Harry Reid Hatred And The Tit-For-Tat Addiction

mob enforcer

Once again, the ethically disabled in conservative punditry are forcing me to come to the defense of one of the most loathsome politicians extant. Senator Harry Reid’s announcement that he is leaving the Senate after his current term expires in 2016 has inspired a spate of baseless speculation that the serious facial injuries he sustained on New Years Day were not the result of an exercise equipment mishap, and may have been the souvenirs or a beating by Vegas mob goons to teach “Dirty Harry” to deliver the goods when the Godfather ask a favor.

As Basil Fawlty would say, “Oh, thank you! Thank you so VERY MUCH!” I love wasting a good hour of sock drawer organization explaining why its wrong to mistreat the likes of Harry Reid.

And this is the second time I’ve had to do it, too. Back in 2012, the nastier wags on the right decided to punish Reid for his despicable and slanderous innuendo about Mitt Romney not paying taxes by launching a wave of false blog posts about how the Senate Majority Leader was suspected of pederasty. Then they hung out on red meat conservative blogs  like Red State chuckling and snickering about it like 11-year-olds. I pointed out the obvious: this was pure tit-for-tat, eye-for-an-eye vengeance of an especially infantile sort, no matter how much Reid deserved it:

“While giving someone a “taste of his own medicine” is no doubt satisfying and perhaps even instructive, wrong is wrong, and spreading intentional lies, even about a public figure as devoid of decency and scruples as the Senate Majority Leader, is unethical. No conduct, no matter how nauseating, by its target can justify this. Stooping to Reid’s level can only further degrade civility and dignity in American public discourse, which is the objective of political sewer-dwellers like Reid, not anyone with the best interests of the nation in mind.”

Or in other words, “Duh.” Who hasn’t been taught that two wrongs don’t make a right since they could walk? The belief that unethical conduct by an individual somehow suspends the obligation of others to treat that individual better than he treats others appears to be one of the hardest ethical concepts to grasp, however, and once grasped, the slipperiest to keep hold of. Why is this? My guess is that it arises from the fact that the desire for vengeance is a hard-wired human instinct that served mankind well before there were laws, religions, ethics and legal systems to keep wrongdoers in line. We have evolved beyond that, however, or should have. Why the strongly Christian right is so quick to forget everything Jesus said about loving your enemy and turning the other cheek is a subject for someone’s honors thesis.

That post gave Ethics Alarms its first, and presumably last, “Instalanche,” the wave of conservative traffic that follows a link from Prof. Glenn Reynolds’ Instapundit. The Professor has a clever and useful, if biased, blog, but his camp followers revealed themselves here to be doctrinaire, angry, and unwilling to even consider the error of their ways. (One of the exceptions, Ethics Alarms regular wyogranny, stuck around, and I am grateful for it.) The enlightenment they managed to convey on the topic was nothing more nor less than “this is war,” “revenge is the best way to stop rule-breaking,” and “I heard Harry Reid is a pederast.”  It all induced nausea in the fair and rational, best expressed by Ethics Alarms Voice of Reason Julian Hung, who wrote,

“Speaking as a political moderate who was considered a conservative back in high school; I can safely say that the comment section has definitely lowered my opinion of the general conservative base (which is a pity, since some of my favorite people are conservatives). If these commentators act the same way on other sites, I think other potential swing voters would feel the same as I do, many of whom are probably far more unlikely to be able to separate their feelings about the moral and intellectual capacity of the people in a party vs. their feelings about the veracity of said party’s specific policy positions.”

Or as Pete Seeger sang,

“When will they ever learn?

The current “Harry Reid was beaten up by the Mob” slur is exactly the same, and presumably will be defended in the same ethically obtuse terms, except that it seems that the accusers really believe this one. The usually logical John Hinderaker has offered the theory twice, here and here, and others, including Reynolds, are giving it credence. The proof? Reid “looks” like he was worked over, kind of like I did a year ago when I fell on my face while playing frisbee with my son. Reid’s a Nevada senator (you know, like the slimy Pat Cleary in “The Godfather Part II”), Reid has never adequately explained where all his money came from, and he makes outrageous claims about the Koch brothers. That’s it. There was more evidence in the smear campaign against the pretty new girl my sophomore year in high school claiming that she wasn’t a virgin.

