The Phileas Club 65 – Extremism on both ends

On this episode we talk about:

  • Jewish person attacked in Marseille
  • New year’s eve events in Cologne
  • Donald Trump and the primary process
  • And more…

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  1. De Ruijter says:

    Love the show and I think Patrick was correct about the complicity of the American media in the rise of Donald Trump. Jon Stewart once give a good description of why this happens:

    Meanwhile it is a bit annoying to have three people there who are in favor of the ongoing mass immigration. I feel like we are seeing a sea change in politics with the continued rise of nationalist parties because others won’t address the voters concerns:
    Pushed by this sea change there is a big backlash against the corner in which Germany and the EU have pushed many Western European countries, as exemplified by the exit referendum in the UK and the treaty blocking referendum in The Netherlands. Tom identified the problem correctly when he said that if these immigrant issues would have happened overnight there would have been outrage, but we have been slow boiled like frogs and now countries are finally taking a stand. Hence it would be nice to have that perspective in a next discussion on this topic:

  2. The key difference between Trump and Sanders regarding party extremes is that Sanders is more inline with American politics of the previous century, specifically regarding an attempt to elevate the level of conversation and maintain a degree of civility, meanwhile Trump is an absolutely modern candidate in terms of the vitriol being spouted and keeping the conversation at the lowest common denominator.

    It presents a false dichotomy to say they are both extremes of party conditions. Sanders wouldn’t even attack, when prompted, Hilary over Bill’s sexual endeavors. Meanwhile the conversation within the republican debates constantly turns personal.

    • Yeah, that does feel accurate. I understand the need to equate the two, but they really don’t feel the same. Maybe it’s because I have my preference… But I really don’t think so. 🙂

      • Also I should say, if I’m to say anything, thank you for the podcast and I enjoy listening in. What you are doing is appreciated.

  3. Cindy Sanders says:

    I put off listening to this podcast until I had time to really focus on listening. There is an old saying “never discuss religion or politics in polite company”. This being said, I don’t know who I will be voting for at this time. I live in California and by the time we have our primary the presidential candidates have already been chosen. So, for me, there is no point in selecting a candidate until the November elections. But in the meantime I spend my time listening to debates, reading and evaluating the candidate who aligns most with my values. Like many Americans I keep my political opinions to myself.

    I wanted to address the appeal of Trump. I know it is hard for anyone outside the U.S. to understand why he is popular but let me attempt to explain what I see from the media coverage. I am not a political commentator and this may appear simplistic, for that I will apologize in advance. This is just my view of what is going on with the Trump-mania.

    The typical American voter is angry and frustrated with our political leaders in Washington. They are tired of sending new politicians to Washington to represent their views and needs just to have them turn their backs on the American voter. They also distrust the Media. They see the media as a proponent for the liberal left that ridicules anything christian, conservative or status quo. They feel that they are ignored and that their opinion doesn’t count.

    During the last election cycle the Republicans won both House and Senate because they promised to reduce the debt and end ObamaCare. The Silent Majority spoke and gave them the power to change the course of the country. The debt has now gone up again, thanks to our new Speaker of the House, and people are now being fined for not having health care. The typical family couldn’t afford healthcare before yet are now going to pay a penalty of $695 minimum for not being covered last year. Even those that do get coverage still can’t afford to go to the doctor as the out of pocket expense is so high that they can’t afford doctor’s services on top of their monthly payment. Taxes have gone up, health care has gone up, inflation has gone up, the public debt has almost doubled in 7 years and people feel they are not being heard and they are angry.

    Trump has tapped into that anger. What he is saying resonates with people who feel Washington is not listening. People don’t want another career politician who will say anything to get elected and then renege on all their promises. Trump’s overall message of “make America great again” is brilliant in its own way. People want to feel proud of their country and they haven’t had that in a long time. Trump has put himself forward as a candidate using his own money thus he is not beholden to the political system. People see him as a man that can’t be bought. They see him as a businessman who can restore our economy and pay down our debt. They see him as someone who actually loves his county and doesn’t have to apologize for us. He is the ultimate example of Capitalism which is what America was built on. They hope that he will restore the American Dream that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to become rich and successful from hard work, and initiative. As for his wild statements they feel that there is a system in place and he can’t just enact new laws without the Congress’ approval.

    The Iowa caucus starts tomorrow, Feb 1, and then we will begin to see how this election cycle will play out.

    Thank you, Patrick, for the Philieas Club. I really enjoy the podcast and look forward to the new installment each month (or more).

