Eight years ago when Obama won the presidency for the first time, conservatives and supporters of Trump in 2016 could have been anxious because Obama was about as far from their ideas about the best president as Trump is far from the leftists' ideas today. But for some reasons, you won't find any hysterical blog post about Obama on this blog (and many other politically similar websites). You won't even find a single deeply frustrated sentence directly related to the 2008 or 2012 elections.
Some folks in the Democratic Party have reacted professionally. Hillary gave a great concession speech and Obama spoke about the peaceful transition of power and the need for Trump to succeed. Obama promised to help Trump in the transition period. This approach of Obama's must have been expected because Obama was treated in the same kind, professional way by George W. Bush 8 years ago. But the reaction of some left-wing activists in the bulk of the movement – or, equivalently, in its cesspool – was very different.
Many artists have reacted in brutal ways. Some of them vowed to move to Canada or Jupiter; I am not sure whether Canucks or Jovians are too excited about the prospect of such new fellow citizens. Paul Krugman reacted with several blog posts announcing the cosmic cataclysm. He had also predicted that the stock markets would never ever recover from the Trump victory again. In reality, they needed several hours and have grown by several percent since the elections – which makes sense given Trump's plans to reduce the corporate taxes, among other plans.
There are a few thousand stupid people attending somewhat violent anti-Trump rallies across America. They're burning flags and doing similar things. I won't talk about those because these animals are vastly overreported.
But I've read many articles about the university leftists' reactions and many of them are just absolutely unbelievable. If you haven't heard about them, you can make a search to see that many American universities are officially sponsoring "cry-ins" for the students who are psychologically ruined by Trump's victory. The students are collectively and publicly crying, they are being given puppies or coloring books for kids in the kindergarten, and lots of psychologists are serving them. This level of institutionalized psychological support trumps the support after 9/11 or any natural catastrophes. A very large fraction of exams have been postponed because of the elections, too. I was pleased to see that e.g. Larry Summers has refused to join this game.
Why do the universities turn the students – who should be particularly good in the exchanges of ideas – into mental cripples? I hope that the word "mental cripple" is sufficiently politically correct now. It's absolutely terrible what the students are allowed or even encouraged to do these days. But this behavior isn't a novelty, of course. The schools have been creating "safe spaces" and other bubbles to protect the students from any sign of the real world and any trace of a common-sense or conservative opinion about anything for many years if not decades.
This was an extremely bad idea and it can't be surprising that this kind of mis-education has had numerous bad consequences.
Needless to say, the college students should be trained exactly in the opposite way. They should be able to listen to many opinions, compare them with theirs, find problems with these opinions if there are any, and improve their own opinions if the other opinion has something that can be learned from. In fact, students – and, more generally, scholars – should be thinking about much more radical opinions and a much broader spectrum of ideas than Joe Six-Pack.
Their topics of interest should include extreme ideas into their thinking and they should try to be looking for their answers to problems and questions that are purely academic. That's why the word "academic" describes both the university environment as well as questions that aren't important for Joe Six-Pack. We use the same words because the academics should often be thinking (even) about the academic questions, about radical or extreme ideas, about ideas they aren't comfortable with, and about thought experiments.
But the reality has been the opposite one. The universities have been indoctrinating the children and turning them into excessively sensitive psychological cripples who collapse when someone explains even a trivial thing to them, e.g. why feminism is a pile of pseudointellectual trash. This indoctrination was combined with the inflation of scholarly degrees. Everyone can have a college, people have heard for many decades, and this insane claim has been turned into a self-fulfilling prophesy. Add grade inflation – the "right" of every student to get an A, especially if the student claims to belong to a "minority".
Yes, lots of very stupid people have degrees these days. Many of them are detached from reality. In average, people with degrees are probably more detached from reality than the people without degrees. I am sort of convinced that while it's clear that Hillary's voters have had a higher number of degrees in average, Trump's voters' average IQ exceeded that of Hillary's voters' average IQ. Many patterns contribute to the difference between these averages. One of them is that Trump's voters were significantly more likely to be white and white Americans' average IQ slightly above 100 is one whole standard deviation higher than e.g. the average black American IQ, around 85. Many other correlations between the voting preferences and other characteristics of the voters are highly overestimated.
