1 Just how stupid is the public? Charades like the latest government shut-downs provide an excellent opportunity to find out. As regular readers here know, I am particularly annoyed when elected officials and journalists set out to make the public more ignorant or devoid of critical-thinking skills than they already are by making dumb arguments using logical fallacies, rationalizations or deceit. Both parties benefit from civically ignorant citizens, but the nation suffers. This time, it’s the Democrats who are banking on the public being too gullible and stupid to function. Here was the message I received from the Democratic National Committee—which, I will add, keeps sending me this crap despite my repeated efforts to unsubscribe from their daily dishonest shilling .It’s illegal to do this, but as the Democratic Party is proving with this latest drama, law-breaking is of minimal consequence to them when it suits their agenda:
It’s official — Republicans have shut down the federal government. They control the White House and both chambers of Congress, and under their watch, they haven’t been able to govern and keep the lights on. If they’re not capable of doing the job they were elected to do, we know plenty of Democrats running across the country who are up to the task.
How stupid, biased and dishonest to you have to be to swallow this lie? The shutdown was, beyond argument, engineered by Democrats, who have been threatening it for a long time. The argument is also dumb, indeed backwards. The government shut down because the Republicans couldn’t pass a spending bill without Democratic votes: they need a total of 60 “yeas” in the Senate. All but five Democrats, including Bernie, voted for shutting down the government. All but three Republicans, the trio of iconoclasts Graham, Flake and Paul, voted to keep it open, and the DNC calls that the Republicans shutting down the government.
Aren’t even Democrats offended at that degree of dishonesty and cynicism? Isn’t that classic Orwell: “War is Peace,” and “The Measure Republicans Voted For Is the Measure Republicans Opposed“? How can anyone trust a party that issues official communications like this? That is a party that will lie to your face, or assume that you have been so corrupted that you will lie on its behalf.
Moreover, the statement above might as well be written by the Republican National Committee, with the message being, “Since Democrats won’t cooperate to keep the government running and will sacrifice the welfare of citizens for non-citizens, we obviously need more Republicans in the Senate.” That message is factual.
The Democrats are holding the nation hostage to get a path to citizenship for the DACA group, adults who have had many years to resolve their citizenship problems but who chose–chose—not to do it. If they think that’s the right thing to do, then they should admit it, own it, and see who thinks that’s responsible governing.
2. Then there’s the news media and the internet…I like Fark, but here is how that site’s wags characterized the shutdown: “Trump and Republicans decide spiting DACA kids is more important than keeping the government running.” Fark is a humor web site, yet that doesn’t read like a joke to me; it reads like the spin Democrats are expecting their allies in the news media and the web to promote. Yes, when the government enforces laws that are on the books, the intent is to spite the lawbreakers. This might be mordantly humorous as absurdist satire, except that this is increasingly the progressive narrative against due process ( conservatives want to spite women by not declaring anyone they point at and accuse of sexual assault must be guilty), law enforcement (cops want to spite African Americans by arresting them) and, of course immigration controls (Trump wants to enforce immigration laws because he wants to spite immigrants.) Here, let me fix that blurb for you, Fark: Democrats decide that grandstanding for its open-borders base and pro-illegal immigration supporters is more important than keeping the government running.”
Let’s keep an eye on which news sources echo Fark. I can’t imagine a more accurate test of journalism integrity, or the lack of it.
3. The worst lies are the ones you tell yourselves. The shutdown seems to be prompted by happy talk that despite so, so many additional reasons to distrust their party, a “blue wave” is coming that will sweep the GOP into minority status, pave the way for impeachment, turn the 2016 election into a bad trip, man. This must be sound strategy, reason the Democrats: after all, it’s based on polls, and also on maxim, attributed to H.L. Mencken, that “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” What Mencken actually wrote is even more relevant; his actual words were:
“No one in this world, so far as I know — and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me — has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”
Depending on his analysis, the 2016 election might have given H.L. pause. The Democrats’ capacity for self-delusion seems bottomless, and this poll suggest that their rash bet on the shutdown is incompetent as well as irresponsible.
4. Kaboom. Reader John Glass was the first to send this along, thus exploding my head. Former FBI Director James Comey will teach a course on ethical leadership for the College of William & Mary. He’ll be co-teaching a three-credit course, during fall 2018, spring 2019, and summer 2019 semesters.
As an ethicist and a leadership trainer, I’m used to this kind of slap in the face, and it is a slap in the face. Several of the Watergate felons tour the country lecturing about ethics. John Dean, who was disbarred, has taught legal ethics. Class action lawyer Bill Lerach, disbarred and sent to prison, taught legal ethics when he got out. If Bill Clinton, or Hillary Clinton, wanted to teach ethical leadership at Yale or Harvard, do you think those schools wouldn’t jump at the chance?
This is just another example of celebrity being valued over integrity, and ethics being treated as field that must be accompanied with bread and circuses for anyone to pay attention. Comey leaked classified material . Comey courted the appearance of impropriety more than once. Comey was not candid with Congress. If Comey had left the FBI before he could be fired by President Trump, and his last moments in the public eye were as a scapegoat for Hillary’s defeat, do you think William and Mary would have found him an attractive choice to teach leadership ethics? Call me cynical, but I don’t.
The Comey story is one more indictment of the quality of education our youth receive at elite colleges.