Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/29/2018: Reflections On Hubris And Chaos

Good Morning!

 I’ve been feeling sorry for my Democratic and progressive friends ( less so for their ideological allies in government and the news media) who are obviously upset and angry about how matters have proceeded, spinning horribly out of control from their perspective, since November 8, 2016. I hate to see friends in pain, even if they react to it by lashing out against me—well, maybe especially if they lash out against me—and I think I could help them understand why this happened if they were willing to listen, which they are not.

Most of all, their fate is due to hubris of a Euripidean scale, or perhaps Icarus (above) is the better comp. A truly democratic public understands and accepts–must understand and accept— that their side won’t always prevail , and that democracies are like a roller coaster on the way to someplace arguably better over time, based on common principles all of its citizens understand and embrace. Democracies are based on trust in the essential good will of neighbors, and also respect for adversaries, an ethical principle that has great pragmatic benefits as well: eventually, you will be on the bottom looking up, and if you didn’t plant your boot on the faces of those above you now, you are less likely to be tasting leather on a regular basis.

Despite historical lessons such as the nation swinging from Johnson to Nixon and Carter to Reagan, Democrats began to believe their own hype that they were on “the right side of history” in all things, and that the election of Barack Obama guaranteed a constantly ratcheting process towards the transformation of the United States into a socialist, European-style culture. Obama’s smug, superior character catalyzed this fatal error, and the device (which he permitted, if not encouraged)of automatically condemning his critics as racists became a mindset: anyone who disagreed with progressives were racists, sexists, bigots, and otherwise villainous. (You can see this attitude in the recent article in Splinter, a left-wing site, that refers to all of the jurists on the Federalist Society’s Supreme Court candidate’s list as “monsters.” )

This persistent contempt for the humanity of one’s political opponents in a nation is the stuff that totalitarian regimes are made of, and the Democrats, without (perhaps) even realizing it, were well on their way. Adding to their cockiness was the complete abandonment of objectivity by the mainstream media, which during the Obama administration devolved into an uncritical cheering section. Nobody was going to call them racists!

Progressives had won, was the assumption. After Mitt Romney’s defeat, in no small part due to Big Lies (“Romney’s paid no taxes!” ), illicit use of government power (the IRS, for example) and media complicity, complacency on the Left was palpable. Never mind that the economic recovery had been unforgivably slow, and the nation’s foreign policy had been bungled: the US was moving toward participation in world government, open borders, a gun-free society, abortion on demand, permanent group benefits for being born black or female,the avoidance of military commitments, and a nanny state. There was no need for real democracy in the Democratic Party so the nomination for President in 2016 was rigged . All potential rivals stood aside for Hillary Clinton, because it was “her turn.” She had been a loyal Obama-ite, after all. Only a non-party member, Bernie Sanders, and a couple of unemployed, unserious Democrats challenged her. Meanwhile, the GOP, with too many candidates, all flawed, was committing ritual suicide by allowing a boorish clown to hijack its agenda using a small but passionate mob of “deplorables.”

Hillary didn’t even run hard. It was as if nobody in her campaign had ever read “The Tortoise and the Hare.” Then Hubris met Moral Luck, and it was love at first sight. Instead of taking back both Houses of Congress in a Hillary landslide, the Democrats lost both Houses and most state houses too, and that clown was elected. This meant, in all likelihood, that the Left had also “lost” the Supreme Court for at least a generation.

Under the old political culture, the response of Democrats and progressives to such a cataclysm would be to shake hands with the winners, grit their teeth, celebrate the dynamism of a Constitutional system that had served us well, and resolve to convince the public to elect them the next time. But among the ethical instincts that hubris had erased was the ability to be graceful losers.

They couldn’t accept defeat. The shock was too great. So they reacted emotionally, angrily, insultingly, and unlike any substantial group of Americans before them. They rioted, tried to overturn the election, derided the system, insulted the new President (“But he started it!”) blamed malign outside forces, concocted conspiracy theories, denied accountability, and excoriated the electorate for what was, in fact, the fruits of their own arrogance and incompetence. As I wrote—futilely, of course—so often in 2015 and 2016, but about the Republicans, a party has an ethical obligation to the nation to select a Presidential candidate who is qualified both in character and experience. Both parties failed that duty, but the point that progressives simply cannot process is that the Democrats failed that duty, and this is why they lost.

