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Civilization’s Requisite Brutality

 

If you will, imagine a sparsely-populated, anarchic region somewhat akin to the early days of the Wild West. Although decent folk live among the rabble, the Rule of Law is hardly respected. People settle disputes not with respect to objective justice or decency but instead resolve most arguments by shooting first.

Now imagine the decent folk of the region, appalled by what they see around them, decide that they will fight the chaos by refraining from participating in it. They choose to “go high” instead of low, using reason and setting positive, dignified examples for their neighbors to demonstrate the behavior and principles upon which they hope to establish a better society. After all, would not participating in the violence around them legitimize the use of arbitrary force? How could they expect anyone to believe that they would prefer a less violent society when they employ violence themselves? Might not they become the very enemies they so loathe if they adopt the outlaws’ tactics and start shooting people themselves?

How successful do you think these decent, moral, reasonable people would be at civilizing their surroundings?

If you see parallels between this society and how leftists often handle foreign policy or criminal justice, you’re correct, for neither rogue states nor individuals change their behavior unless they’re forced to. Negotiation, rehabilitation, offers to join the community, and verbal persuasion have limits.

However, the more pertinent parallel I’m drawing is that of modern political rhetoric and some conservatives’ refusal to adapt to reality accordingly.

Indeed, when I read or hear many of their complaints about Trump, they’re correct in many of their premises. The ability to produce funny memes, quick quips, vacuous catchy slogans, or mock one’s opponents into submission have nothing whatsoever to do with the correctness of one’s views. Societies in which most of us form our opinions based on measured, civil, debates and discussions while soberly weighing the options before us are healthier than those in which the best one-liners win the day. Class is better than crudeness. The president should set positive examples for us and our children.

Nevertheless, as correct as that may be, when we emphasize such idealistic principles while ignoring the principles of reality, power, and human nature, our perspective becomes distorted, our solutions ineffectual, and those who pay no regard whatsoever to any sense of decency, reason, and decorum will prevail over us.

We respect the foundations of civil society, as well we should. However, we often forget that reason, justice, and other ideals can only be enforced when those who adhere to them have more influence and power than those who don’t. In general, people don’t start behaving because they’re rationally convinced they should, have classy examples to follow, or miracles amazingly change their hearts. Instead, they respond to incentives, determining whether they’ll engage in “right” or “wrong” behavior based on whether or not they believe they’ll benefit.

Much to the chagrin of both my more measured conservative allies and myself, when it comes to setting the terms of decency and decorum in political debate, we don’t have that kind of power. Instead, Saturday Night Live plays an instrumental role in destroying the political careers of Republicans from Gerald Ford to Sarah Palin in ways that the reasoned voices of Jonah Goldberg or Charles Krauthammer have never harmed Democrats. Nonsensical quips like “the eighties called” become the only parts of debates that anyone remembers. Conservative views are shouted or beaten out of universities. Mockery, demonization, accusations of mental illness (homophobia, Islamophobia, xenophobia, etc.), snide insinuations, condescension, and virtually every other logical fallacy dominate our political and cultural discourse.

Thus, although the rhetorical environment in which we find ourselves mirrors that of the aforementioned Wild West, many of us act as if there’s a rational judge or sheriff upon whom we can call when our opponents run afoul of the “law” of reasoned discourse. We fail to recognize how judges and sheriffs attained any power out West in the first place — they got better at gunplay than the villains.

Individual morality depends on individual choices, but societal morality depends on a complex web of laws and unwritten norms. The efficacy of societal rules depends on the ability of those who support such rules to enforce them through either legal or societal sanction. If you can’t make people hurt for doing something wrong (even if it’s just their feelings), people are going to keep doing it, especially if they perceive they’ll benefit.

And judging from how easily Romney became a “vulture capitalist” in the minds of most voters, leftists have good reason to believe that continuing with their nonsense will serve them well. Moreover, until Trump the most they had to fear from “going low” was a few Republicans saying variations of “they really shouldn’t say that” for a day or two before moving on to more reasoned discourse. Some attacks worked, some didn’t, but until recently they never suffered effective counterattacks.

Our calls to civil discourse have proven as effective as gun buyback programs or outlawing war, yet many of us act either as if leftist repeated attacks have no effect, or that Moral Appeal #12,342 will be the one that finally does the trick and gets Democrats to address us as fellow human beings and make arguments other than “hate” and “people are going to die.”

