Good Morning, Voters!
1. From the “bias makes you stupid” files. Yesterday two smart, once reasonable Massachusetts lawyers of the female persuasion debated me regarding the appropriateness of Dr. Blasey Ford’s late and unsubstantiated hit on Brett Kavanaugh. They were obnoxious about it, too, rolling their eyes and giggling to each other at my position, with one saying that I sounded like her “Southern friends.” I like them both, but a better example of how bias makes you stupid could hardly be devised. Their primary reason why Blasey Ford’s suddenly recalled trauma from the distant past should have been allowed to smear a qualified nominee for the Supreme Court in nationally televised hearings was this: women and girls in those les-enlightened days had good reason not to report rape and sexual assault, as they often were not believed and because a “boys will be boys” attitude prevailed in the culture. Moreover, they said, almost in unison, women still have good reasons not to report sexual assault. “Do you have daughters?” they asked, “gotcha!”-style.
To anyone whose ethics alarms are in good working order and who recognizes the difference between an emotional argument born of gender and partisan alliances and a good one, the rebuttal is obvious and comprises a general ethics principle:
One person’s misfortune, no matter how tragic or unjust, never justifies being unfair or unjust to somebody else.
Accusing anyone of anything three decades after the alleged incident is unfair.
Publicizing an allegation that cannot be verified and for which there is no supporting evidence is unfair.
Using alleged misconduct as a minor to impugn the character of an adult and a professional with an unblemished record of good conduct is unfair.
Dispensing with a presumption of innocence under any circumstances is unfair.
Dispensing with due process under any circumstances is unfair, because due process is itself fairness. (The two lawyers kept saying that this was not a trail so due process was not involved. The argument is either disingenuous or ignorant. Due process just means procedural fairness, in any context.)
Punishing one individual male for the fact that other males have escaped accountability for sexual misconduct is unfair-–and illogical.
Giving special considerations to one individual female because other females have been unfairly treated regarding their allegations is unfair—and illogical.
The two female lawyers kept saying that my position is a conservative one. It is not. It is not an ideological position in any way, though their position certainly is. May they regain intellectual integrity soon. And I forgive them for being so utterly insulting during our debate.
2. This is essentially a Big Lie argument from Vox: Ezra Klein, Vox creator, tweeted,
I don’t think people are ready for the crisis that will follow if Democrats win the House popular vote but not the majority. After Kavanaugh, Trump, Garland, Citizens United, Bush v. Gore, etc, the party is on the edge of losing faith in the system (and reasonably so).
An esteemed commenter recently accused me of being unfairly dismissive and insulting when a commenter dissents. That’s occasionally true but not generally true, and one circumstance where I may become dismissive and insulting is when a position is indefensible, like this one. It is either dishonest or so obtuse that no one capable of writing it down should be trusted again.
There is no House popular vote. What Klein is claiming is that the composition of the House of Representatives is supposed to match the numerical percentage of Democratic and Republican votes. The system he describes is a system that has been proposed, but it is not our system, and has never been our system, so expecting that result is ludicrous, and being outraged if it does not occur is bizarre. Let’s take three districts, shall we? In one, Democrats win by an overwhelming margin. In two, Republicans eke out a win. Over all, the combined vote favors Democrats. Vox says that Democrats should expect to have three Congressional members, and will lose faith in the system if they only get one.
This argument sounds logical, if one is an ignoramus. The question is whether Klein is trying to decieve the civically illiterate, or whether he is one of them.
In a more general sense, his tweet typifies the growing attitude on the Left that if their candidates don’t win, then democracy isn’t working. This tells you what the reaction will be if somehow Democrats don’t gain control of the House today.
3. Let’s continue on this theme a bit, shall we? Since the election of Donald Trump, the New York Times Book Review section has asked every subject of its interview feature, “If you could require the President to read one book, what would it be?” This is designed as a weekly insult to Trump—Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias!—and as an opportunity for the inevitably Trump-hating author or celebrity to signal their virtue to the Times’ Trump-hating readership. This week’s subject, Princeton religious scholar Elaine Pagels, replied, “Although this question is, of course, totally counterfactual, the answer is obvious: the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.”
I confess, this particular hypocrisy drives me crazy, and I have been watching and listening to it for two years, as have all of us. The “resistance,” the Democratic Party, and the academia that have openly attacked Constitutional institutions and the Bill of Rights. They have denied the legitimacy of the Electoral College, they have argued for exceptions to the First Amendment (see Ezra Klein’s reference to Citizens United above), attempting to label political positions they don’t like as “hate speech,” and using violence to prevent free association and assembly on college campuses. They are the segment of society that advocates disparate standards based on race and gender. They are the advocates of the destructive precedent that a President can be impeached any time the opposing party can muster a majority. They have announced their intention to repeal the Second Amendment. They have argued for suspensions of the Due Process Clause when it suits their agenda. Trump needs to read the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights?
No doubt, President Trump has the knowledge of the Constitution of a typical citizen, which is to say “almost none,” but his foes on the Left are openly hostile to the Constitution. They have no standing to claim special respect for the document, when they have none unless it suits a particular partisan agenda item.
4. But conservatives are the fascists! Intimidation has emerged as an increasingly accepted tool of progressives. [See: the antifa. See: social media. See: mobs harassing Republican officials and Trump staff after being primed by Rep. Waters, Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, and others. See celebrities made to grovel apologies for any hint of support for a conservative position. Etc.] Now Democratic candidate Scott Wallace, running against incumbent Republican representative Brian Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania’s toss-up 1st Congressional District, is distributing door hangers in the area that sends the message, “vote or else.” Here it is:
I don’t care what party a candidate is in, any American who casts a vote for someone who would approve this kind of thing deserves the totalitarian government if and when it arrives.
But thank goodness we have an unethical right-biased news network to partially balance the unethical left-biased news media...Prof .Turley and others legitimately register disgust at the fact that Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro are now actively campaigning with President Trump. You can’t get more biased and unobjective than that. If Fox News had any professional standards at all, and, alas, it does not, it would suspend both of them. Hannity compounded the ethical offense with a Jumbo: “Campaigning? Who’s campaigning?”, as he tweeted,
I will not be on stage campaigning with the President. I am covering final rally for my show.
Suuuuure, Sean. President Trump called Hannity and Pirro to the stage and said, “I have a few people that are right out here, and they’re very special. They’ve done an incredible job for us. They’ve been with us from the beginning, also.” Hannity then pointed to non-Fox reporters at the rally, and told the crowd to cheers, “By the way, all those people in the back are fake news.” No, Sean, you’re a fake journalist, and a disgracefully biased pundit. Then Pirro chimed in—Is she the most abrasive pundit on television? Who can stand watching her?— “If you like the America that [Trump] is making now, you’ve got to make sure you get out there tomorrow if you haven’t voted yet.”
No bias there!
A good argument could be made that the blatant partisan bias of Hannity and Pirro is still ethically preferable to the ongoing lie that MSNBC’s and CNN’s reporters, hosts and pundits haven’t been campaigning against the President for two years, but that an “It isn’t the worst thing” rationalization (#22). When we’re at the point where we welcome unethical bias to balance more unethical bias, the walls are closing in.