It still might have turned out to be just a momentary stumble, except that random events and chaos theory kept doing the voodoo that they do so well. Trump was either lucky or good, or both. The stock market didn’t crash, as Paul Krugman assured everyone that it would, it soared. Unemployment dropped. Public confidence in the country and the economy rose, even though most of the public didn’t like the President. The long-handicapped recovery began moving at the speed it should reached years ago. Trump’s confrontational style did not cause a nuclear war, but instead sparked a hopeful thaw in North Korean relations. The news media finally paid the price for its shameless long-time partisan bias, and no longer was able to change opinions and lead the public to turn on the President, no matter how hard it tried, or how shrill it became.

Illegal immigration activists played their cards badly. Gun control advocates played their hands worse. Then the Harvey Weinstein Ethics Train Wreck left the station, running over more liberals than conservatives—Weinstein, Franken, Keillor, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Kevin Spacey…and eventually, Bill Clinton. Hollywood, once a powerful progressive ally, was exposed as the basket of rank hypocrites it has always been in political matters. Meanwhile, the investigation that Democrats cleverly seeded to paralyze Trump and expose the impeachable offenses they were certain were there,  exposed the corruption in the Obama administration and Clinton campaigns, not to mention the FBI and the Justice Department.

President Trump, meanwhile, did not melt down or crack up. Everyone underestimated him in this respect, including me. He likes conflict; he thrives on chaos. His major talent may be knowing how to make his opponents self-destruct. Nobody thought he was a Fox, but they did not suspect, apparently, that he is a Hedgehog. He knows “one big thing” and so far, it has been enough.

All of this, however, sprung from the hubris of the left. They forgot about humility. They forgot about respect. They forgot about the Golden Rule, they forgot about fairness, and most of all, they forgot what America stands for. They allowed Donald Trump to set a thousand butterflies flapping their wings in the Amazon, and chaos overtook the progressive dream of perpetual domination, and their reaction, so far, has been to throw a tantrum rather than change their ways.

I sympathize with my progressive friends. Nevertheless, they brought this on themselves.

57 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/29/2018: Reflections On Hubris And Chaos

  1. “Under the old political culture, the response of Democrats and progressives to such a cataclysm would be to shake hands with the winners, grit their teeth, celebrate the dynamism of a Constitutional system that had served us well, and resolve to convince the public to elect them the next time.”

    Both in person and in my social media, I saw an attitude of humility in the first few days after the election. That disappeared abruptly with the launching of the recount/Electoral College/Russia narratives.

    • I didn’t, people were out in the streets trashing NYC by Thursday. MAYBE things were a little quiet Wednesday, as all the activists slept late from staying up till the small hours, but the next day, forget it. That Friday, as the NY Veteran’s Parade stepped off, there were 4 policemen and 4 Federal officers on every block (both sides) to keep order.

  2. I recently heard a great analogy. This is akin to an “extinction burst”, which is something regarding psychology. It means that when after engaging in routine behavior, the routine results does not happen. The person doubles down on their behavior, feverishly, to get the routine result. But to no avail. Over time, the person would accept that it doesn’t work as it has and comes to terms. I think the leftists feel like they did all the usual things they would do, but they aren’t getting rewarded for it as per usual, so they are doubling down with passion to get their desired routine result. They still need to get used to it though, that it won’t be the same. But it’s like those alcoholism programs, first you need to recognize there is a problem. I don’t believe the first step has been achieved by a critical mass yet. So more of the same for time to come, meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    • The extinction burst is a point of contention between behaviorists and cognitive behaviorists. It was first observed by B. F. Skinner, who trained pigeons to peck at a button when it lit up to get food. This was done on a schedule. Then, he went with an intermittent reward system, in which pigeons were rewarded with food, but not every time they pecked. Some were on a fixed schedule, others on a random schedule. Then he stopped altogether with both groups. Those on a fixed schedule gave up sooner than those on a random schedule. Those on a random schedule exhibited the extinction burst, pecking away at the button, whether or not the button was lit, AND THEY WOULD NOT STOP. The biggest bone of contention is whether or not these results are translatable into human behavior. Cognitive behaviorists say not, as humans are somewhat smarter than pigeons. I am of that school of thought. This extrapolates into a definition of crazy; “Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result”. I’d guess that this may be definitive proof that liberals are NOT smarter than pigeons. It is certainly proof that people should be responsible for their own behavior.

