Friday, December 9, 2016
There is a basic concept in sociology known as "homophily." Like is attracted to like. If you look around at your friends, it won't come as much of a surprise that you have a lot in common with most or all of them. Do you quilt? You're going to have friends who are quilters. Amateur musician? Your friends are going to include other musicians. Have a warped sense of humor? Love "Doctor Who"? You get the idea -- everyone wants to be around people they're comfortable with, where you can be yourself and not stress because you share a common world view and agree on stuff that's important to you. So just what did people expect when a not-too-bright government-hating thin-kinned reality tv star won the election?
Donald Trump is not going to fill his cabinet with the best and the brightest. He may have said he was going to get advice from experts, but his definition of experts is a bit different from what most of us think. For Trump, an expert is someone who's going to confirm what he already believes. He wants people he can feel comfortable around, people who are his intellectual equals or less. He doesn't want anyone at a cabinet meeting who might tell jokes he doesn't understand or who is going to have the cojones to tell him when he's wrong. He wants to be the boss, the guy who gets to feel superior to everyone else in the room. He doesn't want advisers. He wants acolytes. So who is he picking? Mediocrities, losers, and people from the reality tv world. In other words, people like himself. Homophily in action.
Once again, I'm thinking that if nothing else, the Trump administration is going to manage to crowd Warren G. Harding out of the history books when it comes to corruption and incompetence. We live in interesting times.