Modern Politics: Personality vs. Policy

One of the most intensely talked about topics in modern America is politics. Undeniably, political activism now seems to be everywhere and our day-to-day life has more political overtones than ever before. As a result, few areas of society are immune to the 24-7 political theatre playing out coast to coast. Some critics complain that America’s political process is now viewed mostly as an end in itself, as opposed to a means to an end.

Interestingly…media fascination with political personalities has helped spark the growing political frenzy. As opposed to sober policy analysis, focusing on personality ensures that politics will retain an edgy quality that’s sure to enthrall.

Even though the media’s focus on political personalities has grown of late, does that mean most voters are immune to voting on political policy? Maybe not. In actuality, many voters still vote based on political policy and its philosophical implications. Tellingly, those who vote on policy have a point system of priorities that influences their voting. In addition, even though social pressure is strong to dislike or even hate opposing political parties, many Americans have respect for certain features and politicians from both political parties.

A key policy in modern politics that forms an umbrella over many other issues is the ongoing debate between globalism and the nation-state. And yes, on the issues that are influenced by this debate, there’s much disagreement over policy particulars. However, amongst many voters, there are overlapping ideas that seek a balance between the extremes. After all, just as the burgeoning organic food industry reflects a need for local influences, many feel that respect for a nation-state, with its history and constitution, helps maintain some local control on the global stage. Likewise, in defense of aspects of globalism, its been noted that international trade, and the resulting influence it has in creating a cross-pollination of ideas that result in a melting pot, has benefit for all.

By shifting the focus towards personality, political operatives have succeeded in mounting smear campaigns against politicians. As a result, its now hard to truly debate complex issues such as globalism. Smear campaigns on both sides of the political aisle often now supersede political policy analysis. In line with this, its been noted that President Trump’s style is often abrasive against political opponents that attempt to smear him. Although some try to just blame Trump for abrasive politics, its obvious that Trump has had to face personal attacks that encompass everything from his appearance, to family history. And likewise, many Democrats are also victims of personal attacks. And on it goes on a daily basis.

Ironically, the complexity of modern life demands that policy still be a main focus with political debate. Without actual policy analysis, we may start to feel lost and confused due to the increasingly high-tech nature of our expansive bureaucracies. Although it’s tempting to view politics as tawdry and salacious theatre, we can’t ignore the fact that policy is still the core of America’s political process.







70 thoughts on “Modern Politics: Personality vs. Policy

  1. Hi Perry – while you may be advocating for policy as central to American politics, a position it should occupy, these days it is no longer so. Trump exists because the policies of others have failed. Yet his own failures show him to be the culmination of politics as entertainment. Without any coherent policy in place in any area personality now reigns complete.

    BTW – be well in these trying times, hoping we return to a “normal” life soon before we all fall off the cliff…

  2. Nice to hear from ya PJ + good luck with the Covid situation! And yes, I to agree that a return to a “normal” life will be most welcome. Hopefully, it won’t take too long… 🙂

    Regarding our current political scene, you’re correct to note that policy needs to occupy a bigger role. Without political policy, we’ll pretty much continue in the Us vs. Them vein we’re currently in politically. A daily diet of such tension will eventually lead to a splintering of the American people. In line with that, the issues that currently create such a divide between Trump + the Democrats are well known. These issues are not only philosophical in nature, they’re also very personal.

    My hope is to create awareness that its never too late to look at policy more objectively + to try not to go down the time-worn policy discussions that open with personality attacks. By often injecting personality smears into policy discussions, we lose sight of policy.

    Just as was done with the First Step Act + USMCA, there have been some successes between the Republicans led by President Trump + some Democrats. Governors Newsom + Cuomo, in addition to Congresswoman Omar, have also noted that Trump has done some good work with aspects of the Covid crisis.

    Hopefully, an Infrastructure plan, long a cherished dream of Democrats, can now be looked at since Trump has offered to work with them on it. This Infrastructure plan would have the net effect of also stimulating the economy out of our current recession-type state.

    I agree with you that it almost seems too late to reverse the trend of politics mostly being an almost tragic form of entertainment. However…I think its worth a try to get things moving more on policy.

    Take Care PJ!

    1. Hey Perry,

      Without a doubt policy matters. Still, one thing to consider in this specialized world is who is presenting the policy option, for what purpose, and what are other factors that need to be weighed before a policy is adopted.

      A very concrete example is today in the coronavirus pandemic the medical techno-bureaucrats are urging extreme caution about lockdowns and re-openings. They are absolutely right, from their narrow perspective of medical health. But there are social and economic factors that need to be weighed as well. Yes, a tragedy that 40,000 Americans have died so far from the virus (however, in historic perspective, 35,000 died in 2019 from regular flu and 70,000 in 2018). But what of the 20,000,000 out of work, many at the very low end of the economic ladder, the most vulnerable to any fiscal shock teetering on the edge of not being able to pay the rent, the mortgage, put food on the table, etc. Longterm economic inequalities are being exacerbated because those in more privileged jobs can continue to work (from home) while others are laid off and force marched to the cliff’s edge.

      What’s the best policy – lockdown the world until every last instance of virus is eradicated, but at the cost of millions driven into poverty? Or figure out a way to protect those at-risk from the virus (we basically know who they are), but let the rest continue on (with precautions of distancing and masking)?

      Who decides these policies?

      One thing for certain, we cannot have just one clique of techno-bureaucrats make the decision.

  3. Excellent points PJ!

    Your point about who sets policy, + whether this is done with competing groups working to create a cross-section of ideas, versus a more narrow range of policy setters, is extremely important.

    As you clearly point out, the Covid situation is a serious one. However, in looking at the whole spectrum of the human experience holistically, you’re able to realize that the economic dislocation created by the current situation is indeed very serious too. This is why many leaders across the spectrum, from President Trump to many in Congress + at the state level, are looking at the best steps to be taken to re-open the economy. And yes, those at the lower end of the economic ladder are often the main ones that have been impacted most by the current situation.

    Regarding the bureaucrats that you talk of, you accurately note that many things in life do best when counter-balances are in place. Different cliques of bureaucrats working towards similar goals are necessary to come to the balanced decisions that reflect the holistic nature of life. Once these balancing effects are in place, it allows for a cross-pollination of ideas.

    Thx for the in-depth dialogue PJ!

  4. We think alike as usual, Perry. For the political superstructure – both parties and their activist bases – the political process is indeed an end in itself. Whether COVID or any other problem, the endgame is not to solve the problem but to use the problem to destroy the other side. And the media has largely abandoned sober policy analysis and all firewalls between news and opinion in favor of the sales power of clickbait and outrage. This must be heaven for the big corporations, who can now quietly set policy through their underlings on Capitol Hill while the media and general public froth in outrage over Trump’s orange skin or Hillary’s pizza parlor prostitution ring. Oh, I almost forgot, underneath that political superstructure and invisible in the media, many regular people are still on point, as you say. They just have no voice in the media or in either major party.

