Ethics Warm-Up: I Wish I Were Surprised, But I’m Not

NOW what?

Quite a bit, actually…

1. Res Ipsa Loquitur #1 The Democratic National Committee has barred Fox News from hosting its Presidential primary debates. I guess the Democrats don’t want any tough questions interfering with their efforts to rig the nomination this time around.

If there was ever better proof that the Democratic Party considers the mainstream media their captive allies, I don’t know what it would be. In 2016, Republicans subjected their candidates to outright hostile questioning from CBS and CNBC journalists, and Fox treated Donald Trump as roughly as a candidate can be treated in the Republican debates. I watched all the pre-nomination debates: Fox’s Neil Cavuto was among the very fairest of all panelists, and as Fox News has correctly said in its protest about the Democratic slur, Chris Wallace, Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, the proposed Fox News debate questioners, are at least as objective and professional as any Left-media journalists.

DNC Chair Tom Perez’s excuse for this blackball move is self-evidently dishonest: “Recent reporting in the New Yorker on the inappropriate relationship between President Trump, his administration and Fox News has led me to conclude that the network is not in a position to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates. Therefore, Fox News will not serve as a media partner for the 2020 Democratic primary debates.” Oh, the New Yorker says so! That settles it then!

The GOP didn’t pull out of the Vice-Presidential debates in 2008 even though the NPR’s debate moderator, Gwen Ifill, had her pro-Obama book sitting at her publisher  waiting for he candidate to win. CBS wasn’t barred from hosting debates, event though David Rhodes, then president of CBS News, is the brother of Ben Rhodes, Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser. Meanwhile, Ben Sherwood, president of ABC News, is the brother of Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, an Obama  special assistant.  Claire Shipman, a national correspondent for ABC’s “Good Morning America,” was married to Jay Carney when he was President Obama’s press secretary. These were real, hard, conflicts of interest. The bias of the Fox News journalists is apparently based on the fact that they may run into Trump pal Sean Hannity in the lunch room.

The Democratic Party is prepared to do everything in its power to make sure the American public does not get properly informed regarding the character, skills and beliefs of its 2020 Presidential candidate, and is confident that every network but Fox can be depended upon to assist them in achieving that goal.

2. Almost certainly untrustworthy study of the week, but great for confirmation bias purposes:  According to an article in “The Atlantic,”  a survey conducted by the polling firm PredictWise that assembled a county-by-county index of American political intolerance  based on poll results determined that ” the most politically intolerant Americans… tend to be whiter, more highly educated, older, more urban, and more partisan themselves.”

That would explain the posts by my Facebook friends…

3. I know this will shock you, but Newt Gingrich doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and Michael Cohen is still lying. It was revealed yesterday that Michael Cohen’s lawyer floated the possibility to the White House of Cohen getting a Presidential pardon. Yet in his testimony under oath to Congress last week, Cohen stated flatly that he had never sought nor would never accept such a pardon—and his lawyer, Clinton fixer Lanny Davis, was sitting directly behind him What’s up with THAT? Well, Cohen lied to Congress, here, there, and probably everywhere, that’s what. It’s right on the video. So why, then, didn’t Lanny do something about it?

Fox News this morning asked Newt Gingrich, who isn’t a lawyer and based on his past, knows as much about ethics as he does about the dewpoint of feldspar, that question, and Newt explained to Fox’s audiences that David was prevented from doing anything because of attorney-client privilege….and, of course, Bill Hemmer, the Fox News host, nodded as if this was gospel. Not only wasn’t it gospel, it’s WRONG.

The situation of a D.C. lawyer’s client—David is a D.C. lawyer— testifying under oath and lying is covered by DC RPC Rule 3.9:

Rules of Professional Conduct: Rule 3.9—Advocate in Nonadjudicative Proceedings:  A lawyer representing a client before a legislative or administrative body in a nonadjudicative proceeding shall disclose that the appearance is in a representative capacity and shall conform to the provisions of Rules 3.3, 3.4(a) through (c), and 3.5.