      • d_d, I attended Skinner’s undergrad school, Hamilton College. A devoted behaviorist faculty there, needless to say. Some gag graffitti down in the stacks of the old library read: “Life is a rat race.” -B.F. Skinner. Plus Masters of Masters and Johnson went there. Howie Masters, one of Master’s and Johnson’s kids was a year behind me. Maybe Howie was raised in a Skinner box. Love the use of pigeons. The term is applied to guys who get suckered into bad bets on the first tee of a round of golf (gahff, as the Texans say).

        • You mean the Masters who with Johnson who wrote the erroneous book Crisis: Heterosexual Behavior in the Age of Aids? That book was believed by media “experts” and kept necessary funding from actual (gay) HIV patients due to the authors faulty research and a false conclusion that AIDS was exploding among heterosexuals but wasn’t.

  3. This reminds me of something I was observing to friends recently. This past week I’ve been reading the articles and comments on Splinter’s sister site, Jezebel, and I’ve watched them offer profanity filled condemnation to:

    Republicans, for everything.

    Moderate democrats, for voting for spineless moderate democrats who call for civility like not chasing people out of public places for their political views.

    Anyone who refused to vote for Hillary because she was a moderate democrat. Especially Susan Sarandon.

    Anyone who thinks free speech is more important than abortion access, because they’re misogynist.

    Rust belt union workers who “voted against their own interests.”

    Women who “voted against their own interests.”

    Anyone who didn’t vote.

    Straight cisgender white men, especially older ones, for continuing to exist.

    Anthony Kennedy, for retiring now.

    Ruth Bader Ginsberg for not retiring when Obama was president.

    …but they keep assuring each other they’re not going to let this continue. I’m not sure who they think is voting with them at this point. They seem to still think they’re going to succeed without compromise or any attempt at persuasion.

    They don’t understand how democracy works, or they don’t care. In either case, while I’m not a Republican, I hope they lose until they figure it out.

    • I nominate this as a COTD, it’s very illustrative of where the left is headed if they continue down this hate-filled path.

    • Excellent Emily. I think this attitude you mention is why minorities who have voted Democrat in the past and are going moderate/conservative. Any disagreement with any one issue puts you in the deplorable category and your virtually kicked out of the party for having nuanced thinking or simply trying to look at an issue from both sides.

      Their shrieking is backfiring and as the socialists rise up, they’ll find they won’t have poor minority victims to count on for votes anymore.

      • “Any disagreement with any one issue puts you in the deplorable category and your virtually kicked out of the party for having nuanced thinking or simply trying to look at an issue from both sides.”

        In The 77 Square Miles Surrounded By A Sea Of Reality (AKA: The Portland Of The Midwest) we call that being ALL IN.

        If you aren’t, you risk being asked to leave restaurants…tolerantly, of course!

  4. Very nice essay. The left’s current complaint seems to boil down to: “Wait. We’re not getting what we want? That’s not fair!”

  5. It’s funny you brought this point up, David Rubin, Jordan Peterson and Eric Weinstein had a talk this afternoon, and Eric said something I’d considered before, but I thought was put fairly eloquently, and came from the position of someone at least leaning left. Watch the whole thing if you can, but this section was at the one hour, twelve minute mark.