    1. Welcome back Daedulus!

      As you say, we do think alike on many issues. And yes, I agree with you that the ongoing theatre of modern politics does provide ample opportunity for major players to push through policies without the transparency we had before. As you allude to, for the true nature of democracy to be realized, transparency is the essential life-blood. When healthy debate is conducted in a clear manner, true democracy flourishes + the political process becomes more of a means to an end instead of an end in itself.

      Like you say Daedulus, the firewall between news + opinion has largely been abandoned in favor of click-bait features. To me…today’s media reminds me much of the satirical 1976 movie “Network.” What seems outrageous is the fact that the movie’s portrayal of journalism succumbing to a sort of hyper-ventilating emotionalism, has now become almost standard fare. I remember laughing at the movie as a 16 yr. old when I first saw it. However, I had no idea that the absurdities it represented would become almost mainstream.

      Although it may seem impossible, there is a basic way we can increase political sanity. To return to a healthier democracy, many of us need to continue to make our views known + to turn away from the more sideshow aspect that the political operatives offer our way.

      Thx for your great points + adding to the dialogue again Daedulus!

  5. Perry, I agree with your premise that for some, precedent and policy are the noble cause more eternal than political theater. Even as politically astute operatives and personalities exploit the values and issues voters hold dear, there are, thankfully, still a hand full of truly courageous civil servants, and even some politicians, that put the greater good ahead of their accumulation of power.
    You make the point that for some, the cult of personality is not enough to unmoor foundational principles or convert believers in solid policy. To be sure, we have all seen the abdication of deeply held morals sacrificed on the alter of political idols. Sadly, in this day of subjective truth and empirical evidence, the strength of personality is able to sway more people, even overwhelming long held beliefs and morals.
    With the existing rulings from the Supreme Court (Buckley v, Valeo and Citizens United v. FEC) and the lack of political will to amend election financing, the current political theater now has an infinite budget, and so things will only get worse. We will see Robert Downey Jr. suit up as Iron Man and become President. The stage is set.
    As for strength of resolve, two recent examples come to mind.
    The 2015 signing of the McCain-Feinstein Anti-Torture Amendment. A truly bi-partisan policy that expressed our deeply held beliefs that torture is not in keeping our moral beliefs. Though some would say the personality of John Mc Cain is what got it passed, I would disagree and say it was the relentless pursuit of the truth by many humble civil servants and free press that made the difference. I would also agree that McCain’s speech on the Senate floor was convicting as it was moving.
    Though not as flowery in writing the opinion of the majority, The Supreme Court recently ruled 6 to 3 to uphold the Clean Water Act. With Justices Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch in decent. And I think this is your point. How will we be remembered? As a personality cult or a nation of morals and laws?

  6. Welcome back to the discussion Tom!

    First off…I just love your Iron Man as President scenario! As you say, the cult of personality is too strong almost to resist now when it comes to politics. However, as we’ve talked of in the past, actual political policy does try to be a bit more objective than succumbing to a personality cult mindset. And on top of that, focusing on actual political policy gives us a chance to revel in the fact that so much of human experience lies within a certain range of opinions + ideas. Focusing on personality not only gives rise to personality cults, it unleashes a dogma of ideas that often have more to do with the personality of certain leaders as opposed to a political process that gives respect to debating a range of ideas.

    I agree with you about wanting to be remembered as a nation of morals and laws. In looking to the past, there is clearly a connection between morals + laws in regards to governance. From the 12 Tables of ancient Rome, to the Magna Carta, and then to the many constitutions of Democratic Republics, there is shown to be an attempt to deal judiciously with the citizens of a country. In addition, the court decisions that you mention, along with the bi-partisan 2015 signing of the McCain-Feinstein Anti-Torture Amendment, give hope that actual political policy can come to the fore at times.

    And yes, as you allude to, morals do form a certain foundation for law. Even though the current political landscape shows that there is a range of opinions over just what is moral, there is definitely overlap amongst different political philosophies. This overlap allows for a common ground on different moral issues, while also still allowing for active + respectful debate on the moral issues that some disagree on.

    Take Care Tom + thx for the dialogue!

    1. Perry, Yes great nations were often lead by those who, for better or for worse, had outsized personalities and influence. Court intrigue, poison pills and back stabbing were literally there from the start. That said, it is also vitally important to reflect on the culture of the people that made these events and the complexities of their history. Phenomena like this are not easily distilled into talking points. Early codified law was often morally based and came with a heavy theological influence.
      From the code of Hammurabi, the laws of Plato, to the Law of Twelve Tables of ancient Rome (I think you have to throw in the Ten Commandments, Confucianism, Buddhism, etc.), the beliefs and morals of society were the law of the land, and to this day, from the architecture of our modern era of secular, Godless common law.
      I know you are weary of moral absolutism for all the ills that such an unyielding system has produced. I heartily agree with your caution, though not your distain for finding constants and cornerstones. I believe it possible to build a foundation based on moral principles alone.
      You said, “Even though the current political landscape shows that there is a range of opinions over just what is moral, there is definitely overlap amongst different political philosophies”.
      I agree with the wholesomeness of honest, transparent debate and that one should not be judged for having debated an issue or discussed the possibilities for this is necessary to finding common ground.
      The range of opinions however is not, in my view, limitless. To me, moral debates have boundaries. It is the difference between what possible (anything is infinitely possible) and what is probable. We can predict, we can theorize the boundaries of our very existence. To say, anything can happen, though not completely false, it is not empirically true either and realistically, we would be more likely to concern ourselves with what could reasonably happen in the presence or absence of our collective actions.
      That is where the current debate over policy action is (and thank you for the chance to discuss it). You and I have long talked about what guides society during times of uncertainty and change. Our human culture is facing yet another unprecedented epoch. Technology, population saturation, economic, social and environmental interdependence are all in uncharted waters.
      I believe this is what you and your readers are trying to debate. Can a legal/ political system built on precedent, address unprecedented events? This is where many turn to theological, moral, logical and ethical principles. Calling science a religion is ok because much of what we know of science was in fact at least sponsored by religious orders of their times. Society needs guidepost in times like this. Strong leaders (personality traits aside) have to encapsulate the moral and ethical reasoning of the society they represent. Tone deaf leaders end up has-beens. Wannabes, out of touch with what, looking back in history, was the inevitable probability of the time.

      1. Why do I believe morals alone can guide us through unprecedented times? Because there is a precedent for that.

  7. Hey Tom! Welcome back my friend!

    Interestingly, you talk a lot here, + understandably so, about morals. It is a topic that is near + dear to you as well as many of us. Yes, morals do have constants + boundaries. For example, most societies show disdain for murder. For most societies, indiscriminate murder is illegal + rightfully frowned upon + treated harshly. And likewise with theft. Obviously, these type of behaviors are widely agreed upon by most of us as immoral behavior.