Unfortunately, there is no longer enough of a sense of public decorum for “please stop saying that” to instill any sort of shame or fear in the hearts of our opponents whatsoever. They’ve no reasons to stop, so we’ve got to give them some.

And that means instead of winning the fight we should be having, we’ve got to win the fight we’re actually having. That means better memes, insults, and witty quips. It means hounding Maxine Waters and Bernie Sanders for their over-the-top statements like they hounded Palin, letting go only of our offensive only after their reputations have suffered enough for them not to want to do it again.

Some might find it contradictory to foster a return to civilized discourse through insults, but is the alternative any less incoherent? If our current level of discourse is as corrosive as my moralist allies claim, then how can we allow it to continue unabated by our adversaries? Should we not put a stop to it? And how are we going to ever put a stop to it if we refuse to do anything effective to counter it? If our societal norms managed to corrode so drastically as to lead us today’s rhetorical toilet under the classy conservative leadership of the Bushes, Romney, Ryan, and Frist, on what basis can we conclude that more conservative class and nobility will lead to anything other than even more corrosion?

If juvenile rhetoric important enough for us to refrain from whatever its advantages, then it’s important enough for us to ensure that our adversaries put an end to it as well. If it’s not important enough for us to actually stop leftists from doing it and thus accruing advantages from it, then it’s not important enough for us to stop ourselves from doing it to our own detriment.

We’re fortunate enough to live in a society that’s relatively free from violence, but that security developed only because good men sometimes get downright brutal. In order to secure peace both at home and abroad, on our behalf our soldiers and policemen have been willing to engage our enemies on their violent terms. We’re able to follow the rules of law and war because we have so many weapons to enforce codes of decency.

But today, political discourse is anarchy. We’ve no universally enforceable moral code to which we can effectively hold our opponents, and except under the most egregious of violations, no press to cry “you’ve gone too far” when our opponents accuse us of being evil personified. We like to think of ourselves as the righteous forces of morality upholding traditional values of decency when we’re actually just getting beaten to a pulp as we impotently watch those values further degrade.

Much like the leftists who rely exclusively on rehabilitation with dictators and coddle street criminals, all too often politically we’re oblivious to reality and assume that good faith nobility will inspire its reciprocity, forgetting that as negotiation works only from a position of strength, what we see as moral will be interpreted as merely weak. Our eagerness to refrain from impolite rhetoric only fosters its growth.

Our supporters are getting beaten with regularity and our congressional representatives shot as our political opponents continue to call us the racist, evil, violent, misogynist forces of oppression and hate. Yet many of us still wet our beds at the thought of doing something that might actually get them to stop. As our levels of political vitriol continue to increase, we have only ourselves and our misplaced concepts of nobility to blame.

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Members have made 52 comments.

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  1. Profile photo of Ed G. Member

    Martel:If you will, imagine a sparsely-populated, anarchic region somewhat akin to the early days of the Wild West. Although decent folk live among the rabble, the Rule of Law is hardly respected. People settle disputes not with respect to objective justice or decency but instead resolve most arguments by shooting first.

    Now imagine the decent folk of the region, appalled by what they see around them, decide that they will fight the chaos by refraining from participating in it. They choose to “go high” instead of low, using reason and setting positive, dignified examples for their neighbors to demonstrate the behavior and principles upon which they hope to establish a better society. After all, would not participating in the violence around them legitimize the use of arbitrary force? How could they expect anyone to believe that they would prefer a less violent society when they employ violence themselves? Might not they become the very enemies they so loathe if they adopt the outlaws’ tactics and start shooting people themselves?

    How successful do you think these decent, moral, reasonable people would be at civilizing their surroundings?

    ….. 

    Isn’t that the plot and drama of Shane?

    • #1
    • July 14, 2017 at 1:46 pm
    • Like3 likes
  2. Profile photo of genferei Member

    Martel: Some might find it contradictory to foster a return to civilized discourse through insults, but is the alternative any less incoherent? If our current level of discourse is as corrosive as my moralist allies claim, then how can we allow it to continue unabated by our adversaries? Should we not put a stop to it? And how are we going to ever put a stop to it if we refuse to do anything effective to counter it?

    All excellent questions.

    (Also, the juvenile cracks and off-colour memes are kinda fun.)

    • #2
    • July 14, 2017 at 1:51 pm
    • Like10 likes
  3. Profile photo of Bryan G. Stephens Reagan

    I think this is spot on, with less anger about it if I wrote it.

