Power and Privilege

 

With a hat tip to Instapundit, I bring you today’s winner of the internet:

“If you want to know what power looks like, watch a man safely, even smugly, do interviews for decades, without ever worrying whether he will be asked the questions he doesn’t want to answer.” — Monica Lewinsky

While I did hesitate a bit to bring that to you because the topic easily slips, a mere two decades hence, into the all too common (and, for the most part, intentionally — either consciously or unconsciously) misunderstood Clinton impeachment arena that embarrasses far too many (even in this neighborhood), there is a whole lot of awesomeness in that one sentence. For those rather new to the news-junkie game (i.e., less than a decade of really paying attention) this hits hard at the serial dishonesty that our politico-media class has operated under since 1992.

“We” all had to pretend not to notice the rapist just off the stage in order to allow the victim-bashing, enabling wife to try her hand in the big leagues too. The unrelenting repetition of that pretending went on for so long that it became a learned habit for some and the primary mode of unthinkingly observing the game for a whole new generation or more. So much so that far too many don’t even flinch at the similar serial (and oh-so-tiresome) dishonesty of the “Trump-Charlottesville-Racialism” types on either side of the aisle. But, I digress.

And yet, as a commenter at Instapundit mentioned, the word “power” just isn’t correct. As I have written about before, the most magnificent demonstration of real power to slip into the public arena (while at the same time remaining mostly unnoticed), and the one that must serve as the definitive demonstration of the term for all time, can best be summed up in these [eighteen] words:

I can only imagine the immense collective power that resides in [the still anonymous] Clients #1 through #8

That previously mentioned commenter suggested “privilege” as the more proper term but, while I cannot improve on that at this time, I do suspect improvement is possible. Any thoughts?

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  1. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    I’m not sure it is power or privilege of those ignored so much as a symbiosis between them and the media.   

    • #1
  2. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    It’s similar to Barrack Obama knowing he’d never be seriously challenged for his radical associations. Note how long they sat on that Farrakhan photo. 

    Clinton still isn’t asked about Bill’s hanging out with that Epstein creep and ‘Underage Island’.

    Bernnie Sanders isn’t challenged on his three houses, his having a government paycheck & benefits his entire adult life, his not being challenged on Socialism (Cuba, Venezuella …), what is a “Fair Share”!

    • #2
  3. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Which is why, I think, Trump gets such uniformly hysterical media coverage.   He has the audacity to expose the symbiosis and that cannot be allowed.  That, more than any other position, is his cardinal sin.

    • #3
  4. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Open boarders and voter fraud get the same treatment.

    • #4
  5. Vectorman Inactive
    Vectorman
    @Vectorman

    If you want to know what power looks like, watch a man safely, even smugly, do interviews for decades, without ever worrying whether he will be asked the questions he doesn’t want to answer. – Monica Lewinsky

    A very powerful quote!


    This post is an entry in the Quote of the Day series, the easiest way to start a conversation on Ricochet. We have many openings on the December Schedule. We’ve even include tips for finding great quotes, so join in the fun and sign up today!

    • #5
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Ah, yes, your media at work (ignoring the truth and spreading lies).

    • #6
  7. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    I think “power” works just fine. She had it right.

    • #7
  8. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    “Why I Did It – Because I Could!”BJ Clinton

    • #8
  9. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    I think “power” works just fine. She had it right.

    The more I think about it the more I’m convinced … he doesn’t have power, he has sycophants.   It’s the seduction of that illusion of power that allowed  Monica to let herself be used.    

    • #9
  10. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    I think “power” works just fine. She had it right.

    The more I think about it the more I’m convinced … he doesn’t have power, he has sycophants. It’s the seduction of that illusion of power that allowed Monica to let herself be used.

    I don’t see where it’s an illusion. He had a trillion-dollar machine with no sense of limitations on his side. That’s power.  There is no need for it to be formalized. And you don’t get sycophants without having power. 

    I’m having trouble understanding why people think power isn’t the right word.  

    • #10
  11. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    I’m going to agree that ‘power’ isn’t quite correct. Power is usually a thing one exerts. The press are willingly covering for the guy and it seems to me that this sin of omission really belongs to these selective speakers-of-truth-to-power. 

    • #11
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    TBA (View Comment):

    I’m going to agree that ‘power’ isn’t quite correct. Power is usually a thing one exerts. The press are willingly covering for the guy and it seems to me that this sin of omission really belongs to these selective speakers-of-truth-to-power.