    Peterson:

    What do you think that it is that is fundamentally driving the radicalness of the left? Because it seems so counterproductive…. Even to the left’s own stated positions. When I was in Aspen, for example, I talked about the literature between biological difference between men and women in psychology; Mostly, men and women are similar, even in the dimensions where they differ most, there’s way more overlap than there is differences. So aggression is a good example of that, if you take a random man and a random woman out of the population and you had to bet on who was the more aggressive person and you bet on the man you’d be right 60% of the time. That’s not that much, but all the action’s at the tails, you don’t care about how aggressive the average person is, you care about how aggressive the really aggressive people are, and they’re are all male…. Which accounts for the massive differential between men and women in prison rates. And so you can have small difference at the mean and radical differences at the extreme, and the fact that people don’t understand that is partly willful blindness on the part of the ideologically committed, but also partly because it’s complex statistically… But then I think about the audience that I was addressing at Aspen. They weren’t happy that I was addressing the biological differences and personality between men and women and I thought: “what the hell do you want, exactly? You know… From your leftist perspective? Why is it so necessary for you to make the presumption that there cannot be any differences whatsoever between men and women? Well first of all: There are, and that’s a problem for your theory, but why all of a sudden has this become an axiomatic position of the left that these differences can’t exist, when what you want to do in principle is free up people to make choices, I think, to make choices in a market that would allow for those choices in keeping with their intrinsic nature. I don’t know why that shifted.”

    Weinstein:

    “Let me come straight at it, we on the left had an idea that if we could get rid of cultural bias in IQ testing, if we could get rid of misogyny that was structural in the workplace, that we would get a particular kind of outcome. And we did make things better in many ways, but it didn’t go as far as we were expecting. And so this is what people are wrestling with, and I hesitate to call it this, but I think it’s the most powerful way of saying it: It’s the great oppression shortage of 2018. And the problem is that there’s still structural oppression. Look at Robert Moses’ design of New York City’s highways, bridges and byways, famously trying to keep the buses from going to Jones Beach so that Harlem is contained and it doesn’t effect property prices in the upper east side. So there really is structural oppression, the way it was when there were literacy tests for voting which were constructed so that no black person could pass. Ok. But there’s less of it now, and there’s not enough of it to explain some of the differences. And the great fear is that the left’s program to try to produce better representation, better opportunities, for women, for minorities, or whatever is going to stall out if we start to think of these things as differences.

    Peterson:

    “So why is it a problem if it stalls out? It is because there are all sorts of radical activists who have nothing left to do, or is there a deeper problem?”

    Weinstein:

    “[crosstalk]What you’re seeing with the SPLC is that you have an institution that fundamentally accomplished much of it’s mission, but it still has a large kitty and idle hands.”

    Peterson:

    “Sounds like humanities departments to me.”

  6. This will be a bumpy ride, and as always my middle of the road stances will lose. While
    I agree with the Republican Party on many issues,and agree with the Democratic Party on few. The very threat to the gay rights advances could activate the gays in both parties to become more vigilant in fighting for their rights. The abortion issue is so evenly divided that any charge will stir up trouble. Immigration is a tough balancing act, as like a republican I want strong secure borders, as a Catholic I want a humanitarian approach to immigration, unfortunately while we fight this issue basic decency and common sense loses. There must be a way to truly handle this problem, but the rhetoric keeps getting in the way. Justice Kennedy rose as a symbol of someone, who understood civility and I hope we see it continues. But as I look at our political landscape, I see very little civility,decorum,or true diplomacy. What has happened? Everyone knows where I stand on most issues gay rights exspecially, I am a religious humanist, and try to apply logic and theology in my views, as such all life and all individual rights are sacred to me! It is those dueling principles that I believe guided our constitution. But you can not rule without both, Archibald Mcliesh’s J.B. Has several characters, that represent these views, and some. Representing history which as Jack points out our leaders seem to forget, it is only as it is seen in this play, when all the elements are used and presented together that our society works. If we do not learn to truly use these views together, our society is doomed to a desperate cycle, of advancement and pulling back. We need leaders who will talk Spence not rhetoric. Good luck with that.
    I do not agree with my party on everything, or my church, or my friends, my fellow artists, or everyone that identifies with part of my identity, but the difference is I am willing to talk about it,even when I disagree and I try not to be judgemental as it is forbidden by catholic teachings,( I will some our religious leaders would highlight the passage forbidding judgement, I myself find it is the sin that sends me to the confessional more then any other)

    God bless Sister Paraclatease you taught me well.
    By the way I am up in arms over one pundit feeling one of the potential justices on the list is too Catholic. I often thought on death penalty discions Scaila was not Catholic enough, I could not fathom how the father of a priest could defend capital punishment. Course he was not a fan of Vatican II, like I said not all Catholics agree with the church, and on that judgemental note I need to go to confession.