Rule 3.3 says:

(d) A lawyer who receives information clearly establishing that a fraud has been perpetrated upon the tribunal shall promptly take reasonable remedial measures, including disclosure to the tribunal to the extent disclosure is permitted by Rule 1.6(d).

Since Cohen’s lie did not threaten to cause financial harm to anyone (that’s the threshold for disclosure to the tribunal under 3.9), Davis’s remedial measures could not include telling the committee that Cohen was a liar (but then, they knew that, as do we all), but he still was obligated to demand that Cohen correct his statement, and if he refused, withdraw from the representation. A D.C. lawyer cannot do nothing when he knows a client he represents is misleading Congress under oath. Davis should know that, both because a D.C. lawyer is charged with knowing his jurisdiction’s rules, and especially because he has represented liars many times before, notably the Clintons.

I haven’t seen any news that Lanny has resigned, have you?

4. Ah, but there is so, so much important information the public needs to know and has a right to know! But over at CNN’s Headline News, there was no mention that Cohen had committed perjury while his lawyer sat smiling behind him. No, HLN decided that it was far more important to spend a full ten minutes out of the news hour this morning talking about Alex Trabek’s revelation that he has Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He’s a game show host. I like Alex, and he seems like a great guy, but the health problems of the host of Jeopardy! come under the category of trivia, not national news.

5. Res Ipsa Loquitur #2 Reading this New York Times story should be enough, but I’ll elaborate briefly. It shows a political party completely devoid of integrity and unwilling to alienate any part of its constituency in order to take a necessary stand.

Freshman Somali-American Rep. Omar (D-Minn) is demonstrably anti-Semitic, not just a foe of U.S. policy regarding Israel. She made anti-Jewish comments before being elected, and has accused American Jews of having competing national loyalties as well as accusing them of controlling U.S. policy with their wealth. Both echo ages-old slurs against Jews that have been used to justify oppression and violence. She will not stop this either. She is unapologetically bigoted.

Alarmed, Democratic House leadership composed a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, though it did not name Omar. So many rationalizations and protests were raised by Omar’s defenders, enablers, and fellow travelers, however, that the vote on the resolution was postponed while it was retooled into a general statement that its not nice to be a bigot.  The Times article missed arguably the worst of the defenses and excuses offered to protect Omar: Rep. James Clyburn’s disgusting Well, if you went through what she did, you’d be an Anti-Semite too! argument. The veteran black Democrat complained that that many of the media reports have omitted mentioning that Omar, who was born in Somalia, had to flee her country to escape violence and spent four years in a Kenyan refugee camp before coming to the United States.” “There are people who tell me, ‘Well, my parents are Holocaust survivors.’ ‘My parents did this,’ Cliburn said. “It’s more personal with her … I’ve talked to her, and I can tell you she is living through a lot of pain.”

Got it, Congressman. If you’re in enough pain, you can be openly bigoted.

The Times does document Democrats resorting to whataboutism (Why no resolution condemning Trump?), “it’s not the worst thing,” the race card, the gender card, and the Muslim card to force Pelosi and the Democratic leadership to avoid directly condemning the metastasizing anti-Semitism in its ranks. Others resorted to logical fallacies like The Straw Man: “What would be the appropriate level of punishment — a public flogging?” Representative Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, asked.

The Democratic Party is so choked with competing tribal priorities and is groveling to so many groups demanding special treatment that it can’t even manage to condemn the vilest form of hate and discrimination human civilization has ever seen.

 

 

27 thoughts on “Ethics Warm-Up: I Wish I Were Surprised, But I’m Not

  1. With further regard to ethics issues concerning Lanny Davis, how possibly could Davis honestly and ethically advise Cohen given Lanny’s agenda, his history, his previous/ongoing (?) representation of Hillary and all things partisan Democratic. Working up Cohen’s “recollections” for maximum harm (to Trump) and encouraging the attempted public bushwacking of Pres. Trump without regard to the obvious harm to his alleged client (Cohen) is unethical. Davis took serious advantage of someone in a precarious situation and put Cohen out on a limb that Davis knew would likely be chopped off.
    And who will pay the price for the lie about the no pardon request? Not Davis or the team of Democrat lawyers who vetted the statement, that much is clear. But the irony of Davis going after White House lawyer’s notes on Cohen’s previous testimony should be considered. I hope Davis’ drafts of Cohen’s testimony don’t suffer the same fate as Hillary’s Whitewater notes.

