What's the difference between college graduates and non-college graduates?

If you said "college" you are correct. Duh. 

But lots of folks think it's a trick question. 

[Boldface is added by me throughout.] 

What we know: the heart of the Trump coalition was non-college whites. See, here, here, here, and here (Even Among the Wealthy...).

Based on an observed correlation between not-going-to-college and voting for Trump, a scientist would form a hypothesis like: what is it about graduating from college that either causes people to like Hillary Clinton or prevents them from liking Donald Trump?

Instead what we have is analogous to the link between smoking and cancer... leading folks to assert things like "spending money in gas station mini-marts causes cancer." To wit...

Trump's victory was caused by:

Hillary Clinton, by contrast, epitomizes the dorky arrogance and smugness of the professional elite. The dorkiness: the pantsuits. The arrogance: the email server. The smugness: the basket of deplorables. Worse, her mere presence rubs it in that even women from her class can treat working-class men with disrespect. Look at how she condescends to Trump as unfit to hold the office of the presidency and dismisses his supporters as racist, sexist, homophobic, or xenophobic.

What if it is simply the case that they believe David Brooks when he says (correctly):

In these places [Red America], the crucial inequality is not between the top 1 percent and the bottom 99 percent. It’s between those with a college degree and those without. Over the past several decades, the economic benefits of education have steadily risen. In 1979, the average college graduate made 38 percent more than the average high school graduate, according to the Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke. Now the average college graduate makes more than 75 percent more.
Moreover, college graduates have become good at passing down advantages to their children. If you are born with parents who are college graduates, your odds of getting through college are excellent. If you are born to high school grads, your odds are terrible.
In fact, the income differentials understate the chasm between college and high school grads. In the 1970s, high school and college grads had very similar family structures. Today, college grads are much more likely to get married, they are much less likely to get divorced and they are much, much less likely to have a child out of wedlock.
Today, college grads are much less likely to smoke than high school grads, they are less likely to be obese, they are more likely to be active in their communities, they have much more social trust, they speak many more words to their children at home.

Academic studies of the white working class ignore the centrality of college that is right in front of their face

The quotation above about dorky Hillary comes from Joan C. Williams, a professor at University of California, Hasting College of Law, whose next book is called White Working Class. She lays out a plan for Democrats that you've heard many times from Bernie, et al, "Place Economics At The Center" and "Avoid the Temptation to Write Off Blue-Collar Resentment as Racism." But before she does, look at what she says in the set-up part of her piece, the part where she's laying out how stupid Democrats are: 

Class migrants (white-collar professionals born to blue-collar families) report that “professional people were generally suspect” and that managers are college kids “who don’t know shit about how to do anything but are full of ideas about how I have to do my job,” said Alfred Lubrano in Limbo.

Another version of the same book has been written by Kathy Cramer of the University of Wisconsin (The Politics of Resentment). Below she is talking to the WaPo about what the white working class resents. The italics are in the WaPo original and represent Cramer speaking in the voice of the non-college whites she has studied.

For example, people would say: All the decisions are made in Madison and Milwaukee and nobody’s listening to us. Nobody’s paying attention, nobody’s coming out here and asking us what we think. Decisions are made in the cities, and we have to abide by them. 
... 
When people are talking about those people in the city getting an “unfair share,” there’s certainly a racial component to that. But they’re also talking about people like me [a white, female professor]. They’re asking questions like, how often do I teach, what am I doing driving around the state Wisconsin when I’m supposed to be working full time in Madison, like, what kind of a job is that, right?
... 
Oftentimes in some of these smaller communities, people are in the occupations their parents were in, they’re farmers and loggers. They say, it used to be the case that my dad could do this job and retire at a relatively decent age, and make a decent wage. We had a pretty good quality of life, the community was thriving. Now I’m doing what he did, but my life is really much more difficult.
I’m doing what I was told I should do in order to be a good American and get ahead, but I’m not getting what I was told I would get.

Notice that the last claim is false:

I’m doing what I was told I should do in order to be a good American and get ahead, but I’m not getting what I was told I would get.

Do we really tell people that "to get ahead" you need to graduate high school and get a job? Unless rural white people don't have access to televisions, they know good and well by now that "getting ahead" requires a college education. 

