Hillary Clinton in a Post-Factual Democracy

By WhskyJack, a Trail Mix Conributor

Barry Ritholtz in his Bloomberg column has a good discussion of the uses and impact of Agnotology. (Agnotology: Culturally constructed ignorance, purposefully created by special interest groups working hard to create confusion and suppress the truth)

He lists a number of examples from Global warming deniers to antivaxers. It also occurred to me that HRC was also a victim. It is why many of her supporters look at those who attack her as if they have a third eye in their forehead.

evidence-proof-background-concept-glowing-13283326It is HRC’s biggest problem and how you combat it is beyond me. Facts and reason don’t seem to work.

As Barry’s summation points out facts and truth are important for a Democracy to make good choices. When they are thrown out the window maybe we are screwed.

I’m not sure how to approach this but I will start with these quotes:

“Maybe we can persuade people to change their minds by marshaling facts and making arguments to rebut negative attacks. But that doesn’t work for everyone. You can’t just talk someone into trusting you. You’ve got to earn it. So, yes, I could say that I sometimes sound careful with my words is not because I’m hiding something it’s just that I’m careful with my words. I believe what you say actually matters. I think that’s true life, and that’s especially true if you’re president.” — Hillary Clinton in a speech given June 27th 2016

“Thirdly and perhaps most significantly, we now live in a post-factual democracy. When the facts met the myths they were as useless as bullets bouncing off the bodies of aliens in a HG Wells novel.” — Nicholas Barrett, a young British millennial reacting to the insane Brexit vote.
“Fed up millennials speak out,” Financial Times, June 24, 2016

Definition: Post-factual democracy, a democracy in which ignorance and irrationality hold sway over facts and reason.

I want to thank Pat for the HRC quote. It helped me pull this together in my mind. Notice that HRC believes that the truth will eventually win, so did many people in the Republican party. But you can see where they are at now. So far Nicholas is right, the stop Trump movement looks like the army against the aliens all of their weapons have proved useless.

citation-neededRitholtz: “Democracy is based on the concept of a marketplace of ideas. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes described the “free trade in ideas” within “the competition of the market.” By the time voters head to the polls, the participants will have chewed over the finer points, the details will be well known to all and, for the most part, everyone more or less understands what’s at stake.

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32 thoughts on “Hillary Clinton in a Post-Factual Democracy”

  1. “Agnotology” named after or in honor of vp spiro agnew, jack?

    great thread topic. thanks. very timely considering its prevalence amongst the drumpfestation.

    is not this condition also a cousin of “disinformation”… about which an interesting note at merriam-webster:

    In 1939, a writer describing Nazi intelligence activities noted, “The mood of national suspicion prevalent during the last decade … is well illustrated by General Krivitsky’s account of the German ‘Disinformation Service,’ engaged in manufacturing fake military plans for the express purpose of having them stolen by foreign governments.” Although the Nazis were accused of using disinformation back in the 1930s, the noun and the practice are most often associated with the Soviet KGB. Many people think “disinformation” is a literal translation of the Russian “dezinformatsiya,” which means “misinformation,” a term the KGB allegedly used in the 1950s to name a department created to dispense propaganda.


  2. other than for the purpose of spreading more agno-guano, why are the outrageous outraged gopers calling for recusal of atty gen?  loretta lynch in effect has already recused herself by publically declaring the decision will be ultimately made by fbi director comey …a well known and well-respected republican.

  3. I wonder whatever happened to all those Southerners who moved to Brazil after the night they drove old Dixie down……

  4. Speaking of “Post Factual”, guy on Twitter seriously pretending to be a Congressman, Steven Smith  Rampant racist who retweets every Tea Party thing he can find.


  5. Great post Jack

    There have been a number of studies at Virgina Tech about why you cannot change people’s minds once they believe something is true

    And of course Republicans who don’t believe facts necessarily have to be true….so much of what is currently wrong with our political system can be laid at the feet of goopers.   What have Republicans done that has been of value to this country (excluding Lincoln)

  6. “Get your facts first, then you can distort them.” -Twain

    Hillary’s followers must’ve been sipping on white lightning because they are blind to the truth.

    Willfully ignoring her actions and her ever-changing stance on issues (lies), and to a degree that they would skewer anyone else who did the same is quite sad.  We do not need a woman to be POTUS so badly that we need to settle for HRC.

    It’s time for real change.  It’s time for Bernie.  On to the convention.


  7. can’t cash losers tickets at the winners window

    check please

  8. Hillary was right. There was and continues to be a “vast right wing conspiracy” designed to cast doubt on everything she does, from policy decisions to the color of dress she chooses on any given morning. That the effort has been effective can not be denied. However effectiveness does not constitute accuracy or truth, except for those who choose to believe their own lying eyes and ears.

