Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Who Ya' Gonna' Call? Trump Busters!

Image result for ghostbusters images
Perhaps this dates me, but then consider my Five Venerables!
Whom do I trust?

This is a list of persons whom I’ve come to trust when considering our current political situation. Not that I agree with them in every instance or every detail, nor they with me, for that matter. But I trust each of them to think deeply and cogently about how we ought to act as a citizen of a democratic polity and about what we ought to know to act in the best interest of ourselves and those around us.

The first five on the list are a special group that I call “The Five Venerables” (two years in China) because everyone in the group is over 80 years old (and Lukacs over 90). Among the five, only Wills has written directly about Trump (reminding me of his days writing about Nixon and making Nixon’s enemies list). But the other four have written deeply about values, political and cultural, and provide a deep perspective. (And I’d be astonished if each is not horrified at the thought of Trump). The rest of the list is simply in the order that they came to me as I looked around at reading lists, Twitter feeds, and so on. I’ll try to say a bit about each and where you find them.

1.    John Lukacs. His Democracy and Populism: Fear and Hatred (2005) is a must.
2.    William (Patrick) Ophuls. A Buddhist teacher and political scientist, a source of deep and challenging insights on ecology, politics, and how we can build a better world. See my blog for book reviews.
3.    Garry Wills. Scholar-journalist, he’s written about Trump (and other topics) at the New York Review of Books blog site (free access).
4.    Ursula LeGuin. The Sage of Portland.
5.    Wendell Berry. Farmer-poet of Kentucky who can celebrate and understand “rural people,” something that has been neglected.
6.    David Frum. The Atlantic and Twitter. The former employee of the G.W. Bush administration has been a real beacon speaking out against Trump, and to me, an affirmation that the challenge goes beyond any Republican-Democrat divide.
7.    James Fallows. The Atlantic and Twitter
8.    New Yorker writers. Outstanding coverage: Remnick, Cassidy, Davidson, Osnos, Gopnick, and others.
9.    Fareed Zakaria. CNN and The Washington Post. He wrote the book Illiberal Democracy (1997), even more important now.
10. Anne Applebaum. The Washington Post and Twitter. An expert on Eastern Europe, she’s watching the same phenomena unfold on both sides of the Atlantic.
11. E.J. Dionne. The Washingon Post and his books.
12. Andrew Sullivan. New York Magazine. Another self-described conservative who deserves a special shout-out.
13. David Brooks. New York Times.
14. Ross Douthat. New York Times.
15. Francis Fukuyama. Political scientist. Twitter, academic journals, and popular press. Books.
16. Jack Goldstone. Political scientist. Popular press & his blog NewPopulationBomb,  as well as academic publications.
17. Thomas Homer-Dixon. Political scientist. Books & popular press. His website.  Especially concerned with climate change and its implications for society and politics.
18. Peter Turchin. Academic biologist turned historian who writes about historical dynamics. Check out his most recent book. Evonomics.com & PeterTurchin.com
19. Daron Acemoglu. Academic economist. Popular articles and books.
20. David Sloan Wilson. Evolutionary biologist and founder of Evonomics.com (critiques traditional economics and provides new paths)
21. Joe Stiglitz. Nobel prize-winning economist. Books and Project Syndicate website.
22. Paul Krugman. New York Times.
23. Andrew Bacevich. Academic specializing in foreign affairs. Books.
24. Cass Sunstein. Legal and political polymath. Writes popularly for Bloomberg.
25. Stephen Walt. IR scholar writes for Foreign Policy Journal and Twitter.
26. Timothy Snyder. Historian of the Holocaust and Eastern Europe.  
27. Thomas Edsall. New York Times.
28. George Lakoff. A linguist with interesting ideas & suggestions about political communications. Books & articles.
29. Jonathan Haidt. Social psychologist. Books and articles. Present on Twitter.
30. Timothy Egan. New York Times.
31. Joseph Tainter. Anthropologist concerned with societal collapse & sustainability. Books and Youtube.
32. Bruce Bartlett. Worked for Republicans. Twitter.
33. Jeff Salzman. Integral theorist & teacher. Podcast & blog The Daily Evolver.
34. Nick Hanauer. Twitter, popular press & book.
35. Eric Liu. Twitter, popular press & book (with Hanauer).
36. Eric Beinhocker. Economic theorist. Twitter & books.
37. Ezra Klein. Vox.com & podcasts.
38. Ian Baruma. Project Syndicate and books.
39. Robert D. Kaplan. Books and articles (e.g., Atlantic, Foreign Policy)
40. Robert Wright. Books and bloggingheads.tv.
41. Ian Bremmer. Twitter, books, popular press.
42. Robert Reich. Facebook, books, Financial Times (gated)
43. Jeffrey Sachs. Twitter, Boston Globe, books.
44. Rick Pearlstein. An independent historian who chronicles the rise of the right.

I’m sure that there are many others whom I missed. Please make any suggestions.


29 April 2017 (always an auspicious date): 

It's time to do a quick update of my Trump-busters list. I don't think that anyone deserves to get bounced, and a couple of crucial additions are necessary: 

45. Masha Gessen. If the list was based on value, she'd be near the top. This Russian native now living in the U.S. has proven to be an invaluable voice in understanding Trump. She writes at the NYRB. I highly recommend her pieces. (Which I often post to my Facebook page.

46. Sarah Kendzior. This American, writing out of St. Louis, is an anthropologist whose specialty is Central Asia (now that's really remote!). And Central Asia's specialty, among other things, is dictatorships and kleptocracies. She provides a lot of fine analysis. You can find out about here at her website

All stop at these two because they're crucial and I'll update this prn.