Commuting the sentence of Chelsea Manning, one of the great traitors of our time, is finger-in-the-eye willfulness. Obama took 28 years off the sentence of a soldier who stole and then released through WikiLeaks almost half a million military reports, plus another quarter-million State Department documents.
The cables were embarrassing; the military secrets were almost certainly deadly. They jeopardized the lives not just of American soldiers on two active fronts — Iraq and Afghanistan — but of locals who were, at great peril, secretly aiding and abetting us. After Manning’s documents release, the Taliban “went on a killing spree” (according to intelligence sources quoted by Fox News) of those who fit the description of individuals working with the United States.
What a wonderful legacy! Some people have a negative net worth. Can one speak of a negative legacy? In these waning hours of his (mis)administration, let us reflect on the foolish and destructive things Obama has said and done the better to savor the change and hope that tomorrow will usher in. Remember Arizona Senate Bill 1070 from 2010 and the lawsuit former Attorney General Eric Holder brought against the State of Arizona? Here are my posts from that time in case you want to refresh your memory over that outrage. Image credit: Lisa Benson.
After all, no one would confuse Trump with a religious man. Robert Tracinski's explanation strikes me as correct:
The strength of the religious vote for Trump initially mystified me, until I remembered the ferocity of the Left’s assault on religious believers in the past few years—the way they were hounded and vilified for continuing to hold traditional beliefs about marriage that were suddenly deemed backward and unacceptable (at least since 2012, when President Obama stopped pretending to share them). What else do you think drove all those religious voters to support a dissolute heathen?
Ironically, a pragmatic, Jacksonian populist worldling such as Donald J. Trump will probably do more for religion and religious liberty in the long run than a pious leftist such as Jimmy Carter.
Mr. Carter famously confessed the lust in his heart in an interview in -- wait for it -- Playboy magazine. We should all do likewise, though in private, not in Playboy. While it is presumptuous to attempt to peer into another's soul, I would bet that Mr. Trump is not much bothered by the lust in his heart, and I don't expect to hear any public confessions from his direction.
But what profiteth it to confess one's lust when one supports the destructive Dems, the abortion party, a party the members of which are so morally obtuse that they cannot even see the issue of the morality of abortion, dismissing it as a health issue or an issue of women's reproductive rights?
I am surprised at how hard-hitting this is. But the punches land right on target.
From the first time I saw Mr. Obama, his First Inaugural, I said to myself, “This is a classical tyrant” and wrote an article to that effect. Now, a classical “tyrant” is not some brutal beast. Rather, he is popular, suave, smooth-talking, and ruled only by his own musings. He arises in a democracy when its citizenry have largely lost touch with natural being.
Mr. Obama’s notion of America was that into which he wanted to change it. The America of the Founders or the tradition did not much interest him. Indeed, this America was what had to be changed to make the world safe for the America that he was out to re-found, one that looked pretty much like himself. And, to give him credit, he succeeded in many ways. His Muslim and community organizing backgrounds were both traditions that had almost nothing to do with what we once understood to be Western civilization, with its unique American gloss.
[. . .]
I will pass over his religious views. His is a popular leftism that identifies religion as politics. Catholics were slow to recognize the efforts Mr. Obama made to identify religion and positive law. No leeway was left. Religion could not stand in the way of social “progress.” Who could have imagined even a decade ago that the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion traditions would be under fire for holding back the social engineering that Mr. Obama and his friends foisted on the country’s embassies, laws, military, healthcare, medicine, schools, environment, and even in the food we can’t eat.
But is there nothing good that this still relatively young man accomplished? The comedian Jack Benny was once famously confronted by a robber who insistently demanded, “Your money, or your life!” To which Benny replied, “I’m thinking! I’m thinking!” Mr. Obama has made it necessary for us to recall a whole order of being that was relentlessly overturned step by logical step. Do I think that this countrywide recollection is taking place? “I’m thinking! I’m thinking!”
Oikophobia is an irrational fear of household items, surroundings, and the like. Political oikophobia is an irrational aversion to one's own country, culture, traditions, and countrymen. I suggest we call the opposite political oikophilia, an irrational love of one's own country, culture, traditions, and countrymen. This distinction 'cuts perpendicular' to the xenophobia-xenophilia distinction. Thus,
Political oikophobia: irrational aversion to one's own country, etc. Political oikophilia: irrational love of one's own country, etc. Xenophobia: an irrational fear of foreigners and the foreign. Xenophilia: an irrational love of foeigners and the foreign.
Clearly, one can be an oikophobe without being a xenophile, and an oikophile without being a xenophobe.
Trump Derangment Syndrome takes the form of political oikophobia in many. Glenn Reynolds supplies examples. Here is one:
Ned Resnikoff, a “senior editor” at the liberal website ThinkProgress, wrote on Facebook that he’d called a plumber to fix a clogged drain. The plumber showed up, did the job and left, but Resnikoff was left shaken, though with a functioning drain. Wrote Resnikoff, “He was a perfectly nice guy and a consummate professional. But he was also a middle-aged white man with a Southern accent who seemed unperturbed by this week’s news.”
This created fear: “While I had him in the apartment, I couldn’t stop thinking about whether he had voted for Trump, whether he knew my last name is Jewish, and how that knowledge might change the interaction we were having inside my own home.”
When it was all over, Resnikoff reported that he was “rattled” at the thought that a Trump supporter might have been in his home. “I couldn’t shake the sense of potential danger.”
Here is a second example:
In fact, another piece on reacting to the election, by Tim Kreider in The Week, is titled "I love America. It's Americans I hate." Writes Kreider, “The public is a swarm of hostile morons, I told her. You don't need to make them understand you; you just need to defeat them, or wait for them die. . . . A few of us are talking, after a couple drinks, about buying guns; if it comes to a fascist state or civil war, we figure, we don't want the red states to be the only ones armed.”
“A vote for Trump,” Kreider continues, “is kind of like a murder.” Though his piece concludes on a (slightly) more hopeful note, the point is clear: Americans, at least Trump-voting Americans, are “pathetically dumb and gullible, uncritical consumers of any disinformation that confirms their biases.”
And a third:
And in a notorious Yale Law Journal article, feminist law professor Wendy Brown wrote about an experience in which, after a wilderness hike, she returned to her car to find it wouldn’t start. A man in an NRA hat spent a couple of hours helping her get it going, but rather than display appreciation for this act of unselfishness, Brown wrote that she was lucky she had friends along, as a guy like that was probably a rapist.
Clearly, these three people are topically deranged: they lose their mental balance and the boat of brain capsizes into irrationality when the topic of Trump obtrudes. This is not to say that they cannot negotiate the world sensibly in other ways: they are not globally deranged. Nor is it to say that everyone with objections to Trump the man or Trump's policies and appointments is deranged topically or globally.
The phrase 'Trump Derangement Syndrome' refers to a real phenomenon and is justified by this fact.
Lockheed Martin Corp.’s chief told President-elect Donald Trump it’s close to a deal with the Pentagon to lower costs “significantly’’ for the next production lot of its F-35 fighter jet and will boost hiring at the Texas factory where the advanced aircraft is made.
