18 thoughts on “It’s Friday Again Already? Open Forum, Then!

  1. My comment over on Jonathan Turley’s blog post today was…

    The 21st century cancel culture of social justice warriors, progressives and the anti-Trump resistance really have become anti-American and anti-Constitution fascist minded totalitarians. These ignorant people are a malignant cancer to our culture and society, they WILL destroy the United States of America with their Constitution and Liberty for me but not for thee totalitarian mindset unless the moderate middle rise up and put a stop to the popularity of extremism. These totalitarian minded people have literally become the evil that they profess to be against.

    I don’t give a damn which extreme consumes your ignorant mind, I’m damned sick and tired of the extremes on both ends of the political spectrum.

    Here’s an honest question for anyone that chooses to answer it with something intelligent…

    Is brute force the only way to reign in the extremes?

    My question in last week’s Open Forum was…

    When a large segment of a society wants to shift their culture in a very major way and in a way that has historically been widely opposed, is using propaganda and intimidation to “force” the desired cultural shift on a population ethical, in other words, when trying to shift culture does the ends justify the means?

    My question for this week’s Open Forum is…

    When a large segment of a society wants to shift their culture in a very major way and their tactic is force via riot, intimidation and vigilante cancelation and both the culture shift and the tactics used to achieve their goal are widely opposed, is using brute force against those that don’t seem to respond to anything other than force an appropriate way of preventing the culture shift? In other words, does the ends justify the means when opposing a forced cultural shift where the shifters actively employ the ends justify the means?

    At some point in time are blatantly hypocritical actions justified?

    • Regarding brute force, it depends on how it’s applied and what it’s in response to. If someone tries to beat you up because you’re wearing an MAGA hat, employing the means of defending yourself would justify the ends of avoiding death or serious injury, as well as the ends of discouraging bullying in general.

      If one is violently protesting an election because they don’t like the results for whatever reason, does not justify brute force, because the ends, go against the social contract we’ve established of accepting the results of the election, and if you don’t like it, try harder to get votes next time. Furthermore, the ends aren’t even achievable with that method anyway. It’s not like the powers that be are ever going to say, “Well golly gosh and darn, I guess those people throwing molotov cocktails and wielding baseball bats must be right, we’ll just give them whatever they want.”

      • Unfortunately, the powers that be already look the other way on and even encouraged the people with the bats and the molotov cocktails, so it should come as no surprise that eventually the other side will turn to the same tactics. They just can’t handle the fight being one-sided. I say let’s rumble!

            • I seriously doubt we’re anywhere near that level. The left has alienated the people they would need to carry out that kind of tyranny, (the military and the police), and even if they were able to get an organized, competent force together that could go that far, successful resistance would require more than a mob.

              • Gamereg wrote, “I seriously doubt we’re anywhere near that level.”

                If I remember correctly I read somewhere that the Jews in 1930’s Germany had similar opinions.

                First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist.

                Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist.

                Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

                Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.
                Martin Niemöller

                It appears that you are ignoring the extreme slipperiness of the slope that the left has jumped upon.

                Back on January 8th Ryan Harkins the following in a fabulous comment

                The only alternative is to [1] suppress the dissidents, [2] relegating them to second-class citizenry, [3] shunned from all social places, or [4] liquidating them as enemies of the state.”

                I took the liberty to number the list.

                This is exactly what happened in 1930’s Germany.

                Numbers 1, 2 and 3 are currently very popular tactics in the United States that are freely being used by a growing segment of our culture. Although currently the use of these tactics is limited, it’s growing in popularity and becoming much more “acceptable” and more common place, it seems that no one is actually surprised when the tactics are used. I suspect that these particular tactics will grow in popularity over the next few years which will continue to spiral our culture deeper into division.

                Number four on your list is damn near inevitable if the people implementing tactics 1, 2 and 3 are left unchecked by our culture and enabled by divisional politics, bigotry and hate.

                • I’m not saying there’s no danger, I’m saying there’s still time to push things back before we get to bona-fide totalitarianism, or civil war to prevent it.

                  In order to hit step 4, the left needs to cultivate a disciplined military outlook among their followers, like the Nazis and Soviets did, and so far they have not. Yes, they are working on steps 1-3, but there’s still room to push back without busting out the guns. Conservatives need to be better organized, and rally around leaders who can not only lead the passionate but also convert the moderates. I still see plenty of conservative voices on Facebook and Twitter, and there are a lot of young people who see the “woke” culture as the new establishment to rebel against. We still have ways to push back online, in the workplace, and in the courts, we just need to keep our heads while we’re about it.