Finally, look at what people have proposed as the cure to our political dysfunction and ask yourself: Where do we foster scientific curiosity? Where do we inculcate liberal values and norms? Where do we teach people how to speak about race, sexuality and gender in a way that prevents harm to vulnerable people? If people missed that opportunity to learn when they were 18, are we likely to persuade them now when they are 55?

Here's Brian Resnick at Vox.com writing about the work of Dan Kahan:

While we would like to believe we can persuade people on the other side of a political debate with evidence, his studies show the other side is likely to become even more deeply entrenched in its view in the face of more information. His findings are a blow to the great underlying assumption of democracy: that an informed public isthe keyfor a government that works.
The phenomenon is called “politically motivated reasoning,” and it finds people use their minds to protect the groups to which they belong from grappling with uncomfortable truths. The motivation to conform is stronger than the motivation to be right.
That’s why his latest research finding “is totally unexpected,” he says. There’s an antidote to politically motivated reasoning, it turns out. And it’s wonderfully simple: curiosity.

Steve Randy Waldman writing on his blog Interfluidity titles his piece "Persuade"

When Trump supporters complain about “political correctness”, they are claiming that contemporary liberal norms have rendered it socially costly for them to speak freely and candidly even when they mean no harm. They may be wrong to complain. Perhaps stigmatizing all but the most careful forms of expression around matters of race and sexuality and gender is in fact the best way to prevent severe harms to vulnerable people, and is a development that should be celebrated. Regardless, many Americans, whether they are right or wrong and even if they are mostly white, perceive a cost in personal freedom to these norms. They have not been convinced that those costs are just or necessary, especially in light of their own increasing vulnerability and grievance. Whether or not their discontent is legitimate, whether or not they are right to assert an ethical problem, their perception constitutes a political problem.
... 
Ours is a political coalition that considers itself rational and open-minded, tolerant and cosmopolitan, and in many respects I think that is right. Multiculturalism means not fearing what is ugly in other cultures (and let’s not be so chauvinistic as to imagine we have a monopoly on ugly), but instead embracing what is wonderful. It means placing faith in the capacity of all of our better angels to guide us towards mutually enriching coexistence rather than mutually destructive conflict. We take pride in embracing and respecting people who look and act very differently than we do, who follow strange creeds the substance of which we might disagree with, who follow customs that may render us uncomfortable and require an unusual degree of diplomacy when we are called to interact in any intimacy. These habits and skills, of which I think we are justly proud, are precisely what are required of us now. If we can be as open and charitable and welcoming and diplomatic across the fault lines which have snuck up within our politics as we are towards those we more easily recognize as outsiders, we have a real shot, not only to reconfigure the electoral numbers game, but also to forge a shared understanding that would transform what must begin as a pragmatic exercise in politics into an ethical enterprise after all.

 

Press Is Biased In Favor Of Businessmen

Donald Trump has been a no-talent ass-clown his entire life. But he used to be a success. Now he's a failure: 

But Trump seems to take this unusually personally, perhaps because he has always recognized the power of the media to craft his image, and so masterfully manipulated it in building his business legend and his presidential campaign. Now he can’t seem to catch a break from the press.

The man didn't forget how to manipulate the press when he became President. What changed is that he went from being the kind of person the press flatters--a rich person--to the kind of person they hate--a politician.  

UPDATE: Jon Chait puts it well in "Trump Thinks He's Great At Being President"

Trump, as many have noted, is the world’s highest-profile case of the Dunning-Kruger effect, which is the phenomenon by which incompetent people are unable to gauge their own competence. Of course, Trump is not bereft of talent. He mastered the technique of using the media to raise his profile, flooding the news with arresting quotes and tidbits and scandal, turning the ordinary heir to a real-estate portfolio into America’s most famous rich person — a branding triumph that he leveraged into a lucrative licensing operation, some outright swindles, and, most crucially, a television show in which he played a brilliant executive.

The Press Still Doesn't Understand Their Role In Killing 100,000 Iraqis And Creating Isis

And, as a result, Adam Gopnik (whom I generally like) spouts nonsense in The New Yorker about the impact of the lies of Donald Trump: 

Their effect is not merely to comfort his ego but permanently to discomfit our democracy. This is not “I am not a crook”; it is not a claim that there are weapons of mass destruction; it is not “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” These are all ways of parsing reality, or normal fibs told by normal people. Trump’s falsehoods are deliberate attempts to warp the entire field of veracity, so as to defy the simplest parameters of sanity. From now on, whatever happens, no election will be convincing to his followers—not the midterms, not the next Presidential one. Remember the three million.