  9. Blue

    Bernie LOST.  He lost on most votes.  He lost on delegates even not counting supers.  He lost in all closed primaries.  He lost all the states that have majority of electoral votes.


    But believe what you want to believe even if not connected to facts in any way shape or form


  10. Jack….  excellent post.

    Culturally constructed ignorance…  Ritholz has a wonderful way with words.  It’s always the science stuff that has me shaking my head.  Both sides of the aisle seem to hate it…  just on different topics.

  11. I suppose that miserable word is supposed to be pronounced eh-know-tology ?

    I still like rectal cranial inversion–easier for we enlisted swine to remember

  12. Here is what Jefferson proposed for education divided by age group and performance. To me, it makes more sense than free college for all which I believe to be an incredible waste of resources. Perhaps it would make sense if students demonstrated their working knowledge of the subjects Jefferson mandated prior to being admitted.

    We must simply stop catering to the intellectually lazy and incompetent.

  13. WaPo reporting Hillary was pleased to help the FBI through a 3-1/2 hour interview this morning.

  14. So what if Mr Clinton did talk about the server? What would he say? Tell them to get the damned investigation done? Interview her? Interview me? or Circle ‘d’, all of the above. Where, anywhere, does it say that a family member cannot talk to a prosecutor? Or the district attorney? Or, gasp, the Attorney General? I suppose there is something about calling for an appointment first.

  15. Flatus

    One thing to remember that in the age when Jefferson was recommending that the already educated be even better educated, it was normal to have both indentured servants and apprentices.  Even our modern unions have tests and licensing for skilled workers.  Mike Rowe of “Somebody’s Got To Do It” has a foundation for those wanting to attend technical schools.

    My grandson is currently attending Bates College here in Tacoma to get his degrees in welding but also has classes in the basics of math and English.  He would have been miserable in a college with all the academic demands.  He’s truly intelligent, but that would have of absolutely no interest.  After two years, he will be joining his brother and apprenticing for a firm in Portland.  Because his dad has a good income, he doesn’t qualify for grants and the loans would have killed him if his dad hadn’t had the good sense to fill up an educational fund for the past 18 years.

    These are great, well paying jobs and they can’t really be outsourced.  It would make sense if this type of education and paid apprenticeships were available and free in all of these necessary skills from agriculture to zoo maintenance.  The world really doesn’t need another lawyer.

  16. ny times:
    “Secretary Clinton gave a voluntary interview this morning about her email arrangements while she was secretary,” Nick Merrill, a campaign spokesman, said in a statement. “She is pleased to have had the opportunity to assist the Department of Justice in bringing this review to a conclusion.”
    The campaign declined to elaborate on the substance of the interview, which lasted about three and a half hours at F.B.I. Headquarters in Washington. Shortly afterward, two black S.U.V.s were seen returning to Mrs. Clinton’s house in the capital.

    and from
    It is standard procedure for the FBI to question a person at the center of an investigation last, with all available facts at hand.

    ‘With a person like Secretary Clinton, the FBI probably assumes they are going to get one chance to interview her,’ former Justice Department prosecutor David Deitch told the Chicago Tribune in May.

    He said it would be difficult ‘not only because she is a prominent person, but because she is very busy right now with the presidential campaign,’

    Clinton has maintained an openness to speaking with authorities and expressed hope that the matter would conclude quickly.

    The Democratic National Convention is just three weeks away. The FBI has insisted there is no timeline to the investigation.
    News of the potential interview came on a day when Attorney General Loretta Lynch said she ‘fully’ expects to accept the recommendation of the career professionals as to how to proceed on the case, although she left herself some wiggle room.

    ‘The recommendations will be reviewed by career supervisors in the Department of Justice and in the FBI, and by the FBI director, and then as is the common process, they present it to me and I fully expect to accept their recommendations,’ Lynch said at a panel in Aspen Friday.

  17. Ms Clinton is the victim of 25 years of agnotomancy, practiced by demons of darkness and confusion.

  18. Who gives a damn about the ex-Prez bumping into the recused AG ? Friends, we’ve struck deep into the Silly Season.

  19. ryan lizza at new Yorker
    What was turning into Hillary’s finest month was topped off by the long-awaited report by the House Select Committee on Benghazi, which took more than seven hundred days and seven million dollars to reach largely the same conclusions that previous inquiries had arrived at: “no new evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton,” as theTimes put it.