    However, even though there is agreement on some moral issues, there still is a wide range of opinions about the morality of a host of other issues. In modern America, there exists many issues that bring up different moral dilemmas based upon whether one is of a Progressive bent politically, vs. one who identifies with more Conservative values. To recognize this does not deny the need to find moral constants + boundaries. It is mostly a recognition of the different philosophical + cultural trends that exist. Recognizing the wide range of opinions about morals can serve to give us a guidepost on how to find common ground.

    To show the variability with modern morals, there is a wide gulf of opinions that exist about topics such as abortion + environmental policy. To many Conservatives, abortion is something that strikes them as immoral + as something that should limited. In addition, since many Conservatives tend to view mankind as a dominant species on Earth, they tend to not be as much in favor of environmental policy that aims to sharply constrict economic development of natural resources. On the Progressive side, there is wide agreement that abortion is a choice. In addition, when it comes to environmental policy, many Progressives tend to want to inhibit natural resource use somewhat since they view the earth’s resources as finite + they tend to also view other species as important as mankind. Therefore, some Progressives see their views on the environment as a moral cause. Obviously, on just these two topics, one can see that the philosophical + moral ideas of Conservatives vs Progressives are different.

    Therefore, as opposed to the moral absolutes that most agree upon such as frowning on murder + theft, other moral issues seem to have different interpretations. Having said that though, it seems there is still a chance to reach common ground on the more complex moral issues out there. And this is where policy discussions come in.

    Thx for the dialogue Tom!

  8. Our countries debate over single payer health care is a prime example of the policy (guided by long standing moral and ethical precedent) v. personality (sensationalism) debate. Publicly funded health care helps small business and entrepreneurs by removing the cost of providing health care benefits. Publicly funded health care lets employees and employers focus on personal savings and retirement.
    Economic cost/benefit aside, the guiding question is,
    What are the moral implications of profiting off of illness?
    Or should society focus on maintaining a healthy populace at an effective cost?

  9. Good point Tom!

    Due to moral + ethical reasons, many countries have adopted aspects of a single-payer healthcare system. And yes, in some cases there have been arguments made that a single-payer system has more efficiency in certain healthcare areas.

    However, it also should be noted that many countries that have a single-payer healthcare system have also adopted aspects of a free-market system. This hybrid healthcare is shown in many countries. Interestingly, the healthcare system of countries such as The Netherlands and America are somewhat similar.

  10. Hi Perry, I think the game changer is social media. I feel that the mainstream media controlled the narrative for so long orchestrated by certain few that people were comfortable inside their skin thinking they were being told the truth. Now with social media at play, mainstream media has undeniably been caught fabricating and bold face lying to the American people. Or at least in seems coincidental on the timeline with the introduction of alternative media. This, in my opinion, is what helped change policy to personalities. The biggest ally to politicians purposely or inadvertently is the mainstream media. Purposely because it helped sell an agenda to the American people, right or wrong, historically. Inadvertently, because let’s face it, they helped Trump get elected unwittingly. I believe there is common traits between the mainstream media and politicians in that they moved from policy to sensationalism only because they cannot control alternative media that have proven some convincing evidence that we have been being played for decades. This is embarrassing for them I’m sure but they are clueless because every act they been caught in was like “eh, so what, we got caught, but people’s attention span are short enough” or “their ideology will be forgiven of us even if we’re caught.” Ot has gotten to the point where retractions or apologies don’t even exist anymore when caught obviously spinning a story. They will never have that control again so you can see right before your eyes the grieving process from tears to anger due to losing that elite status. Proofs in the pudding when you look at the poll numbers and the low viewership for the media. Today, the general population looks at the mainstream media as we did the Enquirer from the 80s and 90s. This parody of news have only one audience. An audience who is in the grieving process to that one day they won’t be known as “fake news” anymore. A label that they won’t be able to shake for another generation or two in my opinion.

  11. Hey Jeff…great to hear from ya + thx for basically hitting the ‘nail on the head’ in regards to how social media has changed the political dynamic! These are excellent points!

    Since my father was a reporter + later an editor at a large newspaper in Syracuse, New York, I’m acquainted with your accurate description of how powerful the media used to be. For instance, one of my first memories as a 4 yr. old was being on my father’s shoulders at a political rally in the summer of 1964 for President Johnson. Since my Dad was a member of the press corps, we stood up close to the President as he talked in his famous southern drawl in the hot summer sun to a large crowd in Syracuse at a campaign rally.

    Interestingly, my Dad told me often, + this was in the day when the media was much more tame than it is now, that the media had tremendous power in how it controlled the narrative by using many seemingly subtle techniques to bend a story a certain way. And yes, because of these techniques, it is quite understandable that many people have trouble believing everything mainstream media tells them.

    In regards to how the mainstream media is now relying more on subjectively sensationalistic approaches to cement in their audience, you’re totally correct. By sometimes turning political policy talking points more towards the smearing of political personalities, the media is both reacting to their lost power, while also mimicking the echo-chamber aspect that has catapulted social media to the fore.

    Jeff…as you make clear, we are in a whole new world. It’ll be interesting to see how things develop from here. Thx for the analysis!

  12. I’m going to go a bit off topic, but still within scope of this dialogue. These discussions bring hope and it is truly amazing what emerges from the human spirit, even when strangled by the techno-bureaucrats. I have great faith that we will prevail. But it is crucial, as we are under attack, that we keep our humanity intact during these trying times.

    Today, NY Gov Cuomo is comparing this current generation’s efforts to self isolate and quarantine to save lives during this immediate crisis with previous American generations efforts to overcome world wars and the great depression.

    But this is all wrong and perverted. Before, we came together as a people and worked side by side with each other. However, now we are “social” distancing and are fearful that everyone is the enemy, an agent of death. Real conversational skills and non violent communication teaches us about meeting someone in conversation, of speaking, but just as important, of listening, and balancing the two so one comes together with interest, empathy, creating an environment for brotherhood, for love. But try that in these times…!

    Today we have descended to a totally different place, to a complete inversion of thoughtful conversation, yet we ironically congratulate ourself for destroying what little remains of our humanity.

    ***As a people we become who we are through others, we are each other’s hope, and all our intimate interactions are practice for our future destiny.

    The situation today is so sad….

  13. Thx for going off topic PJ! 🙂 You bring up something that definitely needs to be discussed.

    Yes, comparing the Covid era of social isolation to WW2 + the Depression combined may be a bit much. After all, although this is a serious health situation, there have been valid questions raised about where we go from here. Sadly…as you allude to, we seem to be losing the ability to respectfully listen to different opinions. As Jeff + others aptly point out, the media + social media often seems to be echo-chambers for shouting down opposing ideas with ongoing smear attacks.

    First off, in terms of the impact this has on the economy – which is the lifeblood of human existence, its been mentioned by many that we need to be careful that we don’t run into the trap of making the cure potentially more devastating than the actual affliction. After all, due to the trillions spent now to deal with this economic dislocation, America’s total debt is now close to our yearly GDP. As many know, this is the threshold for debt many economists claim is too high for economic stability. Many have said that if this shutdown practice becomes normalized with these type of illnesses it could potentially lead to a world-wide depression since economies will be not only dislocated, but mired in too high of a debt load due to trillions paid out in bailouts.