"There are weapons of mass destruction," is a normal fib? Sending a liar to manipulate Judy Miller into endorsing the existence of those weapons, in story after story, on the front page of the New York Times was a fib? A fib turned the American media against America as credulous stenographers of George W. Bush and active agents in favor of a military adventure bound to play out exactly how it played out? Fuck you, Adam Gopnik. 

Regarding Trump, it's Gopnik is describing alternative facts when he claims "Trump's falsehoods are deliberate attempts to warp the entire field of veracity..."

This is the evil genius model of Trump. It's the same model that suggests his rise to fame required genius level media manipulation. As if the media that didn't already treat being a billionaire businessman as proof beyond a reasonable doubt of genius! 

Donald Trump is a moron. He has no master plan. He is incapable of the kind of abstract thinking that such a plan requires!

But most importantly, the press hates Donald Trump. Unlike W., they do not all crave the idea that they might sit down and have a beer with him. And the hate certain to continue because it has proved to be good for their bottom line. Pointing out Trump's lies has jacked up CNN's ratings and the NYT's subscriptions. Yes, his election is an emergency because of all the people he can hurt and problems he can cause. But he is not on the verge of destroying our faith in reality. That power resides in the press itself, and as wrong as Gopnik is, his attitude and perspective are strong indications that the press has decided to treat Trump much differently than they treated W, even if they refuse to acknowledge that that treatment is why Iraqi soldiers are dying this very moment in the battle to retake Mosul from ISIS.

 

Bernie Is Part Of The Problem

Democratic leadership, including Hillary Clinton, say over and over again that they are working to help working class whites. 

The press treats this as dubious. Why? Because it is false?  Because Democrats are obsessed with "identity politics" and black and brown people?

No and no. 

The safety net created and defended by Democrats disproportionately lifts whites out of poverty.  

 The biggest beneficiaries of the government safety net: working-class whites

The result does not simply reflect the fact that there are more white people in the country. The percentage of otherwise poor whites lifted from poverty by government safety-net programs is higher, at 44 percent, compared to 35 percent of otherwise poor minorities, the study concluded.

Reading List, February 2017

Vox.com did a write-up on Achieving Our Country by Richard Rorty that I found frustrating. As I "tweeted," I believe Vox very much downplayed Rorty's critique of academia as the cause of the problem. But that's based on my reading of secondary sources. Maybe I'll blog my progress through the book over coming weeks.  

Reading material.  

Reading material.  

At the same time, I do have a lot of problems with drawer stops on my recent vanity. So Fine Woodworking goes on the reading list too.  

Thing with drawers. 

Thing with drawers. 

Trump Voters Got The Franchise In 1965, Too

Thanks to Ta-Nehisi Coates and others, much of the educated discourse around our current political dysfunction recognizes that the 1965 Voting Rights Act more or less created the situation we find ourselves in.

Prior to 1965, the overwhelming majority of Black Americans lived in the South where they were not allowed to vote. The Roosevelt Realignment created our two 20th Century political parties. Both were the parties of white people. 

Black people joined the American body politic all at once in 1965, and their votes went to the Democratic Party that gave them the right to vote. The two parties were now heterogeneous with regard to race: one remained all white, one was mixed. The Republican Party now faced an overwhelming temptation to run as the party of white people. The Southern Strategy was obvious. Not to have pursued it would have been political malpractice.

This much is understood.

But another group got the right to vote in 1965: poor Southern Whites. As a law review article points out, they had been disenfranchised right along with Southern Blacks:

For the Framers of disfranchisement were typically the most conservative, large landowning, wealthy faction of the Democratic Party, who were also seeking to entrench their partisan power and fend off challenges from Republicans, Populists, and other third parties, as well as from the more populist wings of the Democratic Party. While pledging not to disfranchise any whites, they advocated provisions that would remove the less educated, less organized, more impoverished whites from the electorate as well--and that would ensure one-party, Democratic rule, which is precisely what happened from this moment forward  through most of the 20th Century in the South.

The above passage cites the following footnote:

Kousser's brilliant book documents this thesis in superb detail. See Kousser, Southern Politics at 238-265. Studies of individual states have concluded that, in some, more whites than blacks turned out to have been disfranchised after grandfather provisions were eliminated or held unconstitutional [1915]. See, eg, Malcolm Cook Mcmillan,...