    And then, on Monday, Bill Clinton wandered across the tarmac at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to chat with Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
    A Democrat who was briefed on the meeting told me that it was more than a hundred degrees outside and Lynch, who was immediately uncomfortable with the visit, felt that she couldn’t shoo the sixty-nine-year-old former President, who has had heart problems in the past, back onto the tarmac. Lynch, according to this person, also insisted that her security detail remain at her side while Clinton was onboard her aircraft so that the ex-President and the Attorney General would not be alone together.

  20. Donald Trump is getting backlash for a tweet that is critical of Hillary Clinton and uses a star resembling the Star of David.
    Source: CNN

  21. Industry partnerships with community colleges is a different cup of tea. In Ohio when I was a boy the trade unions worked with employers in a successful effort to train entrants into skilled journeymen. Some of these apprenticeships would last a couple of years with the worker taking formal classes at union facilities supported by OJT under the employers’ skilled workers. It was very effective without the problems you cited.

    Coincidentally, my grandson Adam spent a year in Florida learning welding in a facility run by one of his father’s brothers. The outfit made those massive concrete pipes that carry whatever to wherever. It was backbreaking work in the Florida sun with co-workers who were less than personable. He did learn  how to weld but he decided it wasn’t for him because of the health and injury potential associated with the job.

    Now he’s working as a laborer for a contractor with short term work at Boeing in Charleston. He’s a good kid but his immediate prospects are constrained until he turns 21 because of his being caught buying marijuana. That b-day will be on Dec 27.  The type of apprenticeship program I described would be perfect for him.

  22. Star of David in front of stacks of money on the day Elie Wiesel passes away.  One thing you can say about the Clintons, they are fortunate in their enemies.


  23. It’s a kkklustertrump. deadbeat’s presidential campaign makes McGovern’s look orderly to the point of being slick.

  24. Thanks for this topic, Jack.

    I’ve used the word agnotology in several venues today, each garnered positive feedback. 

  25. Hopefully, the stupid mj laws will be changed and soon.  Tens of thousands of innocent victims of a crazy law will be freed from prison (eventually, it fhey do not die in it).

    One of the many things in life I learned, through a lot of close up experience, is firewood.  Cutting it, splitting it, stacking it.  The only enjoyable thing is burning it to stay warm or cook.  And, if it is very nasty mosquito night, wet and smokey. (cough, cough).  Most of the kids today do not know what it is like to have fun with a wedge and a 10# maul.  And, most of the kids today have indoor plumbing too.

    If you did not read it in the WashPo, John Adams was all for July 2 as the day of American history.  So in his honor, I salute with American Rye Whiskey.

    The NBC Sports Network is broadcasting all the the Tour de France this year.  The best sporting show on earth.  Great overhead shots of France, with lots of castles, abbys and all the villages.

  26. msnbc interview reported at realclearpolitics

    CHUCK TODD: Let me ask you this, your husband made an unannounced visit to the attorney general on the tarmac in Arizona. I’m curious of your initial reaction when you found out the news

    HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I learned about it in the news and it was a short, chance meeting at an airport tarmac and on both of their planes, as I understand it, were landing on the same tarmac at about the same time and the Attorney General’s husband was there. They said hello. They talked about grandkids, which is very much on our minds these days, golf, their mutual friend and former attorney general Janet Reno. It was purely social. They did not veer off of speaking about those kinds of, you know, very common exchanges.

    CHUCK TODD: You didn’t view as what he did as inappropriate?

    HILLARY CLINTON: Well it was a short, chance meeting that occurred, and they did not discuss the Department of Justice’s review. And I know that some, nonetheless have viewed the meeting in a different light, and both the Attorney General and my husband have said they would not do it again, and the bottom line, for me, is I respect the professionalism and integrity of the officials at the Department of Justice handling this process. I was pleased to have a chance to sit down and answer their questions today to try to help to bring this review to a conclusion.

    CHUCK TODD: So you don’t, do you understand why many in the public, many, some of them are political opponents of yours, some are supporters, who thought that was a bad decision by your husband, that that was a mistake and he should have known better?

    HILLARY CLINTON: Well I think, you know, hindsight is 20/20. Both the Attorney General and my husband have said they wouldn’t do it again, even though it was from all accounts that I have heard and seen, an exchange of pleasantries. But obviously no one wants to see any untoward conclusions drawn, and they’ve said, you know, they would not do it again.

  27. so what about janet reno?  bill visited her last year at her home and I wonder if there’s new news on her well-being.

  28. How many times can the GOP cry “Wolf” before the networks just laugh in their face for the over the top myth making?  Probably forever since it means eyeballs, ratings, advertising dollars, and inane commentary that can be run on a continuous loop  by no talent news readers who have never seen anything resembling a journalism class.; and in some cases, not even the inside of an English class.

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