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Stephen Hawking Calls Trump A 'Demagogue' Who Appeals 'To The Lowest Common Denominator' (go.com) 751

An anonymous reader writes: British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking told ITV's morning show that Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican Party candidate for U.S. president, "is a demagogue who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator." He said, "Gone are the days we could stand on our own against the world. We need to be part of a larger group of nations, both for our security and our trade." ABC News writes, "Stephen Hawking understands the workings of the universe -- but says he cannot fathom the popularity of Donald Trump. He went on to say that British voters should keep the United Kingdom in the European Union in a June 23 referendum, saying the EU provides essential support for British scientific research as well as its economy and security.
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Stephen Hawking Calls Trump A 'Demagogue' Who Appeals 'To The Lowest Common Denominator'

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  • So? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ITRambo ( 1467509 ) on Monday May 30, 2016 @05:42PM (#52213327)
    I don't understand why Hawking's opinions about anything outside of physics is given publicity. Although one of the most brilliant minds of our time, in his field, he's not a politician nor a businessman.
    • Re:So? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Monday May 30, 2016 @05:47PM (#52213355) Journal

      No but perhaps he has a brain

      • Re: So? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ArmoredDragon ( 3450605 ) on Monday May 30, 2016 @05:53PM (#52213369)

        The more people like him insult the people that support politicians like Trump, the more effort they'll put into making sure their candidate gets elected.

        • Re: So? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 30, 2016 @06:07PM (#52213455)

          Exactly. Trump supporters don't think he'll be a good president, they feel he'll be a good president. It's like trying to argue with a religious zealot. They're not listening to facts or arguments, they hear what they want and just blame ' liberal pc feminists' when he says something stupid.

          • Re: So? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 30, 2016 @06:44PM (#52213687)
            Maybe they just think he'll be better than the other lizards. That's a fairly low bar.
            • Re: So? (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 30, 2016 @07:16PM (#52213873)
              This is the key.

              Hillary is a known warhawk and the example of Rich White Washington Corruption. She changes her opinion based on poll numbers and is frighteningly anti-2nd amendment. (Add 40 years of examples here)

              Bern is a socialist who's going to give FREE EVERYTHING! from a country 20 trillion in debt. Both support RacistLivesMatter and other SJW bullshit.

              The "other lizards" are dangerously bad. Trump at least is America First and knows enough about business deals to stop with the shitty stuff (NAFTA, TPP, Iran, Cuba, etc).

              With Trump, you are playing Russian Roulette with one bullet in the chamber... with Democrats, you are playing with 6 rounds in the chamber and the Democrat gets the gun first.
          • Re: So? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by ArmoredDragon ( 3450605 ) on Monday May 30, 2016 @06:47PM (#52213713)

            Everybody who has a pet cause behaves that way. For example, if I defend GMO technology, people come out of the woodwork (usually left leaning) with irrational and baseless shit ranging from "it causes cancer" to assume irrelevant gibberish about Monsanto. The more I call them out on their stupidity, the more steadfast in their stupidity that they become.

            • Yeah, they're even (slightly) worse then the pro-GMO people who make their arguments in inappropriate places.
              • Anti-science sentiment saturating the political world is a totally valid concern, though. Even in the context of the socialist left, this reflex-action denigration of everything scientific would not have happened as recently as the Roosevelt administration. Today's Democrats, assuming they had a Congressional majority, would never have allowed Hoover Dam to be built today.

                • Re: So? (Score:4, Insightful)

                  by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Monday May 30, 2016 @08:35PM (#52214219) Homepage

                  So is the pretentious psuedo-science sentiment where you're expected to swallow anything just because some "authority" blessed it. This article is that very same kind of nonsense. That kind of mentality is no less religious.

                  The appeal of Trump is pretty obvious if you can get over your narcissism for one brief moment.

                  • The appeal of Trump is pretty obvious if you can get over your narcissism for one brief moment.

                    It's pretty obvious that he's telling stupid people who deliberately reject as much information as possible because it might confuse their feelings exactly what they want to hear in order to get them on board, yes. Virtually everything he says is a lie, and that's a fact.