    Rip

    • Rip, we need to keep church and state separate. The government is not in the employ of churches. Churches can pursue Faith, Hope and Charity. But leave it to churches. Don’t put my tax dollars in the collection box. Let the churches work for social justice, but leave the government out of that line of work, please. And I”m a former Vatican I raised Catholic.

      • The problem is that Christians are really only interested in the separation of church and state when it suits them. One of the strongest arguments for gay marriage was that the state could not discriminate based on protected characteristics…. The argument against that was “But the state isn’t discriminating, it’s the church, and the church is a private, religious entity.”

        Sure…. But… The state has conferred all kinds of bonuses and incentives into marriage, most noticeably in tax law. There were three positions that made sense, and Christians were unwilling to engage any of them:

        1) Put your money where your mouth is and petition the government to actually separate church and state, and revoke all the state sponsored associated tax shelters and incentives to marriage.

        2) Separate marriage and civil unions, so that the government could give incentives to a many couples as would sign up, and the church could keep marriage a more exclusive institution.

        3) Embrace gay marriage.

        Two was probably the most realistic option of the three, but both the gay and Christian lobbies weren’t really hot on it. Gay people wanted *marriage*, not a civil union, as stupid and feely as that was, and as much as Christians SAY that their opposition to gay marriage was purely on the grounds of a respect for the institution of marriage, the truth is that they just generally don’t like gay people. They opposed civil unions, they lobbied HARD against adoption by gay adults, and even if you wanted to argue that there were secular reasons to do that, it wasn’t that long ago that they railed against repealing laws prohibiting consensual anal sex.

        Tell me again about the separation of Church and State?

    • Other Bill
      I am not saying we should have a theocracy I am saying is that we should not hold a persons religion block them from serving and what bought it on is we have. People right now in this administration that. Feel their religions are guiding them as a religious humanist I believe that what religion teaches us must be tempered with logic, and a sense of history. For example the theological stance against abortion is that the soul enters at conception. But from a logical point if you do not agree with that belief, than logically you are doing nothing wrong. On homosexuality it is more clear cut, if. You take the beliefs of the certain groupsand it is a choice It is a sin, but if God made you that way, it can not be a sin as it was not a choice. Vengeance in mine says the lord would indicate that capital punishment is not just in Gods eyes, other theological thoughts disagree! The point is a large number of political forces are already using theological thought (some Greatly flawed ) with no application of logic, history, manners or civility. If as we are already being subjugated to these flaws we need to bring in the other argument! But with the civility that we use to pretend to have. All of these are complicated issues, that should not be ignored, and I believe in separation Of church and state, but to many do not, Pence or example. Scalia often talked of his Catholic credentials but to me, he missed the mark on a few points of faith, that or he separated his beliefs much as I do. But can to different conclusions. Meanwhile the New Testaments Call. Not to judge others is ignored by almost, all universally, if it wasn’t we would only have laws protecting freedoms and individuals, instead of trying to regulate them. What I am trying to. Make clear is it is a mess and until we start really listening to all points of view it will remain so. What I am calling for is a logical humanistic view, tempered with a view of history and our society! For some religious thought will always. Enter the picture, it is how we ended up with our current VP. And trust me until all of discussion Aspects are presented no one wins.
      My fellow Catholics think I am to liberal, as do many of my republican friends, my artististic, lgbt, and Democratic Friends think I am too conservative. I just think this is what I think. Talk to me try to convince me I am wrong. My views have evolved and modernized. But trust me I will always be able like a former debator should be able to argue both sides.

