Dear American Left, And With All Due Respect, Your Totalitarian Inclinations Are Showing…

The top featured letter to the editor today in the New York Times is from Big Brother-loving Richard Cantor:

Re “The Covid Policy That Really Mattered Wasn’t a Policy” (column, Feb. 7):

Ezra Klein’s insightful column points out that the root causes of our failure to deal with Covid adequately both nationally and internationally were more our lack of solidarity and our mistrust of government than policies. In other words, they were due to our social dysfunction.

That insight has profoundly negative implications for human survival that go well beyond Covid. It indicates that we are incapable of dealing with the much larger threats of global warming and devastation of the environment no matter what engineering miracles we discover, because we lack the solidarity and trust necessary to tackle those threats to continued human existence.

We are doomed not because we do not know what must be done; we are doomed because we will neither cooperate with each other nor support our respective governments to get it done. Mankind is now on its last merry-go-round ride and that ride is coming to an end much sooner than most people realize, not because we lack the knowledge to prevent catastrophe, but because too many people refuse to acknowledge the truth for very selfish and shortsighted reasons.

The most urgent things we need to do are to face facts honestly and start getting along with one another to deal with them.

It is astounding to me that anyone who has watched the last two years unfold could conclude that failure to trust the government was an existential problem, or that a solution to current challenges facing the U.S. is to trust the government more. Putting aside the observation that Ezra Klein, a pure progressive propagandist who eschews objective analysis, who started Vox and was also behind “JournoList,” a select Google group controlled by Klein and limited to “several hundred left-leaning bloggers, political reporters, magazine writers, policy wonks and academics,” has never issued an unbiased column not propelled by a leftist agenda in his life, the failure to see the government’s pandemic response as irrefutable proof that the government can NOT be trusted can only be called a fevered delusion.

The letter is a call for dictatorship, and for the American public to blindly accept the orders of mediocre bureaucrats, political hacks, and power-obsessed elitists because “they know best.” I do not want to pick on Mr. Cantor, who once must have been a clear-thinking, normal American like you and me, raised to understand the basic Jeffersonian principle of being suspicious of government power, and to place the the values of independent thought and action and personal liberty above appeals to follow authority for “the greater good.” Yet people who think like him are aiding and abetting power-abusing hypocrites and incompetents.
It is true that a democracy must maintain some level of trust in its government, and that the U.S. is dangerously below that level now. However, that is a condition created entirely by state, local and the national government showing itself to be so thoroughly untrustworthy on multiple fronts, particularly in the very same matter Cantor cites, the Wuhan virus infestation. “We know what to do”? WE KNOW WHAT TO DO???” The CDC clearly hasn’t known what to do from the beginning, though it dishonestly claimed it did. A recent study from John Hopkins, largely ignored by the Times and others, credibly concludes that the lockdown response, dictated by “science,” was a huge and tragic mistake.
Yet the response of the Left is “you need to trust us more.” This is a call for the blind faith of Winston Smith after his will has been shattered.
I assume that the Times reader also believes that we should trust the news media more too, as it has seen its credibility with Americans fall even lower than that of government. After all, that “solidarity” Klein and Cantor long for can best be achieved by daily, calculated brain-scrubbing through the media and through selective publication of facts and subtle, constant, biased rhetoric that eventually numbs the mind. The Times cleverly followed up Cantor’s letter with one from two partisan academics, authors of “At War With Government: How Conservatives Weaponized Distrust from Goldwater to Trump.” They point out that it’s Republicans’ fault that Americans don’t love Big Brother.
There are always dozens of examples of the small, almost invisible ways the Times pushes the narratives calculated to convince readers to give up their minds and liberties to their betters. In the Times obituary of GOP Rep. Jim Hagedorn last week, for example, I read, “In December 2020, Mr. Hagedorn was one of 126 Republican members of the House who filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to overturn the election of Mr. Biden as president, a brief based on spurious and disproved allegations of widespread voter fraud.”
But the allegations have not been “disproved.” The allegations were not proved, which is very different. Later, the same obituary describes the January 6, 2021 riot as “the deadly insurrection at the Capitol.” It was not an “insurrection,” but the allies of the Democrats insist on labeling it so: all the better to demonize Trump supporters. Calling it “deadly” is also pure deceit. Two people died during the Woodstock music festival, and I have never seen or heard the iconic event refereed to as “deadly.” Moreover, the single death during the 2021 riot was not caused by the rioters, but by a legally questionable use of deadly force by a police officer in response to it.
Meanwhile, the slight of hand being attempted by the Left, its fans (like Mr. Cantor) and its tool, the news media, continues, as they use the misdirection of calling their adversaries fascists and a “threat to democracy” while making the outrageous demand that we trust them despite all evidence that doing so is madness. In yesterday’s Times Review column by Maureen Dowd, she dutifully quotes Democratic strategist Stan Greenberg as warning that if the American people don’t realize that Democrats know best,”we’re going to end up with fascism, dammit.”
Got it. Trust the government and do what it tells you, or we’ll end up with fascism.

