What happens when a society, once a model for enlightened progress, threatens to backslide into intolerance and irrationality? How should that society’s stunned and disoriented members respond? Do they engage in kind, resist, withdraw, even depart?
Perhaps the most remarkable (and, for many, alarming) political event in 2015 has been the rise of Donald Trump. At first, many people thought of Trump as an amusing sideshow. Over the months, mass-media talking heads (and also lots of my philosopher friends) kept repeating that there’s “no chance” of Trump getting the republican nomination, and therefore that there’s “no chance” of his becoming president of the United States. After each of his inflammatory statements, they declared that this time Trump has “gone too far” and predicted his downfall.
A few thoughts about so-called cultures of victimhood and whether it's a new, old, or even real phenomenon, prompted partly by recent "debates" over trigger warnings, but also by our recent episode on the Changing Face of Feminism. I put "debates" in quotes like that because I think of the debates more as heated exchanges. Way too much talking past each other and way too little sympathetic listening has gone on.