Tuesday, February 14, 2017

An Explanation of Why We Are All Flaming Hypocrites

Hey, want me to share a little secret?  No, not that kind of secret.  Get your mind out of the gutter.  With the new political situation such as it is, I get four years of not caring anymore about politics, or at least not that much.  I might jump in with the occasional defense of the Donald, or try to troll a few liberals with a smarmy Facebook post, but otherwise I get to kick my heels up on ye olde desk, light up a cigar, and enjoy life as much as possible (subject to the obvious constraint of living in a thoroughly screwed up society). 

And for you Obama-ites out there, and other asunder liberals, it’s time to do the opposite and remain ever vigilant over the dimming flame of liberty and stuff like that there.  Time to brush off the “no justice no peace” and construct an argument that dissent, after an eight-year period of being racist bigotry or ideological partisanship, is now again the highest form of patriotism.

But you already knew that because you’ve been to like 16 protests already.  And the more committed among you have burned stuff, thrown batteries at people’s heads, and destroyed property to make it clear that you will not tolerate fascist violence (although anti-fascist violence is A-OK!).  Your eight-year vacation of tolerating or otherwise ignoring indefensible actions of the government is over, whereas mine is just beginning.  I’m even wearing a Tommy Bahama shirt as I type. 

Now, of course, not everyone on my side will be taking a vacation.  We have a small unit deployed to counter the silliness that will no doubt be argued by you guys for the foreseeable future.  Good luck to you in combating them - they are in a good position, because they have eight years of stupid precedents set by your main man in trying to jam his legislative agenda down the collective American throat to cite in defending the process by which Trump goes about doing the same.  

Don’t like the IRS targeting political enemies?  Well, you sure seemed fine with it before.  Find a president who criticizes elements of the press to be a troubling abuse of power casting a long shadow over the freedom of the press?  There are some unfortunate Obama quotes regarding Fox news that we might call to your attention, not to mention investigating and imprisoning journalists.  Find outright blatant and repeated lies from the President regarding key policies downright impeachable offenses?  I’ll mull that one over after a few more hours working to afford my now increased health care premiums (so that I can see the new doctor I had to switch to).  Object to the return of water-boarding to gain some useful intelligence from some terrorists?  Fair enough, we will skip straight to the drone “workplace violence removal strategy.”  Need I go on? 

Yes, I know, none of these things sound even remotely familiar to you.  It’s understandable – you’ve had eight years of sipping Mai Thais and posting cat pictures on Facebook – but trust me, all of it is well documented.  I’m sure it won’t deter you, but you cannot expect anyone on the other side to agree with you on principle if you fail to demonstrate any.

Which brings me to my point – in political arguments, anytime one party can point to inconsistencies regarding the positions of the other party, and cry hypocrisy, the equal and opposite cry of hypocrisy can fly in the other direction.  For example (and a boring one at that), Obama was an outspoken critic of raising the debt ceiling under GWB, but then sought to increase it under his own presidency.  So Obama can fairly and accurately be called a hypocrite, but the same argument could be lodged against a Republican who followed the party line under Bush, only to argue against it under Obama.  Now, there will in general be the rare exception of consistency for people on either side of the political spectrum or little nuances here and there that justifies an otherwise apparent inconsistency, but by and large as a party this flipping constantly occurs.  So it is inaccurate to make blanket statements such as all liberals are hypocrites on issue A, or all conservatives are hypocrites on issue B, but there are many instances where characterizations of the general approach of the group as hypocritical are accurate. 

I recently smarmily pointed out 2 such instances on Facebook.  One regarded the women’s march in Washington and other cities, which in part was motivated by crude comments (made hypothetically I might add) by Trump.  I think organizers would point to that comment, and perhaps allegations of actual sexual assault against Trump, as the raison d’etre for their march, rather than the true underlying reason, which was in large part the defense of abortion rights (and perhaps subsidized contraception).  They couldn’t say that, of course, because the possibility of a retrenchment of such “rights” was nothing new or unique to Trump, and the purpose of the rally was in part to suggest that he poses a unique threat to women.  And regardless of his personal conduct, real or imagined, there is absolutely zero evidence that Trump would seek to roll back legal protections for women who are victims of sexual assault (sorry, abortion is not a legal protection from such actions).  Furthermore, any attempt to do so would be political suicide, and so no one can seriously suggest he has such plans in the making.