                  • Gamereg,
                    Let me be so bold to repeat this part of my comment…

                    “Number four on [the] list is damn near inevitable if the people implementing tactics 1, 2 and 3 are left unchecked by our culture and enabled by divisional politics, bigotry and hate.”

                    Aren’t we basically saying the same thing?

        • http://view.email.bostonglobe.com/?qs=173eb710cd284d6027a8745fbd679a304f62c81d6374160add34fdee069223923a62ed020bf9ef8cea94d5dae010a8c9470c83f27069db41270498c898241d317c555847411b69ea05a64889b509ea537a1964e37e4abb42

          I don’t know if our present trauma can be healed. I do know that it does not help when influential voices in the media condemn only the violence and mayhem on one side of the political spectrum. The violent assault on the Capitol last week brought unhesitating condemnation across the board. The violent assault on businesses, courthouses, neighborhoods, and police stations across the country last year did not. Again and again, Democratic politicians and liberal media personalities minimized and condoned what the rioters were doing. Some pretended to see only the many lawful and nonviolent racial-justice demonstrations, or insisted that the thugs and looters were an insignificant sliver amid “mostly peaceful” protests. Others claimed that violence, under the circumstances, was understandable — even laudable.

          – Jeff Jacoby (emphasis added)

  2. In the year 1399 a nobleman of the House of Lancaster named Henry of Bolingbroke ousted Richard II of the house of Plantagenet, son of Edward III, from the throne of England, partly over alleged tyranny and mismanagement (possibly brought on by a personality disorder), but just as much over pride, power, and differences regarding how to govern. Henry IV’s reign was fraught with problems as the nobles battled for power and influence under an unconsolidated rule, including Henry “Hotspur” Percy’s revolt, an attempt to restore Wales’ independence by Prince Owen Glendower, even an attempt to restore Richard to the throne in something called The Epiphany revolt. After all, once someone has ousted a rightful ruler by force (or fraud or corruption), why can’t he be ousted by force?

    Henry IV died at 45 due to less than wonderful health. Henry V, Prince Hal, followed his father to the throne. Though Shakespeare portrays him as a hero, and he did achieve some great feats on the battlefield, he died at 35 (previously thought to be of dysentery, but now thought of as probably heatstroke from hacking and banging in full armor in August) leaving a young and mentally infirm son to inherit the throne as Henry VI. The English nobles hadn’t forgotten the recent dynastic struggle, and there was no reason for another nobleman, named Richard of York (you need a scorecard to keep track of all these Richards and Henrys), also a cadet branch of the Plantagenet house, like the Lancasters were, not to decide to press his own claim to the throne, starting the 30-year dynastic struggle known as the Wars of the Roses, since the Lancaster symbol was a red rose and the York symbol was a white rose.

    Richard would never take the throne, but, after a protracted war, his son Edward would, becoming Edward IV, who entered London in triumph and killed or exiled all of the Lancaster nobles and their supporters. It looked like he had won, however, after 12 years, he died suddenly at the age of 40, and his son Edward V vanished into the tower of London, most likely killed on the auspices of Edward’s brother, also named Richard, who became Richard III, also of Shakespearean fame. Unfortunately for Richard, who ruled for not even three years, the dark rumors of him having his nephew murdered never quite dissipated. He too was ousted and killed in 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth field by Lancaster heir Henry Tudor, later Henry VII, who married one of the last York heiresses and finally put an end to this dynastic feuding, and also to noblemen maintaining their own armies which could be brought to bear against the crown at any time. The house of Tudor would rule until into the 1600s, when Elizabeth I died childless, opening the way to the Stuarts. Of course in the midst of all this feuding no one gave a damn about the common people, the farmers, artisans, craftsmen, and merchants, and their lot was often very hard.

    But Steven, you say, why are you rehashing this period of history which is now 600 years ago, which few know about and fewer care about? The fact of the matter is that once someone can be declared ineligible to continue in a rightful office, or ousted by force, fraud or corruption, there’s really no reason that anyone else in that office, or any office, can’t meet the same fate. They say a reputation is like glass, easily shattered, hard to put back together. Legitimacy is more fragile still, and once it’s broken, it is often very hard to restore before a lot of damage is done, if it can be restored at all.