People have been complaining about defense contractors' bilking of the government for decades. Should a screw cost $37? What's it made out of, gold? A coffee maker $7,622? A toilet seat $640? (See here.)
Finally, some action. But for action you need a man of action. A man who can't be bought. Not another lawyer turned career politician. Not another member of the cozy political class who goes along to get along. Someone with the wherewithal to be independent, a maverick politician, if you will.
You lefties ought to like that Trump is sticking it to yuge corporations and saving American jobs. So to you nattering nabobs of negativism I say: give the man a chance, a year or two. If he goes fascist we'll take of him.
Could I present liberal-left ideas in such a way that the reader could not tell that I was not a liberal? Let me take a stab at this with respect to a few 'hot' topics. This won't be easy. I will have to present liberal-left ideas as plausible while avoiding all mention of their flaws. And all of this without sarcasm, parody, or irony. Each of these subheadings could be expanded into a separate essay. And of course there are many more subheadings that could be added.
Abortion. We liberals believe that a women's right to choose to terminate a pregnancy is a very important right that must be upheld. We are not pro abortion but pro choice, believing that decisions concerning a woman's reproductive health are ultimately her decisions, in consultation with physicians and family members and clergy, but are not the business of lawmakers and politicians. Every woman has a right to do what she wants with her body and its contents. While we respect those who oppose abortion on religious grounds, these grounds are of a merely private nature and cannot be made the basis of public policy. Religious people do not have the right to impose their views on the rest of us using the coercive power of the state.
Voting Rights. We liberals can take pride in the role our predecessors played in the struggle for universal suffrage. Let us not forget that until the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution on 18 August 1920, women were not allowed to vote. We liberals seek to preserve and deepen the progress that has been made. For this reason we oppose voter identification laws that have the effect of disenfranchising American citizens by disproportionately burdening young voters, people of color, the elderly , low-income families, and people with disabilities.
Gun Control. We live in a society awash in gun violence. While we respect the Second Amendment and the rights of hunters and sport shooters, we also believe in reasonable regulations such as a ban on all assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
Marriage. We liberals believe in equality and oppose discrimination in all its forms, whether on the basis of race, national origin, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. For this reason we support marriage equality and same-sex marriage. Opposition to same-sex marriage is discriminatory. As we become more enlightened and shed ancient superstitions, we extend the realm of freedom and equality to include more and more of the hitherto persecuted and marginalized. The recognition of same-sex marriage is but one more step toward a truly inclusive and egalitarian society.
Taxation and Wealth Redistribution. We liberals want justice for all. Now justice is fairness, and fairness requires equality. We therefore maintain that a legitimate function of government is wealth redistribution to reduce economic inequality.
Size and Scope of Government. As liberals we believe in robust and energetic government. Government has a major role to play in the promotion of the common good. It is not the people's adversary, but their benefactor. The government is not a power opposed to us; the government is us. It should provide for the welfare of all of us. Its legitimate functions cannot be restricted to the protection of life, liberty, and property (Locke) or to the securing of the negative rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (Jefferson). Nor can it be restricted to the securing of these and a few others: people have positive rights and it is a legitimate function of government to ensure that people received the goods and services to which they have a positive right.
Health and Human Services. A decent society takes care of its members and provides for their welfare. The provision of welfare cannot be left to such institutions of civil society as private charities. It is a legitimate state function. People have positive rights to food, water, shelter, clothing, and health services. These rights generate in those capable of satisfying them the duty to provide the things in question. It is therefore a legitimate function of government to make sure that people get what they need.
Capital Punishment. We liberals are enlightened and progressive people. Now as humankind has progressed morally, there has been a corresponding progress in penology. The cruel and unusual punishments of the past have been outlawed. The outlawing of capital punishment is but one more step in the direction of progress and humanity and indeed the final step in implementing the Eight Amendment's proscription of "cruel and unusual punishments." There is no moral justification for capital punishment when life in prison without the possibility of parole is available.
The Role of Religion. As liberals, we are tolerant. We respect the First Amendment right of religious people to a "free exercise" of their various religions. But religious beliefs and practices and symbols and documents are private matters that ought to be kept out of the public square. When a justice of the peace, for example, posts a copy of the Ten Commandments, the provenience of which is the Old Testament, in his chambers or in his court, he violates the separation of church and state.
Immigration. We are a nation of immigrants. As liberals we embrace immigration: it enriches us and contributes to diversity. We therefore oppose the nativist and xenophobic immigration policies of conservatives while also condemning the hypocrisy of those who oppose immigration when their own ancestors came here from elsewhere.
Today's Arizona Republic sported a headline containing the phrase 'election hacking.'
How about a distinction? It is one thing to hack into DNC servers and John Podesta's e-mail. It is another thing to hack into a voting machine. So I ask: what is the justification for talk of election hacking?
Let's assume that, contra Julian Assange's asseveration to the contrary, the Russians did the hacking into the DNC servers. Let's also assume that Vladimir Putin was aware of this and approved of it. What might his motive have been? The going 'wisdom' before November 8th was that Hillary was ashoo-in. That was the opinion of all the top commentators. It is therefore reasonable to assume that Putin's motive was to get some dirt on Hillary to use against her when she became president.
So it is far from obvious that the Russkis were trying to influence the U. S. election, let alone tilt it in Trump's favor. Why would they want Trump in office, an alpha male they could reasonably expect to put someone like 'Mad Dog' Mattis in charge of the Department of Defense?
And then there is the utter hypocrisy of the Dems and some Republicans who are suddenly horrified at our lack of cyber-security when they didn't seem much exercised over far, far worse such breaches over the last eight years.
Let's see this 'election hacking' nonsense for what it is. It is nothing but a shabby attempt by sore losers to delegitimize and obstruct the incoming president.
Also, some blame for the hack must be laid at the feet of the DNC and Democratic officials such as Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta for their wanton disregard for securing their own email system.
NOTE TO MR. PODESTA: Using “P@ssw0rd” for your password is not really a password. It is more like a “welcome” sign.
Yet, somehow, it was President-elect Donald Trump who seemed to be on trial during Thursday’s Senate hearings.
[. . .]
Chief among the intel honchos is bald and bespectacled Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. This most highly trusted top spook can be trusted to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth — except when he is lying.
Most famously, The Clapper was asked during a 2013 hearing by Sen. Ron Wyden: “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions, or hundreds of millions of Americans?”
“No, sir,” The Clapper responded, only to be exposed as a complete liar within months.
Our privileged, college-educated left — what Joel Kotkin calls the gentry liberals — feels that its preeminent position in American society is under threat. And people care a lot about status.
What’s more, the people who seem to be lashing out the most are, in fact, just those gentry liberals: academics, entertainers, pundits, low-level tech types, and so on. As journalism professor Mark Grabowski reported, another academic texted him on election night: "Oh my God! We will be the ones ostracized if he wins."