      • “Social Justice” banners hanging up in churches drives me nuts, Rip. It’s just a terrible conflation of bad religion and bad policy. As I’ve state here before, the left seems to have abandoned religion and, ironically, made politics their religion. I’m not my brother’s keeper, at least when it comes to being taxed and having that money handled by a bunch of pols and bureaucrats to maintain their cushy jobs. Let the disadvantaged figure out how to get advantaged and the really pathetic cases are already taken care of by the social safety net and charities. In the mean time, all I ask of government is a mostly level playing field.

  7. ”Obama’s smug, superior character catalyzed this fatal error”

    If it did, driving it into a corner and reducing it to its lowest terms would be James Carville’s “seemed like a good idea at the time” seminal tome 40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation.

    The fail accompli/kill shot/coup de grâce?

    138 hardcover editions available @Amazon from (and this is where it gets good!) 10 ¢.

    • Well, not to dispute the worth of that fine book, but I could doubtless find a thousand actually good books on Amazon that you could buy for a penny (plus shipping).

      There are many reasons for the decline of local bookstores. Amazon is a giant one.

      On the other hand, there are also good reasons why I don’t even try to sell contemporary political books. Now if I came across one on William Jennings Bryan, I’d list it in a heartbeat.

        • …and lost it because the rank and file were pushed (educated, incited, and shamed) too far to the left.

          When you claim to be the party of science, then get caught faking the science, or ignoring the very established science you claim to support, anything is possible. This is where mythology comes from.

          Democrats believe in a host of myths, and the real world doesn’t care about what they believe. (“Mother nature doesn’t give a shit”)

  8. about 30 years ago, maybe 35? A man i respected came back from a seminar at Stanford on the new “political correctness” which they were asking educators to start teaching at the university level.

    I was about 20 as this 40 something man told me how they were giong to get the culture to stop talking about “actions” and make “identities” so that they could control people’s actions by controlling their speech.

    i asked him “what do you mean?” and he started… “instead of calling someone homosexual, or “practicing homosexuality” they will be called “gay”, people who are prejudice will be called “racist”, and went on with how it was going to be told over and over that these people were INTOLERANT of other people based on things they could not help. and that they would try to promote this ideology so that words would become “crimes.” and i was like “no way, no one would fall for that” and he said, well they aren’t in a rush, they are looking at a 30 to 50 year span so that people will NOT speak what they think for fear of being thrown out of the culture.

    and we had a talk about it for about 30 mins and i was like “no way Kevin!” and he said “yes way.. these people have this well thought out and it will happen so slowly no one will know until they realize they can’t speak freely anymore.”

    and i thought of that over the years as i’ve seen things happen and now???? we have every “phobe” and “ist” you can imagine which is “defining” people. so you define the so called “victims” and the “non victims” for the same reason. to protect and criminalize.

    but ppl know this is happening and know they can’t speak as free as they could with out their entire identity being called into question and even more so being called “evil.” no longer is someone’s idea wrong THEY ARE EVIL.

    AND the sad thing is… it was well planned out and ppl have no idea they were part of this experiment.

  9. “Nevertheless, they brought this on themselves.”

    iI’m confused as to the context — what have they wrought, exactly? And what price do they now pay?

    • 1. What have they wrought? They allowed virtually the entire agenda of Barack Obama to be erased, undermined, or reversed. They got Donald Trump elected. They alienated the party from mainstream political values and practices. They neutralized the news media as a factor by corrupting it. They polarized the nation, and divided it along racial, gender, ethnic and generational lines.

      2. They have already paid a huge price in reputation, power and influence. What else? We shall see.

      • Like Kerensky was responsible for Lenin, then Stalin. Or the internal bickering in the Weimar republic was responsible for its successor.
        Gottit.

        As you said, we shall see.

  10. Agree for the most part.

    In comments long past, I critiqued the left for crying wolf, slurring opponents as racist, fascist, nazi. I warned at the time that should real Nazis be around, no one would believe them, and in fact they would get criticised for using those terms.

    With that in mind, and viewing this post, what would you have the Left do now?