    As a healthcare worker I realize Covid is a serious threat + agree that many of the methods employed in dealing with it have merit. However, serious health threats of a somewhat similar nature have arose in the past + some are looming in the future. Therefore, it does seem a rational question to ask as to whether this shutdown policy will be standard practice. If so…its understandable people are asking whether this is feasible economically long-term. After all, economies have continued even during the actual devastating effects of war. Although shutdowns may be necessary in the future, one would think we have to be careful about them. Also, the Governor, by comparing this situation to both WW2 – where around 75 million died, + The Great Depression – which brought the world to the brink, seems dramatic.

    And another important you make is that although necessary at this time, social distancing has the net effect of isolating humanity. And yes, this type of isolation runs counter to the true sense of community developed working side by side.

    Thx again PJ!

  14. I agree social media, likes, memes and shared links are not a conversation. That is why I enjoy your blog posts so much. You bring forward thoughtful topics presented in a neutral way to encourage conversation. Many media platforms have explicit and some hidden bias that can be seen in their choice of wording.
    To address the topic of personality v. policy, “The truth is subjectivity.” ~Søren Kierkegaard. Many would interpret this as “The truth is empirical.” In other words, seeing is believing. Unless you have experienced a phenomena directly, it will always seem remote and thus be open to interpretation. Hypothesis develop into accepted theories through consensus. Coupled with consistent and reproducible evidence, is how we get high quality products that perform reliably and laws founded on principles that, we believe to be self-evident.
    Yet here again, we see how social media plays a role in the reproducibility of evidence that influences our conclusions. The consensus of our personal search history algorithm may make something appear more believable. And if this ‘evidence’ is repeated often enough,… Without due diligence to confer objectivity, or obtain direct, empirical sources, everything on the internet is circumspect.
    For example, has anyone directly experienced the benevolence of a once selfish billionaire? Has anyone found evidence that a supersized ego with a lifetime of self-centered actions, would selflessly be championing the causes of disadvantaged?
    William of Okham famously postulated that, ~ Of competing hypothesis, one should select the solution with the fewest assumptions.
    Assuming a young black man looking around a construction site was the perpetrator of a theft that occurred at a different location at a different time, is simplistic, but it leaves many key variables unaddressed.
    This is also true of the self-centered billionaire alluded to above. Many, many variables need explaining before one could plausibly conclude that the actions of this billionaire, are self-less.
    I deliberately paired the two examples to emphasize the need for self-awareness. What are our personal, subjective, presumptions? And, how do those presumptions affect our empirical truth?

    1. Personality versus policy is a very timely and astute topic.
      We have all heard the multitudes of legal arguments based on, of all things, an investigator’s personal feelings towards the defendant. And that, is exactly the point! Policy v. personality.
      Politically motivated prosecutions are a reality. Yet these claims come from THE PARTY IN POWER!
      Objective, demonstrable and verifiable evidence, predicated on policy and precedent, should lead any prosecution or defense .
      To use an emotive argument alone is the very definition of trial lawyer sensationalism.
      There has been such an inversion of precedent, legal observers feel they are in a parabolic flight pattern to simulate weightlessness.
      And all of this is pivoting on the question of loyalty to the defendant. The question of loyalty is now paramount and above the law.
      Regardless of who is in the defendant’s chair,
      the people of these United States deserve an impartial judge and jury who hold policy above politics.
      Our laws and policies should matter more than the personality they are being applied to. Breaking with longstanding precedent can be seen as innovative, only if it is not preceved as blatently self serving and unethical.

    2. Thx for the compliment Tom!

      I try to look at politics + economics the way it was before the rise of 24-7 media, the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, the rise of reality media / social media, + the reduction of objectivity resulting from this. During this previous era the balance between subjectivity + objectivity seemed stronger than today.

      Since he came of age during the Romantic era, Kierkegaard’s recognition of the power of subjectivity acted as a strong counterbalance to the abstract + idealized objectivity of his day. To Kierkegaard, truth had measurable qualities observed by many as well as subjective elements personal to each of us. Needless to say, coming of age in the Enlightenment, he led the way to the Post-Enlightenment world of Romanticism + Existentialism.

      Many call the era we live in as an era without facts. Sadly, it seems that the subjectivism of Kierkegaard has given away in the modern era to what some call a form of nihilism.

      As for the tragic shooting of the black man in Georgia, it seems that it would’ve been much better if there were concerns of his motives, to contact the police. As it is, his shooting seems to hearken back to an era that we hoped was gone.

      If the self-centered billionaire that you talk of happens to be President Trump, then it must be recognized that Trump, like Obama before him, is largely supported + forgiven by his supporters – roughly half of America, mostly because of his policies. Since many presidents, from Lincoln to Kennedy, had qualities or made statements considered inappropriate, its important to remember that presidential policies are what adhere many supporters. Personality, although important, has often taken a back seat to actual policies.

      Take Care Tom!

  15. When loyalty to a person- ality, is the bar (of justice), then the entire premises is corrupted. ~Tom Espinosa
    You are correct , Kennedy’s (liberal, socialist, communist, et al.) sins are as bad as conservative sins, maybe worse because they are hypocritical. That does not negate the point, …

    “A fellow ain’t got a soul of his own, just a little piece of a big soul, the one big soul that belongs to everybody,
    then….Wherever you can look – wherever there’s a fight, so hungry people cant eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad. I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry and they know supper’s ready, and when the people are eatin’ the stuff they raise and livin’ in the houses they buid – I’ll be there, too.”
    ― John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

  16. Are you talking about the policies that let rich people control the land that people are born on, live, work and die on? The policies that deny indigenous people the right to have a say in their own fate? Those are the policies that destroy family heritage. Denying people their legacy, disenfranchises entire generations. What policies do you support?

    1. Hey Tom…quick response 🙂

      You missed my point. Just as the people who defend Obama do largely because of policies, the people who support Trump largely do so because they support his policies. Personality, though part of the equation, is not the prime motivator in politics. And yes…I agree with you that some are making it a main point. However, I also see that you’re trying to paint Trump supporters, like conservatives talked of Obama supporters, as mostly enamored with his personality. In the big picture though, that often doesn’t seem the case.

      Earlier, you complimented my attempt at being politically neutral. I’m neutral because I read all sides of the political equation. And just as there are detractors of both Obama + Trump that point to very questionable practices, you will find their supporters talk of each as being a stalwart defender of America’s laws + Constitution. Basically…based on one’s political preference, a case can be made for either side.

      Your comments point up that just as one of the big debates today is between Globalism vs. the Nation-State, another big debate is between Capitalism + Socialism.

      Interestingly, Socialism has been proven to mostly be effective economically in the mild Social Democracy format. In this format there’s still a strong amount of respect for aspects of Capitalism + personal freedom.