The case that eliminated grandfather clauses was Guinn v. United States, 238 U.S. 347 (1915).

The law review article is Pildes, Richard H., Democracy, Anti-Democracy, and the Canon. Constitutional Commentary, Vol. 17, 2000. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=224731 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.224731 

The Kousser Book is 

J. Morgan. Kousser, The Shaping of Southern Politics: Suffrage Restriction and the Establishment of the One-Party South, 1880-1910, Yale University Press, 1974.

What Does "Far Right" Even Mean?

From BuzzFeedNews comes a post about one set of Republicans in the House of Representatives taking a stand on the ACA:

The Freedom Caucus, made up of about three-dozen far-right House members, voted unanimously Monday to refuse to support anything less than what was contained in a 2015 Affordable Care Act repeal bill.

In high school, I was told that the "far left" was communism and that the "far right" is Fascism. Does repealing the ACA resemble Hitler or Mussolini style policy? 

No. 

In the United States, it's often suggested by the press that "the political spectrum" is defined by where a politician stands on "the proper size and scope of government." Does repealing the ACA fit that model? 

Sort of. If they said repeal and don't replace, that would shrink the federal government role in health care. But that's not what they say.  According to BuzzFeed:

With that done, the plan would put a gun to the head of Congress to force Democrats and Republicans to come up with a replacement plan, which would require Democratic support in the Senate, before repeal takes effect.

When Trump took office and Republicans took control of the House and Senate, the Freedom Caucus put up a post in The Hill listing the 10 things they wanted to do, called "No more excuses, Republicans. I paraphrase.

  1. Free Market ObamaCare. This is generic GOP boilerplate. It praises the "free market" but allows, per Democrats, that government creates markets. A genuine "far right" right position is repeal without replace.  
  2. Securing the boarder, which is the opposite of limited government. It is "far right" in the sense of fascist lite.  
  3. No refugees. Same: fascist lite.  
  4. Totally non-controversial description of how government works, something, something military.
  5. Calls for a law that passed in 1996. Is it a cut and paste error? 
  6. Return to industrial policy by meddling with corporate incentives plus cutting taxes for the working class. Neither government interference in markets nor progressive taxation is "far right."
  7. Cut 200 regulations that hurt business. Depends what they are, but at any given moment there are almost certainly 200 regulations that could use some Congressional oversight. 
  8. Big government Washington takes control of Medicaid by dictating which providers it can use, plus a statute which would violate the Equal Protection Clause 14th Amendment.
  9. Coalition based foreign policy plus Zionism.  
  10. The Federal Debt is a very large number.  

At the end of the day, "far right" is pretty useless as a way to understand these clowns. What animates them is a sense that GOP leadership sucks. On that, we agree.

The text of the Blog in The Hill: 

 

"Republicans have an incredible opportunity in front of them, but also a tremendous responsibility. Our task is simple: do what the voters sent us to do.

  1. Repeal ObamaCare in its entirety and replace it with a market-based solution that drives down costs and allows consumer choice. And don’t take three years to do it.
  2. Secure our border. We are a nation of laws and we must end the free flow of illegal immigration into the United States. Congress must also immediately deport criminal illegal immigrants and cut funding to sanctuary cities and sanctuary campuses.
  3. Put in place an immediate halt on refugees from terrorist hotspots until we are able to reform our vetting system to ensure no threat is posed to the homeland.
  4. Provide our military the support and direction it needs from Congress to ensure we are prepared for threats both abroad and domestically.
  5. Implement welfare reform that helps the truly needy but requires able-bodied adults to work.
  6. Pass tax reform legislation that simplifies the tax code, incentivizes businesses to operate in the U.S. and eases the burden on working families.
  7. Lift job-killing regulations put in place under the Obama administration. Congressman Meadows compiled a report of more than 200 harmful regulations that the new Administration can overturn on day one.
  8. Stand up for religious liberty and protect the sanctity of life. Congress should defund Planned Parenthood and pass the First Amendment Defense Act, which protects religious liberty.
  9. Reaffirm our commitment to our allies abroad, especially to our great ally Israel.
  10. Remember, there is a $20 trillion debt that must be addressed."

 

The Unbearable Trumpness Of Trump

How do we make sense of the world? The present moment has never happened before. It is unprecedented. Do we experience it that way, open to its infinite possibilities?  