    Consider GOP candidate Arthur Jones, who gained 20,000 votes to win him the primary. “Running a third-party candidate against Jones in November was among the options left to Illinois Republicans after Jones clinched the GOP nomination by running unopposed. But the deadline came and went this week and that didn’t happen either…” The guy’s a complete nutcase. He’s a Nazi,” said conservative GOP state Rep. David McSweeney”
    As in swastika-bearing, holocaust-denying, jew-baiting actual Nazi.

    Still, he ran unopposed. As did this guy.

    In Washington state, elected Republican Candidate James Allsop proclaims the supremacy of the White Race, and with his neo Nazi group Evropa, calls for the cleansing of inferior races from the US.

    The next example didn’t run unopposed. North Carolina Republican candidate Russell Walker.

    “Mr Walker’s site, Christ Descended From Joseph, includes statements like “Jews are not Semitic they are Satanic as they all descend from Satan” and ”What is wrong with being a white supremacist? God is a racist and a white supremacist.”

    The Republican nominee recently won his primary with 65 per cent of the vote.

    Think about that. 65% of Republicans in that district of North Carolina approve of his jew-baiting. While many of these individuals run unopposed in the primaries, they’re winning even when the vote is contested.

    So which is worse – a minority of Democrats who unfairly slander their opponents as Nazis, or a minority of Republicans who elect swastika bearing Nazis, Jew-baiting white supremacists who don’t bear swastikas (so don’t call them Nazis) , and the like. Not just once or twice either. Is the Let supposed to pretend that’s not happening, to remain silent? Apparently. Because of past sins.

    • Sue,

      Have you heard of the trope “…then let me be evil”?

      Accuse someone of something long enough, and make it so they cannot change it, and they will eventually embrace it, either as a pragmatic thing in self defence, or because they have (ironically) been convinced that it must be true.

      Many low information voters see that they have no choice, as the left will not have them.

  11. Exceptional piece, Jack!
    Coincidentally to your theme, I ended a comment (on the removal of Confederate statues issue) on another forum earlie today with this sentence:

    It seems a peculiar brand of hubris that makes someone imagine that only representations free from all but their current favored view are, should be, and ever will be the only “correct” ones to be allowed in the public eye.

  12. Ben Shapiro has this interesting theory that Kennedy resigned that despite his liberal slant, he is worried about free speech (as was outlined in some of the major rulings this season. I think there might be some merit to this and given the outrage, I think is more important than ever. The odds of Roe vs Wade or gay marriage being overturned seem highly unlikely. The odds of losing free speech seem more likely given the voting patterns.

    • The odds of Roe vs Wade or gay marriage being overturned seem highly unlikely.

      Given that Obergefell was a 5-4 decision, I’d be interested in your reasoning for saying this.

      Roe vs Wade was 7-2, but that was at a time when the SCOTUS leaned left as far as it leans right now under Kennedy. With 1,2 or 3 new right wing judges being nominated soon, 1 minimum, it would be between 5-4 and 7-2 the other way.

      I don’t think you have been keeping track of just how far right the court is likely to be. A better question is whether, as Justice Roberts believes, states have a right to impose a state religion. Though he thinks the Federal government probably does not. There’ll be a lot of that, regarding marriage, whether being gay is a felony, whether atheists can enter into contracts, etc. Many of these state laws have been deliberately kept on the books despite their unconstitutional nature, awaiting the day when the SCOTUS is firmly in the Right people’s hands. As it will be for decades.

      Time will tell.

      • I was mostly referring to stare decisis, coupled with the fact that free speech is quite broad compared to abortion and gay marriage.

        • The SCOTUS is not bound by precedent. Heck, some of Trump’s appointments to Federal courts have even stated in their cinfirmation hearings that stare decisis has very limited application in circuit courts, and will play little role in their decisions compared to their religious beliefs. You haven’t been paying attention, or MSM has dropped the ball, or is just overloaded with the unending stream of what would usually be considered outrages.

          One of the favourites, former Alito clerk Senator Lee (who is assured of at least one vote in his confirmation, his own) has stated that Roe vs Wade was the worst decision since Dredd Scott, and that Sodomy has no constitutional protection so it is not unconstitutional to make it a capital offence. A strict constructionist, he wishes to see Griswold vs Connecticut and Eisenstadt vs Baird overturned too, as they provide the basis for Roe vs Wade and Lawrence vs Texas.