But you should look at the reactions by some truly unhinged people who are close enough to physics, for example this Romanian far left extremist. This guy seems completely mentally broken. You may be afraid of meeting him on the sidewalk.
It makes sense to look at a much more influential nutcase, Scott Aaronson, more closely. He reacted to Trump's victory by the blog post
But Mr Aaronson, Ms Julia Galef is just a babe who has almost nothing to do with the actual scientific research. She's a random far left-wing whacko (who was also wrong about the Sleeping Beauty Problem and quite certainly many other things) and stupid women like that are referred to as poultry in my part of Europe. But you, Mr Aaronson, are supposed to be a top computer scientist, a rational man. The fact that you can find a babe with the same idiotic opinions as yours isn't a good enough excuse for your stupidity.
Both Galef and Aaronson are disputing statements by some of their left-wing friends such as
See, this is proof we need to be listening to and empathizing with Trump supporters, not just calling them stupid.Julia describes her disagreement by the phrase "Jesus f*cking Christ". It's a speculation whether Jesus Christ was f*cking anybody. ;-)
Some of the highly populated places with the dense group think voted blue, the overwhelming majority of the territory voted red.
You should have listened to them for years – because you've had a great opportunity to learn something. You may still try to do it now. But when it comes to the political situation in the U.S. between 2016 and 2020, it's already too late because the grades have already been assigned. You failed to listen, you completely failed to understand what's actually essential in the U.S. politics, and your candidate (or candidates) has (or have) simply lost the election. So it's not too important whether you listen or not. It's because you are not going to be terribly important. You have been identified as the politically inferior kind of people who shouldn't decide about the future of America in the coming years.
The earlier you realize that you are pretty much a politically irrelevant material, the earlier you will be able to escape your hysteria. It doesn't matter whether the president-elect has different opinions or attitudes from yours because you are just a random mistake.
What none of these hysterical people understands are the basic tenets of the Western democracy. A non-trivial political contest where the candidates do differ in some sufficiently consequential characteristics and where the outcome isn't clear from the beginning is a defining component of democracy, a pillar of the Western civilization. And despite all the hype, what we saw five days ago is nothing else than an example of such a contest. Dear would-be smart leftists, may have thought that like Germany in the 1930s, America has already entered an epoch in which the winner is clear from scratch or in which the candidates don't materially differ. But unlike Germany of the 1930s, you actually failed to overtake the enforcement forces and execute all the opposition. You may have wanted another totalitarian system without genuine political contests but you have failed to do the work that is necessary for that – which your role models Stalin and Hitler did so carefully – so you shouldn't be surprised that you failed to secure the eternal totalitarianism you wanted so badly. America is still a democracy.
In your bubble, you could have been brainwashed to think – and you could have helped to indoctrinate students to think – that Donald Trump was something unthinkable, a man who couldn't possibly be elected. If you were reading texts by people who know 500 times more about politics than you do, e.g. my texts, or if you were just sensibly evaluating the polls that were predicting a close contest, you could have known that this "unthinkable" assumption was completely wrong. But you didn't dare to read any such essays – or you didn't dare to think rationally about them – which is why you preserved your stupid opinions and why you are surprised.
But you are surprised not because a cosmically unlikely, once-since-the-big-bang, event has taken place. You are surprised because you simply had no idea about the American politics. You still don't have an idea about the American politics and you are doing the best you can to be sure that you will never know anything about the American politics. (For example, Aaronson has extended the ban of your humble correspondent on his blog to the whole first Trump term – which Aaronson has believed to be a Hillary term.) On top of that, e.g. Paul Krugman has no idea about the economy and the stock market. He still pretends to be smart in some way but every prediction he has ever made is dramatically proven wrong a little bit later. How many similar failed predictions do we need to see that Paul Krugman isn't really good at any of these disciplines? Or is the expertise of such people immune towards falsification? This is the same kind of self-described experts who are spreading hysteria about the climate change and numerous other ideologically driven superstitions.