    This is more me these days.

    • #3
    • July 14, 2017 at 2:14 pm
    • Like14 likes
  4. Profile photo of Kevin Schulte Member

    Martel, I couldn’t agree with you more. I wasn’t always in this frame of mind, though I am now.

    A moral-less aggressor in a conflict always sets the terms. The nerd on the beach rubbing sand from his eyes never changes Brutus or the situation.

    • #4
    • July 14, 2017 at 2:24 pm
    • Like8 likes
  5. Profile photo of Martel Member
    Martel Post author

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    Martel:If you will, imagine a sparsely-populated, anarchic region somewhat akin to the early days of the Wild West. Although decent folk live among the rabble, the Rule of Law is hardly respected. People settle disputes not with respect to objective justice or decency but instead resolve most arguments by shooting first.

    Now imagine the decent folk of the region, appalled by what they see around them, decide that they will fight the chaos by refraining from participating in it. They choose to “go high” instead of low, using reason and setting positive, dignified examples for their neighbors to demonstrate the behavior and principles upon which they hope to establish a better society. After all, would not participating in the violence around them legitimize the use of arbitrary force? How could they expect anyone to believe that they would prefer a less violent society when they employ violence themselves? Might not they become the very enemies they so loathe if they adopt the outlaws’ tactics and start shooting people themselves?

    How successful do you think these decent, moral, reasonable people would be at civilizing their surroundings?

    …..

    Isn’t that the plot and drama of Shane?

    Maybe. I haven’t seen it in eons.

    • #5
    • July 14, 2017 at 2:59 pm
    • LikeLike
  6. Profile photo of Martel Member
    Martel Post author

    genferei (View Comment):

    Martel: Some might find it contradictory to foster a return to civilized discourse through insults, but is the alternative any less incoherent? If our current level of discourse is as corrosive as my moralist allies claim, then how can we allow it to continue unabated by our adversaries? Should we not put a stop to it? And how are we going to ever put a stop to it if we refuse to do anything effective to counter it?

    All excellent questions.

    (Also, the juvenile cracks and off-colour memes are kinda fun.)

    As I’ve heard somebody say recently, when it comes to political battles, never bet against the side that’s having more fun.

    • #6
    • July 14, 2017 at 3:00 pm
    • Like11 likes
  7. Profile photo of I Walton Member

    You have to accept that what liberals say has nothing to do with the subject at hand. They’ve inherited a narrative, learned by osmosis rather than study or thought, so just ignore them and try to keep them from acquiring power in any form anywhere. Our frontier towns civilized very rapidly because the people were civilized to begin with. They formed land societies following common law such as they knew it, mining claim registrations similarly, even before they were states and they hired sheriffs and preachers and school teachers, and they did so because order was in the interest of the saloon owner and the mercantile store even more than the citizens. The chaos was in gold rush towns where the returns to violence were astronomical and the risks were low until some law and order was established. The same type of characters got in to slave trade and more recently drug trade where the returns to people indifferent to civilized notions and prone to violence are draw like files to s…t. I have no idea what liberal meant in such situations. I suppose they were Mel Brooks and Harvey Korman types in blazing saddles.

    • #7
    • July 14, 2017 at 3:09 pm
    • Like2 likes
  8. Profile photo of DocJay Member

    Our supporters are getting beaten with regularity and our congressional representatives shot as our political opponents continue to call us the racist, evil, violent, misogynist forces of oppression and hate. Yet many of us still we our beds at the thought of doing something that might actually get them to stop. As our levels of political vitriol continue to increase, we have only ourselves and our misplaced concepts of nobility to blame.

    Change this to WET our beds.

    You’re darn right about the civility issues. Fighting a Marquess of Queensberry vs a terrorist mentality enemy won’t work. The left needs to mostly behave well and beg for civility before we will have decency. Until then I think I’ll prefer not being a sap.

    • #8
    • July 14, 2017 at 4:19 pm
    • Like16 likes
  9. Profile photo of Martel Member
    Martel Post author

    I Walton (View Comment):
    You have to accept that what liberals say has nothing to do with the subject at hand. They’ve inherited a narrative, learned by osmosis rather than study or thought, so just ignore them and try to keep them from acquiring power in any form anywhere.

    You say “just ignore them” and also “try to keep them from acquiring power”. Which is it? Because doing one precludes the other.

    I’m aware that the civilizing of the Wild West was more nuanced than I described, which is why I said “somewhat akin” to it.