Hate is such an ugly emotion, and those who wallow in it just repel those who have the character to rise above it in their lives. In politics, that’s the practical reason not to behave like this.  In ethics, the reason is that it’s just plain wrong.

19 thoughts on “Harry Reid Hatred And The Tit-For-Tat Addiction

  1. I’m glad he’s retiring from the Senate. He’s been one of the people who give politicians a bad name. His attacks on Mitt Romney were made worse, for some reason in my mind, because they’re both Mormons. In any case he won’t be missed. From my experience when he’s gone another sleezy pol will pop up in his place.
    “Meet the new boss.”
    I’ve enjoyed sticking around. This is an enlightening place.

  2. Where’s the proof that the Vegas mob DIDN’T send him to the First National Bonk? I am not the least bit sorry. He can retire to hell, and take Nancy Bug Eyes with him.

    • Actually, I wasn’t. I wasn’t trying to be cute when I wrote “The hounds of political correctness have to be consistent, and of course they aren’t: their preferred form of censorship is designed to silence critics of their pet causes or to marginalization them as hateful bigots.” in the post about Lena Dunham comparing her Jewish boyfriend to a dog, either. How did you miss those? I was waiting…

  3. Just an FYI, I had a friend once in Arkansas who was a logging trucker. They use a device called a “Boomer” to tighten the chains holding logs onto the logging truck. There is a lot of tension on these devices and a handle “kicked back” on my friend, hitting him squarely in the face. His injuries look very much like Harry Reid’s, so, going on that evidence, I’d say “Dingy” Harry was moonlighting as a logging trucker. Makes about as much sense as the Mafia beating him up.

    • I’d say more sense. Even Pat Cleary wasn’t beaten up. The theory seems ridiculous to me—I think it make Hinderaker look foolish to even suggest it. I didn’t mention the connected “and the liberal media hasn’t investigated this at all.” How does he know that? Occam’s Razer suggests that they investigated it and found nothing.

      • I would think that the whole idea is silly enough not to warrant a story, although if it was me, I’d at least check into it. Don’t know if the liberal media would do so or not.

  4. I will not believe anything Senator Harry Reid says. And, I will generally not trust anything any one of his supporters, close or distant, says about him or says they are saying on his behalf. But, I do have a son who was seriously injured by one of those elastic exercise bands. He lost his grip somehow, or, the thing broke while under tension (that part, I don’t remember well), and it smacked him in the eye; he is lucky still to have vision there.

    I think there is more than “an addiction to tit-for-tat” going on. Conviction is not addiction. I believe what we are witnessing is the rise of a particularly intensely and insatiably enraged – and ruthless – class of ideological opposition to the stale, tone deaf, too predictable, arrogant, cruel, over-empowered, ultimately impotent, and ruthless ideological class in which Reid and many other leftists fit. The “culture war” in the U.S. is only just beginning, I think. I do believe that eventually there will be clear victors and vanquished, a “conclusion” that will last for at least several generations – and today’s Left is going to lose horribly. The war’s damages as well as its outcome will reflect the combat between two camps employing unlimited and protracted warfare, employing ever more obvious “ethics” of pursuing ends “by any means necessary.” No true republic can survive what’s coming.

    • I don’t see what making legitimate arguments in a culture war and making up lies, rumors and slander have to do with each other. Battles of ideas need to be fought fairly and legitimately, or it doesn’t matter who wins.

      • Things are not going to get better, only worse. It is the human condition; it is inescapable. I can’t blame the Left or the non-Left for that. But neither have been especially helpful in coping with it.

        I agree with you: “Battles of ideas need to be fought fairly and legitimately, or it doesn’t matter who wins.” However, we departed long ago the realm of possibility of battles of ideas being fought fairly and legitimately. The war is on, and it will end only with the extinction of its combatants.

  5. The smearing is wrong…sure. Am I sympathetic? No.

    This guy was a grade-A chump.

    Now that he’s going, we’ll see what Shumer plans to do. With Reid gone, maybe now we won’t have obstructionist Democrats wrecking shop in Congress quite so willy-nilly and playing interference for their Child-King Obama. But, I’m sure Schumer will just be another obstructionist sycophant like Reid.

    But hey, we can only hope that with new leadership, the Democrats will start crossing the aisle and begin cooperating and compromising.

  6. It’s as simple as “two wrongs don’t make a right.”

    Although, a provoked wrong will always be more sympathetic than an unprovoked one. People love revenge.

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