      And yes…many people of the more moderate + conservative bent strongly support Free-Market – Capitalist policies that are espoused by moderate Democrats, Libertarians, + Republicans. This is because they look beyond the negative stereotypes of Capitalism + have come to realize that the Free-Market revolution of the past several hundred years has helped lift millions out of poverty + lead to a very high standard of living – complete with improved healthcare, in much of the world.

      Ironically, you talk of control of the land by wealthy people in a somewhat negative way. However, with the exception of the brilliant Social Democracy model of mild Socialism, most Socialist countries replicate the negative aspects of extreme Capitalism by placing land-owning power in the hands of a small amount of bureaucrats. And just as history has shown – Venezuala being the latest example, this system often is much more brutal to the average person than a more Capitalist system. Shortages of basic commodities like toilet paper point this out.

      As for indigenous people, more can be done to help their situation. An interesting article I read about Indian Reservations points that much can be done to allow them to develop their own resources + businesses by easing regulations.

      As for the policies I support, I will point out, as I earlier have, my support for the mild Socialism of Social Democracy. And yes, many Republicans now – including Trump, have adapted more of a Social Democracy mindset lately. This is shown by the quick adoption of stimulus payments in times of a national crisis. Previously, Republicans were more reluctant to adopt such policies.

      Therefore, the moderates of both of the main political parties have largely been working towards the Social Democracy model the past 20 years.

  17. Thanks Perry, I appreciate the reminders on relative effectiveness of most socialist systems is, and I agree, not as robust as capitalist investment. My concern is a need for bold, innovative social spending.
    We have talked in the past about ways to improve social investment besides public dollars or heavy handed mandates. Legislation must be enacted to guide innovation and growth toward mutually agreed upon goals. I believe in the premise of exceptionalism. Most legislate by permission, only allowing what is permitted, Americans have long fostered the notion of exceptionalism. One is free to do what they like, with limited exceptions.
    That in mind, I believe it is possible to improve public spending by providing clear direction and societal goals, leaving innovation to the markets. We saw this with automobile safety. Our country, the world, had insanely high traffic fatalities and socially minded legislation was passed. Innovations came, and now cars are cleaner and safer than ever before.
    True, the auto industry did lose money and American car companies are still struggling despite protective tariffs. Yet again, what are society’s goals? Safe, clean transportation, or record profits for corporations at the cost of lives and the environment?
    When quality and profit are paired in a free market equation, profit proceeds quality every time. You get the lowest common denominator quality to obtain the maximum numerator, profits, unless there are laws to guide quality standards.
    I agree with you, we need to get past the sensationalist personalities that are barking anti-social demagoguery that labels social and environmental responsibility as job killing, and taking away your freedom.
    Even when the goal is to save lives, big media personalities resort to name calling, blame shifting, using misleading information, pivoting away to talking points . We need to look at our goals, as a people, not as factions. What is the best way to reduce abortions? What is the safest way to ensure people know how to care for firearms? How can our nation help reduce the political and economic instability that contributes to unlawful migration? What are our environmental goals?
    I’ve only heard the loudest personalities vilify social improvement as limiting free choice and profits. All laws put constraints on actions and thus profits. That is the nature of limitations. Do they expect laws to say, do what ever you like and guaranteed profits? This is contradictory to reality. I agree, loud, sometimes obscene personalities have captured people’s attention and have directed people toward thoughtful policy. I am afraid this particular group of personalities is not willing nor competent, to engineer the types of policies we will be needing, let alone talk about them.

    1. Fascinating comment Tom!

      I agree with you about the need to develop a system of economics that has a certain sense of mutual agreement towards certain goals. And yes, such an economic system exists – Social Democracy.

      Interestingly, when many talk of socialism they often talk past the concept of Social Democracy. This is unfortunate since the Social Democracy economic system, + it’s framework within the confines of Democratic-Republics, works incredibly well. Ironically, it is the only form of socialism that seems to work well not only economically, but also aesthetically, morally, spiritually, + politically. In essence, it allows for a range of ideas that take note of the human need for variety + freedom, while still allowing for the development of mutually agreed goals. The balance between freedom for the individual, when balanced with the need for mutual goals for the collective, is maybe as close as we’ll come to finding a balance between John Locke’s ideas about the sovereignty of the individual, + the Marxian concept of the collective.

      Examples of Social Democracies are everywhere from America, to Europe, Asia, Africa, etc.

      And yes, your ideas about the evolution of car safety are well taken. After all, if any of us are in a car accident today, our chances of survival are much higher than in the past. Fatalities from car crashes are almost half of what they were before the advent of seatbelts, shoulder harnesses, airbags, crumple zones, etc. As someone who has met + talked with safety advocate Ralph Nader twice, I understand that the improvement in car safety he helped develop has actually allowed more people who were in accidents to live their lives free from the horrors of injury.

      Thx for the dialogue!

  18. Hey Perry,

    Good piece. Looks like you opened a big can of worms.

    I think most Americans both care about policy while basing their political affections on candidates with the best personalities.

    In the early days of our country’s democracies, 1776 and later, our founding fathers used to smear each other all the time. Almost all their letters to the editor were negative and destructive things about whomever is running for office. They were more like the English Parliament in that they would yell at each other and sometimes break out into fights during their sessions.

    One of the things about basing policy on personalities is much of an American thing. In America, everything is win or lose. You watch TV and all the shows have to have a winner and some losers. Shows about singers always have to have a winner, even though every musician and vocalist would agree its subjective. Trying to say who is better doesn’t even make sense.

    In the same way, I think many people who watch political campaigns think of it like a football game. People want to win. It’s not always a question of who has the best ideas. Instead, it’s a winner versus loser thing and no American wants to be a loser.

    1. Welcome back luv4all1959!

      I agree…this discussion is a “can of worms!” ☺ However, in light of how political operatives in America are evolving politics to be mostly about personality, it may be time for this kind of discussion.

      As you say, most Americans still try very hard to balance out policy implications with the personalities of those who run for office. I wholeheartedly agree. And yes, in the past, from the days of the Founding Fathers till the 20th century, politics was at times a combat sport.

      When the Fairness Doctrine was in place from 1949 to 1987, America experienced a relative calm politically. During these times the ability to discuss issues from all sides of the spectrum, + then allow those ideas to percolate, helped create a baseline of behavior that reinforced that we’re able to disagree on particulars while still agreeing on the basic idea of America.

      With the advent of high-tech media, we’re in a different spot from the early combative days of politics. Suddenly, politics is everywhere, + political anger + activism is becoming to some unbearable.

      Also…great point about winning luv4all1959! Winning – whatever it is that some think that they’re winning – has become the main thing. You are so correct!

      Take Care!

  19. Freshman year of high school and our school made it to state finals. Stanford coliseum was imposing, most on the team couldn’t perform. Coach Gilmore gave a pep talk. “You can place dead last, and you are still, among the best athletes in the country. You have already proven how good you are”. I think Kate Raworth’s economic theory of ‘Doughnut Economics” covers this well. By insisting we see everything as a competition, diminishes our ability to appreciate the innovation of others.