    Nevertheless, my point stands and isn’t contradicted by yours, as demonstrated by your description of the Gold Rush towns. Good people had to start shooting the bad people for the shooting to stop.

    • #9
    • July 14, 2017 at 4:30 pm
    • Like8 likes
  10. Profile photo of Martel Member
    Martel Post author

    DocJay (View Comment):
    Our supporters are getting beaten with regularity and our congressional representatives shot as our political opponents continue to call us the racist, evil, violent, misogynist forces of oppression and hate. Yet many of us still we our beds at the thought of doing something that might actually get them to stop. As our levels of political vitriol continue to increase, we have only ourselves and our misplaced concepts of nobility to blame.

    Change this to WET our beds.

    You’re darn right about the civility issues. Fighting a Marquess of Queensberry vs a terrorist mentality enemy won’t work. The left needs to mostly behave well and beg for civility before we will have decency. Until then I think I’ll prefer not being a sap.

    Grazie.

    • #10
    • July 14, 2017 at 4:31 pm
    • Like1 like
  11. Profile photo of James Lileks Contributor

    The problem is that most on the left side of the political equation don’t recognize the incivility on their own side, or, if they do, they see it as the excessively enthusiastic actions of a well-intentioned minority. Whereas they think that the majority of the right is crazy. Daft. Stupid. Evil. They already think we act like you are encouraging us to do, and should we take your advice, we will confirm everything and persuade no one.

    I understand that persuasion is not the goal; political power is the goal. I still believe that you have to convert the middle, and I don’t think you accomplish this by ramping up the meme factory and crafting cruder insults.

    Which means, perhaps, that I’m on the other side, not being helpful to the just cause, and deserve to be ridiculed in the harshest, funniest, personal terms – except that there’s a CoC, which is one of the things that keeps this place from being a gruesome slough of YouTube-comment-level discourse.

    • #11
    • July 14, 2017 at 6:22 pm
    • Like8 likes
  12. Profile photo of Richard Finlay Member

    Thank you for this. I was trying to write a post with the same theme. Now I don’t have to.

    • #12
    • July 14, 2017 at 6:23 pm
    • Like6 likes
  13. Profile photo of Underground Conservative Coolidge

    I’m on this wavelength. DocJay added to it nicely. You can’t apologize your way to gain influence. You have to take it. This was an important management tip I learned years ago. I was trying to make everyone happy and got rolled over. Once I started taking control and used my force of will to push a direction, I was able to lead people to achievements. The Right sucks at that and Trump filled the vacuum. He’s reckless and chaotic, but he’s been causing many to grow a spine (including me).

    • #13
    • July 14, 2017 at 6:46 pm
    • Like10 likes
  14. Profile photo of DocJay Member

    I heard an ad on the radio that amounted to the GOP murdering ppl with their health care bill. “My dad will die under the new plan”, was a quote.

    The dems are working on our crooked senator Heller.

    • #14
    • July 14, 2017 at 7:05 pm
    • Like7 likes
  15. Profile photo of Martel Member
    Martel Post author

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    The problem is that most on the left side of the political equation don’t recognize the incivility on their own side, or, if they do, they see it as the excessively enthusiastic actions of a well-intentioned minority. Whereas they think that the majority of the right is crazy. Daft. Stupid. Evil. They already think we act like you are encouraging us to do, and should we take your advice, we will confirm everything and persuade no one.

    You’re correct in your assessment of how they view us. However, as it stands now, we get all of the negatives from being perceived as evil meanies and none of the benefits. Namely, we’re bastards who merely suck at keeping anybody from attacking us from all angles all the time. Thus, I see it more like we’ve nothing to lose–they’ll maintain their current level of hate but might develop some fear to go along with it.

    I understand that persuasion is not the goal; political power is the goal. I still believe that you have to convert the middle, and I don’t think you accomplish this by ramping up the meme factory and crafting cruder insults.

    Actually, persuasion is the goal regarding those in the middle, and I’m aware that most polls indicate that my strategy would appeal only to the base.

    However, even though all those polls indicate we hate negative advertising, negative ads are effective. Polls say that people in the middle want somebody who can “reach across the aisle”, but those very voters chose the most partisan member of the Senate over the guy who said “reach across the aisle” every other sentence.

    It doesn’t show up in surveys because we hate admitting it, but most people are utterly repulsed by weakness. Conservatives want conservatives, leftists want leftists, but everybody wants a leader. Being the punching bag party subconsciously indicates to people we don’t have the requisite confidence to lead them, and if you don’t defend yourself from attacks, it’s often read as an indication you feel guilty about something.