Of course not. We'd be dead. Each person who is mauled by a grizzly bear experiences something subtly different from the previous maulee, but natural selection has blinded us to that infinite variety for our own good. We see a grizzly, remember a past mauling, and decide against antagonizing it.

And so it is with pundits and politicians. If the pundit is continually open to the human uniqueness of every politician, he will never complete this week's 800 words. A talking head must talk, and so he imagines that politician y will behave today as politician x behaved last year, and then spins that analogy into a prediction about tomorrow.

The confounding thing about Donald J. Trump isn't that he is hard to understand. He is very easy to understand. He is an insecure little bully who desperately wants to be loved by his father. With dad being dead, he craves the love and attention of celebrities, strangers, the in-crowd, whomever... as long as it can be measured and felt by him. He is utterly hollow, devoid of substance, character, and basic history to the extent that he has never heard of John Lewis or Frederick Douglass. 

No, the confounding thing about Donald Trump is that never in the history of the United States has a national politician been so empty, petty, and impulsive. Pundits and talking heads keep analogizing him to some previous experience, keep thinking this time he'll do that thing they always do, and then he doesn't and they say, well, he breaks all the rules. 

Nate Silver at 538 games out a bunch of these analogies to other politicians into a list of 14 possible futures. Number 5: 

Trump cedes authority. I rarely see this possibility discussed, but it has several historical precedents among presidents who found the job mentally or physically overwhelming. The key aspect is that within a year or two, Trump would have effectively relinquished day-to-day control of the government to Vice President Mike Pence and to his Cabinet, instead focusing on the more ceremonial aspects of the presidency and perhaps exploiting it for personal enrichment. There are several variations on this scenario, which range from Trump being surprisingly popular as a sort of celebrity-in-chief to Trump largely withdrawing from the public spotlight.

First of all, does Nate Silver live on Earth? Tons of people have said "Welcome to The Paul Ryan Presidency" (Jim Newell in Slate) or "Will Mike Pence Be The Most Powerful President Ever" (CBS News). The latest speculation has trumpeted Steve Bannon as the true leader, only to be falsified by the latest palace intrigue leaked to the press:

Chief White House strategist Steve Bannon tried to order Department of Homeland Security secretary John Kelly to not issue a waiver exempting green card holders from President Trump’s travel ban executive order, according to a new report in the Washington Post. Per two Trump administration officials who spoke with the Post’s Josh Rogin, Kelly ultimately rebuffed the attempt, telling Bannon that he only takes orders from the president. The president never weighed in, and Kelly went ahead and issued the waiver, which was made public on Sunday night. That waiver ended two full days of confusion and chaos around the question of whether or not permanent U.S. residents from the seven predominantly Muslim nations included in the ban would be allowed to reenter the country. The White House itself then confirmed that green card holders were exempt from the order on Tuesday.

These are the facts of Trump. He has no interest in running the administration. He has no interest in learning about policy. He has no ability to think strategically. He will absolutely delegate all these things to trusted advisors. But he will never, ever tolerate the suggestion that he is not in charge, that he does not understand the policy, or that he is not thinking strategically.  Yet, for Bannon to take over as shadow president, he must be able to speak for the president and have people believe him. He must be able to commit the president to doing things and know that the president will do those things.

In short, for Bannon or Kushner or Pribus or Pence to run the show, Trump must be willing to stop being Trump. It'll never happen. 

Why Do I Hate Naomi Klein So Much?

In various odd corners of the Internet I have been accused recently of an unjustified dislike for professional leftist Naomi Klein (See, here and here.) 

Why do I dislike her so much? 

Because I believe that "What is the proper size and scope of government?" is an empirical question. Klein disagrees:

But what we know from the 1930s is that what it takes to do battle with fascism is a real left. A good chunk of Trump’s support could be peeled away if there were a genuine redistributive agenda on the table.

Did the 1930s teach us that? No, they did not. It helps if you know that her grandparents were Stalinists. When she says "real left" she is describing a category that conflates FDR with Joseph Stalin. The main point is that Naomi Klein starts with the thesis that "the real left" is the answer to our problems and then sets out to describe a world defined by ideological battles between the real left and the forces of "neoliberalism." Imposing your ideas upon the world is not the same as understanding how the world works by investigating it and developing ideas.