    • Thank you so much for this thoughtful response. I would have a million things to say about the reasoning that is going on here, but I understand that this doesn’t have to be agreed upon, it’s just the way things are playing out and the way (some) people are seeing the current situation; whether or not I agree with these opinions is irrelevant to why they are building a strong base for Trump, obviously. So thanks again, it’s really interesting to read.

  4. In regard to the Cologne attacks, it reminds me of what one penpal friend from Egypt (now living in England) has said about near daily harassment by men and one time she was grope by taxi driver complain to police and all they did was to tell her to just forgive the man. And in the U.S. I’ve heard of women getting verbal harass by Latino men (most likely new immigrants. Also when I read travel books, there is a section for women about over aggressive “romantic” men. So I wonder if its a non-western thing and the treatment of women. Not to say that western guys are perfect.

    • I agree the cultural differences probably make it worse in some countries, possibly more non-western than western. But I would really like people to realize how bad the situation already is in western countries; talk to any woman in a European city, and ask them if they’ve ever been groped, hackled or followed in the metro for example… I bet you the number of women answering “yes of course, it’s something that is constantly on our mind” would surprise you. That cultural issue is systemic in our culture as a whole (I mean, as a world), not specific to a part of the planet.

      • Dmitry Cherednichenko says:

        I find this surprising, to be honest. I travel a lot in Northern Europe, especially Scandinavia, and I have talked to people living there, and on the internet. My impression was that these countries are VERY safe for women. Perhaps it’s different in France?

        In my opinion, cultural and religious differences play a huge role in this, and you Europeans are doing yourself a disservice by trying to hide them under the carpet. Cologne events showed a problem that EU politicians and liberal public were too eager to ignore, for too long. Again, my personal opinion.

      • There are some countries where it’s safer I’m sure, and culture plays a lot into it. Nordic countries would be in that category I’m sure, and so would Japan for example. I doubt there is any country where women are “safe” period, meaning they are less likely to be hackled or assaulted than men.
        That being said, I have to agree that the problem is always there, and the Cologne incidents just resurfaced them… And now they’ve been promptly forgotten again. :/

  5. Dmitry Cherednichenko says:

    Hello again from St.Petersburg Russia.

    I’m catching up with the latest issues of Phileas Club, and though it’s probably too late to comment, I’ll do it anyway, again trying to present Russian perspective on things.

    About Donald Trump. His campaign is followed by Russian media, and sure, he is a great showman. I can’t comment his stance on US domestic policies, because I don’t know the subject enough. However, he says very sensible things about foreign policy. He’s the only one who fully admits that invading Iraq was a mistake and a disaster, and that it was caused by special interests. He admits that US policy has destabilised Middle East. And he is ready to cooperate with Russia against ISIS. That scores him a lot of points within Russian public. Whether he would actually follow his promises if he becomes president, is a different story.

    As for his comments on immigration, they do seem extreme. Although they wouldn’t cause as much outrage here. Russians are less politically correct and more nationalistic than Western Europeans, and we have a few showman politicians of our own, who would make even Trump blush.

    • Very interesting comment! Thanks a lot for doing it, I had never looked at it from that angle… I’m not sure whether the last paragraph is funny or sad… 🙂

      • Dmitry Cherednichenko says:

        > I’m not sure whether the last paragraph is funny or sad…

        Kinda both. Those guys make great TV talk shows with high ratings, because people love scandals. Sadly, one of them, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, has his party present in Russian parlament. Because well, some of our voters are dumb.

  6. I’m curious at something hinted at but not discussed during the podcast.

    (i) Are there French Jews who believe they should not wear kippahs in public for their safety?
    (ii) Are there non-Jews who believe that French Jews should not wear kippahs in public for their safety?
    (iii) Are there people who believe that French Jews should not wear kippahs for other reasons?

    About Trump: There is a ton of white demographic paranoia, and that hits hardest with the most vulnerable whites – white working class folks with little wealth. With respect to Patrick’s wonder that there are people who would vote for clownish racist demagogue like Trump, note that the US is going to become a majority minority country in roughly 25-30 years. This coincides with accelerating urbanization. The Obama coalition that includes urban voters, African Americans, Hispanics, and white women (these groups are not necessarily discrete) is becoming a massive majority. These are the people from whom Trump supporters want to take “their country back”. As an American, I’m heartened that it is actually someone like Trump who is representing this message. Because when he gets so thoroughly routed in the General Election his candidacy will become a wonderfully evocative cautionary tale.

    • Hey Dan, thanks for the analysis on Trump. It does make sense, but I guess I just cannot understand how anyone, anyone at all, could even consider voting for such a buffoon. Obviously I’m misunderstanding the nature of the human character, but it’s no less baffling…

      And to your questions, the answers are yes, not really (it would even be shocking to say something like that), not that I know of.

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