    Which means, perhaps, that I’m on the other side, not being helpful to the just cause, and deserve to be ridiculed in the harshest, funniest, personal terms – except that there’s a CoC, which is one of the things that keeps this place from being a gruesome slough of YouTube-comment-level discourse.

    Although you disagree, you’re not sanctimonious and annoyingly repetitive about it, so at this point you deserve no such treatment. Besides, you’re funny sometimes and pretended to like me when we met in person.

    And yes, the CoC keeps us in line here on Ricochet, but on late night talk shows, MSNBC, and college campuses there isn’t one. That’s my point. There is no CoC for America, either as law or societal norm, which is why (just like on YouTube) the loudest voices win.

    • #15
    • July 14, 2017 at 7:27 pm
    • Like21 likes
  16. Profile photo of Terry Mott Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    The problem is that most on the left side of the political equation don’t recognize the incivility on their own side, or, if they do, they see it as the excessively enthusiastic actions of a well-intentioned minority. Whereas they think that the majority of the right is crazy. Daft. Stupid. Evil. They already think we act like you are encouraging us to do, and should we take your advice, we will confirm everything and persuade no one.

    G. W. Bush, who wouldn’t even take his own side in an argument against the Democrats, was “literally Hitler”. Him simply not being on the left confirmed everything. Letting slanders go unchallenged persuades no one. Accepting responsibility for Katrina bought him nothing, it just served to “confirm everything.”

    “Maverick” McCain made his bones with the media for decades by undercutting and back stabbing conservatives. The media loved him up until the minute he won the GOP nomination. Just running against Obama was enough to “confirm everything.”

    “Severely Conservative” Mitt Romney seems to be as good a man, and executive, as we’re likely to ever again see run for president, but he’s just barely to the right of center, from where I sit. He debated with decorum and dignity. “Binders full of women” confirmed everything.

    I understand that persuasion is not the goal; political power is the goal. I still believe that you have to convert the middle, and I don’t think you accomplish this by ramping up the meme factory and crafting cruder insults.

    When centrists like Bush, Dole, Bush, McCain and Romney are all presented by the Democrats and media as being literally Hitler, how do you plan to convert the middle?

    I’ve long been on record as disliking Trump. My opinion hasn’t changed — he’s a buffoon — but at least he takes his own side in a fight. For that matter, at least he realizes he’s in a fight, that the media are mostly Democratic operatives, not objective reporters. I find that inexpressibly refreshing, if nothing else.

    • #16
    • July 14, 2017 at 7:53 pm
    • Like27 likes
  17. Profile photo of Terry Mott Member

    Martel (View Comment):

    It doesn’t show up in surveys because we hate admitting it, but most people are utterly repulsed by weakness. Conservatives want conservatives, leftists want leftists, but everybody wants a leader. Being the punching bag party subconsciously indicates to people we don’t have the requisite confidence to lead them, and if you don’t defend yourself from attacks, it’s often read as an indication you feel guilty about something.

    Exactly this. Well put.

    • #17
    • July 14, 2017 at 8:11 pm
    • Like6 likes
  18. Profile photo of Martel Member
    Martel Post author

    Richard Finlay (View Comment):
    Thank you for this. I was trying to write a post with the same theme. Now I don’t have to.

    Write it anyway. You’ll probably shine light on as aspect of it that I didn’t.

    • #18
    • July 14, 2017 at 8:28 pm
    • Like2 likes
  19. Profile photo of I Walton Member

    Martel (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):
    You have to accept that what liberals say has nothing to do with the subject at hand. They’ve inherited a narrative, learned by osmosis rather than study or thought, so just ignore them and try to keep them from acquiring power in any form anywhere.

    You say “just ignore them” and also “try to keep them from acquiring power”. Which is it? Because doing one precludes the other.

    I’m aware that the civilizing of the Wild West was more nuanced than I described, which is why I said “somewhat akin” to it.

    Nevertheless, my point stands and isn’t contradicted by yours, as demonstrated by your description of the Gold Rush towns. Good people had to start shooting the bad people for the shooting to stop.