As universal intellectuals, you – the likes of Scott Aaronson, Florin Moldoveanu, and yes, also Paul Krugman – are totally worthless and I hope that in the coming years, this fact will also be universally advertised and will become an uncontroversial part of the official wisdom in the United States of America.
Donald Trump's victory isn't really unprecedented. He was a rich guy, but some previous U.S. presidents were also rich. Six or seven past U.S. presidents had the wealth in excess of $100 million (in 2016 U.S. dollars). The list starts with George Washington (who was less than 7 times poorer than Donald Trump), Thomas Jefferson, Ted Roosevelt, Andrew Jackson, James Madison, Lyndon Johnson, and JFK (exactly $100 million).
He was a guy whom Americans have known from the entertainment industry. You're fired. But the same thing was true for Ronald Reagan. He opposed some kinds of immigration or affirmative action and political correctness but so did many others. Donald Trump isn't really extreme. You may find some features of Donald Trump that make him special. But every previous president had some features in which he was special, too. Trump is a former Democrat and a centrist or moderate from many perspectives. On the other hand, I find it obvious that he will be the main face of the Republican Party and most of the GOP candidates in the following elections will have to be compatible with Trump if they plan to succeed.
Despite his moderate image, I think that he has good chances to do things in the characteristic Republican ways – perhaps more so than George W. Bush and others did. We will see. One thing I don't expect so far are budget surpluses but the Donald may prove me wrong. (Off-topic: his first [ex-]wife Ivana Trump has already applied to become the U.S. ambassador to Czechia where she [and I] was born. She would supersede Obama's classmate Andrew Schapiro. The Czech ex-president Klaus' wife Ms Livia Klausová is our ambassador to Slovakia where she was born. President Zeman was Livia's defender and, partly because of his tense relationships with Schapiro, he would probably welcome Ivana Trump.)
But aside from the cry-ins and delayed exams, the reactions by Moldoveanu and Aaronson – and I could enumerate many other scholars who reacted rather hysterically – shows that something is deeply pathological in the university world. It is a good idea for universities to preserve some independence but I think that a big part of these pathologies is so obvious that Donald Trump should do something about them. He should try to reverse the gradual transformation of the American universities into politically correct indoctrination centers full of safe spaces, affirmative action, and the absence of any genuine intellectual confrontation.
He should make sure that the students who realize that e.g. Mr Aaronson is basically a nutcase – and why he is a nutcase – won't be afraid of speaking about politics and (which is related) won't be fired or punished in any tangible way. There are lots of students who actually understand politics but for years, they've been forced into silence. While I am confident that the political correctness will be largely suppressed in the U.S. corporate world and other sub-environments of the U.S., I am worried about the universities because the influence of lunatics such as Mr Aaronson is just too big over there and the ability of similar scholars to shield "their" environment is backed by some powerful weapons.
But the universities should really be the first places where the freedom of expression and similar crucial Western values must be protected or, in our situation, resuscitated. So the Donald, if you need to violate some dogmas about the independence of the universities while curing these dramatic diseases, you shouldn't be too afraid of doing so.
P.S.: Hours after the previous paragraph was written, I learned that Ben Carson could be Trump's Secretary of Education. He wants to preserve the department and give it a new task, to monitor political extremists and extraordinary bias at campuses. I think it would be great.
Almost exactly one decade ago, a filthy leftist named Lee Smolin could have easily contacted a spineless comrade John Huth who was just a department chair. The latter threatened me with disciplinary proceedings for my being... all the words that the far left uses for the inconvenient people... if I wouldn't erase my negative but absolutely legitimate review of Smolin's pseudoscientific book from Amazon.com. I was existentially threatened and you may imagine what I was preparing. I want the individuals who do something similar to someone like me in the future to be fired and starve to death on the sidewalk because stuff like that simply doesn't belong to the universities.