          • Re: So? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @12:37AM (#52215057) Homepage

            My parents are pretty right wing but it was refreshing to hear them during the primaries say how horrid Trump was. Unfortunately, now that he's the nominee he's somehow turned into the only one who can save this country and I'm "brainwashed" (my father's exact words) for seeing Trump as dangerous. When I brought up stuff like him retweeting stuff from neonazi's, my father doubled down on insisting that this was all lies concocted by the media.

            The really dangerous thing about Trump is how vague he is - even moreso than your run of the mill politician. Trump supporters pick what they like from Trump's conflicting statements, ignore the rest, and insist that their vision if Trump is who would be President if he was elected. In truth, though, nobody knows just what Trump would be like in the Oval Office. I don't even think Trump knows. The best case scenario is bad, though, and I shudder to think of the worst case scenario.

        • The more people like him insult the people that support politicians like Trump, the more effort they'll put into making sure their candidate gets elected.

          That's like saying teachers should never give out bad grades, because they will only convince Trump supporters they should apply to MIT.

        • Re: So? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Monday May 30, 2016 @07:08PM (#52213835) Journal

          Then they are morons. This if the freaking President of the United States needs to be somewhat competent and not a freaking Joe Six pack! I assume most sane intelligent people or semi intelligent people realize oh gee we need some smarter than me who has the integrity and prestige who is high caliber to handle the job and make correct executions of decisions on difficult choices.

          Trump talks shit out of his ass and almost everything he says is WRONG. He is a coward who mocks disabled reporters and can not handle a female reporter. Jesus! How can he handle a confrontation with Russia or China? Cry it is unfair? Insult their wives?\

          Americans like to look at politics like football. Vote for the team and hate the opposite party. Well, this is not freaking football and I do not care if Trump supports 100% of my beliefs or not. He is not qualified and is the most unpresidential candidate in history who is outright dangerous with his positions of ending free trade, putting up walls, regulating markets, and insulting leaders.

          Yes my post is going to be modded WAY DOWN, and hopefully WAY UP too. But, this is very important and yes read what Hawkings said? Hawkings addressed trade (which will cause a worse recession than 2008 in which Walmart could go out of business with a trade war), security, and other issues. Yes, he has a brain and I wish people would use their's

        • Re: So? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by scamper_22 ( 1073470 ) on Monday May 30, 2016 @07:09PM (#52213837)

          This is absolutely true.

          Progressive:
          Why are people voting for Trump? They must be uneducated, racist, idiots!

          Yep, that's going to have them voting progressive!

          Not to mention that modern politics completely ignores huge swaths of the population. When they voice their concerns, they are simply dismissed. It is why Bernie Sanders and Trump are even in the running.

          Dare to question free trade as you have lost your job!
          Modern politician: That's just free trade. A natural good thing.

          Dare to worry about immigration (jobs, services, community).
          Modern politician: You must be a racist!

          People aren't voting for Trump because they are amazed at his policies. They're voting for Trump because he's the only one (aside from Bernie) actually speaking about issues people want addressed instead of dismissing their concerns.

          If progressives/liberals actually began addressing the concerns of people. In the stereotyped Trump supporter case, poor white people, they might get somewhere. Instead probably the only message poor white people hear from the left is... you have white privilege.

          • Re: So? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by chipschap ( 1444407 ) on Monday May 30, 2016 @07:31PM (#52213939)

            the only message poor white people hear from the left is... you have white privilege.

            I grew up as a poor white kid. The only privilege I had was what I worked for.

            Sure, now tell me I had privilege but I just didn't know it ... you're right (about not knowing it). I saw no evidence of it in any part of my life.

            • I grew up as a poor white kid. The only privilege I had was what I worked for.