23 thoughts on “Dear American Left, And With All Due Respect, Your Totalitarian Inclinations Are Showing…

  1. Growing up in the 1950s I always suspected the threat would be from the right. Good old “Tail Gunner Joe”, the John Birch Society, Klan activity, and of course reading Animal Farm and 1984. Now spin forward to the present day and how wrong I was! The totalitarian threat is from the left.

    • Well, yes. Leftism is a totalitarian ideology. “Animal Farm” was based on the fight between Lenin and Trotsky. “1984” was based on the surveillance power of the government, which was based in socialism – clearly a leftist political position. I am not sure that the Klan is actually a political movement or more of a terrorist organization based on racism because the Klan doesn’t speak of limited government or less government regulations, free markets, and decentralize powers reserved to the states. They just hate Blacks, Jews, and anyone else they think is not white, whatever that means.


      • The John Birch Society is decidedly NOT totalitarian in its views. An acquaintance who was a member recruited me heavily in the late 1970s, and although I read a lot of their material and agreed with many of their positions, they seemed a bit too conspiracy-theory oriented for me.

  2. Trust the government and do what it tells you, or we’ll end up with fascism.
    Not that the U.S. is like Canadia yet, but.
    As exemplified by Tiananmen Trudeau trampling(who knows the real truth) an elderly indigenous woman in a wheel chair with horses(presumably because they don’t have tanks).
    What astounds me about trusting government is the lack of self awareness that people have.
    We are willing to trust fascism if we trust the source, not realizing what we become.

  3. You can’t fix stupid.

    Actually you can, sometimes, but some people take pride in their stupidity and call it wokeness. You can’t fix that. Only the person who is stupid can really fix themselves, but if they are stupid, it’s kind of hard to figure out they are stupid, so there’s a vicious cycle.

    Progressives are almost impervious to evidence. They have an ideology rooted in an anxiety ridden worldview. If you think about the problems anxiety disorders cause, how they exaggerate the world and the threats therein, and how they rob people of their sense of independence, progressive policies make a lot more sense.

    The whole thing is rooted in a fear of being able to handle life’s inevitable difficulties.

    • I’m just reading a biography of G.K. Chesterton.

      “The problem is that the ‘modern world is filled with men who hold dogmas so strongly that they do not even know that they are dogmas’. The concept of ‘progress’ is considered to be ‘progressive’, but in fact it is a ‘dogma’. Again, it does not strike people that it is ‘dogmatic’ to assume the good of collecting scientific ‘facts for the sake of facts, even though they seem as useless as sticks and straws’….’There are no rationalists. We all believe fairy-tales and live in them.'”

  4. One quibble and two points:

    The quibble: I recall reading an article by Klein that was both a fair and (I believe) accurate description of the mindsets of the Left and Right respectively. I was enlightened. So, I don’t find him completely useless. (Ironically enough, that same day, I read some article by Ann Coulter that seemed particularly insightful, as well.)

    Two points: the key to understanding that Government is a necessary evil is to keep in mind two things (in whatever order you choose)

    -Government is evil;
    -Government is necessary


    • I wish you could remember the exact date when both Ezra and Ann were enlightened. I wonder if it was the same day a couple of years ago when I looked out the window and saw a squirrel and a chipmunk playing “Clue.”

      • “Seemed insightful.”

        If I recall, Ann was explaining something about birthright citizenship and the “subject to the jurisdiction” language. It was either that, or something about presidents being born here (maybe with regard to Ted Cruz).

        I am not saying she was right in her analysis, but it seemed insightful on the issue.

        That’s the best I can do.


  5. Well, Obama did say that government was just another way of saying “the things we do together.” So if you distrust government, you distrust everyone else, and you are being the complainer who gets in the way of community. The nail that sticks up must be hammered down.

    • Steve-O-in-NJ,

      I know you were joking, but that reasoning relies of the fallacy of division. Just because the whole is untrustworthy does not imply that all of its parts are untrustworthy.

      The flip side is the fallacy of composition, where a characteristic of the parts may not be a characteristic of the whole. A good example of this would be that, even if all of the members of Congress (or the Supreme Court) are rational people (c’mon, it’s a hypothetical), the Congressional body as a whole May not be rational in its decision-making role.