    I know — it’s Russian collusion! 

    • #12
  13. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    TBA (View Comment):

    I’m going to agree that ‘power’ isn’t quite correct. Power is usually a thing one exerts. The press are willingly covering for the guy and it seems to me that this sin of omission really belongs to these selective speakers-of-truth-to-power.

    That’s how power exerts itself, by making the prophets and speakers-of-truth come up with reasons not to speak that truth, or even to think it. 

    Do you ever wonder why the company president is often a gracious and genial nice guy while his vice-presidents are [CoC]s?  He doesn’t have to be a [CoC]. The others do.  

    • #13
  14. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    TBA (View Comment): I’m going to agree that ‘power’ isn’t quite correct. Power is usually a thing one exerts. The press are willingly covering for the guy and it seems to me that this sin of omission really belongs to these selective speakers-of-truth-to-power.

    You seem to be starting down the path I was on last night. (I was very tired.)  That “selective speakers-of-truth-to-power” balances well with the “reliably incurious upon request / as needed” on the other side of the same coin.  While I like the term “symbiosis” used above (for some reason my mind kept coming back to “collusion”), I still think there is a more elegantly descriptive term or phrasing for this phenomenon.

    On the other hand, I cannot honestly argue with The Reticulator that, at the most basic level it really is power. Maybe my issue is that it is a strange, pervasive power that doesn’t really fit nicely into the usual American political or legal constructs (i.e. temporary powers tied to an elected or appointed position).  Sure, once out of office, our Ruling Class has always enjoyed some level of continued “power” but with obvious limits. Is it really all just current and potential future Presidential POWER in the family (I resisted the term marital bed on purpose) that has sustained this level of blindness to all distractions (by one party and enough of the gullible middle at least) for twenty five years?  Forget questions about rape or diddling the intern, does the fear of Hillary in POWER really stop everyone in this TMZ / gotcha-media era from ever asking a POWERLESS Bill about his girlfriends in 2004? …or 2013? …or 2017? I guess Ted Kennedy enjoyed a fair amount of this broader extended phenomenon also but it really is an odd occurrence on these shores.  As TBA noted, it’s not an exerted force of any kind…its a voluntary submission…and my mind now tends toward the word “monarchical.”  Or worse. 

    Devolved into more rambling…my apologies.  Thanks for hanging in there again.

    • #14
  15. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Good points TBA and philo, and very much worth understanding.  I don’t have time to explain better tonight, but I would call attention to the fact that Stalin’s power rested on a similar basis, and both of you are alluding to that. The power these people exert(ed) is not strictly personal power or the power of their office.   But it is power.

     

    • #15
  16. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    I think there’s an additional element at play Here. Bill was the de facto face of the Baby Boomer generation; the free love, pill, abortion, no fault divorce, Parents of latch key kids generation. We All know how incestuous the media are, no different than Bill. Condemning Bill would have been to condemn Their entire generation and everything They believe, therefore substantiating Conservatives’ moral ground. And They weren’t having that. 

    • #16
  17. GFHandle Member
    GFHandle
    @GFHandle

    philo (View Comment):
    Maybe my issue is that it is a strange, pervasive power that doesn’t really fit nicely into the usual American political or legal constructs (i.e. temporary powers tied to an elected or appointed position).

    But wasn’t the nasty interviewer in the OP himself appointed, if not annointed? He got his authority from the Fourth Estate. 

     

    • #17
  18. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    In the aftermath of the affair, I recall Ms. Lewinsky being described by more than one observer as very “young”, which I took to mean immature. No more. She’s well spoken, sharp and coherent, as much or more so than most politicians (even the ones I can tolerate.) I’m glad to see that. Go to Hell, Bill Clinton.

    • #18
  19. JudithannCampbell Inactive
    JudithannCampbell
    @JudithannCampbell

    Barfly (View Comment):

    In the aftermath of the affair, I recall Ms. Lewinsky being described by more than one observer as very “young”, which I took to mean immature. No more. She’s well spoken, sharp and coherent, as much or more so than most politicians (even the ones I can tolerate.) I’m glad to see that. Go to Hell, Bill Clinton.

