The Duck of Minerva

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An Anti-Trump Call to Arms

December 8, 2015

Building on Josh’s excellent post calling out Donald Trump as a vile racist, the popularity of Trump has been troubling me for some time. As a professor who takes seriously the job of educating students how to think as opposed to what to think, I strive in class not to be partisan or allow my students to know my personal political opinions, lest it affect what they believe or argue in an attempt to curry favor. I have been struggling for sometime to find ways to analyze the Trumpian rhetoric (and to  a lesser degree that of Ben Carson) to help students arrive at their own conclusions about the content of his speech.

But no more.

There is a not-so-subtle difference between remaining non-partisan and separating facts from bullshit. It is not partisan to call out a demagogue spouting racism and religious bigotry. It is not partisan to identify fear-mongering.

Donald Trump is not just another politician with whom one might agree or disagree. He is bad for our democracy, turning what should be an opportunity to debate the future of our country into a reality show for his ego. He has demeaned our political dialog by mocking Jews, Mexicans, the disabled, and Asians. He has insulted the women who interview him and the women running against him. He has advocated committing war crimes and torturing people “who deserve it.” He is not just a vile human being; his anti-Muslim rhetoric is literally a threat to American national security as it plays right into ISIS’s strategy of alienating the “gray zone”.

It is time for academics everywhere to drop their efforts to remain neutral and to denounce Donald Trump publicly and often.

I call on all of my colleagues to use their classrooms, office hours, holiday parties and gatherings, and every other opportunity to reject the politics of hate and bigotry being used by Trump.

I call on my colleagues to ask people what it is they like about Trump and his “politics” and to challenge them with facts and analysis.

We are academics, political scientists, and international relations scholars because we care deeply about politics. Because we care deeply about pursuing truth. And because we care deeply about peace and security for this country and the whole world. Donald Trump is bad for the Republican party, for the country, and for the world. And I will not be shy about telling people that. This is not a matter of opinion. It is my duty…it is OUR duty to stand up and and identify a racist, religious bigot, a moron, and a proto-fascist when we see one.

Join me! TO ARMS!!!!!!

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Seth Weinberger is Associate Professor of Politics and Government at the University of Puget Sound. He received his B.A. (1993) in political philosophy from the University of Chicago, an M.A. (1995) in Security Studies from Georgetown University, and an M.A. (2000) and Ph.D. (2005) in political science from Duke University. He teaches courses on international relations, U.S. foreign policy, international security, terrorism, constitutional law, and political philosophy. His book, Restoring the Balance: War Powers in an Age of Terror was published by Praeger Press in 2009. His recently published articles include “Enemies Among Us: The Targeted Killing of American Members of al Qaeda and the Need for Congressional Leadership” in the Georgetown Global Security Studies Review (Spring 2013) and “Institutional Signals: The Political Dimension of International Competition Law Harmonization” (with Geoffrey A. Manne) in The Anti-Trust Bulletin (57, no. 3). His current research focuses on congressional-executive war powers in the on-going armed conflict against al Qaeda. In 2011, Professor Weinberger received the Thomas A. Davis Teaching Excellence Award.