  20. Some of these larger than life personalities may in fact, have some amazing ideas and or be open to innovation, but we haven’t seen much evidence of that. Instead, it appears as Love 4 All points out, this is a winner takes all gambit ,and no matter how offensive the personality and or policies, nobody wants to be called a looser.

      1. Hey Tom…thx so much for the video links to the innovative Oxford economist!

        Excellent ideas to think about in regards to maintaining a market economy while still allowing for a more relaxed view of life. Also, your analogy about your high school competition is excellent! We all need to strive to compete in a way that still allows us to feel self satisfaction no matter what the outcome.

  21. Thank you Perry for bringing conversation to our lives.
    Some other thoughts about winneing and losing,

    “Poverty, humility, submission, the silent sufferance of insult and injury, withdrawing oneself to give way to others; these are the greatest evils, according to the world of men, yet the greatest of good, to Jesus” ~ Giuseppe Ricciotti on the Life of Christ

    Historically, the world has taken women and the environment for granted. And yet, we want women to become ruthless, just like men.

    “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing” ~ Henry Russell Sanders,

    “History is written by the victors” ~Niccolò Machiavelli

    Winning, leaves out the very aspect of existence, there is a full other half of the equation, the loosing side.

    Life is a delicate balance of energies. From the obvious wants and desires v. our ability and energy to attain them. It should be crystal-clear to anyone, one must give to receive. One must work to achieve and this process is never ending.

    By works alone, you will not be saved ~ The gospels of Paul Ephesians 2:8

    We all know this. Having friends is the key to longevity. A happy life is a happy wife.
    The ability to admit fault is sign of true strength.

    To say, winning at all cost is the only thing that matters, is truly short sighted.

  22. “The only thing to fear is fear itself” is as good advice now as it was then.

    It’s not a virus that infects us, rather it is the fear of death, promoted by so many parties, much for their own narrow agendas. We are so consumed by death that we have forgotten how to live.

    Only the people can lead us forward. The politicians and elite are too invested in their own failed and unhinged policies to change direction. But the people need to reset their outlook to move ahead. The viewpoint in the article helps.

    The Coronation, by Charles Eisenstein –
    “The popular name for the pandemic offers a clue: coronavirus. A corona is a crown. “Novel coronavirus pandemic” means “a new coronation for all.””

    1. Thx PJ for the fascinating insights + the link to the Eisenstein article! And yes…the fact that the virus is named “Corona” – or crown, is quite fascinating! 🙂

      I so agree with you about the fear of death being the main thing that seems to be infecting us lately. Of course, the Covid situation is serious + we’ve talked of this before. However, as you eloquently pointed out before, if one were to focus just on the Covid situation, to exclusion of many other things, we could blind ourselves to so many other negative factors that this single-minded focus may be creating.

      A holistic approach to life, as many are now talking about, would acknowledge that when it comes to protecting us from the negative effects of something like Covid, we need to be careful of upsetting the balance. After all, as many note now, the devastating effects created by the economic shutdown, could be interpreted by some as actually more powerful than the problems created by Covid.

      In reality, it always comes down to both perception as well as balance. As I said before, as a healthcare worker, I understand the need for a certain amount of shutdown due to the Covid situation. The debatable part is…how much + for how long.

      As you have pointed out + the Eisenstein article notes, we have to be careful of the concept of safety when it’s applied in such broad brushstrokes. After all, there’s an element of chance in so many aspects of nature + in life itself. And yes, having a certain amount of freedom – freewill to make decisions, is not just embedded in us economically, it is also such a strong part of many religious beliefs. Therefore, to just focus on the negative “what ifs” that can arise out of a potentially damaging situation can lead us to become dogmatic about perceived safety to the point that other unsafe things can arise.

      On a personal level, one thing that sticks out to me lately is when I received a welcomed hug from a friend who was leaving a month ago. Are we now going to be so fearful of becoming sick that we’re not gonna want to receive a hug or shake hands in the future? If we we become so fearful of a friendly touch in the future, how will that impact mankind?

      Thx again for stopping by PJ!

  23. Hi Shivankan…thx for adding to the dialogue. Your blog piece was informative + timely!

    After I read your article I posted a comment to it. I look forward to following your writings. In today’s world, to dialogue as we’re doing internationally is important. Your timely article highlights that “Fake News,” nationalistic-populism, lack of political transparency, + reliance on social media for communication, has led to a hyper-charged political atmosphere that has adverse effects on democracy + minorities.

    As I said in my comment on your blog, many factors contribute to the political situation outlined in your “Politics Of Glass” article. In America, there’s been a strong shift in how the media operates since the lifting of the “Fairness Doctrine” in 1987. Prior to 1987, the media had to objectively portray both sides of an issue. Back then, there was almost no mention of the “Fake News” you talk of. Here’s a piece I did on this:

    As you talk of in your blog piece, factors like “Fake News,” lack of transparency, reliance on social media, + a change in political civics, leads to an intense political dialogue. This increases the “Us vs. Them” feel of modern politics. I address that here:

    Shivankan, your mention of nationalism is timely. As you allude to, a major debate today lies in finding a balance between globalism + the nation-state. Here’s a piece I did on that:

    In America, a distrust of established politicians has led to the rise of the maverick politicians that you mentioned in your article. Here’s a piece I did on Bernie Sanders + Donald Trump:

    Shivankan…I look forward to reading more of your writings + having more dialogue with engaged young people such as yourself. Take Care!

  24. I already commented once, but what the hell. You are a voice of reason, Perry. I share your disillusionment with political operatives and media. I wobble on your optimistic view of the public. Sometimes I’m amazed at how many people under the radar of partisan hatred are, as you say, more interested in getting the policy right. Other times (e.g., when I open Facebook), I am demoralized (as per you and PJ’s comment discussion) at how many normally kind and intelligent people have bought into the mutually assured destruction with apparent gusto. I suspect, at the least, that a large majority are still pre-committed ‘D’ or ‘R’ regardless of who leads the ticket.

    Tangent on psychology. Whereas you might disagree with an idea, it’s easier to hate a person than an idea. I think this helps explain your well-taken point about media and political operatives focusing increasing on personality. If you want to keep your audience (in the one case) or your base (in the other) in a road-rage passion to destroy the other side, give them something they can hate – a person, not an idea. We have entered the great age of the ad hominem, amigo, and you and I were there!

    (Btw, sometime next week I hope to post a blog on rethinking Locke on private property and ownership [as I consider Locke the start point of our era on those topics]. It’s just right for you, so keep an eye out 😊 )

    1. Welcome back Daedulus! Comment as much as you like + thx for the compliment. Although I’ve been busy, I look forward to commenting again on your blog also.