              In the same way that an oil company not having to pay taxes is getting a subsidy, you not having to get harassed for being black on top of everything else you had to deal with is a privilege. That doesn't mean you were a privileged individual. It means, all else equal, you are more privileged than a person of color. Like you, I grew up very poor, with the added disadvantage of doing it in a place that was literally the most expensive place in the country to live (and it is again, right now: Santa Cruz, CA)

            • Privilege, of any kind, is the absence of problems that other groups face, and so almost by definition is not something a person who has it is usually aware of.

              The rich white kids who didn't have to deal with the same problems you had to deal with as a poor white kid most likely weren't aware of their economic privilege over you.

        • The more people like him insult the people that support politicians like Trump,

          I wish they'd put half as much effort into getting rid of Hillary, that's the absolute best way to make sure Trump never gets elected.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Trump is not a politician. He's a billionaire who's managed to fleece his business partners through bankruptcies and will not be the saviour of the middle class, the lower class, nor the white "nationalists" that people want him to be. He's going to be just as bad as any other billionaire with political power. But, hey, the US has got to collapse in upon itself at some point, why not now?

    • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Monday May 30, 2016 @05:57PM (#52213393)

      I don't understand why Hawking's opinions about anything outside of physics is given publicity. Although one of the most brilliant minds of our time, in his field, he's not a politician nor a businessman.

      One could say something similar about Trump.

      Except for the "brilliant mind" part of course.

      Trump is a businessman/reality TV star who won a Presidential primary on the basis of ignorant ideas, insults, and conspiracy theories.

      Why can't someone who's achieved celebrity through a combination of brilliance and science communication then speak up in response?

      • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Monday May 30, 2016 @06:29PM (#52213581)

        Appeals to the lowest common denominator - isn't that how you win elections? It's like a self-selecting process, we're literally begging for candidates who appeal to the masses.

      • Why can't someone who's achieved celebrity through a combination of brilliance and science communication then speak up in response?

        Because Trump supporters don't handle that kind of stuff very well.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Isn't Hawking from England? President Trump is going to have his ass deported. It's going to be spectacular.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by DogDude ( 805747 )
      One doesn't have to be a politician or businessman to see that Trump is a demagogue who appeals to the lowest common denominator. An IQ above room temperature should do the trick.
    • Hawking and his admirers think he walks on water.

      • Hawking and his admirers think he walks on water.

        Most of them know he is confind to a wheelchair you insensitive clod.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Deadstick ( 535032 )

      And I might say the same thing about pontifications on foreign policy coming from a real-estate developer.

    • Re:So? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Monday May 30, 2016 @06:55PM (#52213757)

      This election is all about a couple of guys trying to kick out the political establishment. If Trump or Sanders got elected, a lot of folks living on Capitol Hill would be selling their houses. But Sanders doesn't have a chance, given Hillary's super delegates. Here's a tip for an inspiring journalist: After Hillary wins, take a look at where the super delegates and their families and friends are working. Plush government jobs.

      If you don't like the Democratic [sic] Party and their rules on choosing a presidential candidate . . . well tough shit for you. It's their Party, and they can cry if they want to. The Democrats are like the kid on the block who has a real leather football and says, "It's my ball, and we play by my rules!"

      Go ahead . . . vote for Hillary . . . you have no other choice.

      On the Republican side of the bench . . . their Establishment is not so concerned that Trump is batshit crazy, but because he would toss out a bunch of Capitol Hill folks, as well. Yes, Trump will say it, and yes you are fired.

      For all the shit they take here . . . I see the Millennials as a voice that will "just say no" to the politics as it is today.

    • Re:So? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by swb ( 14022 ) on Monday May 30, 2016 @06:55PM (#52213765)

      Total fucking clickbait publicity. I expect it will be blasted all over Facebook as more echo chamber noise for people opposed to Trump.

      People *crave* the values reinforcement of having their own little constellation of important voices (usually celebrities) telling them that their choices are the right ones. The stand-up comedians who issue zingers, the out of context historical quotes from revered figures, the out-of-their-field intellectuals, the shamanic Native American, etc.

      The stand-up comedians are the ones I don't get -- somebody whose idea of funny is a stream of profanity and sexual innuedno is someone whose ideas on politics matters?

