Saturday, February 11, 2017

Diary

At the moment I'm not engrossed with any reading material and have been occupied with other thoughts. Looking into the future, it seems to me that historians, sociologists and economists don't possess privileged knowledge, since we are living in an unprecedented time, and when you combine that with the fact that they don't understand the present all that well you are probably justified in thinking that you can figure things out just as well as they can. Another way of saying this is that the economists who currently advise countries and businesses on how to plan their futures will all be unemployed if capitalism collapses. Even if economists had been following the scientific method, they would still have no authoritative literature for an environment in which capitalism is no longer dominant.

A potential dark family secret recently came to light which I am in the process of investigating. It requires a DNA test, and I have submitted my DNA to Ancestry.com and am awaiting the results, which should confirm or disprove my theory, which I am not at liberty to discuss here. In the meantime I am updating my family tree for entertainment. The Ancestry.com database continues to grow, and it has become easier to find and identify relatives than when I started a few years ago. There was a mystery in my ex-wife's family that I now think I've explained. One of her grandmothers was abandoned by her parents in childhood and was brought up by a half-sister of her mother. She may never have seen her mother or father again, and when her own children were growing up, whenever her grandmother visited she led them to believe that she was their grandmother. Otherwise, I have been supplementing my English genealogy, though it is still hard to find much before 1800. As of the mid-nineteenth century my English ancestors were tailors, furriers, plumbers and teachers. Prior to that they were farmers, fishermen and carpenters. They lived in Scotland, Yorkshire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey, Hampshire and London. The only information that I can find on my Armenian ancestors is my grandfather's U.S. Social Security record: he lived briefly in the U.S. and worked in Indiana. Many countries have kept few records, and certainly there aren't many for Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. I have Armenian cousins still living in Greece and will find out what they know. One of my great-grandmothers was born in Germany and grew up in Paris, but I can't find anything about her family background. Genealogical research is not the most important of activities, but, like astronomy and geology, it enables one to see how ephemeral one's life is.

It is impossible to avoid hearing about Donald Trump without living in a cave, so I am making the most of it by speculating on how his administration might implode. That seems more likely than not, and it may just be a matter of time. I think Putin probably has the goods on him and has adopted a wait-and-see approach. Some of Trump's cabinet picks are competent people who may butt heads with him in the future. His top advisor, Steve Bannon, is a complete disaster from an ideological standpoint and may have to be demoted or fired at some point due to political pressure. Meanwhile, the Republicans in Congress are attempting to use Trump to advance their agenda, but if he falls too far out of line they will rein him in. The most notable effect so far of the Trump presidency has been the galvanization against him of the news media and nearly all educated people. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, correctly stated that most Americans can't sleep at night with Trump in the White House. The politically correct set centered in college and university towns has gone berserk and will be relentlessly organizing counter-Trump measures until he's gone. There is always the possibility that Trump will reinvent himself as a more palatable persona, but I don't think he has the temperament, flexibility or talent to deter his growing army of foes. Many in Congress already consider him unstable and dangerous but are holding their tongues for now.

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