Maybe we shouldn’t “ostracize” people based on whether their candidate wins, but in a way this professor was right: A Trump victory is a blow to the status of the people who thought Hillary Clinton was their candidate — one that they feel even more deeply because gentry liberals, having been raised on the principle that the personal is political, seem to take politics pretty personally.
Another example that’s been circulating on the Internet comes from YouTube sex-talker Laci Green. When the election was still uncertain, she tweeted: “Regardless of the outcome, we are clearly a *deeply* divided and broken country. So much work ahead to mend, heal, and restore the U in USA.” Just a few hours later, when it became clear that Hillary had lost, she changed her tune: “We are now under total Republican rule. Textbook fascism. F____ you, white America. F___ you, you racist, misogynist pieces of s___. G'night.”
Reynolds' is part of the explanation. Another part is that Hillarians and lefties generally are, most of them, secularists. Religion and its promises are for them purest buncombe. This is it, baby, and this is all she wrote. This is as real as it gets. And yet they are not content to be smiley-faced nihilists with their little pleasure for the day and their little pleasure for the night, to paraphrase Nietzsche's Last Man riff. They want Deep Meaning that transcends the petty particulars of quotidian life. So they seek it in the Political. Not being able to worship something worship-worthy, they succumb to the Idolatry of the Political. They don't realize that the Meaning they seek cannot be found where they seek it.
It is their inordinate and idolatrous commitment to the Political that explains, in part, why lefties 'lose it' when their candidates lose.
TDS really is an amazing syndrome. There is no counterpart of it on the Right.
A good distinction. The Dems used to be pragmatic, but now are ideological. David Carlin makes the distinction and then sketches the ideology of the contemporary Democrat Party:
(1) They [the intellectual leaders of the party] preach a metaphysics: There is no God, at least no God like the God of the Bible; no Supreme Being who created the universe and governs it. And if they sometimes say that they are agnostics, not atheists, their agnosticism is virtually identical with atheism; the two differ in name only.
(2) They preach a theory of knowledge: There is no knowledge other than sense-based knowledge, the kind of empirical knowledge upon which natural science is based. (They pride themselves on their respect for science even though very few of them are actual scientists or philosophers or historians of science.) Thus there is no such thing as Divine Revelation. And there is no such thing as trans-empirical intuitive knowledge – for example, intuitive knowledge of the existence of God, of the immortality of the soul, of the fundamental laws of morality.
Comment: The Dems promote scientism, the epistemology of metaphysical naturalism. The latter, roughly, is the thesis that reality is exhausted by the space-time system and its contents. Scientism is the philosophical (not scientific!) doctrine that all genuine knowledge is natural-scientific knowledge. It is a philosophical doctrine that entails the noncognitive status of all philosophy including itself!
Typically, the proponents of scientism don't see the problems with it; their ideological commitment is dogmatic and uncritical. A particularly offensive example is provided by Senator Barbara Boxer in this brief YouTube video in which she derides philosophy and a philosopher who dares to dissent from the party line on fossil fuels.
(3) They preach a theory of morality, a morality of maximum personal liberty. We should be free to do as we like, and we should tolerate a like freedom in others. Of course certain practical limits must be placed on this freedom if we are to avoid a war of all against all: we should not be free to inflict direct and tangible harm on non-consenting others.
(4) Sexual freedom: While there are many other kinds of freedom, sexual freedom is, so to speak, the keystone of the arch. If sexual intolerance is permitted, many other kinds of intolerance will follow.
Comment: The tendency is to give free rein to concupiscence in all of its forms, without of course admitting that this is what one is doing. Concupiscence? What's that? Do you think that our deep natural concupiscence, excited and maintained by the blandishments of a sex-saturated society, might help explain why the many strong arguments against abortion are simply dismissed unexamined by the 'pro choice' crowd? The existence of a moral issue is not admitted. It is just assumed that the right to an abortion is a woman's reproductive right.
(5) Anti-Christianity: The most influential opponent of the above beliefs and values is Christianity, more especially old-fashioned Catholic and Protestant Christianity. Therefore old-fashioned Christianity must be marginalized, must be driven into a social corner where it can do little or no harm.
Comment: But at the same time, Islam is touted as the religion of peace, and its dangers denied.
(6) Omnicompetent government. There is no problem, not even the problem of controlling the terrestrial climate for the next 10,000 years, that cannot be solved, at least in the long run, by the action of the U.S. federal government. Do we have problems of poverty or crime or education or health or drug addiction or global warming? There must be solution that Washington can find for it – a law, an agency, a spending program, a global treaty, etc.
One of the most effective things a right-thinking individual can do to help bring down the destructive Left is by withholding funds. So let's say you are an alumnus or alumna of the Jesuit Gonzaga University. You get wind of the fact that Melissa Click of Mizzou fame notoriety has been hired there. To express your disapprobation of this egregious abdication of authority on the part of the administration, reply to the next funding appeal with a curt refusal.
David French continues to write good columns for NRO. His latest is about one of Hillary's darlings, Black Lives Matter. But when it came time to act and actually do something in opposition to this movement he calls "poisonous," he refused to support Trump, thereby aiding and abetting Hillary and her destructive leftist race-baiting agenda.
This is a MUST-SEE video. White liberal Berkeley students express an extremely condescending attitude toward black folks, and some blacks reply. (HT and Merry Christmas to J.I.O.) The kids actually think that significant numbers of blacks don't possess ID, don't know how to secure it, and lack access to the Internet.
Should we judge the man by his tweets or his picks? By what he says or what he does? Judging by their content, his tweets are injudicious; his appointments so far are outstanding and show good judgment. Here are Trump's choices for cabinet and administrative slots.
'Post-truth' is a silly buzz word, and therefore beloved by journalists who typically talk and write uncritically in trendy ways. There is no way to get beyond truth or to live after truth. All of our intellectual operations are conducted under the aegis of truth.
Here is one example of how we presuppose truth. People routinely accuse each other of lying, and often the accusations are just. But to lie is to make a false statement with the intention of deceiving one's audience. A false statement is one that is not true. It follows that if there is no truth, then there are no lies. If we are beyond truth, then we are beyond lies as well. But of course lies are told, so truth exists.
I could squeeze a lot of philosophical juice out of this topic, and you hope I won't. I will content myself with some mundane observations.
'Post-truth' is used mainly to describe contemporary politics. The idea is that it does not much matter in the political sphere whether what is said is true so long as it is effective in swaying people this way or that. What is persuasive need not be true, and what is true need not be persuasive. But this has has always been the case, so why the need for 'post-truth'? Is it really so much worse these days?
For the Left, Donald Trump is the prime post-truther, the post-truth poster boy if you will, the prima Donald of the practice of post-truth. Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post doesn't expect him to truth up anytime soon. "Indeed, all signs are to the contrary — most glaringly Trump’s chock-full-of-lies tweet that 'I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.' "
A very stupid example, Ms. Marcus! There is not even one lie in the tweet, let alone a bunch of them. Although verifiable in principle, Trump's tweet is unverifiable in practice. Trump had no solid evidence for the truth of his assertion. Still, it could be true. Don't forget the 'necro-vote' (a word I just coined) and the illegal vote. Trump's epistemic 'sin' was not that he stated what is not the case with the intention to deceive but that he confidently asserted something for which he had insufficient evidence. He pretended to know something he could not know. Very annoying, and possibly a violation of a Cliffordian ethics of belief, but not a lie.