Of course, many of the women attending were of adult age through the presidency of Bill Clinton, who was credibly accused of rape and sexual assault, but who despite his best efforts to get hundreds of thousands of women within arm’s reach of the White House earned no such women’s march.  The good women soldiers of the left were told by Gloria Steinem, in the wake of the Kathleen Wiley’s accusations of sexual assault against Bill Clinton (while she mourned her husband’s death), that perhaps a “one grope” rule should be invoked - a man cannot be expected to know that a sexual assault is unwanted unless and until he attempts it. To wit, at the time there was no protest.  Why not?  Well, to paraphrase one woman journalist, she would gladly perform fellatio on the president herself in exchange for keeping abortion legal. She couldn’t have cared less about a rape or an assault here or there as long as good old Bill didn’t come after abortion rights.  Calling many (not all) of the women attending the women’s march hypocrites is fair and accurate.

But the converse may also be true, although there are always differences. So we hear from liberals saying, wait a minute, all you Republicans were saying that Clinton’s actions were serious, impeachable, and at the very least despicable acts, and y’all ran to the ballot box to cast your vote for Trump amidst similar behavior and accusations.  Now, I’d argue in Clinton’s case some of what he was credibly accused of occurred during his presidency, and otherwise accusations lodged against him were far worse, such as the rape charges from Juanita Broderick.  But still, I will concede that if all Republicans and Democrats were polled in 1970 and asked whether any of the behavior of either Trump or Clinton was desirable or defensible in a President, there’d be uniform agreement that it is not.  

So why are we all a bunch of flaming hypocrites?  Well, we flat out have to be.  Think about the federal government as an organization that, for better or for worse, we’ve delegated hundreds of responsibilities to, leaving ourselves unable to work out satisfactory policies at the state or local level (where we have much more influence, if only by voting with our feet), or better yet through the private sector.  The guy from our tribe can be screwing up most every one of those hundreds of responsibilities, but so long as he has a few key policy positions in line with our own, we stick by him under the tacit assumption that, as bad as he may be on so many of these issues, the other tribe’s guy would be no better and potentially far worse.  Put another way, we have to defend the indefensible to preserve a few issues that we care about and understand, even if we know in our heart of hearts that our guy is a disaster on all other fronts.

So what is the solution to a political system that has us all shamelessly shilling for the con men that comprise the respective tribes?  There is no solution, or rather the only good solution would be rejected entirely by the political left.  The solution would be a libertarian one, which would involve retrenching the federal government from having so much power and influence, in order to leave more responsibilities to lower levels of government or no levels of government.  It’s hard to vote with your feet from country to country, as we find out every four years when thousands of people on both sides of the aisle pledge to get out of Dodge if so and so is elected, with no one following through.  But moving from New Jersey to Delaware is a cinch.  

A move to libertarianism or more decentralized power would, however, seriously limit the welfare state, as well as the regulatory state.  If decentralized, net taxpayers would seek low tax jurisdictions that offer smaller welfare benefits, whereas those on the dole would seek jurisdictions offering large benefits.  This would create an unsustainable tax/welfare position for any state trying to offer very generous benefits.   (Incidentally, this is the exact reason Obamacare is imploding, as it's penalties are too small to induce healthy young people to subsidize less healthy poor people - they are effectively walking away from premiums that tax them to provide subsidies).  A similar race to what the left would consider the bottom would also ensue with the regulatory state, with states offering the least onerous regulations potentially attracting more business. However, this would be more intriguing, as the removal of regulations that might improve the quality of life might detract the workforce businesses seek.  Arguably such a decentralized regulatory structure could serve to just trim the fat of over-regulation, leaving in place those that are truly desired.

Bottom line – the solution is a total non-starter for liberals because it undermines their entire conception of government.  A Leviathan proportioned government requires a very large geography.  Which leaves us where we started.  Arguing that our man is competently riding the bull of big government even as its clear he’s been thrown off and is getting gored in the ass.  And we do it with a straight face.  Until our guys loses, when we all of a sudden are concerned with every single government screw up as if it is something new.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Well done is better than well said"-Benjamin Franklin , but he never read your work

8:11 AM  

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