  2. Re: No. 5: Rep. Ilhan Omar; Anti-Semitism.

    I wonder about Rep. Pelosi. Have she and her party-constituent-bases been out-diversity-ified (is that a word?) by the hard Left take over by the new, younger, hipper Congress members? Rep. Pelosi seems to have lost control of the new radical element of her party, to wit:

    1. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez staged a protest in her office and was rewarded with committee seats.

    2. Reps. Tlaib and Omar have issued disturbing statements about Jews, Israel and the Palestinians, and both have walked away unscathed.

    3. Rep. Tlaib accused Rep. Meadows of racism during the Cohen hearings because . . . Someone help me. I can’t understand what she was saying: Was Rep. Meadows a racist because he asked an African American to stand to show Pres. Trump isn’t racist or because Rep. Meadows thinks . . . what, exactly. I guess it doesn’t matter because Reps. Tlaib and Meadows hugged and made up (even though Tlaib stuck an “I Heart the Klan” sign on the back of this coat).

    4. Other veteran Democrat members of Congress seems just as confused – Rep. Hoyer wished it all away by saying Rep. Omar’s explicitly anti-semitic and anti-Israel comments were taken out of context.

    5. Even the venerable Southern Poverty Law Center, last time I perused its website, was fairly silent about these alarming comments, mostly jumping up and down about some idiot somewhere who thinks Robert E. Lee was a good general, (I do expect some comment by the SPLC, though, because David Duke issued a statement supporting Rep. Omar today – that ought to be fun), and

    6. As Jack noted, Rep. Clyburn’s weirdly irrelevant comments about who-knows-what-he-was-talking-about.

    The last time I saw the resolution, it had been diluted (diversity-ified?) to include a condemnation of all things bad: Anti-semitism, anti-Muslimism, anti-racism, anti-poverty, anti-anti-social justice warriorism, anti-global-warningism, etc. It also removed any direct condemnation of Rep. Omar’s anti-semitc and anti-Israel comments. It simply says that the Demcrats opposed and reject any meanyness everywhere. Oh. Thanks, Democrats. All is good. Trump is a racist and Fox News sucks. Carry on.

    jvb

  3. 3: ” …the most politically intolerant Americans… tend to be whiter, more highly educated, older, more urban, and more partisan themselves.”

    Hmmm, did they leave out “politically left-leaning” as one of the characteristics, as noted in other studies of this type?

    • Educated and urban are the giveaways here. Thay is progressives favorite demographic description of themselves.

    • Considering all the mocking of Trump voters, this is a checklist for progressives today, And if we set this up as venn diagrams, an ever shrinking section of the population… not enough to win a lot of elections.

      Somebody remind me why anyone trusts electronic voting when a party wants rubber stamping instead of elections?

  4. 1. The really upsetting thing to me is that CNN is just about the only news source that is available world wide. Great picture of the US to the international community.

    2. Gingrich aside: What IS the dewpoint of feldspar? That made me laugh out loud.

    3. Re Rep Omar and her anti-Semitism. Does no one know even recent history? More than a hundred million — I mean a HUNDRED MILLION — died in World War II, six million of them Jews — because crazies in Germany and Japan thought their “race” should rule. WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? How can anyone allow Rep. Omar to survive as a legislator in the United States? I know the only thing that can be done is hope she isn’t reelected in two years, but for now, she should be shunned, criticized, and put in her place. Let’s hear it for our beloved melting pot.

  5. Given that Clyburn in essence said that the people complaining were a full generation removed from the holocaust and Omar’s issues were personally felt that would mean that all references to the horrors of slavery and Jim Crow laws are not to be uttered by anyone under 65. I am using Brown v Board of Ed as my point in time that all Black persons born after 1954 are unable to be offended by laws that promoted second class status to Blacks.