So he didn't lie. What he did was close to what Harry Frankfurt defines as bullshitting in On Bullshit, a piece of close analysis, fine, not feculent, that was undoubtedly more often purchased than perused. The bullshitter doesn't care how things stand with reality. The liar, by contrast, must care: he must know (or at least attempt to know) how things are if he is to have any chance of deceiving his audience. Think of it this way: the bullshitter doesn't care whether he gets things right or gets them wrong; the liar cares to get them right so he can deceive you about them.
So you could fairly tax Trump in this instance with bullshitting. He shot his mouth off in a self-serving way without much concern over whether what he said is true. But why pick on Trump?
Because you are a leftist and thus a purveyor of double standards.
Obama bullshits with the best of them. A prime example was his outrageous claim that 99.9% of Muslims reject radical Islam. It is false and known to be false. (You can check with PEW research if you care to.) Now was Obama lying in this instance or bullshitting? A lie is not the same thing as a false statement. Let us be perhaps excessively charitable: Obama made a false statement but he had no intention of deceiving us because he did not know the truth. (Compare: G. W. Bush was wrong about the presence of WMDs in Iraq, but he did not lie about them: he was basing himself on the best intelligence sources he had at the time.)
But that Obama is pretty clearly bullshitting is shown by the cliched and falsely precise 99.9% figure. The whole context shows that Obama doesn't care whether what he is saying is true. He said it because it fits his narrative: Islam is a religion of peace; we are not in a religious war with Islam; Muslims want all the same things we want, blah, blah, ad nauseam. The difference between this case and the Trump tweet is that we know that Obama was wrong, whereas we don't know that Trump was wrong.
So once again we have a double standard. Trump is 'post-truth'; but Obama and Hillary are not?
A correspondent has just emailed me, completely out of the blue, to tell me that you're a “racist, islamophobe, bigot”. Thought you would like that. 😀
I like it very much except that he leaves out the remaining SIXHIRB epithets: sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, and homophobic. But three out of seven ain't bad.
To understand the Left, you must understand that they see politics as war. Von Clausewitz held that war is politics pursued by other means. But what I call the Converse Clausewitz Principle holds equally: politics is war pursued by other means. I wish it weren't so, and for a long time I couldn't bring myself to believe it is so; but now I know it is so.
David Horowitz, commenting on "Politics is war conducted by other means," writes:
In political warfare you do not just fight to prevail in an argument, but rather to destroy the enemy's fighting ability. Republicans often seem to regard political combats as they would a debate before the Oxford Political Union, as though winning depended on rational arguments and carefully articulated principles. But the audience of politics is not made up of Oxford dons, and the rules are entirely different.
You have only thirty seconds to make your point. Even if you had time to develop an argument, the audience you need to reach (the undecided and those in the middle who are not paying much attention) would not get it. Your words would go over some of their heads and the rest would not even hear them (or quickly forget) amidst the bustle and pressure of everyday life. Worse, while you are making your argument the other side has already painted you as a mean-spirited, borderline racist controlled by religious zealots, securely in the pockets of the rich. Nobody who sees you in this way is going to listen to you in any case. You are politically dead.
Politics is war. Don't forget it. ("The Art of Political War" in Left Illusions: An Intellectual Odyssey Spence 2003, pp. 349-350)
As the old saying has it, "All's fair in love and war." And so it is no surprise that leftists routinely proceed by the hurling of the SIXHIRB epithets.
One soon learns that it does no good patiently to explain that a phobia is by definition an irrational fear, that fear of radical Islam is entirely rational, and that therefore it is a misuse of 'phobia' to call one who sounds the alarm an Islamophobe. Nor does it do any good to point out to those who use these '-phobe' coinages that they are thereby refusing to show their interlocutors respect as persons, as rational beings, but are instead ascribing mental dysfunction to them. Our enemies will just ignore our explanations and go right back to labeling us sexists, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic . . . deplorable, etc.
Again, it is because they see politics as a war to the death.
Leftists that they are, they believe that the end justifies the means. They see themselves as good people, as their 'virtue-signaling' indicates, and their opponents as evil people. So why to their minds should they show us any respect?
To ask Lenin's question, What is to be done? One has to punch right back at them and turn their Alinskyite tactics against them.
"But aren't we then no better than them? We are hen doing the same things they do!"
Suppose A threatens to kill B, shoots at him but misses. B shoots back and kills A. Suppose the weapons are of the same type. Both A and B instantiate the same act-type: shooting at a man with the intention of hitting him using a 1911 model .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol.
While A and B 'do the same thing,' B is morally and legally justified in doing it while A is not. So there's the difference.
We are defending ourselves against leftist assault, and this fact justifies our using the same tactics that our enemies use.
This helps explain the appeal of Donald Trump. He knows how to punch back, unlike Mitt Romney, Jeb! Bush, and so many other clueless gentlemen who "seem to regard political combats as they would a debate before the Oxford Political Union . . . ."
One mark of a loser is the inability or unwillingness to lose graciously.
Why are leftists such pansies and whiny losers? Andrew Klavan:
But the left? Never mind the college snowflakes who can't even hear an idea they disagree with without retreating to a safe space. What about the adults?The New York Times, a former newspaper, now reads like a 12-year-old girls' sleepover after a mouse got in. It's embarrassing. "How to Cope With Trump?" "Trump's Threat to the Constitution?" "Trump's Agents of Idiocracy!"
The guy hasn't even done anything yet!
In the Washington Post, Stephanie Land writes a piece headlined, "Trump's Election Stole My Desire to Look for a Partner."
Once it was clear that Donald Trump would be president instead of Hillary Clinton, I felt sick to my stomach. I wanted to gather my children in bed with me and cling to them like we would if thunder and lightning were raging outside, with winds high enough that they power might go out. The world felt that precarious to me.
Ben Stein here weighs in on the insanity of the crybaby Left.
You liberal-left crybullies need to get over it and try harder next time. But it looks as if you have a death wish. Nancy Pelosi? Keith Ellison? Joe Biden in 2020? The clown will be 78. What will his campaign slogan be? "Together into senility"?
She lost for many reasons, despite the incredibly powerful, ruthless, and well-funded machine behind her, not to mention all the illegal and 'dead' votes she got. And despite the fact that it was 'her turn.' One reason was her voice. (Via Burgess-Jackson.)
Do you doubt that significant numbers of illegals and 'dead people' vote? Then read this.
Over the weekend, Donald Trump bragged in signature style that he “won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” Lefties are calling the statement a lie. But it is no such thing. In the typical case, a lie is a false statement made with the intention to deceive. In the typical case, one who lies knows the truth, but misrepresents it to his audience out of a desire to deceive them. But no one knows the truth-value of Trump's braggadocious conditional. It could be true, but neither Trump nor anyone else has any evidence of its truth. Although verifiable in principle, it is not practically verifiable.
