For White Nationalism? 11/16/16

Robert Gould

Robert Gould

Did Trump Voters Know That They Were Voting for White Nationalism?

By Robert J. Gould

Amid the head-scratching about how Trump got elected, there are a number of theories being presented. Obama thinks that Trump tapped into American fears of globalization, where it appears that the drain of jobs out of the U.S. continues unabated. Another theory suggests that there is deep anger towards both the business-as-usual Democratic Party and the business-as-usual Republican Party—both distanced by Trump. Bernie Sanders was one alternative to both of these worries; Trump was the other alternative.

Nobody knows how an election between the two anti-business-as-usual candidates, Sanders and Trump, would have turned out. But, my guess is that Trump would have won that election too because he had no qualms about promoting the most vicious attack ads, and the most ugly personal attack tweets. And that strategy gained currency from those aligned with hate groups. This is where David Duke entered the election with his support of Trump, alongside the support of many other hate groups and websites.

Post-election, we need to wake up to the reality that there are now four major political parties in the United States, not two: The two traditional Democratic and Republican Parties, and, with Bernie Sanders candidacy, a new party, the alternative Democratic Party. And with Donald Trump running for President, another new party was consolidated, the alternative Republican Party—which, for many, is a code word for the White Nationalist Party.

However, generally speaking, Trump voters did not realize they were electing a President from the White Nationalist Party, as he was listed as the Republican Party candidate. As analysts claim, Trump voters were mostly Republicans voting the Republican ticket. However, Steve Bannon, an unapologetic white nationalist, is now Trump’s chief strategist, putting him in the “highest reaches of government,” as Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) wrote in a recent statement.

The reality is that Trump, as a cloaked white nationalist, paved his way to the presidency. Now, we, as a country, need to figure out how to undo what we did. First, we need to recognize that Trump voters did not elect a traditional Republican. Our first hint about this was the massive resistance to his candidacy from the Republican leadership, including both Bush Presidents. Another hint was Trump’s weak disavow of KKK- related David Duke’s endorsement.

So, what can we do to stop the torrent of policies headed our way, policies that will be racist, jingoist, anti-immigrant, anti-environment, anti-Native American, anti-women’s rights and anti-LGBTQ . In my opinion, we must unite three of the more reasonable parties against the White Nationalist Party of Hate. How can this be done? I suggest that we must reach out to people in the three political parties that opposed Trump. We don’t need to spend much time preaching to our own choir. We need to talk with people we don’t necessarily agree with, in the traditional and alternative Democratic and traditional Republican Parties, because we should all be able to agree that Trump represents an anti-American hate-machine, which must be stopped. We defeated Hitler’s policies, the last White Nationalist global threat. Now we must defeat every White Nationalist policy that comes out of Trump’s chest of horrors.


Robert J. Gould, Ph.D., syndicated by PeaceVoice, is an ethicist, Founding President of the Oregon Peace Institute and Associate Professor of Conflict Resolution at Portland State University.

Communicate with Humans 9/7/16

Robert Gould

Robert Gould

Luddites v Self-Driving Cars and Homelessness – by Robert J. Gould

My car was rear-ended a few months ago, as I was stopped at a stop sign–clearly, the other driver’s fault. He was apologetic and offered to have my car fixed by a friend of his. I politely, though suspiciously, declined the offer, and when I asked him for his car registration with a proof of insurance, he explained that he had left it at home… I was in a busy intersection, dodging frustrated passing drivers, so I couldn’t reasonably get the police involved before he left the scene. I immediately contacted my insurance company, and gave them a photo that I took of his driver’s license, along with his phone number. They got no response from him, so I had to pay a $200 deductible. I wasn’t angry with him, as he seemed like a nice guy who regretted his mistake and was doubtless juggling expenses on low income.

What if the car had been a self-driving car that rear-ended me? Perhaps the sunshine could have played tricks on the self-driving car’s computer system, as it did when the widely publicized self-driving Tesla driver was killed when he collided with a turning truck that reflected light, blinding or confusing his computer system. If I had been hit by an automated car, there would probably be a nice sticker on the car that directed me to call the company’s helpline; likely putting me on hold by an automated, circular recording. Would this send me—or anybody else—into a hostile road rage against the automated car? What damage would I imagine myself doing to the car, if I had a small sledge hammer handy?

I have a healthy respect for machines. However, I have been known to rage at computers, when they inexplicably malfunction, which is a rather regular and unpredictable phenomenon. I have not attacked my computer, because I will only be punishing my bank account. However, I have often sworn at automatic-call-routing-computers that put me into an endless loop of bad music and annoyingly complex prompts—all the while eating up the time I had planned to spend more productively.

