Friday, June 2, 2017

Trump Leaves Paris Accord In Order To Make America Great Again

This is a transcript of Trump' announcement that the US would exit the Paris Accord.  He was introduced by his Vice President who continues to play the role of his cheerleader in chief.  His speech is full of misinformation about global warming and the cost of mitigation.  However, it is  really about Trump's efforts to hold on to his base.  He targeted voters in the rust belt states that handed him the election.  He understands that support from his base is his greatest asset.  Republicans who don't go along with his policies will have to deal with the wrath of his political base.  In a sense, his announcement was more like one of his campaign rallies than anything else.  He prefers campaigning to his adoring base to running the country.  He will "Make America Great Again"  by adopting an "America First" platform.  He also tells his base that he is the "Great Negotiator" he may revisit his decision by renegotiating a new deal.  He argues that the existing agreement favors other nations who intend to take advantage of US generosity.  He would only negotiate a deal that gives the US an advantage.  As our president he will represent Pittsburgh rather than Paris.  What he doesn't say is that Pittsburgh gave 80% of its votes to Clinton and that it has become a great city again by building its economy around the knowledge industries.  It is also a city in which the air is fit to breath again.

David Brooks takes a different slant against Trump's decision.  He argues that Trump's world, and that of two of his top advisors, is a world in which morality does not exist.

In the essay, McMaster and Cohn make explicit the great act of moral decoupling woven through this presidency. In this worldview, morality has nothing to do with anything. Altruism, trust, cooperation and virtue are unaffordable luxuries in the struggle of all against all. Everything is about self-interest.
We’ve seen this philosophy before, of course. Powerful, selfish people have always adopted this dirty-minded realism to justify their own selfishness. The problem is that this philosophy is based on an error about human beings and it leads to self-destructive behavior in all cases.
Of course Trump's world, and that of many Republicans, is world in which self interest is central.  The Freedom Caucus in the Republican Party holds that the economy should be driven by self interest and the forces of the invisible hand of the market system.  Government efforts to mitigate the destructive aspects of our high carbon economy represent an unholy violation of free market ethics.

This NYT editorial takes the position that Trump has signaled to the rest of the world that he does not believe in science; he prefers a world of "alternative facts" in which his views are supreme.

Trump clings to the same false narrative that congressional Republicans have been peddling for years and that Mr. Trump’s minions, like Mr. Pruitt at the E.P.A. and Ryan Zinke at the Interior Department, are peddling now (Mr. Pruitt to the coal miners, Mr. Zinke to Alaskans) — that environmental regulations are job killers, that efforts to curb carbon dioxide emissions will hurt the economy, that the way forward lies in fossil fuels, in digging still more coal and punching still more holes in the ground in the search for more oil.
Trump also ignores another reality.  Around 70% of Americans are concerned about climate change and they favor government efforts to mitigate its affects on our planet.  That is a telling statistic.  Trump's base represents the 30% of Americans who are largely ignorant of climate change and the details of the Paris Accord.  Republicans cannot win elections without that base of poorly informed citizens.  Our electoral system has become hostage to the lowest common denominator in America.  Trump represents ignorance and the profound danger of demagoguery.  This is exactly what worried our founders.  They understood the risks associated with democracy.  They set up a system to counter those risks which has worked well over the years.  Changes in our communication systems, and in the financing of elections,  represent a peril that our founders did not anticipate. Donald Trump is the consequence of those changes in our system.

No comments:

Post a Comment