          Traditions – such as recusal of a Senator in a vote on his own nomination – are no longer barriers.

          • The Supreme Court binds itself with stare decisis. There is no higher judicial authority to bind them, but they have usually held the doctrine in high regard.

            Obergefell is recent enough not to be as tightly bound to the doctrine, as stare decisis is presumed to grow stronger with age. It was also a controversial decision that was narrowly decided. It is not impossible that it could be reconsidered, as Kennedy’s reasoning was constitutionally unsound.

            But I doubt it will. Justices on the court have a sense of current culture, and there is no great hue and cry for either Roe or Obergefell to be reconsidered among the general population. Despite their controversial natures, neither of them threatens the republic by their existence, even if some are hostile to them. That doesn’t mean that abortion won’t be further restricted, as most of America thinks it should be last time I checked. But an outright overturning of Roe or Obergefell seems very unlikely to me.

      • The roe court was not particularly liberal – with four Nixon appointees and the liberal disappointment Byron white and Eisenhower pick Potter Stewart. It was much more liberal just a few years before. Roe, as an opinion, is an, er, abortion. It’s silly and terribly reasoned. Law students may debate the right to abortion but rarely do they debate the reasoning in roe.

        Yet, through all that, it has always stood. I know it gives the left a cause celebe but I wouldn’t worry.

        • I think that’s right. Harry Blackmun was a weak, undistinguished justice, and the classic example of supposed conservative who kept getting more liberal the longer he was on the court. I’d love to see a study: do any justices get more conservative? I can’t think of any.

  13. As I wrote—futilely, of course—so often in 2015 and 2016, but about the Republicans, a party has an ethical obligation to the nation to select a Presidential candidate who is qualified both in character and experience. Both parties failed that duty, but the point that progressives simply cannot process is that the Democrats failed that duty, and this is why they lost.

    Yes.

    The DNC party machine is a captive of its donors. They have apparently learned nothing. They have no candidate that is qualified in both character and experience. A ham sandwich would be better than the Leader, but the nation deserves better than that, and I’m not sure anyone on the DNC front rank is better than a ham sandwich either. There’s a huge age gap between the seotuagarians and octagenarians running the show, and the rest. And their policies are well to the right of Eisenhower Republicans.

    • A ham sandwich would be better than the Leader

      Objective fact would seem to assert otherwise.

      How is your paycheck, Sue? (Are you donating the newly granted ‘extra’ back to the government? Or to charity?)

      America is stronger by almost any measure than under Obama. Trump is uncouth, granted: but he is also adept at getting things done.

      • Of course, so was the Nazi party: “they made the trains run on time.”

        There is no comparison with how this administration acts, totalitarian wise, compared to Obama’s authoritarian excesses. Much less the Nazis.

        But you LIKED it when Obama did it.

        • That was actually Mussolini, and he sortta cheated…he changed the schedules to confirm to actual arrival times. Cheated? Say, doesn’t that sound like…nope, better not say it.

  14. At this point, I think changing their ways is out of the question. The Left has allowed Trump’s butterflies to blow away their sanity, electing radical candidates who can only harm their brand. Their assault on free speech seems to double every day, despite their losses in the courts, which are also coming more frequently now and are only likely to increase with this term’s rulings Supreme Court rulings. The future composition of the Court after Kennedy’s retirement makes it even more unfriendly for their attempts to restrict Constitutional guarantees of speech and arms.

    The continuing freakout, which seems to only be escalating, is already showing signs of destroying their hopes of a political comeback in the mid term elections. Kurt Schlichter’s “Normals” are drinking deep of the schadenfreude from a seemingly never-ending wellspring. Their allies in the media have become about as trustworthy as a used car salesman at a quarter-acre buy-here, pay-here lot, effectively destroying their ability to influence the direction of the country because of their transparent bias and constant wolf-crying.

    The Left has sowed the wind, and will reap the whirlwind.

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