  6. The American left is made up of a bunch of tweens screaming “I hate you!” at mommy because she won’t let them do what they want. It doesn’t matter that what they want to do is stupid and dangerous. They don’t care. They are going to stomp all over the house, screaming and slamming doors, shriek that they know everything and whine incessantly about how unfair their lives are. I just wish someone would take the damn matches away from them before they burn the house down.

  7. “The top featured letter to the editor today in the New York Times”

    So what? Why is this an item here? Who on earth is Richard Cantor? Who cares what he thinks?

    Letters to the Editor sections at the New York Times, or anywhere, are designed to be balanced. Especially at a historical institution like the NYT, they’re going to work to present different and opposing viewpoints in this section. By definition, you or anyone is likely to disagree with half of them.

    I have been absolutely amazed recently here at the items you manage to procure from the New York Times and the Washington Post. I especially try to keep up with the Times, and very often you mention something I didn’t even realize was there. Always it’s designed to make you and other political conservatives upset. But several of the prominent commenters here have bragged that they haven’t even read the Times since the 2016 election. So you’ve left them with an extremely distorted image of what gets reported there.

    An amazing example of this from maybe a week ago was when you pulled a quote out of a Maureen Dowd column where she noted that one of the Clinton-era Democratic has-been operatives was warning that if the Democrats don’t retain their minority voters, “we’re going to end up with fascism,” in an obviously tendentious reference to Trump. But why that part of the column? Would any of your precious Steves or other daily commenters have an idea that Dowd’s column as a whole was actually blasting the Democrats? Wouldn’t they be shocked to find this passage much higher up: “Exhausted, confused, isolated and depressed Americans are not buying the Democratic line that things are better than they look”?

    Other than Ukraine and the trucker protest in Canada, the major news story recently has been what appears to be a revulsion among mainstream Democrat and independent voters against the direction of the Democratic Party, the performance of Joe Biden, and wokeness in general. The Washington Post had a LEAD STORY on this somewhere around 7-10 days ago. I usually don’t defend the Post, as I do think they tend overall to be somewhat biased and they have the ridiculous slogan “Democracy dies in darkness” which was obviously a marketing ploy at the beginning of you-know-who, as well as having terrible unmoderated comments, but the story was there.

    Why didn’t you mention it? Why have you STILL never dealt with the lead story a few weeks ago in the Times trashing the Democrats for campaign finance hypocrisy? Also one day recently, I ran down the online presentation of the Times on my tablet, and the very first “Guest Essay” (the actual new name for op-eds) was from a couple of black conservatives saying that recent policy directions aren’t helping minority kids in school. Isn’t that significant to you?

    Jack, I’ve tried. There IS an echo chamber here. I don’t see it getting better. I’m unlikely to comment again. And today you took a shot at me by saying it doesn’t matter what the comment sections in the New York Times are like, almost deliberately putting your hands over your eyes and encouraging everyone else to do so as well. I wish it were different. Again, I’ve tried, man. Best of luck.

    • Why? Come on, you know why. Lots of reasons. 1.) The letter was chosen out of many. The editors use LTTE to advance their favored positions. It’s a form of editorial, made like a collage. 2) I don’t know who he is, but his argument is echoed all over the place, especially in the Times, and especially recently.

      I don’t, and have never, comprehended your delusion that a single story in which biased sources point out unavoidable misconduct or hypocrisy by their allies in anyway mitigates the bias. The point isn’t that the Times, or Post or Fox News cheats all the time, the point is that they cheat as often as they do, and thus are not trustworthy. The Times noted the “dark money” hypocrisy you noted, and also the fact that Democrats were gerrymandering away just like Republicans. This might impress me if the rest of the paper wasn’t calling a riot an “insurrection” daily and quoting “experts” who say that if Democrats don’t hold power, the result will be fascism.

      I was not happy at the backhanded response you got from “the two Steves,” as you call them, and said so. You deserve a substantive response and debate—your comments are civil, and fairly agued. But for the life of me, I cannot comprehend defending the objectivity of the Times while it made such a ridiculous argument to ignore and spin the reports on the Clinton campaign surveillance of Trump, or, for that matter, the fact that it still defends the fake history of the 1619 Project and its lying, Marxist creator. Who cares that there are occasional stories that don’t hide bad news for the Times’ clients, in light of conduct like that? How can you even try to defend the Post in the same week that it called Clarence Thomas an Oreo? WHY would you? These things can’t happen in a professional, ethical, trustworthy news organization. If they do, then it isn’t a professional, ethical, trustworthy news organization.

