. I like it too.”

    I don’t agree. Trump won the election fair and square. He could not, however, win the popular vote even against as useless an opponent as Hilary Clinton. No president in living memory has been elected with a lower percent tag of the eligible electo rate voting for him and no president has had low approval ratings so soon after taking office. He didn’t win; Hilary lost. People don’t like it.

  96. “He could not, however, win the popular vote even against as useless an opponent as Hilary Clinton.”

    His argument is that if it had been decided by the popular vote, he’d have fought the election differently. Maybe he could have won, maybe not. We’ll never know.

    “No president in living memory has been elected with a lower percent tag of the eligible electo rate voting for him and no president has had low approval ratings so soon after taking office.”

    According to the polls, he had a low approval rating *before* the election too, and had no chance of winning. None at all. Ridiculous idea…

    “He didn’t win; Hilary lost.”

    I’d tend to agree with that. But given that Obama *was* popular, and also a pseudo-communist community organiser who started his political career in Bill Ayer’s living room, I don’t set a lot of store by popularity.

    The problem is that being a libertarian I don’t like any of the candidates. None of them are what I’d want to see in government. But given the general lack of popularity for libertarianism, that’s not surprising and not going to change, so I always look at candidates with a rather more relaxed set of criteria.

    As a way of shaking up the establishment and breaking the establishment lock on what’s ‘acceptable’ in politics, I think he’s got a lot to recommend him. He doesn’t bother to cultivate the flawless image of the polished politician, and that’s good too. Too many politicians are held hostage to their reputations. Trump, to the contrary, is well on the way to making himself bomb-proof.

    I don’t particularly like his economic policies, but then I don’t like those of the mainstream Republicans, either. So I’ve no more against him than I had against someone like Bush, and a lot less against him than I have against Obama or Hillary. And I really don’t see any reason for the hysteria.

    I think the liberal freakout has created an atmosphere in which people feel they have to speak out against him, disavow him, say they don’t like him – it’s literally “politically correct” to do so – and even Republicans are feeling it. He’s brash and vulgar, a showman, and definitely not the sort to invite to your Guardian-reader dinner party set. But so what? Anyone who annoys them *that* much can’t be all *that* bad! 🙂

  97. “No, the price of stuff is *reduced* by cheap imports. Reducing the price of stuff makes everybody richer.”

    No it fucking doesn’t. It doesn’t make the person who used to make the stuff richer, it makes them poorer, because they’ve lost their well paid job making it, and now can only get a minimum wage job selling burgers, cos thats all thats left. Everyone else maybe richer yes, but not ‘everyone’ is richer from cheap imports. If they were there’d be no problem with globalisation would there?

    Too much of anything is usually bad for you, particularly if its all done quickly, with no adjustment time period. Free Trade is good for everyone, in the long run. In the short to medium run it can be bad for quite a significant % of the population. Hence if you support free trade (as I do) you need to be realistic about its drawbacks, and ensure they don’t become too widespread, and particularly don’t just tell people ‘It doesn’t matter your job moved to Mexico, because now the rest of us can all have cheaper shit’. That tends to get people’s backs up, and then they vote for Trump, and suddenly free trade is looking like going out the window.

  98. “It doesn’t make the person who used to make the stuff richer, it makes them poorer, because they’ve lost their well paid job making it, and now can only get a minimum wage job selling burgers, cos thats all thats left.”

    That’s *not* all that’s left. As I pointed out above, every single job out there that pays more than minimum wage – and there are millions of them – is direct evidence of a shortage of workers available to do that job. The employers would not pay more if they could fill the positions by paying less. And every time they manage to get the same work for a little less pay, that’s money freed up to employ more people with.

    If people can’t get jobs, it’s not because there are no jobs to get. It’s because they can’t do the jobs that people want and need people to do. And *that’s* the problem you’ve got to fix!

    In time, most people fix it themselves. If you had the education and skills to do a high-paying job, you’ve got the skills to learn something else. Most people do. And then they’re richer, because they’ve got a better job, often one enabled by imports making life cheaper and new businesses more viable, and the money they earn goes a lot further for the same reason.

