Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Legitimacy

The Left’s Problem With Order, the Center’s Problem With Happiness, and the Right’s Problem With the Truth

There’s something wrong with the conversation in each of our mass movements today–the left, the center, and the right. Each one is missing something important, and because of this it’s difficult for perceptive people to feel truly at home in any of them.

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Democrats Shouldn’t Call Trump “Illegitimate” Unless They Mean It

Recently I’ve been disturbed by how flippantly the term “illegitimate” is getting tossed around by some Democrats and Trump opponents. Since Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) denounced Trump as illegitimate, many have criticized Trump’s petulant reply to Lewis while defending or echoing his remark. Some feel this is perfectly acceptable because the birthers on the right denied Obama’s legitimacy, claiming falsely that he was born in Kenya. But while the birther movement was absurd, we did not see mainstream Republican politicians explicitly deny the legitimacy of Obama–even Trump himself never used that term in any of his birther tweets. Legitimacy is a very serious political concept, and we should be extraordinarily selective about when we invoke it. Read the rest of this entry »

The Electoral College is a Distraction

There are some people who feel that because Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, Donald Trump’s victory in the electoral college is illegitimate. This is a very poor argument–there are many much more interesting grounds for challenging Trump’s legitimacy than the electoral college.

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How the Left Can Thrive Under Trump

In the previous post, we talked about the threats Trump poses and how the American left can meet some of those threats in the short-term. In this one I want to talk about opportunities, because there’s a case to be made that in the long-run a Trump presidency may be the best thing that ever happened to the left in America.

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The Case for a Coup in Turkey

In July Turkey experienced a failed military coup against the elected government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, leader of the conservative Justice and Development Party (in Turkish, Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi or AKP).  The Turkish government blames the coup on Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish preacher living in exile in the United States whom the government regards as a terrorist. It is demanding his extradition, but the United States has to this point refused to comply without hard evidence connecting Gülen to the coup. In the meantime, the Turkish government has declared a state of emergency and begun suspending, imprisoning, or firing tens of thousands of political opponents, including 9,000 police officers, 21,000 private school teachers, 10,000 soldiers, nearly 3,000 judges, 1,500 university deans, and more than 100 media outlets have been forcibly shuttered. This political purge is an escalation of a pattern of behavior that existed before the coup. For a long time Erdoğan and the AKP have concentrated power, acting against the press and against Turkey’s civil society and eroding Turkey’s secular norms. Those who support Erdoğan tell a story in which an embattled democratically elected president is beset by a would-be junta, but the situation in Turkey is considerably more complicated than that, and there is a strong case that Turkey’s constitution is not up to the task of protecting Turkey’s political system from increasingly unlimited abuse.

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