      • Maybe we “precious Steves,” and thanks for the diminishing “precious” comment, I really appreciate it, have gotten to the point where a backhanded response is all we think folks like you are entitiled to. I’m over 50 and I’m guessing the other Steve is too. There isn’t a whole lot we haven’t run into in life. Speaking only for myself now, there aren’t a whole lot of liberal arguments I haven’t encountered, thought through and rejected a long time ago. You can rehash them, reskin them, or paint them black and call me a white supremacist all you want, I’m not changing my mind. This nation is falling apart. This nation is getting embarrassed abroad. I’m paying almost $4 a gallon for gas. I’m paying 20% more for groceries and 25% more to eat out. I was called 10 kinds of ignorant and 20 kinds of profane names in 2016, now I’m being called 20 kinds of ignorant and 50 kinds of profane names and threatened to boot. I’m done. Your guy’s numbers are in the toilet and they’re not going to get out . The left is about to get a beating of 1994 proportions this fall, and then probably another shellacking in 2024. Ordinary people are fed up with “mostly peaceful” protests that the left’s people turn a blind eye to when it’s their people, but crack down on with a mailed fist when it’s not. There was talk of a racial reckoning, but now I think the elites and the ordinary people are going to have a reckoning, and it’s going to be even uglier than 2020. There’s nothing you can say that will convince me otherwise.

        • This is all just humorous enough that I should follow up to close it out. Joe Biden is not my guy and I think he’s doing a bad job overall. Funny how you race to a conclusion – two “teams” and all that, just like the woke on the other side think. Also how you’ve heard it all and don’t need to consider anything else. That’s very striking in an Internet comment thread.

          But this is mostly Jack Marshall’s responsibility. His whole schtick here about the media seems to be that every item in the New York Times is tethered to every other. That’s ridiculous and it’s simply counter-factual, and it’s holding guys like you back from finding out more of what’s going on, as reported and commented on in the New York Times in particular. And the NYT is far better as an overall product than CNN, Fox, it goes without saying MSNBC, OR the Washington Post, or the Wall Street Journal, or many others. It’s kind of like “since Nikole Hannah-Jones exists, therefore the NYT reporters out in the field doing the grunt work on major news and trend stories are invisible.” That’s a huge fallacy.

          I will, however, state for you, Steve, that as a fellow white dude over 50, I find it humorous to come here and find out how tough it is for us guys in America. Let us know when things get better, will ya?

          Again, I’ve had my say. I’m sure there are some non-commenters who are nodding along. Only the host can really make any changes, it’s up to him. Thanks.

          • “That’s ridiculous and it’s simply counter-factual”

            Ah-HA! I think I’ve figured out where you are confused, AF, and now that I have my song parodies written for the NJ Bar, I’m going to post on it. You don’t get the concept of “professional ethics.” Since that’s my field, I do. See, a lawyer who violates a clients confidences can’t say, “Well, but I don’t ALWAYS do that!” it doesn’t matter: the issue in professional ethics is trust. Intermittent ethical conduct does not mitigate or cancel out unethical conduct. I literally do not care that the Times will sometimes report a story ethically, or even often. It can’t be counted on to do so, and that means it fails the basic test of professional ethics: trustworthiness.

            It’s my fault: this may not be as generally understood as I assumed.

            • On the contrary, I understand all that perfectly, and my point is that it’s completely irrelevant to the issue of news consumption, as is the Ruddigore Fallacy. Journalism is not a licensed profession like the law, the talented young reporters (typically four or five of them on major NYT trend stories now) don’t know Nikole Hannah-Jones or Jamelle Bouie, the revealing and well-moderated NYT comment threads that tell you more about the growing fissures in blue-state America than anything else aren’t less valuable because Paul Krugman has severe confirmation bias (in fact that makes the grass-roots comments MORE important), and so on. One of your own most prolific commenters just announced that he’s already heard it all and doesn’t need to access any new arguments, and got all hypersensitive about an ultra-mild joshing mini-micro-insult. Sounds just like how the woke react to everything, Jack! See ya.

              • A profession doesn’t have to be licensed, and the Constitution would prevent licensing journalists. It is, however, no less a profession, because to exists to serve the public. (The clergy isn’t licensed either, and for the same reason.) Thus the lack of integrity and trustworthiness is equally as vital in journalism as law and medicine, and since it obviously isn’t self-policing like those professions, the job falls to people like me. Krugman, ass that he is, would be fine as a single pundit. The glut of similarly biased columnists, however shows where the TImes bias lies, and it is well short of objective or neutral. That the Times board, publisher and editors allow such imbalance is proof of toxic bias, and there for lack of trustworthiness.

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