When lefties call a statement a lie which is not a lie should we say that they are lying about what it is?
Was Trump exaggerating when he made his remark? That's not right either.
I think what we have here is a species of bullshit in the sense pinned down by a noted philosopher. According to Harry Frankfurt, a statement is bullshit if it is
. . . grounded neither in a belief that it is true nor, as a lie must be, in a belief that it is not true. It is just this lack of connection to a concern with truth — this indifference to how things really are — that I regard as of the essence of bullshit." (emphasis added)
Professor Frankfurt has a fine nose for the essence of bullshit. The bullshitter is one who 'doesn't give a shit' about the truth value of what he is saying. He doesn't care how things stand with reality. The liar, by contrast, must care: he must know (or at least attempt to know) how things are if he is to have any chance of deceiving his audience. Think of it this way: the bullshitter doesn't care whether he gets things right or gets them wrong; the liar cares to get them right so he can deceive you about them.
Now if the bullshitter does not care about truth, what does he care about? He cares about himself, about making a certain impression. His aim is to (mis)represent himself as knowing what he does not know or more than he actually knows. Frankfurt again:
. . . bullshitting involves a kind of bluff. It is closer to bluffing, surely than to telling a lie. But what is implied concerning its nature by the fact that it is more like the former than it is like the latter? Just what is the relevant difference here between a bluff and a lie? Lying and bluffing are both modes of misrepresentation or deception. Now the concept most central to the distinctive nature of a lie is that of falsity: the liar is essentially someone who deliberately promulgates a falsehood. Bluffing too is typically devoted to conveying something false. Unlike plain lying, however, it is more especially a matter not of falsity but of fakery. This is what accounts for its nearness to bullshit. For the essence of bullshit is not that it is false but that it is phony. In order to appreciate this distinction, one must recognize that a fake or a phony need not be in any respect (apart from authenticity itself) inferior to the real thing. What is not genuine need not also be defective in some other way. It may be, after all, an exact copy. What is wrong with a counterfeit is not what it is like, but how it was made. This points to a similar and fundamental aspect of the essential nature of bullshit: although it is produced without concern with the truth, it need not be false. The bullshitter is faking things. But this does not mean that he necessarily gets them wrong. (emphasis added)
When did the Age of Bullshit begin in American politics? Perhaps with the inauguration of Bill Clinton. But it really gets underway with Barack Obama. Obama is the shuck-and-jive precursor of Trump. So let's recall some of his antics.
As Frankfurt points out, the essence of bullshit is a lack of concern for truth. But truth and consistency are closely related notions. Two statements are consistent (inconsistent) just in case they can (cannot) both be true. Now I do not know if there are any cases of Obama contradicting himself synchronically (at a time), but there are plenty of examples of him contradicting himself diachronically. He said things as a senator the opposite of which he says now. Victor Davis Hanson supplies numerous examples in Obama as Chaos:
. . . when the president takes up a line of argument against his opponents, it cannot really be taken seriously — not just because it is usually not factual, but also because it always contradicts positions that Obama himself has taken earlier or things he has previously asserted. Whom to believe — Obama 1.0, Obama 2.0, or Obama 3.0?
When the president derides the idea of shutting down the government over the debt ceiling, we almost automatically assume that he himself tried to do just that when as a senator he voted against the Bush administration request in 2006, when the debt was about $6 trillion less than it is now.
The problem here is not merely logical; it is also ethical: the man is not truthful. Truth, falsity, consistency, inconsistency pertain to propositions, not persons. Truthfulness, deceitfulness, lack of concern for truth and consistency -- these are ethical attributes, properties of persons. Obama the bullshitter is an ethically defective president. When Nixon lied, he could be shamed by calling him on it. That is because he was brought up properly, to value truth and truthfulness. But the POMO Obama, like that "first black president" Bill Clinton, apparently can't be shamed. It's all bullshit and fakery and shuckin' and jivin'. There is no gravitas in these two 'black' presidents, the one wholly white, the other half-white. Everything's a 'narrative' -- good POMO word, that -- and the only question is whether the narrative works in the moment for political advantage. A narrative needn't be true to be a narrative, which is why the POMO types like it. Hanson has Obama's number:
But a third explanation is more likely. Obama simply couldn’t care less about what he says at any given moment, whether it is weighing in on the football name “Redskins” or the Travyon Martin trial. He is detached and unconcerned about the history of an issue, about which he is usually poorly informed. Raising the debt ceiling is an abstraction; all that matters is that when he is president it is a good thing and when he is opposing a president it is a bad one. Let aides sort out the chaos. Obamacare will lower premiums, not affect existing medical plans, and not require increased taxes; that all of the above are untrue matters nothing. Who could sort out the chaos?
[. . .]
The media, of course, accepts that what Obama says on any given day will contradict what he has said or done earlier, or will be an exaggeration or caricature of his opponents’ position, or simply be detached from reality. But in their daily calculus, that resulting chaos is minor in comparison to the symbolic meaning of Obama. He is, after all, both the nation’s first African-American president and our first left-wing progressive since Franklin Roosevelt.
In comparison with those two facts, no others really matter.
Lefties like to point out that the college-educated favored Hillary over Trump. But so what? Apart from the STEM disciplines, the colleges and universities of the land have become leftist seminaries, hotbeds of political correctness, and centers of Higher Infantilization. They have strayed far from their original charter.
So of course the college-indoctrinated will favor Hillary the leftist nanny-stater.
Leftists also crow over the fact that Hillary won the popular vote. But again, so what? Lefties congegate in certain densely populated enclaves wherein 'correct' views are enforced and 'incorrect' ones excluded. Most people, being highly suggestible, simply imbibe the circumambient suggestions. Few people form their political and social beliefs by any process of deep study and hard thinking. The more impressionable people crammed into places like San Francisco and New York City, the more leftist group-think. People naturally want to be liked, accepted, and get ahead. They go along to get along.
So how significant is it that Hillary won the popular vote?
But the finally trumping consideration is that our great system of government bequeathed to us by the greatest generation, that of the founders, prescribes that it is the members of the Electoral College, not the populace at large who decide presidential elections.
Here is an invited essay of mine at Rightly Considered. I am told that RC is snagging around 2,000 page views per day, which is very good for such a young weblog. It is infuriating all the usual suspects.
My contribution is the first in a series of reflections on the presidential election.
Feeling chagrined at being on the wrong side of history, you Never Trump conservatives could conceivably argue that by 'Never Trump' you just meant that you would never support him in his presidential bid, not that if he became president you would not support or even embrace him.
True, Hillary won the popular vote. But the popular vote is irrelevant. One reason you already know: the President is elected by the members of the Electoral College. The other reason is explained by Jonathan Adler:
In the election concluded Tuesday, Hillary Clinton received more popular votes than Trump. This does not mean, however, that Clinton would necessarily have prevailed in an election that was determined solely by the popular vote. This is because the popular vote total is itself a product of the electoral college system. As a consequence, we do not know what the result would have been under a popular vote system, let alone whether Clinton would have prevailed.