    Whatever mistakes she made in her early twenties, Monica Lewinski has for a long time now conducted herself as a class act: there are a lot of other women who would have literally thrown themselves off a bridge, or become mired in drugs and alcohol. She has exhibited tremendous grace; God Bless her.

    • #19
  20. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    philo (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment): I’m going to agree that ‘power’ isn’t quite correct. Power is usually a thing one exerts. The press are willingly covering for the guy and it seems to me that this sin of omission really belongs to these selective speakers-of-truth-to-power.

    You seem to be starting down the path I was on last night. (I was very tired.) That “selective speakers-of-truth-to-power” balances well with the “reliably incurious upon request / as needed” on the other side of the same coin. While I like the term “symbiosis” used above (for some reason my mind kept coming back to “collusion”), I still think there is a more elegantly descriptive term or phrasing for this phenomenon.

    On the other hand, I cannot honestly argue with The Reticulator that, at the most basic level it really is power. Maybe my issue is that it is a strange, pervasive power that doesn’t really fit nicely into the usual American political or legal constructs (i.e. temporary powers tied to an elected or appointed position). Sure, once out of office, our Ruling Class has always enjoyed some level of continued “power” but with obvious limits. Is it really all just current and potential future Presidential POWER in the family (I resisted the term marital bed on purpose) that has sustained this level of blindness to all distractions (by one party and enough of the gullible middle at least) for twenty five years? Forget questions about rape or diddling the intern, does the fear of Hillary in POWER really stop everyone in this TMZ / gotcha-media era from ever asking a POWERLESS Bill about his girlfriends in 2004? …or 2013? …or 2017? I guess Ted Kennedy enjoyed a fair amount of this broader extended phenomenon also but it really is an odd occurrence on these shores. As TBA noted, it’s not an exerted force of any kind…its a voluntary submission…and my mind now tends toward the word “monarchical.” Or worse.

    Devolved into more rambling…my apologies. Thanks for hanging in there again.

    Monarchical is definitely narrowing in on it. Our press has long been deferential to presidents in and out of power as a matter of decorum, but this is more like worship and whatever the opposite of worship is. In both cases, the president is no longer a fellow American citizen. 

    • #20
  21. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Inactive
    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu
    @YehoshuaBenEliyahu

    “If you want to know what power looks like, watch a man safely, even smugly, do interviews for decades, without ever worrying whether he will be asked the questions he doesn’t want to answer.”

    I would amend the above as follows:

    “If you want to know what a degenerate looks like, watch a poor excuse for a man do interviews for decades, without ever worrying whether he will be asked the questions he doesn’t want to answer by fawning and degenerate-enabling members of the press.”

    • #21
  22. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    “If you want to know what power looks like, watch a man safely, even smugly, do interviews for decades, without ever worrying whether he will be asked the questions he doesn’t want to answer.” — Monica Lewinsky

    Wow.  I have to give her credit for a wise observation . . .

    • #22
  23. JuliaBlaschke Coolidge
    JuliaBlaschke
    @JuliaBlaschke

    WI Con (View Comment):
    Clinton still isn’t asked about Bill’s hanging out with that Epstein creep and ‘Underage Island’.

    Yes and neither is Trump because then they might have to delve into what Clinton was doing there too.

    • #23
  24. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    I’m going to agree that ‘power’ isn’t quite correct. Power is usually a thing one exerts. The press are willingly covering for the guy and it seems to me that this sin of omission really belongs to these selective speakers-of-truth-to-power.

    That’s how power exerts itself, by making the prophets and speakers-of-truth come up with reasons not to speak that truth, or even to think it.

    Do you ever wonder why the company president is often a gracious and genial nice guy while his vice-presidents are [CoC]s? He doesn’t have to be a [CoC]. The others do.

    Agreed.  I seem to recall an essay (Jonah Goldberg, perhaps?) that explained the famous Lord Acton quote regarding the corrupting influence of power.  In its original context, Acton was referring to how power corrupts those who surround the powerful. Thus, it is the underlings, the aides-de-camp, and the hangers on that succumb to the corruption of power.

    • #24
  25. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Privilege can be revoked from without. It takes power to revoke power, or it can wane. I’ll bet that if any interviewers came at Bill Clinton today with fastball questions that were high and inside, he’d find himself covering town council deliberations PDQ.

    • #25
  26. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    Re: Recommended by R> Members

    Thank you, fellow R> Members. – philo

    • #26
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