    When the industrial revolution invented the power loom, all the artisan weavers were out of business. When it invented tractors, the farm labourers were out of business. But today, because of the industrial revolution, even the poorest people in Britain today have riches that even the richest people in Britain back then couldn’t even dream of. And now people are actually complaining about the loss of that same industrial manufacturing, for the exact same reason they protested about its arrival.

    The difference between the wealth of a 16th century British farm labourer and a 21st century British factory worker is the sort of thing I mean by “making everyone richer”. That’s the type of wealth you’re giving up by blocking it. Do you want to be the equivalent of a farm labourer forever?

  99. NiV

    I was a Bush fan, still am. The liberal press hated him and said pretty much what they’re saying about Trump now.

    But I’m not saying the same things about them, neither is the Republican establishment. They see are seriously narcissistic crazy and they’re frightened. They’re frightened for their party’s long term prospects.

  100. “The difference between the wealth of a 16th century British farm labourer and a 21st century British factory worker is the sort of thing I mean by “making everyone richer”. That’s the type of wealth you’re giving up by blocking it. Do you want to be the equivalent of a farm labourer forever?”

    FFS. Which bit of ‘in the long run everyone is wealthier but in the short to medium term some people are worse off’ don’t you get??? And guess what, people live in the short to medium term, in the long run they are dead, so the short to medium term is kind of more important to the living.

    I’m giving up. If your only reaction to the people who are losing out from free trade in the West is ‘Suck it up buttercup’ then you’re in for a big shock, cos there’s plenty of them, plenty of others who agree they should be helped, and thats a lot of votes, enough to shift the political tectonic plates in ways you won’t like one bit. Its happening in the US right now, and it could well happen in Europe too.

  101. “FFS. Which bit of ‘in the long run everyone is wealthier but in the short to medium term some people are worse off’ don’t you get???”

    So what’s your alternative? That nobody should ever lose their job, ever? That nobody should ever get a pay cut, ever?

    How do you plan to bring that about?

    “I’m giving up. If your only reaction to the people who are losing out from free trade in the West is ‘Suck it up buttercup’ then you’re in for a big shock”

    It’s not a shock. There have been people arguing that nobody should ever lose their job, ever, for more than a century. They’re called labour unions, and the philosophy they subscribe to is called “Socialism”.

    And yeah, big surprise, it’s very popular with low-paid workers who want never to lose their jobs. That’s why there are socialists. That’s why we periodically get Socialist governments elected.

    And yes, I’m well aware that when you argue with Socialists that their aspiration for nobody to ever lose their job, ever, is impractical and economically bad for all of society, including the workers they claim to be on the side of, they do indeed complain that if our attitude is that we’re going to throw poor people out of their jobs and then tell them to “Suck it up, Buttercup”, that we’re heartless right-wing bastards for saying so, and when The People’s Revolution comes we’ll be first up against the wall. We probably will, too.

    So no, the only (mild) surprise to me is seeing this theory being espoused here.

    Back in the 1970s they tried out this system where, yes, indeed, it was nearly impossible to chuck people out of their jobs, no matter how inefficient the economics. And it worked too. Towards the end people were getting 10% pay rises every year and only had to work a three day week! How brilliant is that, eh?!

    It. Doesn’t. Fucking. Work. You have to stop doing a job when it’s no longer economically viable. And that means people have to switch jobs to something else that *is* economically viable. And yes, it hurts at an individual level. But if you don’t do it, then *everyone* winds up paying the costs of protecting everybody elses’s unviable jobs, and the entire system collapses in economic meltdown. Or if you sneak in just a bit of job protection, you wind up making everyone just a bit poorer.

    Yeah. Socialists hate us for saying it. But if we don’t educate people, it’s all going to roll round again. The 1970s was a long time ago, and young people today don’t remember them. If people refuse to listen to theory, perhaps the only way to teach people is to actually demonstrate it on them once a generation?! To let them just walk off the cliff?

    Probably it is. But is this really the best that 21st century technological humanity can do? Sheesh!


    Sorry for ranting, but it’s frustrating, watching it happening all over again.

    “… What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. …”

  102. Jim / NiV

    Aren’t you both really on the same side?

    isn’t the difference between you simply one of timing or “speed / quantum of change”?