    I really do not understand how her experiences in Somalia and Kenyan refugee camps would affect her thinking on Isreal and issues of the West Bank. Israel is quite removed from Somalia and the only relationship appears to be Muslim bigotry toward Israel and Zionists.

    • “If you were a socialist Muslim who had to flee the country because of socialist Muslims, you too would hate Jews.” Makes sense, Jim.

  6. #2 – You stopped your quoting leaving out a key point. I’ll start with your quote and add to it from the article.

    a survey conducted by the polling firm PredictWise that assembled a county-by-county index of American political intolerance based on poll results determined that ” the most politically intolerant Americans… tend to be whiter, more highly educated, older, more urban, and more partisan themselves.They don’t routinely talk with people who disagree with them; this isolation makes it easier for them to caricature their ideological opponents.

    I’ve been making that point for a while. I think it’s why none of the progressives can handle interacting with you and others here Jack. If you grow up in an urban area, go to elementary and secondary education whether public or private, and earn advanced degrees, it’s entirely possible to have NEVER been confronted by opposing political viewpoints. We’ve seen conservative views vilified by the education system for so long, any conservatives are cowed from speaking out.

    Their minds have been filled with ideas, but opposing viewpoints have never been presented. It makes their views dogma, not a principled, well thought out position. As the quote mentions, they caricature you and anyone else who dares challenge their core beliefs. They prejudge and dismiss because otherwise they would have to acknowledge they’ve never put rational thought into their beliefs. Anything contrary to the orthodoxy must be attacked.

    I view this as a very troubling and I do wonder about how it’s going to resolve. You and I are quite different in political views but share a similar disdain for progressives. I’m a staunch advocate of individual liberty, and progressivism is a threat to that. I stand behind the United State’s unique in the world first amendment, and progressives wish to dismantle it.

    I think part of the breakdown coming is the breakdown of the higher education system in this country. Students are being charged way too much for mostly is stuff of little use. A university degree used to be the path to a successful career but sadly it’s becoming more and more worthless.

  7. The Democratic National Committee has barred Fox News from hosting its Presidential primary debates.

    This truly comes as no surprise to me. It’s really beginning to look like the majority of the Democratic Party has gone straight over the cliff of reality and their psyche now resides in a alternate universe one where anything and anyone that doesn’t jive with their extreme progressive viewpoint is ostracized.

  8. 1 Res Ipsa Loquitur #1

    Perhaps the Republicans should do the same thing to CNN in retaliation. Of course, that’s pretty weak beer, since everyone but Fox is manifestly biased against them.

    The ethical thing to do would be to view the entire affair with sadness rather than anger, but the Democrats are playing this game the Chicago way. Unilateral disarmament has never resulted in victory.

    The Democratic Party is prepared to do everything in its power to make sure the American public does not get properly informed regarding the character, skills and beliefs of its 2020 Presidential candidate, and is confident that every network but Fox can be depended upon to assist them in achieving that goal.

    The Democrats know how to play for keeps.

    2 Untrustworthy study

    ” the most politically intolerant Americans… tend to be whiter, more highly educated, older, more urban, and more partisan themselves.”

    Sounds like the dictionary definition of the white urban and suburban liberal to me.

    I’d put on my shocked face if it wasn’t broken from overuse.

    3 Gingrich and Cohen

    Sorry, shocked face in the repair shop.

    and his lawyer, Clinton fixer Lanny Davis,

    Heh. Love it. It’s a nice, backhanded stab at the media’s partisan use of the word “fixer.”

    A D.C. lawyer cannot do nothing when he knows a client he represents is misleading Congress under oath [unless he or she is a Democrat].

    There. Fixed that for you. As has been demonstrated many times, partisans on both sides of the aisle, but especially Democrats, do not enforce the rules consistently against their own. The DC bar is probably 100% partisan Democrat in their party affiliation. Res Ipsa Loquitur.