      Yeah…the ad hominem attacks just keep coming + coming like an annoyingly predictable onslaught. If the political events of the day weren’t so important, the over-the-top caricatures of the attacks would be sardonically humorous. ☺ And yes, as psychology shows, it’s much easier to attack a person instead of policy.

      As you say Daedulus, social media – through its ability to herd + create echo-chambers, contradicts the optimism some have about a mass audience talking policy. After all, many on social media do follow a path of mutually assured political destruction.

      Interestingly though, there seems to be a hunger – even on social media to a degree, for people to truly engage in policy discussions. My hope is to create more of an appetite for this.

      I look forward to your thoughts on Locke + private property. Coming as it did at the end of the feudal era, Locke’s theories were powerful. Although the Enlightenment theorists weren’t perfect – as some of their ideas on slavery show, they need to be applauded since they identified that mankind’s imperfection requires checks + balances. In addition, the Enlightenment theories helped support the notion in Democracies that a range of ideas – hammered out in debate, can apply in civil society.

      These ideas contrast heavily w the current trend of some Marxist influenced thinkers to disavow debate. This more rigid rhetorical trend is reflected somewhat in political correctness + identity politics. Ironically, the socialist philosopher Bertrand Russell predicted a dogmatic trend developing in Marxism 100 years ago. Sadly…the Social Democracy socialist model Russell represented – which allows for a range of ideas, is often overshadowed these days.

      Thx again for stopping by! I look forward to reading your book since it just arrived from Amazon, + talking more w you.

      1. Yes, Perry, to the need to maintain what the Enlightenment gave us. The men had flaws, and the ideals unsteady in application, but the ideas of universal rights and freedoms, of universal truth based on evidence and reason, rather than tribe-based rights, freedoms and truths, are values of enduring relevance. Among other things, they laid the philosophical foundation for the worldwide abolition of slavery, although it unsurprisingly took time (and in the case of some central African countries legal slavery held on till the 1980s). But those ideas of universal rights and freedom were sown in the Enlightenment, though the reaping took (and will still take) time. I hate to see my old lefty friends throw it all away. The only thing that can come of that is a return to tribal biases and tribal rights. This doesn’t mean clinging to the status quo. The post-Enlightenment age of capitalism is rightly cracking under the weight of income inequality and ecological imperatives, but we need to think of the next stage not as a revolution against the post-Enlightenment liberal democracies but as a revolution within them As we move into the (post-materialist, post-capitalist) 21st century, capitalism and liberal democracy are the matrix from which new forms will spring. With that in mind, I will make bold to revise “the ingenious Mr. Locke” with an eye on the next horizon line 🙂

  25. Excellent points Daedulus! I couldn’t have said it better myself. 🙂

    As you say, without the advancements of Enlightenment thinkers like John Locke, the springing up of Democratic-Republics as a political norm globally the past 200 years, probably would’ve not taken place. And as you imply, without the Constitutions put in place in these countries to protect universal rights + freedoms, there’s a chance that the evils of slavery may still be accepted today. I agree that it is quite ironic + sad that some now refer to our Constitution as a time-worn document. The legal protections granted by our Constitution allowed for liberalism to thrive.

    And yes…the contradictions of modern-day economics definitely could be understood + dealt with better if we were able to update “the ingenious Mr. Locke” for today!

    I look forward to your piece + thx for stopping by!

  26. Thx for focusing on the contrast between Locke and Marx in regards to private property! In light of the extremes of the current political dynamic, this discussion needs to take place. You did an excellent job of showing how Locke and Marx’s ideas evolved historically through Adam Smith up to Piketty and Russell Brand in recent times.

    The following statement you made is one of the key points we need to consider as we look to the future. “Perhaps we can redefine human identity and human fulfillment in terms that render the obsessive desire to accumulate private property for one’s own self into a historical curiosity.”

    What I found fascinating is that by focusing on the different interpretations of property and economic-social interactions, you recognized a need in our modern era for both an individual and collective approach for economics and life in general. In essence, you seemed to make a pitch for Social Democracy – the mild form of socialism that many countries, from Scandinavia, to the United States, have aspects of. As you know, this type of system not only lets the individual be in control of many of their decisions; it also has a social safety net set up for all.

    As you know, Social Democracy is a time-tested blend of individualism and collectivism. It allows the Free-Market to provide many of the goods and services of society, while socialist aspects ensure that basic needs of all are met. The philosophies of John Stuart Mill and Bertrand Russell, amongst others, helped pave the way for this mild and successful form of socialism.

    Obviously, historical context for Locke and Marx needs to be looked to make them meaningful today. As for Locke, writing as he did during the Enlightenment and the ending of feudalism, he hit upon a revolutionary concept of individuality that not only extended to the concept of property, but also to the individual as well. By focusing on the sovereignty of the individual, Locke helped unleash a sense of creativity and freedom that lingers to this day.

    Nowadays, it’s easy to focus on Locke’s outmoded ideas on slavery, and the fact his ideas could be caricatured into a rugged individualism that leaves out a sense of the collective. However, it goes without saying that many features of modern life owe a certain debt to Locke. After all, his influence on the American constitution – a masterpiece of classical liberalism, helped usher in many of the later liberal reforms that we’re acquainted with

    As for Marx, one has to remember he wrote during a period of tremendous social unrest in Europe that was unleashed by both the French Revolution and the Industrial Age. After all, this was the era of William Blake’s phrase about the “Dark Satanic Mills” which many felt represented the factories in northern England. These factories became famous for their squalid and exploitive working conditions.

    Coming as it did after Locke, Marx’s ideas pointed out that manipulative exploitation on a grand scale could occur during the Industrial Revolution at the hand of powerful capitalists. Therefore, although tacit approval of private property existed at this time in history, Marx pointed out that the social relationships that grew out of large scale business – which in some cases led to powerful monopolies, tended to make Locke’s theories about private property almost seem quaint. Thus…Marx was not fond of bourgeois private property.

    Piketty and Brand are correct to point out that wealth inequality has grown in the past 20 years. Basically, we’re in the midst of an economic revolution far removed from the past. Ever since Finance Deregulation hit worldwide in the 90’s, tremendous changes – with many complaints, have occurred on all levels of society. As opposed to previous generations, wealth is held more in non-tangible forms of assets. This “financialization of our economies” has meant that as opposed to tangible assets like land, raw materials, property, much wealth is generated now by the use of risky derivative instruments that are aided by high-tech mathematicians known as “Quants.”

    Although the history of market economies shows the necessity of hedging and the need to use mathematics, many experts have noted that we’re moving so far away from tangible assets that we’re creating an economy where the high risk of derivatives are being socialized. In a sense, Libertarian economists are correct to imply that the bailout of the finance industry in the 2009 Great Recession created socialism for the rich. Since the use of risky derivatives helped lead to the Great Recession, the bailout allowed the high use of derivatives – which creates tremendous wealth, to continue. Ironically, although capitalism takes the blame for this…we’re in uncharted territory. Since bailing out industries goes against a tenet of market economics, our economy has morphed.