      The thing I can't quite figure out is if these people are just so suggestible that they'll let these "opinion leaders" tell them what to believe or if they just have so little confidence in their own decisions they need all the reinforcement they can get. Maybe both. Or maybe it's just herd mentality and they just don't want to somehow be out of the "in" crowd.

    • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Monday May 30, 2016 @07:12PM (#52213847) Homepage Journal

      Especially since he explicitly says he cannot fathom why Trump is popular. He has no working theory for something he knows is true. Fine, but he just said he's not qualified to have an informative opinion, so that should be that.

      The long and the short of it is that Trump is that guy who's always angry. He loves to "fire" people. There are lots of Americans who are angry and who want to "fire" the bums currently in office.

      There's probably no reason to think more deeply about Trump supporters.

    • Not only that, hes not even a citizen. I have no love for Trump, but Hawking has no business putting his nose in our election.
  • Logic? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Monday May 30, 2016 @05:46PM (#52213351)

    Statement
    Statement
    Statement
    Conclusion?

    Look, say whatever you want about any politician or any issue. But you don't make an argument like this...

    Saying "gone are the days when you can operate as a singular nation" needs to be explained. First, you'd have to say that anyone is actually suggesting such a thing. Second, whether people are doing that or not doesn't mean that is or is not a good or reasonable idea.

    Meh.

    • First, you'd have to say that anyone is actually suggesting such a thing.

      I think his point was that is exactly what Trump is saying. Trump's fuck 'em all attitude is well documented.

      • It would have to be substantiated. The Overton Window has been shifted quite a lot in the last couple generations and what is and is not considered acceptable is very much a subjective quality at this point.

    • Re:Logic? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by fizzup ( 788545 ) on Monday May 30, 2016 @06:31PM (#52213593)

      Saying "gone are the days when you can operate as a singular nation" needs to be explained. First, you'd have to say that anyone is actually suggesting such a thing. Second, whether people are doing that or not doesn't mean that is or is not a good or reasonable idea.

      I think that you have misunderstood what Mr. Hawking was referring to with that comment. It seems that the interview was wide-ranging, and covered both Mr. Trump's candidacy and the (concurrent) referendum in the United Kingdom on whether to remain in the European Union. The statement that you quoted referred to Mr. Hawking's belief that the United Kingdom is better off within the European Union than it is without it.

      His dismissal of Mr. Trump as a demagogue is given without any support, though demagogue has about the same meaning as populist if not the same connotation. His position that the UK is not an island entire of itself is supported by his experience, as a scientist, that it's very difficult to do research without cooperation between nations. He also points out that British security and economic performance is enhanced by cooperation with Europe. I think that it's well understood that modern human endeavours work best when we work with each other, even though he is only able to speak with authority about scientific research.

  • This is barely an article let alone one with a remote tech slant. Does slashdot sell itself as an ad botnet now?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 30, 2016 @05:58PM (#52213401)

    The definition of a demagogue is a leader who obtains power by means of impassioned appeals to the emotions and prejudices of the populace.

    I'm no fan of Trump, but doesn't that describe the political strategy of EVERY politician seeking/maintaining office?

  • Non-diverse... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Where does Stephen Hawking live? Where does he get his news? Do you trust a British Knight to be up-to-date with US politics? If so, why?
    How much time do you suppose he invests in looking into the dissenting opinions?
    How many people do you think he has around him that might debate the pros and cons of Trump's statements vs. Sanders or Clinton?

    Personally, I think this is true for most celebrities that have a legion of personal assistants and entourages surrounding them. I don't think ti's deliberate isolatio

    • Re: Non-diverse... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Well, as a non American i can confidently say that The Daily Show was probably the only source of news in the USA that even comes close to the amount we get out here in the world about the US.

      Your domestic news services are truly terrible. It should give you pause that the best news source for you is on a comedy channel.