    Lanny Davis would have to strip nude and dance a jig on the hearing table before anyone would demand he step down.

    Res Ipsa Loquitur #2

    The Times does document Democrats resorting to whataboutism (Why no resolution condemning Trump?), “it’s not the worst thing,” the race card, the gender card, and the Muslim card to force Pelosi and the Democratic leadership to avoid directly condemning the metastasizing anti-Semitism in its ranks. Others resorted to logical fallacies like The Straw Man: “What would be the appropriate level of punishment — a public flogging?” Representative Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, asked.

    You should save this piece for your business. Sounds like it would be an excellent case study for ethics generally, including the complete absence of rational, defensible arguments winning the day.

    The Democratic Party is so choked with competing tribal priorities and is groveling to so many groups demanding special treatment that it can’t even manage to condemn the vilest form of hate and discrimination human civilization has ever seen.

    With luck, it will destroy itself and splinter into factions. As it is, it represents a low point in American political parties.

  9. The Atlantic article:

    Conflict and protest are vital to democracy. But whenever people begin to caricature one another, anywhere in the world, predictable tragedies occur. Fixable problems do not get fixed. Neighbors become estranged, embittered, and sometimes violent. Everyone ends up worse off, sooner or later. “This is the great danger America faces,” Representative Barbara Jordan of Texas said in 1976. “That we will cease to be one nation and become instead a collection of interest groups: city against suburb, region against region, individual against individual. Each seeking to satisfy private wants.”

    There are numerous “lies-of-sorts” in this paragraph. While there is no doubt that America was created as a democracy, and democratic forms exist, it is important to be able to see and talk about how power has capabilities of acting contra-democratically and para-democratically.

    From time to time I have mentioned — and my side of the political spectrum often refers to — ‘social engineering’. Defined as elite decision-making which is essentially para-democratic. I think one could also speak of ‘business interests’ and certain forms of public relations strategies, techniques and products, as being contra-democratic. But the larger issue, if one were to go in this direction, is to ask if *America* now represents an attainment of ‘true democratic process’ or one determined by para-democratic and contra-democratic interests, intrusion and interest. It is an open question.

    With these two points in mind, and turning back to look at this Democratic American Idealism which is implied by the writer of The Atlantic article, and one that is assumed by those who hold to the Civic Religion of Americanism which is a Postwar Media and (excuse the vulgar word) Propaganda creation, one can then examine in a different light the ‘conflict’ mentioned … and then of course ‘democracy’ in the larger, fuller sense.

    If people are ‘estranged, embittered and sometimes violent’, why is this? How has this come about? Obviously, this is seen as a negative, but that could be because the perspective of the writer is one in-pro of the social engineering project of the Postwar, and which, at least in some circles, is being resisted. But what if such *resistance* is understood to be not bad and wrong, but good and necessary? And what if one makes this assertion within a democratic context?

    Therefore, if Whites overall are showing more intolerance — and we all know what, in fact, is really being said: that Whites need to change their perspective, adapt to the national project which has been devised for them, and to surrender resistance — and if this leads to disunity, Why must this necessarily be represented as a bad thing? It is an unfortunate thing, but not necessarily a bad thing.

    Everyone ends up worse off, sooner or later.

    But who has defined this present (the Postwar Model) as necessarily ‘good’, that is, as a given?

    A great deal more critical thought needs to be applied to how one sees the present, and the conflicts of our day, and to see it is a larger context. This can be done and is not hard, but it is made difficult in a coercive, ideologically implanting present under a ‘regime of thought’ with precise assertions and parameters.

  10. Freshman Somali-American Rep. Omar (D-Minn) is demonstrably anti-Semitic, not just a foe of U.S. policy regarding Israel. She made anti-Jewish comments before being elected, and has accused American Jews of having competing national loyalties as well as accusing them of controlling U.S. policy with their wealth. Both echo ages-old slurs against Jews that have been used to justify oppression and violence. She will not stop this either. She is unapologetically bigoted.

