February 2, 2017

Politics and policy in the age of Trump

The United States presidency was recently assumed by an Orwellian lunatic.* Sadly, this is not an exaggeration. The dangers — both of authoritarianism and of general mis-governance — are massive. Everybody needs in some way to respond.

*”Orwellian lunatic” is by no means an oxymoron. Indeed, many of the most successful tyrants in modern history have been delusional; notable examples include Hitler, Stalin, Mao and, more recently, Erdogan. (By way of contrast, I view most other Soviet/Russian leaders and most jumped-up-colonel coup leaders as having been basically sane.)

There are many candidates for what to focus on, including:

But please don’t just go on with your life and leave the politics to others. Those “others” you’d like to rely on haven’t been doing a very good job.

What I’ve chosen to do personally includes:

Your choices will surely differ (and later on I will offer suggestions as to what those choices might be). But if you take only one thing from this post and its hopefully many sequels, please take this: Ignoring politics is no longer a rational choice.

Related links

This is my first politics/policy-related post since the start of the Trump (or Trump/Bannon) Administration. I’ll keep a running guide to others here, and in the comments below.


9 Responses to “Politics and policy in the age of Trump”

  1. There’s no escape from politics | DBMS 2 : DataBase Management System Services on February 2nd, 2017 12:32 am

    […] I plan to keep updating the list of links at the bottom of my post Politics and policy in the age of Trump. […]

  2. How to influence legislators | Strategic Messaging on February 2nd, 2017 12:33 am

    […] I plan to keep updating the list of links at the bottom of my post Politics and policy in the age of Trump. […]

  3. Anon on February 2nd, 2017 2:19 am

    Terrible choice of topic.

  4. Steven Pennebaker on February 2nd, 2017 10:53 am

    Last place you’d expect to find something like this, but thumbs up Curt.

  5. Curt Monash on February 2nd, 2017 9:08 pm


    I’ve been pretty focused on public policy for a long time. I devoted effort, cashed favors, etc. to educate people about privacy/surveillance for years. That was later overtaken, most obviously by Snowden, but I’m proud of whatever I did to prepare the way.

    If Snowden was the first discontinuity leading me to change how I covered public policy, Trump/Bannon is the second.


    I’m afraid of an authoritarian takeover. I’m also afraid of a general breakdown in leadership, government, and statesmanship.

    What are you afraid of?

  6. Anon on February 3rd, 2017 2:20 pm

    Most of what I was afraid of got implemented during the War on Terror.

  7. Curt Monash on February 4th, 2017 1:44 am


    I suspect you of framing things poorly. As I’ve pointed out on numerous occasions:

    1. Governments possess the tools of absolute tyranny, just through their command of weaponry and force use.

    2. In many countries, including the US, there are strong restraints upon the use of those tools, whether in the form of law, custom, or consensus about acceptable behavior. Freedom is strong or weak depending upon what uses of the tools are or aren’t actually restrained.

    3. Surveillance and so on is another set of powerful tools for tyranny. Once again, freedom depends upon the extent to which strong restraints actually hold up.

    I.e. — the problem isn’t really the tools for tyranny themselves. Rather, it’s our confidence or lack thereof in the restraints upon their use.

  8. There’s no escape from politics now – Cloud Data Architect on February 6th, 2017 1:25 am

    […] plan to keep updating the list of links at the bottom of my post Politics and policy in the age of Trump. […]

  9. Donald Trump’s politics in one song | Strategic Messaging on February 8th, 2017 7:13 am

    […] post called Politics and policy in the age of Trump has links to my other Trump-related […]

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