The reason for this is because the electoral college system encourages the campaigns (and their surrogates and allies) to concentrate their efforts on swing states — those states in which the electoral votes are up for grabs — at the expense of those states in which one party or the other has no meaningful chance to prevail. [. . .]
So dry your tears you wimps and wussies of the Hillary brigade. Put away your cuddly toys and accept the defeat you so richly deserved. There is always next time.
And the Left continues to melt down over the election result.
A curious exercise in hyperventilation from the pen of Andrew Sullivan. Here are a couple of gasps:
In the U.S., the [populist] movement — built on anti-political politics, economic disruption, and anti-immigration fears — had something else, far more lethal, in its bag of tricks: a supremely talented demagogue who created an authoritarian cult with unapologetically neo-fascist rhetoric.
Anti-political politics? That's like saying that proponents of limited government are anti-government. To oppose the politics of the Left is not to oppose politics unless the only politics is the politics of the Left -- which is not the case.
Anti-immigration fears? Andy is as mendacious as Hillary. Few conservatives, populist or not, oppose immigration. Conservatives oppose illegal immigration and an immigration policy that does not discriminate between those who share our values and are willing to assimilate, and those who do not and are not. Conservatives hold that immigration must have a net positive benefit for our nation.
That Sullivan elides the distinction between illegal and legal immigration shows that he is intellectually dishonest.
And then there is the endlessly deployed leftist tactic of reducing the political opponent's view to a mere product of emotion, in this case fear. Probably the only effective response to this shabby tactic is to reply in kind. "Look, Sullivan, you are just a hate-America leftist scumbag who wants to undermine the rule of law."
By the way, Trump understands that it does no good to respond to a leftist with a learned disquisition (not that Trump could produce one); he understands with his gut that punching back is far more effective. He understands that the leftist thug will ignore your careful and polite arguments and go right back to name-calling: racist, sexist, homophobe, Islamophobe, bigot, deplorable . . . .
This is now Trump’s America. He controls everything from here on forward. He has won this campaign in such a decisive fashion that he owes no one anything. He has destroyed the GOP and remade it in his image.
This is delusional. How delusional? An army of proctologists in a month of Sundays could not bring Sully's head into the unsullied light of day.
Trump controls everything? False: the Left controls almost all mainstream media outlets, the courts, public education K-12, the universities, and many of the churches. (Think of all the leftist termites in the Catholic Church.)
He won in a decisive fashion? False: he lost the popular vote, a fact the liberal-left crybullies trumpet repeatedly.
He has destroyed the GOP? False: The GOP retained both houses of Congress. The truth is that he destroyed the Dems and the legacy of Obama.
Sully's rant does not get better as it proceeds, as you may verify for yourself.
M.B. of Alexandria, VA writes:
You said: "Trump controls everything? False: the Left controls almost all mainstream media outlets, the courts, public education K-12, the universities, and many of the churches. (Think of all the leftist termites in the Catholic Church.) "
You could add: the federal bureaucracy, most charitable foundations (Rockefeller, Ford, Soros etc), and, not least, the human resources (HR) departments of most corporations, which are now heavily staffed with ideological diversicrats.
Excellent points which I shouldn't have omitted, especially the one about the HR departments of most corporations. Why can't leftists see the extent of leftist control of the culture? Well, why is the fish unaware of the medium that sustains it?
Here is the delusional Paul Krugman soiling, once again, the already piss-poor Op-Ed pages of The New York Times. His title is the hyperventilatory "Thoughts for the Horrified."
The political damage will extend far into the future, too. The odds are that some terrible people will become Supreme Court justices. States will feel empowered to engage in even more voter suppression than they did this year. At worst, we could see a slightly covert form of Jim Crow become the norm all across America.
Terrible people? Voter suppression? Jim Crow? This is crazy stuff, beneath reply. And Krugman's outburst is no isolated incident. Lefties can't seem to grasp that we reject their ideas and policies and that we have good grounds for doing so.
And then we have the leftist punks clogging the highways and byways. What are they protesting? The proper functioning of a democratic republic in which a bloodless transfer of power has occurred? The brainwashed punks have no legitimate grounds for protest. They simply don't like the outcome.
But we conservatives didn't like the outcome when Obama beat Romney in 2012. I don't recall any right-wing gangs in the streets protesting. Yet another difference between the Left and the Right. Perhaps now you understand why I often refer to the Left as destructive.
The Left's long march through the institutions has been successful. We now have hordes of young people with no understanding of the greatness of America. The punks have been brainwashed, and we conservatives can blame ourselves for retreating into our private lives and not battling the Marxist cultural termites early on.
But the focus on what really matters, the private, is of the essence of conservatism, and so it is our conservative attitude that unfits us for battle with the totalitarians of the Left who work to destroy the institutions of civil society.
. . . there is no way Trump can beat Hillary. He has alienated too many groups, women and Hispanics to name two. Add to that the fact that large numbers of conservatives will stay home, and Hillary is in like Flynn. Mark my words.
My prediction was not irrational; it was just WRONG. I underestimated the Jacksonian surge of support. It will be instructive to analyze how so many could have been so wrong.
In any case, Hillary the Corrupt is out like Stout, and thank God for that. What we have here is a stinging rebuke to the hate-America Left and their NeverTrump enablers.
I am already feeling Schadenfreude in anticipation of the howling of the likes of George Will and his band of bow-tied pussy-wussies.
This raises a very interesting question. Is there a righteous form of Schadenfreude or is it in every one of its forms as morally objectionable as I make it out to be here?
Brian Leiter, in despair at the election result, quotes Sartre, "We must live without hope." On the contrary. We now have real change and reason for hope. Maybe the Ladder Man -- so-called because of his careerism and obsession with ratings and rankings -- will leave the country. One can hope.
Change and hope.
This just in from London Karl:
Am loving it, absolutely loving it. All those smug, arrogant, close-minded left/liberal patronising jerks getting it in the nuts.
It is astonishing that there are Catholics who vote Democrat, when the Dems are the abortion party, and lately and increasingly a threat to religious liberty to boot. How then could any practicing Catholic vote for Hillary or support Hillary by voting for neither Hillary nor Trump?
So here's my final appeal on Election Day. It consists of a repost from August, substantially redacted, and an addendum in which I reproduce a recent bit of text from George Weigel.
Could a Catholic Support Trump?
Via Burgess-Jackson, I came to this piece by Robert P. George and George Weigel, An Appeal to Our Fellow Catholics (7 March 2016). Appended to it is a list of distinguished signatories. Excerpt:
Donald Trump is manifestly unfit to be president of the United States. His campaign has already driven our politics down to new levels of vulgarity. His appeals to racial and ethnic fears and prejudice are offensive to any genuinely Catholic sensibility. He promised to order U.S. military personnel to torture terrorist suspects and to kill terrorists’ families — actions condemned by the Church and policies that would bring shame upon our country. And there is nothing in his campaign or his previous record that gives us grounds for confidence that he genuinely shares our commitments to the right to life, to religious freedom and the rights of conscience, to rebuilding the marriage culture, or to subsidiarity and the principle of limited constitutional government.
