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Fri Sep 15, 2017, 02:00 AM

The politics around DACA really frighten me

There are too many possible interpretations for me to analyze the developments decisively, so I can only look at the grossest features here -- but when I do that, I suspect I should be terrified

Sowing anxiety and confusion is an ancient and well-known technique for controlling populations, and its history is unpleasant

When the Nazi state set out of exterminate parts of the European population, one method widely used to reduce resistance was an unpredictable combination of soporific hope and changing demands:

well, yes, last week you needed those three signatures on that blue form, but the form and signature requirements recently changed, and now you need a different combination of signatures on a different form, but don't worry: just get the new form, which you can get by waiting in the line two towns over, on any every-other-Thursday, and then you only need to get these new signatures, one of which you can get by waiting in the line on every fourth Friday, and then once you have the first one, you can get the second by waiting in the line on every fifth Wednesday, and after that you can get the third one, but you have to get the second one before you get the third, though when you go to get the second one they may tell you to get the third one first, but be sure to do it all in the next month, because this new form is temporary and will be replaced when the permanent new form is approved, and it will be easiest to obtain the permanent form if you have already gotten the temporary form

This was a cynical game willingly played by many low-level functionaries, who (at best) were indifferent to the misery they caused and who often (rather worse) thoroughly enjoyed the anxiety and confusion produced in the victims. It uncannily resembles the double-talk coming from various parts of the administration, which one day urges DACA recipients to make immediate plans to leave the country and the next day tells them not to worry, all the while constantly drumming up anti-immigrant sentiments among its various racist and nativist supporters

Since the motives, of the high-level administrators involved here, cannot be understood with any certainty, it is pointless to try to see the world from their point of view. Whether (for example) Trump is ignorant, insecure, narcissistic, or sociopathic is beyond my ken, and I therefore should not seek to resolve such questions. Instead, we should look at the objective consequences of the actions. Regardless of motive, it requires a certain indifference to the real lives of real people, to subject them to such uncertainties, whether it is done by carelessness, over-estimation of one's own cleverness, or genuine malice -- and we do learn something unfortunate from the fact that the administration remains indifferent to the anxiety it creates: that tells us what we can expect in the future, without us needing to psychoanalyze the actors in any detail

Indifference to people is a rather slimy slope, which can be easier to slide down than to climb back up, as we again learn from the mid-20th-century German case, where social indifference steadily devolved into psychological cruelty and murder. Here I do not really care whether Trump is a genuinely evil man or simply a myopic self-absorbed prick, who would otherwise be unimportant, except that he is greasing a fissure along which our society could unravel somewhat: objectively, he and his supporters are enemies of a just and humane culture, and their ideas must meet with material resistance if we are to survive this era without irremediable loss

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Reply The politics around DACA really frighten me (Original post)
struggle4progress Sep 2017 OP
pbmus Sep 2017 #1
Yupster Sep 2017 #2
NBachers Sep 2017 #3
burrowowl Sep 2017 #4

Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 02:26 AM

1. That fissure has already become a chasm...

And material resistance has become absolutely necessary...

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Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 02:34 AM

2. That paragraph about the forms

sounds like my job.

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Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 03:41 AM

3. This is one of the best analyses of the present situation I have read.

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Response to NBachers (Reply #3)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 03:52 AM

4. Ditto!

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