    As a result of The Great Recession, we have perpetually low Interest Rates – which hurt pension plans and savers, and Quantitative Easing ( QE ). Many economic experts feel that both practices do not totally reflect market economies and are destabilizing. Many now wonder…where do we go from here?

    Also, I wonder what both Locke and Marx would think of these policies? ☺

    Thx again for posting this! I think you make some excellent points that we all need to consider. In a sense, you removed the discussion away from the dead-end theorizing that plagues economics and put it back where it belongs into the realm of what it means to be human. As I said before, the point you made below is very powerful and eternal:

    “Perhaps we can redefine human identity and human fulfillment in terms that render the obsessive desire to accumulate private property for one’s own self into a historical curiosity.”

  27. It is always fascinating to read political activism, political personalities, political frenzy and political policy. The public debate may depict a very different picture from what academic see.
    Unfortunately, the impact of mainstream media and social media that put political personality at the top of the political story may push academic to understand such phenomena. Smear campaigns, hoax campaign, fake online account and many more issues are like virus undermining political policy analysis. Great post, successfully provoke me to comment. Thanks.

  28. Thx for joining the discussion West Papua!

    As you say, the power of the media – both mainstream + social, looms large with its ability to put political personalities at the top of the political story. This is why actual public policy analysis is sometimes difficult to come by nowadays. And yes, there are now many more options available to create a smear campaign against opposing views.

    In our own way, + in our own corner of the world, let us continue to try to keep policy analysis front + center.

    Take Care!

  29. (I am a bit late in commenting). Perry, I agree with your statement: “Without actual policy analysis, we may start to feel lost and confused”. The use of personality smears to belittle the political opponents in order to gain political power is not news. Throughout human history it has been used as an effective weapon (or in a totalitarian system it’s a “legitimate” way) to get rid of opponents/dissidents. However, in an increasingly highly educated/informed and cosmopolitan digital global platform it is no longer that simple. Whilst there is still a vast generation gap between those currently in power and those who will be future leaders, I believe this is a transitional time and the paradigm shift will be accelerated exponentially due to the empowerment of technology. The main key is whether a new generation of quality policy analysts with less narrow perspective will become influencers and effective implementors. This is just my personal view. Thanks for your platform!

  30. You’re welcome Crosslife Spaces. I’m glad to provide a legitimate platform for political debate. And thank you for taking the time to stop by!

    I agree that technology + education ultimately could help to move us away from the coarseness of political smear campaigns. As you note, we are at a critical juncture historically. Hopefully, the positive effects of technology + education can come to the fore more in the future. 🙂

    After all, the inanity of smear campaigns distracts us from solving political problems. Although these tactics are common through history, it is my hope that they fade more + more into the background.

    Take Care Crosslife Spaces + best of luck with everything!

  31. Perry Casilio, you said that you have not tasted any of the sauces I have reviewed. I do welcome you to leave more comments. By the way, if you have any ideas that you would like to see, drop those in the first post. All other comments should apply to each sauce I have reviewed.

    1. Hi Ragnar,

      Nice to hear from you!

      Regarding your blog, I’m going to try to purchase some of the hot sauces you review so that I can respond more to your blog posts. Feel free to comment on the political – economic aspects that you see here + take care!

      1. Perry Casilio, if you do try any of the sauces I have reviewed, here is a warning: Some of them are brutally hot. Some of them have great heat and great flavor. My blog is solely moderated, however, if you have family and/or friends who love spicy stuff, feel free to recommend my blog directly or just read each post and share them as links.

    1. Hi “America On Coffee” and welcome back my friend!

      Wow…in my whole life I’ve never seen anything like the recent Presidential election and the aftermath. Nothing comes close. Although many in the media have attached much blame to Trump, it goes without saying that there was much acrimony on both sides of the political aisle. This negativity, and the fact that media on both sides often just looked at one side of the political equation, created a situation of much confusion for the average voter.

      I often was told, + discovered for myself, that if one were to zero in on just one particular political subject, that there was such a variance of opinion between the different media outlets, that it was close to jarring. In essence, the objectivity that we’d become accustomed to in the media in days past, seems lost.

      Because of my background, I try real hard to look at policy issues before personality. However, nowadays, it seems like personality has become the main political focus for many. Although I feel that Trump definitely egged on liberals, I was personally saddened that some of his seemingly liberal policies such as his support for The First Step Act, his support for inner-city Opportunity Zones, his Mid-East Peace Treaty, + his USMCA Trade Pact, were not highlighted much.

      Since the political climate has been so intense, I’ve been backing off new blog posts + getting involved much the past year. In the coming year, I’m gonna start posting blogs + networking w bloggers such as yourself.

      Thx for stopping by! 🙂

  32. Perry Casilio, you said that as you got older your tolerance for extremely hot sauces + spicy foods has gone down a little. However, you still love + devour moderately spicy food. If you want a hot sauce that has good flavor and a decent amount of heat, here is a good sauce name for you: Calavera hot sauce by Cajohns Fiery Foods. I would describe the heat as medium level.

  33. Hi Perry I hope you’ve been well.

    There is too much focus on personality instead of policy. If you ask some people why they dislike a particular politician they can’t give specific reasons.

    Years ago I saw a social experiment where they reversed the political views of Obama with John McCain and asked their supporters what they thought of such views and the people still supported them.

    1. Welcome back “Kind Feelings!” I hope all’s well with you + thx for the dialogue. 🙂

      Your comment about how some voters were unaware of the fact that policy positions of Obama + McCain were reversed highlights a serious dilemma with modern politics. If people are unable to differentiate political policy, then how is Democracy able to survive + thrive?

      Although this element has been with us for quite some time with politics, it seems that with the advent of social media + the continual consolidation of traditional media, that we’ve entered unchartered territory. Therefore, the emphasis on political personality seems to reign supreme.

      Hopefully, with the support of good people such as yourself, we’ll be able to increase the rational discussion of politics.
      Since the past year has been so politically intense, I’ve taken a break from the blog + will be purchasing a new laptop soon to help me re-engage with people + follow blogs such as yours.

      Take Care!

  34. Perry Casilio, if you want to try some hot sauces with good heat and good flavor, try Wanza’s Wicked Temptation by Cajohns Fiery Foods, Z Nothing Beyond, Leviathan, Vicious Viper or Calavera hot sauce. If you want heat for the heck of it, try Lethal Ingestion, Black Mamba 6 or Mongoose hot sauce.

  35. Perry Casilio, if you are on any social media platforms, have people who you email with about recipes, sauces, whatever, feel free to share my posts. That can be done selectively or you can share them all.

  36. Perry Casilio, here are 2 more sauces I have reviewed: 1: Dave’s Insanity hot sauce by Dave’s Gourmet and 2: El Yucateco Jalapeno hot sauce. The jalapeno hot sauce is milder than the Dave’s Insanity hot sauce, as well as having a better flavor. Dave’s Insanity would be better used in some cooking to spice things up or blended with another sauce type.

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