So I would almost certainly swear at my hypothetical rear-ending driverless car—or possibly do worse if it injured my wife or grandchildren.

Reflecting on the futility of my rage-induced destructive fantasies, I recall the original Luddite, Ned Ludd, an English working class youth, who in 1779, reportedly smashed two stocking frames. These actions inspired a revolt three decades later against new technologies that undermined the employment of skilled workers.

Today, one feature of homelessness is the continuation of this trend amongst corporations seeking to maximize profits by minimizing wages, through various kinds of automation. There are so many homeless in my hometown, that on Sundays, when the shops are closed, the entire downtown is populated by crowds of street people, who are victims, at least in part, of this endlessly automating economy. The numbers of these people are not recorded in the traditional unemployment statistics, as they have often given up hope of finding work, regressed into the criminal economy, and disappeared into homeless camps.

I suggest that one way to partially counter this tendency toward de-skilling our workforce is to strive for a balance of decent-paying skilled jobs with efficient automation. The government should incentivize, subsidize, and regulate industry to create family-wage jobs by doing what was common not that long ago: create job training programs that fit the changing economy, as well as protecting existing skilled jobs by refusing to computerize every imaginable aspect of work. Candidates for office who seem more driven by this sort of enlightened common security than by corporate-profit-at-all-cost will appeal to me, certainly.

I love to see a human driver at the wheel of a truck or car, busy providing a useful service—it means that there is a person present that I can reason with, if needed. And I love to hear an articulate human being answer my phone call, so I can easily communicate my business needs. I want my world to retain the feel of a human world, not an impersonal machine world. I prefer the experience of human intelligence; artificial intelligence, as useful as it can be, has the taste of saccharine.

Robert J. Gould, Ph.D., is an ethicist, writes for PeaceVoice, and co-founded the Conflict Resolution Program at Portland State University.

Reach Out & Give 7/27/16

Robert Gould

Robert Gould

*Proactive Philanthropy: Don’t Wait, Reach Out! *

*By Robert J. Gould*

Baby Boomers are swelling the retired ranks at an unpresented rate. Many of these seniors are taking more money and assets with them than they will need for the rest of their lives. My broker once said to me that pretty much all of his clients want 10 percent more than they have, regardless of how much they have. However, if only 1 percent of the retiring seniors have more money than they need, that is still a lot of
people who can afford to become philanthropists.

I know one of these people. Not only has he started a foundation, he also created a peace organization, the War Prevention Institute, in Portland, Oregon. I’ve been a peace activist in Portland since 1967, and he is the only person that I know who has proactively reached out to the local peace community and funded it. He did not wait around, reactively, for someone to ask him for funds. As many of you know, the “People’s Republic of Portland” is well known for its progressive political commitments, so you would think I would know about another peace philanthropist, but I don’t.

If you are one of the retired seniors, you might think that peacemaking is a well-funded activity, considering the well-funded United States Institute for Peace, the United Nations, and the Carter Center in Atlanta. Sadly, you would be wrong. At Portland State University, we don’t even have travel money to drive across town to recruit students, interested in peace and conflict resolution, at metro area community colleges. Other local peace groups are lucky if they can briefly hire anyone to coordinate volunteers, and most have forsaken the thought of having an office; the
longstanding Oregon Peace Institute gave up its office many years ago and is now purely virtual—largely surviving on the philanthropy of this one proactive funder. Another long-standing peace organization, the Salem-centered Oregon Peaceworks, went completely out of business a few years ago, even after building the most robust statewide network of peace activists that Oregon has ever had. The Northwest Institute for Conflict Resolution was funded by a one-time bequest for a few years, and is now operating only minimally. The Peace and Conflict Studies Consortium, as
well as the Newhall Nonviolence Institute, are also functioning at a minimum because of a lack of funding.

So, if you wait to be contacted by any of these organizations, or ones like them in your own local community, you will probably be waiting a long time. So many community peace and justice organizations don’t have the money for marketing or hiring tech-savvy fundraisers. If you have money to give, don’t wait for a call, an email, or a formal proposal, please reachout to a local community organization that is working on a cause you believe in, and get involved with what they do, and when you are convinced they are doing good work, fund them!

*Robert J. Gould, Ph.D., syndicated by PeaceVoice <>, is an ethicist, Founding President of the Oregon Peace Institute and Associate Professor of Conflict Resolution at Portland State University.*