    Having any sort of criticism, or any sort of idea, about Jews, the Jewish influence on the Occident, the fact of Jewish expulsions, and any sort of conversation, writing, sharing of opinions on this theme: that is the definition of anti-Semitism. That is one aspect.

    The other aspect is that it is perfectly OK to have Jewish-critical opinions, and it is absolutely, throughly justifiable to have a critical position of Jewish influence in America. It is also completely and thoroughly justifiable to notice and to talk about the dual-loyalty issue, specifically as it pertains to Israel and the massive influence Israel has seeks. Indeed, if a person cannot do that or will not do that, I would question their own understanding of civic responsibility.

    At the same time — this is undeniable — there are Jew-Haters and Judenhass exists. That problem is intimately bound up in Jewish Identity. It is part-and-parcel of Jewish ‘mission’ in a historical sense; part-and-parcel of Jewish scripture; and a reality that Jews live with (and have a multitude of ways of talking about and interpreting).

    The entire conversation about Jews, Judaism and Jewishness, and about Israel’s tremendous influence over American policy must be brought out for discussion. Every aspect of it, in free and open conversation. In other words, such conversation must not be shut down.

    The entire *fiasco* that is playing out is part of a strategy to keep open conversation from occurring. The US government taken as a whole is ridiculously subservient to Israel and this in itself is embarrassingly weird. And it is weird to watch people go through their bizarre rehearsals of all this.

    See how easy it is to *think freely*? And doing it one time leads to the possibility of doing it in other areas . . . 😉

    • The other aspect is that it is perfectly OK to have Jewish-critical opinions, and it is absolutely, throughly justifiable to have a critical position of Jewish influence in America. It is also completely and thoroughly justifiable to notice and to talk about the dual-loyalty issue, specifically as it pertains to Israel and the massive influence Israel has seeks.

      Well, this is a remarkably broad statement coming from you.

      Do you think, if we replaced “Jewish” and “Israel” with “African-American+Africa” or “Muslim+Muslim Majority” or “Latino+Latin America” in that paragraph, the Left would agree? I assume you would agree under those circumstances.

      The problem is, I don’t think the Left would agree with your paragraph if any of those substitutions were made. That’s why, besides her prior history, I find this Democratic campaign to silence criticism of Omar likely to be anti-Semitic in nature. They are fine with all sorts of criticism of the Jews, but totally not fine with the same treatment of other ethnic and religious minorities.

      • I see your point, but it is *referential* to this Left that you have many good reasons to critique. Trust me, I share those criticisms.

        But I refer to a *regime of thought* and a *regime of thinking* that uses underhanded tactics to control discourse, and I locate this not just there, but everywhere. Everyone is lying and everyone invests in lies. I think it is fair to say that these two parties are deeply involved in power-politics (strivings for power) and both cannot be trusted by a sane citizenry.

        The Jewish issue is just one among many. I submit as a project, as a necessary counter-assertion to (what I call) the Lies of Our Present, the possibility of *beginning to tell the truth*. It immediately becomes a rather radical undertaking . . . simply because (IMHO) we live within a system of lies.

        That’s why, besides her prior history, I find this Democratic campaign to silence criticism of Omar likely to be anti-Semitic in nature.

        Interesting, I see your point (and your concern). Mine is different. My idea is, as I say, that the whole conversation should be opened up.

        • Interesting, I see your point (and your concern). Mine is different. My idea is, as I say, that the whole conversation should be opened up.

          Oh, I don’t really disagree with that at all. Legitimate criticism of who gives money to whom and why are valid political territory, even when it touches on a racial or religious minority. As long as the criticism is clearly about questionable activity rather than using that excuse to make racist/anti-religious comments, it’s fine by me. Of course, that is a very tricky line to walk, alas.

          What should happen, in this case, is the Democrats should rebuke Omar, not for legitimate questions about dueling loyalties, but rather for the fact that this, plus her earlier more unambiguous anti-Semitic comments have no more place in our Congress than racist comments such as those by Steve King. This commentary about loyalty is a well-known anti-Jewish trope used by genuine anti-Semites to attack Jews without saying things obviously racist. Call it a “dog whistle,” which is a term we normally see applied to those on the right.

