Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Moderating Effects of Ideology

 

Our founding fathers did not seek independence from their English overlords because they viewed themselves as radicals intent on destroying an unjust system of English oppression. No, our founding fathers viewed themselves as Englishmen, who were not being treated as true Englishmen, with property rights, a say in their governance, a system of laws and not men, and other English principles going back to the Magna Carta. And they had a point.

Martin Luther King Jr. was not a radical seeking to destroy an unjust system of American oppressive culture. No, he viewed American blacks as an important part of American culture, who were not being treated as the true American citizens that they are. And he had a point.

Modern American conservatives do not see themselves as radicals who seek to destroy the increasing control of leftism over centralized control structures in American government. No, they admire the American system of government, and seek only to return it to its underlying principles. And they have a point.

I’m mystified by my leftist friends who fear conservatives in positions of power. I wonder what they think might happen? What do they consider to be the motivations of American conservatives? Think of the evil conservative thoughts that must control their evil conservative minds: “Ha Ha! Once you allow us to get into power, we will … leave you alone!!! Ha Ha Haaaa!” * evil music plays in the background *

The recent viciousness of the politics of the Democrat party have led even the traditionally, and understandably, polite and laisse-faire Republican party to elect an aggressive firebrand like Donald Trump to the presidency over the more typical Scott Walker or Jeb Bush.

But still, the underlying ideology of the Republican party is based on the founding concepts of America – the rule of law, property rights, individual liberty, limited government, and so on. You may not agree with that ideology, but there is an ideology there. And when Republicans gain power, they make an effort (usually, pretty much) to work toward their ideological goals.

Because of this, when Republicans run for office, they are somewhat constrained by their ultimate goals. Their voters are voting for an idea, not necessarily that particular officeholder. So Republican politicians are typically more restrained in their rhetoric, and less dependent on a cult of personality than their Democrat counterparts.

It makes no sense to use violence or deception to give people more of their rights back to them, thus limiting the power of the politician that just won the election. So Republican politicians are naturally more restrained in their approach to politics. Ben Sasse is different from AOC. Makes sense.

Here is the part that bothers me:

I look at various representatives of the Democrat party. Such as CNN, gay/transsexual activists, The New York Times, Black Lives Matter, unions, Antifa, environmentalists, Marxists, the educational establishment, the Democrat party itself, and so on and so forth. I attempt to discern an overriding ideology to their various messages.

Good luck.

The only overriding ideology I can find is the quest for power. Cold, bloody, power. Help us achieve control, and you’ll get a seat at the table of power. Unionized Harley-riding deer hunters don’t have to agree with lesbian environmentalists. Their ultimate goals are irrelevant. This is not about ideology. It’s about power. They can work together, to achieve control.

They’ll work out the details later.

The reason this bothers me so much, is that without an underlying ideology, what limits are there on your behavior? If your only motivation is power, and your only ethic is the destruction of your enemies, that what will you not do to achieve power?

You attack your enemy at their weak points. You attack their families. Chase them out of restaurants. Publicly ridicule their children. Kick them out of colleges.

Meanwhile, you protect your flanks from attacks by hiding behind helpless children as your representatives. Or using slogans that cannot be questioned, like “Black Lives Matter,” or “Antifa” (Anti-fascism).

You have no interest in treating your opposition with respect and dignity. You have no interest in representing your point of view honestly and openly. You have no interest in debating policy or ideology.

You have no interest in anything but power.

So what will you not do? And when will you stop doing it? Where are your limits? Robespierre and residents of Portland are unsure.

And once you achieve power, what will you not do then? What are the limits on your behavior? What ideology or ethic must you consider when conducting your day to day business?

There is a big difference between Martin Luther King’s civil rights protests of the 1960s and the Black Lives Matter protests today. And that difference is ideology. Rev. King believed in something. He believed in his God, and he believed in his country. And thus, there were limits on his behavior.

The Black Lives Matter movement seems to believe in nothing, other than taking whatever they can get from whoever they can steal from. Thus, their behavior is less restrained. It’s all about power. Their symbol is the raised fist. They mean it. And that’s all they mean. It’s about power.

How can the more ideological, and thus more restrained, Republican party effectively combat the advances of less restrained leftists?

I never thought I’d say this, but thank God for Donald Trump.

These are strange times.


“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke


“Don’t just do something – stand there.” – Calvin Coolidge and others


“We’re screwed.” – Dr. Bastiat


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  1. Old Bathos Moderator

    More broadly controlling than ideology per se is the notion that (a) there is an objective reality (b) that we can know it (however imperfectly) and (c) we are part of and subject to reality, not apart from it.

    The modern idiocy began as a kind of word game–there is no truth and language cannot convey truth even if there were. But a movement led by people who wrote books about the impossibility of communication was never destined for popularity unless irony could be eradicated from human cognition. 

    Instead of the impossibility of communicated truths, the new twist was that power necessarily infects and controls language and meaning. It is impossible not to be oppressed so long as you use words and meanings crafted by the oppressors. The cute trick is to pretend there is some objective standard by which these hidden aspects of language can be detected and judged while nominally rejecting the possibility of the existence of such a standard. It is a power trip word game that thinks it is not.