    I’m not contradicting you, but making a point about the returns to violence that bring about situations highly resistant to change, and the unique characteristic of American settlers that made the civilizing such places so much easier. I’d contrast it to Colombia when fairly civilized peasants migrated to coffee growing regions because of the price of coffee, they went beyond the reach of the state and it wasn’t long before a violence lasting 60 years ensued. I’d say it reinforces your point. As to liberals one must ignore what they say because it doesn’t mean anything even to them and that is just another reason to keep them out of power. Nothing contradictory there.

    • #19
    • July 15, 2017 at 4:24 am
    • Like1 like
  20. Profile photo of Robert McReynolds Member

    I Walton (View Comment):

    Martel (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):
    You have to accept that what liberals say has nothing to do with the subject at hand. They’ve inherited a narrative, learned by osmosis rather than study or thought, so just ignore them and try to keep them from acquiring power in any form anywhere.

    You say “just ignore them” and also “try to keep them from acquiring power”. Which is it? Because doing one precludes the other.

    I’m aware that the civilizing of the Wild West was more nuanced than I described, which is why I said “somewhat akin” to it.

    Nevertheless, my point stands and isn’t contradicted by yours, as demonstrated by your description of the Gold Rush towns. Good people had to start shooting the bad people for the shooting to stop.

    I’m not contradicting you, but making a point about the returns to violence that bring about situations highly resistant to change, and the unique characteristic of American settlers that made the civilizing such places so much easier. I’d contrast it to Colombia when fairly civilized peasants migrated to coffee growing regions because of the price of coffee, they went beyond the reach of the state and it wasn’t long before a violence lasting 60 years ensued. I’d say it reinforces your point. As to liberals one must ignore what they say because it doesn’t mean anything even to them and that is just another reason to keep them out of power. Nothing contradictory there.

    Doesn’t mean anything? You try telling that to every 20-something I come across at DIA who believes everything that John Oliver says. Why do they believe it? Because there is no push back. Yesterday one of my colleagues got miffed because three of us were making fun of Hill and California in exactly the same way you might see from Oliver. Then she right to listening to John Oliver without the irony even sinking in. These people need to be mercilessly made fun of and on a constant basis.

    • #20
    • July 15, 2017 at 4:55 am
    • Like9 likes
  21. Profile photo of I Walton Member

    Robert McReynolds (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):

    Martel (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):
    You have to accept that what liberals say has nothing to do with the subject at hand. They’ve inherited a narrative, learned by osmosis rather than study or thought, so just ignore them and try to keep them from acquiring power in any form anywhere.

    You say “just ignore them” and also “try to keep them from acquiring power”. Which is it? Because doing one precludes the other.

    I’m aware that the civilizing of the Wild West was more nuanced than I described, which is why I said “somewhat akin” to it.

    Nevertheless, my point stands and isn’t contradicted by yours, as demonstrated by your description of the Gold Rush towns. Good people had to start shooting the bad people for the shooting to stop.

    I’m not contradicting you, but making a point about the returns to violence that bring about situations highly resistant to change, and the unique characteristic of American settlers that made the civilizing such places so much easier. I’d contrast it to Colombia when fairly civilized peasants migrated to coffee growing regions because of the price of coffee, they went beyond the reach of the state and it wasn’t long before a violence lasting 60 years ensued. I’d say it reinforces your point. As to liberals one must ignore what they say because it doesn’t mean anything even to them and that is just another reason to keep them out of power. Nothing contradictory there.

    Doesn’t mean anything? You try telling that to every 20-something I come across at DIA who believes everything that John Oliver says. Why do they believe it? Because there is no push back. Yesterday one of my colleagues got miffed because three of us were making fun of Hill and California in exactly the same way you might see from Oliver. Then she right to listening to John Oliver without the irony even sinking in. These people need to be mercilessly made fun of and on a constant basis.

    I’m referring to the ones who have power. The kids and most people absorb views by osmosis and we allow these people to run our schools our media and they still run the deep state. Yes there is no push back, but that’s not enough, we have to keep them out of power, which is my point.

    By not believing the things they say I’m referring to their unexamined narrative, their “compassion” for the poor, for minorities, racism etc.. If they actually hold these views they’re just sound bites with no content. Some of our daughters who have been subjected to feminist gender clap trap for years in named universities and reinforced by the sister hood, like good marxists are true believers and have long narratives to justify their beliefs. These are minorities.

    • #21
    • July 15, 2017 at 6:15 am
    • LikeLike
  22. Profile photo of Robert McReynolds Member

    Well if your age group goes 60% for the Dems, you have tremendous power.