          Freedom to speak on this subject should not be as fraught as it is, and I think that’s your main point, and I generally agree. Alas, we no longer remember the old saw, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” It has been replaced by sensitivity to virtually everything one can imagine, or even invent, and it stifles speech.

          • Freedom to speak on this subject should not be as fraught as it is, and I think that’s your main point, and I generally agree. Alas, we no longer remember the old saw, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” It has been replaced by sensitivity to virtually everything one can imagine, or even invent, and it stifles speech.

            A few comments are in order. The question that begins to form in me is Is knowledge and understanding really helpful? Or, is it best to agree to pretend to *believe in* the fictions that are offered as truth-substitutes?

            In my case, I first encountered the suggestion that believing lies has a definite (useful) function and, for those inclined to poke & prod, that they had better gain awareness of this, because too much truth might in the end be a bad thing (have a destructive effect). It is a strange but interesting problem.

            Nietzsche is the one who both took a (philosophical) hammer to *the lies of his present* . . . and then, as an afterthought, suggested that fictions and myths have their purposes. That if you destroyed those Monuments you’d wind up in a world *without horizons* (encompassing, safe ‘truths’).

            What inspires me to comment on what you wrote here is to note that, today, there is no possible way that the adversaries one has — that is, in a situation that is adversarial down to the foundations — could ever allow *words* to stand and to see them as incapable of *hurt* (broken bones). If you bother to read the (mostly) Jewish commentators who write about their impression and their sense of what the new right-leaning manifestation means for them (as historical Jews), you will quickly and definitively gain a sense of *what is at stake*. (Jonathan Weisman and Ronald Beiner are two exemplars).

            I am here speaking specifically of Jewish issues, which are of course historical and also theological issues. In the aftermath of the WW2 experience it was resolved that Jews had to arrive at the choice to ‘stop being Jews’. I do not say that lightly or off-handedly and I mean it more in a special, interior sense. A subtle sense. The European experience, the Exile/Diaspora, is a study in Jewish victimology. To be the victim of The Other. Largely, it is an unending tragedy.

            Out of that — though I know this doesn’t make immediate sense — political Zionism was born. The essence of political Zionism is to *say no* to the Exile, to victimhood, and at the same time to an aspect of Jewish Identity — which is part-and-parcel of being Jewish — and to take matters in hand. And, strangely, that can only be done through a denial of Divine Authority (that authority which has defined what being Jewish means).

            What many do not seem to understand is that — in long Jewish history — there had never, not once, arose an historical situation comparable to what America offered to Jews. This is the stuff of lengthy Jewish histories, probably only or mostly read by Jews, and is one of the main elements of Jewish self-consciousness. America has been, and is, an unparalleled opportunity for the Exiled Tribe. America is many times more relevant and essential, shall I say, to Jewry than Israel is or could be. It is not Israel and Jerusalem that really have structural relevance, but America. And Israel — this is known and talked about among Jews — has turned out to be enormously complicating for Jews who, by choice or by inertia, live in the Diaspora and have no other intentions (not to mention that assimilation is rendering Jewishness slowly meaningless).

            The *realizations* for Judea in the aftermath of the Events of Europe, were and are profound existential meditations: meditations on survival not in some remote *spiritual sense*, but fully in the body. Kind of like, perhaps, a man in a knife-fight who says: Either I come out of this alive, or I don’t.

            Afterworlds, otherworlds, the whole notion of *transcendence* . . . are meaningless as Jews confronted existential annihilation. That is the meaning, and that is the meaning that took shape to define Jewishness in the post-Shoa world.

            This, now, is the historical moment that will be seized and must be seized, and it is truly an issue comparable to the notion, in Nietzsche (as a reaction against the passivity of Schopenhauer) of ‘Will-to-Power’. Obviously, for those with the misfortune of reading other thoughts of mine (!), I place great emphasis on Power: the sense of it, the phenomenological reality of it. The way that it has become *the defining question*. That is why I say that, in essence, the world has become a Fascist Instrument. Power determines. Not ‘justice’ not ‘goodness’ not ‘idealism’ not ‘truth’, and in a sense not even ‘meaning’. These have become subservient to the root impulse of survival.