      I recently spent a month in DC and the absolute shit that passes for news channels there boggles the mind. Now if you'll excuse me I want to get back to Kardashian Nazi UFO Junk Hunters Secr

  • Shut up, Stephen (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 )

    Quick question: would we take seriously pronouncements on physics, black holes, and the nature of reality coming from, say, Kissinger? No, that would be idiotic. The man probably knows everything about the subtle interplay of diplomacy, but nothing about physics. The very idea of him commenting on particle physics is ludicrous.

    Yet, at the same time, we don't immediately start laughing when someone like Stephen Hawking - who knows everything about physics, black holes, and the nature of reality but likely

  • Why not just give everyone voting rights in every election everywhere in the world? That would save them the expense, beyond the means of most, of having to move not to mention brave the opposition of racist nationalist xenophobes everywhere. I mean, it's not like people who are migrating to the US to obtain US citizenship to engage in racial/ethnic bloc voting are going to help drive society in the direction of a racial/ethnic blind society, so the US has already given up on that goal. And think of the ben

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by PopeRatzo ( 965947 )

      people who are migrating to the US to obtain US citizenship to engage in racial/ethnic bloc

      You think people migrate to the US so they can become part of a voting bloc? You really think that's the reason they come here?

      You're a fucking idiot. And that's not a charge I make lightly. Actually, it IS a charge I make lightly, but in your case it really applies.

  • by sribe ( 304414 )

    Stephen Hawking is no more of a scientist than Sarah Palin.

    (hahahaha)

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Monday May 30, 2016 @06:37PM (#52213635) Journal

    Stephen Hawking is a loser. He's stupid and says stupid things, not like Trump, who is smart, has a good brain and a lot of words.

    https://www.salon.com/2016/04/... [salon.com]

    • The kicker is that at the very end of that video, Trump challenges the questioner to give him a "physics question", which, he assures us, he can "handle".

  • actually no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Monday May 30, 2016 @06:42PM (#52213673)

    I think Trump is actually saying what he genuinely feels (warts and all), which If true then by the dictionary definition of demagogue he CAN'T be one.

  • I'm pretty sure it's this [youtube.com] political science department.
    Randy Newman - Political Science
    lyrics [azlyrics.com]

    This classic song has never been timelier...

  • The Wall (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 30, 2016 @07:26PM (#52213911)

    Yes, I also can't figure out why preventing illegal immigration to save literally billions per year [fairus.org] is a good idea.

    And that's just for California.

    Who'd've thought that people don't want political correctness, extra crime, migrant welfare, and a change of culture?

  • by AlejandroTejadaC ( 3823813 ) on Monday May 30, 2016 @07:51PM (#52214015)
    I was ready to comment but already found scamper_22 opinion that match my own: https://science.slashdot.org/c... [slashdot.org] "People aren't voting for Trump because they are amazed at his policies. They're voting for Trump because he's the only one (aside from Bernie) actually speaking about issues people want addressed instead of dismissing their concerns. If progressives/liberals actually began addressing the concerns of people. In the stereotyped Trump supporter case, poor white people, they might get somewhere. Instead probably the only message poor white people hear from the left is... you have white privilege..." My big question is: Why progressives/liberals dismiss so easily the real concerns of most voters? I am starting to believe that SOME progressives/liberals actually believe that they MUST BE the leaders above the rest of the people because somehow they are "better" than their fellow citizens... and that is exactly how most deadly confrontations began.
    • Most progressives understand and talk about the things that will benefit the poorer working class white people. But every proposal that would benefit them would also benefit other poor people of other color too. The Republican party deliberately plays up the benefits that will go to the poor non-white people to create resentment and anger and make them see progressives as their enemy instead of a friend.

      The working class white people have been trained to fear the phrase, "I am from the government and I am

  • Vote for Trump! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by peppepz ( 1311345 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @12:34AM (#52215045)
    Pretty please! Im Italian and I've spent the last 20 years getting lectured and laughed at because Berlusconi. Now you're on the brink of electing a person so special and unique that Berlusconi is Mother Teresa in comparison. I'll be lighting a candle if you do. Sincerely yours.
  • Surely, a man as smart as Hawking knows this.

Science is to computer science as hydrodynamics is to plumbing.

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