    • #22
    • July 15, 2017 at 7:06 am
    • Like2 likes
  23. Profile photo of Trinity Waters Thatcher

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    The problem is that most on the left side of the political equation don’t recognize the incivility on their own side, or, if they do, they see it as the excessively enthusiastic actions of a well-intentioned minority. Whereas they think that the majority of the right is crazy. Daft. Stupid. Evil. They already think we act like you are encouraging us to do, and should we take your advice, we will confirm everything and persuade no one.

    I understand that persuasion is not the goal; political power is the goal. I still believe that you have to convert the middle, and I don’t think you accomplish this by ramping up the meme factory and crafting cruder insults.

    Which means, perhaps, that I’m on the other side, not being helpful to the just cause, and deserve to be ridiculed in the harshest, funniest, personal terms – except that there’s a CoC, which is one of the things that keeps this place from being a gruesome slough of YouTube-comment-level discourse.

    That the left doesn’t characterize their uncivil discourse and behavior as such is irrelevant. We make them stop and return to civility or suffer some consequence. The stove is still hot whether the two year old realizes it or not.

    • #23
    • July 15, 2017 at 12:31 pm
    • Like6 likes
  24. Profile photo of Trinity Waters Thatcher

    Underground Conservative (View Comment):
    I’m on this wavelength. DocJay added to it nicely. You can’t apologize your way to gain influence. You have to take it. This was an important management tip I learned years ago. I was trying to make everyone happy and got rolled over. Once I started taking control and used my force of will to push a direction, I was able to lead people to achievements. The Right sucks at that and Trump filled the vacuum. He’s reckless and chaotic, but he’s been causing many to grow a spine (including me).

    Funny, I just wrote about this today. Why, when describing a positive effect Trump has had, do you feel compelled to add the “reckless and chaotic”, as if you must qualify any praise? Maybe you don’t see it that way, and it was just a reflexive choice, but I’ve noticed these qualifiers a lot lately, here and in the media. That said, your comment is otherwise perfect!

    • #24
    • July 15, 2017 at 12:36 pm
    • Like2 likes
  25. Profile photo of Judge Mental Member

    Well argued, Martel.

    • #25
    • July 15, 2017 at 12:37 pm
    • Like3 likes
  26. Profile photo of Trinity Waters Thatcher

    Martel (View Comment):

    Richard Finlay (View Comment):
    Thank you for this. I was trying to write a post with the same theme. Now I don’t have to.

    Write it anyway. You’ll probably shine light on as aspect of it that I didn’t.

    Yeah! You could undermine the widely misunderstood Biblical imprecation to turn the other cheek. Bring a gun to a knife fight!? Loads of possibilities. Great post, @martel.

    • #26
    • July 15, 2017 at 12:41 pm
    • Like3 likes
  27. Profile photo of Aaron Miller Member

    Long before Trump, many Republican voters insisted that our side needed to be combative, assertive, and bold. None of that requires juvenility or vengeful retaliation.

    It does require rejecting the fantasy of bipartisanship, matter-of-factly identifying liars and scoundrels, and proposing legislation that is more republican than democratic.

    • #27
    • July 15, 2017 at 1:02 pm
    • Like5 likes
  28. Profile photo of cdor Member

    Terry Mott (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    G. W. Bush, who wouldn’t even take his own side in an argument against the Democrats, was “literally Hitler”. Him simply not being on the left confirmed everything. Letting slanders go unchallenged persuades no one. Accepting responsibility for Katrina bought him nothing, it just served to “confirm everything.”

    “Maverick” McCain made his bones with the media for decades by undercutting and back stabbing conservatives. The media loved him up until the minute he won the GOP nomination. Just running against Obama was enough to “confirm everything.”

    “Severely Conservative” Mitt Romney seems to be as good a man, and executive, as we’re likely to ever again see run for president, but he’s just barely to the right of center, from where I sit. He debated with decorum and dignity. “Binders full of women” confirmed everything.

    I understand that persuasion is not the goal; political power is the goal. I still believe that you have to convert the middle, and I don’t think you accomplish this by ramping up the meme factory and crafting cruder insults.

    When centrists like Bush, Dole, Bush, McCain and Romney are all presented by the Democrats and media as being literally Hitler, how do you plan to convert the middle?

    I’ve long been on record as disliking Trump. My opinion hasn’t changed — he’s a buffoon — but at least he takes his own side in a fight. For that matter, at least he realizes he’s in a fight, that the media are mostly Democratic operatives, not objective reporters. I find that inexpressibly refreshing, if nothing else.