            The issue, then, is who controls *the world* and who *defines the world*. The Postwar political creation — what we call Liberalism — was in a sense an attempt to ‘bring history to a close’ (Fukuyama). Some have recognized — it is a rebellious recognition which is also an *imposition* of sorts — that liberalism can become, quite easily, a totalitarian expression. I would suggest that this is, quite precisely, what we all notice with the ‘American Democrat Party’. One notices something ‘revving up’ in which the power-dynamic is highly visible.

            In contradiction to that (*that* being the world of The Americanopolis, to put it in a negative and ironic term), we notice that something comes forth to oppose this Liberalism. This is an issue of Political Theory, of course, and to understand the Rising Right one must understand both Nietzsche and also Heidegger. I can only allude to the fact that ‘Liberalism’ as I have defined it really is an expression of a developed and complex Metaphysics. It is a way of looking at, interpreting, and being in Reality (in Being). I can assure you that those ‘critics of liberalism’ are reading and considering the implications of other ways of understanding Reality and Being, and they are deeply critical of liberalism as something that eventuates in destruction, weakness, giving -in, surrendering and being overrun! (That is, what Europe is today).

            I am now jumping back to make a statement about ‘the conditions of the present’ and to propose that it is possible to understand the tension and the conflict that is manifesting in this present from a position above it — outside of it to some degree. How far could one go in *explication*? (So far that I would irritate Slickwilly, and that is as far as I am willing to go!).

            The more that one understand ‘what the stakes are’, the better one can understand the battles going on in our present. Will it help one to ‘take a side’?

            • Here is what Ronald Beiner has to say (and he is speaking to the crisis of the present and the rise of what he called the Illiberal Right):

              So here’s my proposal. We must read the great anti-liberal theorists — Rousseau, Marx, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and, yes, even Joseph de Maistre — not in order to appropriate them for liberal or leftist intellectual projects but in order to come to a deeper understanding of precisely why they turn their backs on bourgeois liberalism and hence why many of our fellow citizens are readily tempted to do the same. All the best theorists have, of course, always done this. But I’m inclined to think that, especially in recent decades, the confidence of the liberal West in the moral truth of the liberal-egalitarian dispensation and its idea of justice has duped theorists into thinking that this enterprise of radical and comprehensive philosophical dialogue is no longer essential. Hopefully, the shock of the populist-nationalist backlash we are currently seeing will jolt theorists, intellectuals, and citizens into recognizing what often turn out to be tacit and unconscious end-of-history assumptions. As I hope is illustrated by the commentaries on Nietzsche and Heidegger presented in this book [Dangerous Minds: Nietzsche, Heidegger and the Return of the Far Right], an honest dialogue with these thinkers requires that we take them seriously without in any way liberalizing or white-washing their most appalling and most illiberal ideas. If we fail to grasp what these enemies of the democratic Enlightenment are really saying, then we’ll (deservedly) get sucker-punched by thinkers or doers less shy about taking them at their word.

              You might ask: What is the connection between the crisis of liberalism and the *threat* of the resurgence of right-leaning ideas, and the people who carry forward those ideas, and The Jewish Situation?

              If one desires to have *understanding*, and not only to react against scary images that pass before the eyes in procession as we review the *events of the day*, then one must understand how some modern thinkers define ‘the Jewish revolutionary spirit’ and why and how they implicate Jews and their own specific historical project, especially that of the Postwar years, in weakening the structures of Occidental civilization in order to create a ‘safe space’ in which (as Weisman repeats in his book) Jews can flourish.

              Again, I am only suggesting, and have always only suggested, that these things — all of them — be better understood. To understand them means to get them out in the open. But, I say again: I am uncertain that understanding can help one in devising political and social action (praxis).

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