    Revolutionary or large scale such change will probably be successfully contested and resisted. Step by step change best gives society the chance to adapt most beneficially to the individual disruption that each change / sequence of changes brings about?

  103. “Aren’t you both really on the same side?”

    Dunno. I’d like to think I was, but people still argue vociferously against me even when I think I’m arguing on what’s supposed to be their side. It’s hard to tell.

    “isn’t the difference between you simply one of timing or “speed / quantum of change”?”

    Like I told Ironman, as a libertarian I have to be realistic about the fact that most of the world doesn’t agree, and freedom requires me to respect their right to do so. It’s a sort of ‘informed consent’ argument. If people understand that socialism and protectionism cost them, but think the price is worth it, then that’s their decision. Democracy has the problem of the tyranny of the majority, but to some extent so long as people are free to vote for or against it, then if they vote a Socialist/Protectionist government in and pay the price of doing so, then that’s ‘fine’. They deserve everything they get.

    The thing that bothers me is when they don’t know what they’re doing. When they think what they’re doing is actually beneficial, and will make them richer rather than poorer. If this is because they lack any basic education in economics, are they truly responsible for the crap that’s about to land on them? For example, I sympathise deeply with the voters in Venezuela who voted in a Socialist government; I’m sure few of them wanted or expected things to turn out as they have. I’m sure nobody ever explained it to them.

    My ire is reserved for those who have no excuse for *not* knowing: people who have been exposed to the reasoning in arguments with free marketeers, or via their educations. Quite a lot of labour politicians and BBC/Guardian journalists have PPE degrees, so how come none of them understand even the basics of supply-and-demand or why protectionism is bad? Were they asleep during lectures? Or do they understand perfectly well, and simply find it convenient to not mention it?

    Whatever. I enjoy explaining it anyway – most of my rants are purely for my own entertainment. I appreciate people giving me the endless opportunities to do so, and I don’t really expect to persuade many people or change the world by doing so. Experience has taught me that pessimists are rarely disappointed. And every now and then, I get a warm fuzzy glow when someone finds enlightenment in something I said.

    Trump’s protectionism isn’t that much different to the EU’s, or that of any of the socialist governments around the world, and we survived that. And in the meantime, all the other things he’s doing should shake things up nicely. I have reason to be optimistic about it.

  104. “Isn’t the difference between you simply one of timing or “speed / quantum of change”?”

    Yeeeeeeeeeesssssssssssssss!!!! Hallelujah, someone gets it. If you support free trade and technological innovation, then it is incumbent upon you to ensure that said economic forces do not create too much distortion, and pain to individual human beings. Some is inevitable. Let things get out of wack too much and you get Trump. Then economic progress will go into reverse, because people have voted for it, and thats democracy. We have allowed the pace of economic change to outpace the ability of humans to cope, and it needs some re-balancing.

    Its exactly the same as immigration – some is good, too much is bad. In fact its just like my mother used to say – moderation in all things.

  105. At which point we should adopt bits of the Danish system. Lots and lots of retraining for anyone at all who loses their job. High benefits for those who do. And no benefits at all after 2 years.

    Ease the path, why not?

  106. “At which point we should adopt bits of the Danish system. Lots and lots of retraining for anyone at all who loses their job. High benefits for those who do. And no benefits at all after 2 years.”

    Well yes, that could work, in theory, if one assumes everyone is capable of doing every type of job, with the right training.

    However it runs into two problems – one, the training would undoubtedly be of a State provided type, and therefore fucking useless, and two, I am increasingly coming to the conclusion there are two very different types of people when it comes to work – those who can deal with practical stuff, and those who can’t. Those who lose their jobs because of globalisation are the type of people who find practical stuff amenable, and are good at it, but would probably struggle to transfer to more theoretical intellectual work (in the sense you do the work with your head rather than your hands+head). Not necessarily because of lack of IQ, but just because they don’t fit that kind of work.

    Imagine it the other way around, and all the people currently working in offices were told they had to retrain as car mechanics, welders, machine operatives and plumbers, because their nice office jobs had been globalised elsewhere. Do you think they would be a) very happy, and/or b) actually able to do such work, regardless of their IQ?

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