If the myths we tell ourselves about how we use our rational brains to figure things out, make good choices, and pursue our goals were true, then the empirical nature of all political choices would be so obvious as to render the thousands upon thousands of Klein's published words to be the almost coherent and strangely compelling ramblings of a madwoman. Reconciling to myself why they are not is, more or less, my personal quest to understand the human condition. 

At bottom, I think the confusion is down to the way the Enlightenment dominates our thinking, giving us Newtonian metaphors for Darwinian processes. This comes across most strongly in the area of causation. 

In Newton's world, we can ask: 

1. Why is this billiard ball rolling across this table? 

How do we answer? We look at the ball and notice it's black, adorned with the number 8, and moving at a quick pace toward a corner pocket. After a quick deduction we find the cue ball, rolling gently in a direction tangential to that of the 8 ball. Another deduction leads us to the wooden cue which guides our eyes straight to the face of our friend Joe. Our memory chimes in to remind us we heard the words "8 ball, corner pocket" moments ago and we arrive at an inescapable conclusion:

2. The billiard ball is moving like that because Joe moved the cue to strike the cue ball sending it to a collision with the 8 ball, and that ball, in turn, toward its destination in the corner pocket.  

But, a moments reflection upon our own thoughts reveals that's not quite right. The actual conclusion we reach is:

3. The billiard ball is moving that way because Joe wants it to move that way and we then judge that Joe successfully acted on his intention to move the ballot that way. 

In a Newtonian world, then, we can trace back from what we observe to their ultimate causes and those causes can be simple human intentions. Thus, for Klein, we observe the chaos in Iraq and know that we can trace it back to the human intention that caused it:

These events are examples of “the shock doctrine”: using the public’s disorientation following massive collective shocks – wars, terrorist attacks, or natural disasters -- to achieve control by imposing economic shock therapy. Sometimes, when the first two shocks don’t succeed in wiping out resistance, a third shock is employed: the electrode in the prison cell or the Taser gun on the streets.

...

The Shock Doctrine follows the application of these ideas through our contemporary history, showing in riveting detail how well-known events of the recent past have been deliberate, active theatres for the shock doctrine, among them: Pinochet’s coup in Chile in 1973, the Falklands War in 1982, the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Asian Financial crisis in 1997 and Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

But the world we live in is human and therefore described by the science of Charles Darwin, not Isaac Newton. Klein's way of thinking is literally identical to the anti-science evangelical nonsense known as Intelligent Design:

Biochemistry textbooks and journal articles describe the workings of some of the many living molecular machines within our cells, but they offer very little information about how these systems supposedly evolved by natural selection. Many scientists frankly admit their bewilderment about how they may have originated, but refuse to entertain the obvious hypothesis: that perhaps molecular machines appear to look designed because they really are designed.

The Shock Doctrine presents a series of crucial events and posits that they had to happen for a reason, specifically, that the people in power were intentionally applying "shock therapy" to achieve a desired result:

At the most chaotic juncture in Iraq’s civil war, a new law is unveiled that would allow Shell and BP to claim the country’s vast oil reserves…. Immediately following September 11, the Bush Administration quietly out-sources the running of the “War on Terror” to Halliburton and Blackwater…. After a tsunami wipes out the coasts of Southeast Asia, the pristine beaches are auctioned off to tourist resorts.... New Orleans’s residents, scattered from Hurricane Katrina, discover that their public housing, hospitals and schools will never be reopened….

These events are exactly parallel to the various aspects of life on earth which Intelligent Design asserts could not possibly have just happened, but instead all happened for the same reason: an intelligent creator intended them to happen as part of his design. Instead of the regulation of oil extraction in post war Iraq, we have the flagella of bacteria:

The flagella of bacteria are a good example. They are outboard motors that bacterial cells can use for self-propulsion. They have a long, whiplike propeller that is rotated by a molecular motor. The propeller is attached to the motor by a universal joint. The motor is held in place by proteins that act as a stator. Other proteins act as bushing material to allow the driveshaft to penetrate the bacterial membrane. Dozens of different kinds of proteins are necessary for a working flagellum. In the absence of almost any of them, the flagellum does not work or cannot even be built by the cell.

The bottom line in both cases is exactly the same: no one planned the world we live in, no one intended it to work out this way. Evolution by natural selection results in a world populated by the things that did not die. The complex ecology of human culture and social reality results in a world characterized by the fundamentally unpredictable results of individual actions. The guiding principle of those actions is not dying.