    I was listening to Andrew Klavan today. From one of last weeks shows, he had James O’keefe, the video journalist, on for an interview. Remember his latest release capturing CNN producers admitting that they were on a witch hunt, ordered from their bosses, to bring Trump down. He’s got more stuff coming up on the NY Times. His main point…the Times was willing to go under before giving up in their battle against Trump. The left is our enemy. They are in a war and they know it. Do we? What @martel is speaking to, if I may be so presumptuous, is the ROE…Rules of Engagement. Just as many of us have been so upset by artificial rules hamstringing our men and women in battle so they must be shot at before they may shoot, we must also be upset when artificial rules not followed by our enemy, must be followed by our own politicians. That makes us unable to win, in other words, losers. I like winning. More importantly, I believe we must win or lose our country.

    • #28
    • July 15, 2017 at 1:56 pm
    • Like13 likes
  29. Profile photo of Martel Member
    Martel Post author

    Trinity Waters (View Comment):

    Martel (View Comment):

    Richard Finlay (View Comment):
    Thank you for this. I was trying to write a post with the same theme. Now I don’t have to.

    Write it anyway. You’ll probably shine light on as aspect of it that I didn’t.

    Yeah! You could undermine the widely misunderstood Biblical imprecation to turn the other cheek. Bring a gun to a knife fight!? Loads of possibilities. Great post, @martel.

    Thanks.

    You bring up a good point about Christian teachings like the Beatitudes being used to rationalize inaction. For example, I agree that “blessed are the merciful”, but to be merciful you’ve got to have some sort of power or authority. The 6’4″ hockey player who refrains from beating the snot out of some pencil-neck for spilling beer on him is being merciful. The pencil-neck who just shrugs off having beer spilled on him by the hockey player may like to think of himself as merciful, but he’s actually just weak.

    • #29
    • July 15, 2017 at 2:13 pm
    • Like5 likes
  30. Profile photo of Martel Member
    Martel Post author

    cdor (View Comment):

    Terry Mott (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    G. W. Bush, who wouldn’t even take his own side in an argument against the Democrats, was “literally Hitler”. Him simply not being on the left confirmed everything. Letting slanders go unchallenged persuades no one. Accepting responsibility for Katrina bought him nothing, it just served to “confirm everything.”

    “Maverick” McCain made his bones with the media for decades by undercutting and back stabbing conservatives. The media loved him up until the minute he won the GOP nomination. Just running against Obama was enough to “confirm everything.”

    “Severely Conservative” Mitt Romney seems to be as good a man, and executive, as we’re likely to ever again see run for president, but he’s just barely to the right of center, from where I sit. He debated with decorum and dignity. “Binders full of women” confirmed everything.

    I understand that persuasion is not the goal; political power is the goal. I still believe that you have to convert the middle, and I don’t think you accomplish this by ramping up the meme factory and crafting cruder insults.

    When centrists like Bush, Dole, Bush, McCain and Romney are all presented by the Democrats and media as being literally Hitler, how do you plan to convert the middle?

    I’ve long been on record as disliking Trump. My opinion hasn’t changed — he’s a buffoon — but at least he takes his own side in a fight. For that matter, at least he realizes he’s in a fight, that the media are mostly Democratic operatives, not objective reporters. I find that inexpressibly refreshing, if nothing else.

    I was listening to Andrew Klavan today. From one of last weeks shows, he had James O’keefe, the video journalist, on for an interview. Remember his latest release capturing CNN producers admitting that they were on a witch hunt, ordered from their bosses, to bring Trump down. He’s got more stuff coming up on the NY Times. His main point…the Times was willing to go under before giving up in their battle against Trump. The left is our enemy. They are in a war and they know it. Do we? What @martel is speaking to, if I may be so presumptuous, is the ROE…Rules of Engagement. Just as many of us have been so upset by artificial rules hamstringing our men and women in battle so they must be shot at before they may shoot, we must also be upset when artificial rules not followed by our enemy, must be followed by our own politicians. That makes us unable to win, in other words, losers. I like winning. More importantly, I believe we must win or lose our country.

    We can sometimes get away with restrictive ROE on the battlefield and still win only because we’ve such superior firepower. But even then, a lot of good men have died from restrictive ROE who probably didn’t need to.

    • #30
    • July 15, 2017 at 2:16 pm
    • Like2 likes
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