    This country is now facing its own legitimacy moment, as a president who appears to have lost an election, albeit with a fair amount of questions about how that election was run, is accused of defying that election by force. However, this is not unique and it did not happen in a vacuum, as he himself faced a 4-year challenge from an opposition who disputed his right to the office he himself was elected to. Other political figures are following suit and refusing to concede or allow transitions. Like these royal houses, these political figures, and the parties that support them have begun to fall into the thinking that the other side has no legitimacy, and can’t win legitimately without racism or fraud, therefore they have no right to hold any kind of post or power. Also like the English nobility and royalty of the late 15th century, they have become fixated on battling one another for power and influence, not caring much what happens to those who suffer because of their fighting.

    The nobles and royals at least had the excuse that the common people existed to serve them in the system they lived within. In the system that is supposed to exist in this country, the individuals elected to serve in government are supposed to serve the people, which is the other way round. You would think they would know better. Most of them apparently do not, elected office is simply their personal path to money, power, and influence. To them, issues like the pandemic we are still suffering after almost a year are not problems to be solved, but crises to be leveraged, and the laws, even the Constitution itself, exist only as far as can benefit them. If they cannot, they are to be worked around instead of within. In the meantime, if ordinary people suffer, that’s just too bad, they need to sit down, be quiet, and keep voting for those in power.

    I’m not saying that this country absolutely can’t withstand another crisis of leadership, it has survived a lot worse. However, you don’t know which crisis will finally be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. I think there is a real problem when the powerful start to think of ordinary people as nothing more than pawns to be used in their power struggles, especially when what they are supposed to be doing is working for the benefit of all those people, not just the ones that it is advantageous to work for today. This fight against legitimacy needs to end now, and the political class in this country needs to remember what their job is and who they work for. If they refuse, and are determined to deny ordinary people the ordinary means of making themselves heard, then maybe it is time for the ordinary people to seek a different leadership that has different priorities, by whatever means necessary.

  3. Just a little Easter egg for those tracking incidents of the dems beclowning themselves. On Brett Baeir’s show last night, former dem congresscritter Harold Ford jr. was giving his take on why Trump should be half-hanged. drawn, and quartered for his role in the “insurrection”. In Ford’s (Zoom?) appearance, apparently from his home, a large portrait of Mao can be seen hanging prominently above his fireplace. Is that a tell or what? After a commercial break, he had shifted his computer camera so the picture is no longer visible.

  4. Natural Authoritarianism, Unnatural Democracy

    Democracy is inherently incompatible with the human condition. Democracy is inherently an unsustainable form of self-governance by a human group. That is particularly true of democracy as a concept of, or ideal of: equally shared power and privilege; “equity;” equality of relative relevance among individuals of a group, and equal representation.

    Beginning with the most basic “family unit,” all the “source institutions” or “feedlots” of a society’s leadership nurture “alpha bull” or “house queen” authoritarians. Regardless of which specific social organization is involved, “heads of households,” hereditary or not, as well as corporate CEOs and other types of “Chiefs of Staff” ultimately, inevitably fail (or refuse) to “represent,” or act on behalf of, their constituents to those constituents’ benefit. Such authoritarians inevitably accustom themselves to their power over others, such that acting exclusively in their self-interest predominates and overwhelms any charitable or magnanimous motivation to “serve” or “represent” or “go to bat for” or “look out for” others.

    A leader of any group at any level – be it a family unit or a transcontinental superpower nation consisting of billions of persons (regardless of those persons’ uniformity or diversity) – might start out with a most impressive and determined commitment to leading in a manner that shares opportunity for all group members, for each and every group member to influence overall group behavior. Delegation of authority will always exist, but will also always “serve” in a manner inherent to the human condition to prove the natural gravitational pull toward less and less delegation (and more and more centralization and concentration).

    As natural human forces act to hinder a group’s synergy, negatively impact shared prosperity within the group, and eventually fragment and disintegrate a group, the group leader must exert “authority” and power to preserve – not only preserve the integrity of the group, but also, preserve the leader’s accustomed position of status and power. This is “Ape Behavior 101.” A basic truth about humanity. A fact of the human condition.

    Therefore, prudence dictates that we humans must EXPECT to be members of a society that is sustained, if not founded upon, authoritarian behavior, authoritarian processes of governance, and mass acceptance of same. Further and moreover, we must condition ourselves, and mentally and physically prepare ourselves, for inevitable breakdown and deprivation of any and all “democratic” qualities of whatever social order exists at any given time.

    Is authoritarianism inherently incompatible with ethics? I leave that for others to debate.

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