I will respond to these points seriatim.
A. It is true that Trump is unfit to be president, but so is Hillary. But that is the choice we face now that Trump has secured the Republican nomination. In the politics of the real world, as opposed to the politics of utopia, it will be either Trump or Hillary: not both and not neither. Are they equally unfit for the presidency? Arguably yes at the level of character. But at the level of policy no clear-thinking conservative or Catholic could possibly do anything to aid Hillary, whether by voting for her or by not voting for Trump. Consider just abortion and religious liberty and ask yourself which candidate is more likely to forward an agenda favorable to Catholics.
B. Yes, Trump has taken vulgarity in politics to new depths. Unlike milquetoast conservatives, however, he knows how to fight back against political enemies. He doesn't apologize and he doesn't wilt in the face of leftist lies and abuse. He realizes that in post-consensus politics there is little or no place for civility. There is no advantage in being civil to the viciously uncivil. He realizes that the Alinskyite tactics the uncivil Left has been using for decades have to be turned against them. To paraphrase Barack Obama, he understands that one needs to bring a gun to a gun fight.
C. The third sentence above, the one about appeals to racial fears, is something one would expect from a race-baiting leftist, not from a conservative. Besides, it borders on slander, something I should think a Catholic would want to avoid.
You slander Trump and his supporters when you ignore his and their entirely legitimate concern for the rule of law and for national sovereignty and suggest that what motivates him and them is bigotry and fear. Trump and Trump alone among the candidates has had the courage to face the Islamist threat to our country and to call for the vetting of Muslim immigrants. That is just common sense. The milquetoast conservatives are so fearful of being branded xenophobes, 'Islamophobes,' and racists and so desirous of being liked and accepted in respectable Establishment circles, that they will not speak out against the threat.
If they had, and if they had been courageous conservatives on other issues, there would be no need for Trump, he would have gained no traction, and his manifest negatives would have sunk him. Trump's traction is a direct result of conservative inaction. The milquetoasts and bow-tie boys need to look in the mirror and own up to their complicity in having created Trump the politician. But of course they will not do that; they will waste their energy attacking Trump, the only hope we have, in violation of Ronald Reagan's Eleventh Commandment. What a sorry bunch of self-serving pussy-wussies! They yap and scribble, but when it comes time to act and show civil courage, they wilt. They need to peer into a mirror; they will then know what a quisling looks like.
D. I concede that Trump's remarks about torture ought to worry a Catholic. But you should also realize that Trump's strategy is to shoot his mouth off like a rude, New York working stiff in order to energize his base, to intimidate his enemies, and to draw free media attention to himself. Then in prepared speeches he 'walks back' his unguarded comments and adds the necessary qualifications. It is a brilliant strategy, and it has worked.
Trump understands that politics is a practical struggle. It takes place in the street, in a broad sense of the term, not in the seminar room. We intellectuals cringe at Trump's absurd exaggerations, but Trump knows that Joe Sixpack and the blue-collared guys who do the real work of the world have contempt for 'pointy-headed intellekshuls' and he knows that the way to reach them is by speaking their language.
E. It is true that Trump's previous record supplies a reason to doubt whether Trump really shares Catholic commitments. But is it not possible that he has 'evolved'? You say the 'evolution' is merely opportunistic? That may well be. But how much does it matter what his motives are if he helps with the conservative agenda? It is obvious that his own ego and its enhancement is the cynosure of all his striving. He is out for himself, first, and a patriot, second. But Hillary is also out for herself, first, and she is manifestly not a patriot but a destructive hate-America leftist who will work to advance Obama's "fundamental transformation of America." (No one who loves his country seeks a fundamental transformation of it.)
We KNOW what Hillary and her ilk and entourage will do. We KNOW she will be inimical "to the right to life, to religious freedom and the rights of conscience, to rebuilding the marriage culture, or to subsidiarity and the principle of limited constitutional government." Now I grant you that Trump is unreliable, mercurial, flaky, and other bad things to boot. But it is a very good bet that some of what he and his entourage will do will advance the conservative agenda. Trump is espousing the Right ideas, and it is they that count. Can't stand him as a person? Vote for him as a vehicle of the Right ideas!
So I say: if you are a conservative or a Catholic and you do not vote for Trump, you are a damned fool! Look in the mirror and see the quisling who is worried about his status in 'respectable society.'
Here is what George Weigel has to say in NRO today:
The most obvious con is the Trumpian one. Over the past year, the Republican party was captured by a narcissistic buccaneer who repudiated most of what conservatism and the Republican party have stood for over the past half-century, cast venomous aspersions on Republican leaders and those manifestly more qualified than he is for president, insulted our fellow citizens, demeaned women and minorities, played footsy with the Russian dictator Putin, threw NATO under the bus, displayed a dismal ignorance of both the Constitution and the grave matters at stake in current public-policy debates — and in general behaved like a vulgar, sinister bore. In doing all this, Trump the con artist confirmed in the eyes of a partisan mainstream media every one of its false conceptions of what modern conservatism stands for and is prepared to do when entrusted with the tasks of governance.
This outburst does not merit reply beyond what I have said above and elsewhere; Weigel the man needs to seek help for a bad case of Trump Derangement Syndrome.
But one last shot: as for the Constitution, we KNOW that Hillary will shred it; Trump, however, has promised to appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court, and he has provided a list. How can anyone's head be so far up his nether hole as not to understand this?
The nation is at a tipping point. Do your bit to save it.
. . . there is no way Trump can beat Hillary. He has alienated too many groups, women and Hispanics to name two. Add to that the fact that large numbers of conservatives will stay home, and Hillary is in like Flynn. Mark my words.
A bold asseveration somewhat justified by what had transpired up to that point. Things look differently now. I may have to eat my words. And I hope I do. I also wrote:
Let's hope that Trump does not get the Republican nomination. But if he gets it, you must vote for him. For the alternative is far worse. Politics is a practical business. It is not about maintaining your ideological purity, but about getting something accomplished in murky and complex circumstances. It is always about the lesser or least of evils. Trump would be bad, but Hillary worse.
That's right except that I no longer use the misleading phrase 'lesser of evils.' It seduces people into asking, 'Why vote for either if both are evil?' when in the vast majority of political contests like these none of the contenders is evil in a way that would justify voting for neither.
Not 'lesser of evils' but 'better and worse.' Trump is better than Hillary policy-wise even if not much better character-wise.
The state is not about to wither away. She shall abide, to oppress, but also to guide and provide. It obviously matters who has his hands on the levers of power. It matters who sets the tone and influences the culture in Washington and beyond.
Some are tempted to withdraw and have nothing to do with politics. That would make sense if one could expect politics to reciprocate by having nothing to do with one. A highly unreasonable expectation, especially when the Dems are in power. Never forget that the Left is totalitarian to the core and will lie brazenly to achieve its ends. A good example is the pack of brazen lies put forth by Obama and Co. to ram through ObamaCare, the unaffordable Affordable Care Act.
Hillary too lies brazenly as should be evident to all by now when it is helpful unto her personal ambition and the leftist agenda (in that order).
Then you had better vote for Trump, characterological warts and all.
By the way, a vote for Trump is not an endorsement of his character, but of the ideas and policies he stands for. As for you namby-pamby, quasi-conservative, crypto-quislings whose tender consciences cannot allow a vote for Trump, I ask you: will you feel any pricks of conscience if and when a Hillary administration of possibly eight years duration completes the leftist infiltration of our institutions and the "fundamental transformation" Obama promised?
Ambush-style killings of police officers are up 167% this year. At the same time the murder rate is way up in black ghettoes across the land due to the Ferguson effect. (Can you blame the boys in blue for drinking more coffee and eating more donuts?) Hillary is sure to continue the Obama administration's erosion of the rule of law. She has already thrown her support behind Black Lives Matter, a virulent anti-cop outfit that spreads the lie that the police are on the hunt for blacks, an outfit that is itself based on brazen lies about Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. She also peddles the myth of mass incarceration and spouts nonsense about 'systemic' racism, a figment of the febrile left-wing imagination. And of course what motivates her in all this inanity, insanity, and mendacity is simply the need for black votes.
Black votes matter!
And then there is Hillary's flouting of the law herself. She is now the target of two FBI investigations, one concerning her unspeakably irresponsible self-serving storage of state secrets on her private e-mail server, the other concerning the Clinton Foundation.
So if you care about the rule of law, you will vote for Trump.
The Hillary/Bill fortune — generated by pay-for-play influence peddling on the proposition that Bill would return to the White House under Hillary’s aegis and reward friends while punishing enemies — hit a reported $150 million some time ago, a fortune built not on farming, mining, insurance, finance, high-tech, or manufacturing, but on skimming off money. The Clintons are simply grifters whose insider access to government gave them the power to make rich people richer.
[. . .]
The Clintons suffer from greed, as defined by Aristotle: endless acquisition solely for the benefit of self. With their insatiable appetites, they resented the limits that multimillionaire status put on them, boundaries they could bypass only by accumulating ever greater riches. The billion-dollar foundation squared the circle of progressive politicians profiting from the public purse by offering a veneer of “doing good” while offering free luxury travel commensurate with the style of the global rich, by offering sinecures for their loyal but otherwise unemployable cronies, and by spinning off lobbying and speaking fees (the original font of their $100-million-plus personal fortune and the likely reason for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s decision to put all her communications, mercantile included, on a private server safe from government scrutiny). Acquiring money to the extent that money would become superfluous was certainly a Clinton telos — and the subtext of the entire Podesta trove and the disclosures about the Clinton Foundation.
Power and pride were the other catalyst for Clinton criminality. I don’t think progressive politics mattered much to the Clintons, at least compared with what drives the more sincere Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Hillary, like Bill, has no real political beliefs — though she doesn’t hesitate to pursue a mostly opportunistic progressive political agenda. By temperament and background, the Clintons are leftists and will follow a leftist vision, sort of, but one predicated on doing so within the constraints of obtaining and keeping power.
That's right. Hillary is Ambition in a pant-suit. What drives her are lust for power and greed. Her leftism is merely the means to her personal ends. But the main reason she must be stopped is not because of her vices, but because of her destructive leftism which will "fundamentally transform," which is to say, destroy, America as she was founded to be.
Hanson ends with this curious sentence:
And one wonders whether, in fleeting seconds here at the end of things, they still believe that it was all worth what they have become.
Is Hanson predicting Hillary's defeat in the election with the suggestion that they sense her defeat? Or is Hanson alluding to the horror of those who, at the end of their lives, come to realize that they have sold their souls in pursuit of worthless things? Or both? Or neither? Perhaps all he means by "the end of things" is the end of the presidential campaign, the last Hillary-Billary power-grab.
On occasion a good writer may indulge in a bit of obscurity to make the reader think -- or, less nobly, to make himself appear profound.
The Op-Ed pages of The New York Times are piss-poor to be sure, but Ross Douthat and David Brooks are sometimes worth reading. But the following from Brooks (28 October) is singularly boneheaded although the opening sentence is exactly right:
The very essence of conservatism is the belief that politics is a limited activity, and that the most important realms are prepolitical: conscience, faith, culture, family and community. But recently conservatism has become more the talking arm of the Republican Party. Among social conservatives, for example, faith sometimes seems to come in second behind politics, Scripture behind voting guides. Today, most white evangelicals are willing to put aside the Christian virtues of humility, charity and grace for the sake of a Trump political victory.
Come on, man. Don't be stupid. The Left is out to suppress religious liberty. This didn't start yesterday. You yourself mention conscience, but you must be aware that bakers and florists have been forced by the state to violate their consciences by catering homosexual 'marriage' ceremonies. Is that a legitimate use of state power? And if the wielders of state power can get away with that outrage, where will they stop? Plenty of other examples can be adduced, e.g., the Obama administration's assault on the Little Sisters of the Poor.
The reason evangelicals and other Christians support Trump is that they know what that destructive and deeply mendacious stealth ideologue Hillary will do when she gets power. It is not because they think the Gotham sybarite lives the Christian life, but despite his not living it. They understand that ideas and policies trump character issues especially when Trump's opponent is even worse on the character plane. What's worse: compromising national security, using high public office to enrich oneself, and then endlessly lying about it all, or forcing oneself on a handful of women?
The practice of the Christian virtues and the living of the Christian life require freedom of religion. Our freedoms are under vicious assault by leftist scum like Hillary. This is why Trump garners the support of Christians.
The threat from the Left is very real indeed. See here and read the chilling remarks of Martin Castro of the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights. Given Castro's comments the name of the commission counts as Orwellian.
As we go to press, the stunning news has broken that the FBI’s investigation is being reopened. It appears, based on early reports, that in the course of examining communications devices in a separate “sexting” investigation of disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner, the bureau stumbled on relevant e-mails — no doubt connected to Huma Abedin, Mr. Weiner’s wife and, more significantly, Mrs. Clinton’s closest confidant. According to the New York Times, the FBI has seized at least one electronic device belonging to Ms. Abedin as well. New e-mails, never before reviewed by the FBI, have been recovered.
Team Clinton has succeeded in perpetuating one of the greatest evils I have seen in my lifetime. Her side has branded Trump supporters (40%+ of voters) as Nazis, sexists, homophobes, racists, and a few other fighting words. Their argument is built on confirmation bias and persuasion. But facts don’t matter because facts never matter in politics. What matters is that Clinton’s framing of Trump provides moral cover for any bullying behavior online or in person. No one can be a bad person for opposing Hitler, right?
Some Trump supporters online have suggested that people who intend to vote for Trump should wear their Trump hats on election day. That is a dangerous idea, and I strongly discourage it. There would be riots in the streets because we already know the bullies would attack. But on election day, inviting those attacks is an extra-dangerous idea. Violence is bad on any day, but on election day, Republicans are far more likely to unholster in an effort to protect their voting rights. Things will get wet fast.