    Logically consistent leftist intellectuals like Sartre and Chomsky defend the atrocities of Pol Pot and Mao’s Cultural Revolution on the grounds that it should be the nature of revolutions to continually destroy those who have power lest they devolve into one stale hegemony replacing another. 

    The ignorant silly bastards who have launched this political nonsense in our country are still in the delusional phase when the destruction of (the caricature) of their oppressors will usher in Nirvana. It will instead just create a queue in front of the guillotine, a queue in which they will be near the front of the line if history has taught us anything.

    • #1
    • August 13, 2020, at 7:00 AM PDT
    • 14 likes
  2. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Dr. Bastiat:

    Our founding fathers did not seek independence from their English overlords because they viewed themselves as radicals intent on destroying an unjust system of English oppression. No, our founding fathers viewed themselves as Englishmen, who were not being treated as true Englishmen, with property rights, a say in their governance, a system of laws and not men, and other English principles going back to the Magna Carta. And they had a point.

    Martin Luther King Jr. was not a radical seeking to destroy an unjust system of American oppressive culture. No, he viewed American blacks as an important part of American culture, who were not being treated as the true American citizens that they are. And he had a point.

    Dr. B,

    Perfect, just perfect. Your opening paragraphs are the modern legacy of American justice. Instead, after King, we went down the rabbit hole of partiality. A magical government with the omniscience of Gd will know exactly how, when, and where to be partial to this identity group or that identity group. That such a principle would produce justice is the most idiotic idea ever clung to by the fools of this world.

    Thank you for the post.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #2
    • August 13, 2020, at 7:04 AM PDT
    • 13 likes
  3. Richard Fulmer Member

    Trump doesn’t have an ideology – limiting or otherwise. Instead, his political limitations are imposed by his personal limitations: Mental laziness, pettiness, self-absorption, obsession with real and imagined slights, and an inability to see beyond his own immediate self-gratification. Still, a president who is restrained for all the wrong reasons may well be preferable to a president who is completely unrestrained.

    • #3
    • August 13, 2020, at 7:10 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  4. Kephalithos Member

    Dr. Bastiat: I’m mystified by my leftist friends who fear conservatives in positions of power. I wonder what they think might happen? What do they consider to be the motivations of American conservatives? Think of the evil conservative thoughts that must control their evil conservative minds: “Ha Ha! Once you allow us to get into power, we will … leave you alone!!! Ha Ha Haaaa!” * evil music plays in the background *

    I’ve been thinking about this, too. I hear a lot of squishy-middle-left people saying things like, “Well, I don’t like wokeness either, but the real threat is white nationalism!” and it mystifies me. It’s not as if my doctor’s office is sending me white nationalist propaganda. Instead, it’s telling me that I must dismantle capitalism. It’s not as if the local schools are teaching students the minutiae of Aryan race theory. Instead, they’re teaching students that American society is inherently unjust and must be made anew. It’s not as if the stores I shop at and the television shows I watch are bombarding me with repackaged Nazism. Instead, they’re encouraging me to apologize for atrocities for which I bear no responsibility. Who has the cultural high ground? The white nationalists? Give me a break.

    In the last decade, a new quasi-religious ideology — complete with its own catechism and rituals — has swept through the American elite. Adherence to the ideology is the price of membership in said elite. Most elites adopt this ideology halfheartedly, but that’s beside the point. Halfhearted Bolshevism is still deadly.

    All I want, as a would-be elite who happens to be a conservative, is the right to roll my eyes at the nonsense and find a jolly band of curmudgeons to commiserate with. I don’t care whether some disturbed nitwit decides to reinvent himself as a woman. I’m not the least bit interested in throwing him in jail, or shipping him off to a reeducation camp, or whatever. I’m more than happy to live and let live. But that’s not good enough. Instead, I must treat him as an object of worship. I must utter the prescribed incantations. I must jettison my own conception of metaphysics and adopt his. I must affirm his newly chosen identity.

    I want no part of this. For the time being, I’m happy to vote against my own class interests. The elites can hang.

    • #4
    • August 13, 2020, at 7:15 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  5. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Favorite Coolidge quote:

    Mr Hoover, if you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you and you have to battle with only one of them.

    • #5
    • August 13, 2020, at 7:16 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  6. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):

    Trump doesn’t have an ideology – limiting or otherwise. Instead, his political limitations are imposed by his personal limitations: Mental laziness, pettiness, self-absorption, obsession with real and imagined slights, and an inability to see beyond his own immediate self-gratification. Still, a president who is restrained for all the wrong reasons may well be preferable to a president is is completely unrestrained.

    Richard,

    General Grant was a drunk and General Sherman was insane. Of course, without them, American slavery would probably still be in existence. Many times the contributions of flawed people are not just tolerable but necessary. Biden is a senile bigot and Harris is a shallow political trollop. These aren’t flaws but personality disasters.

    For whatever reason, Trump stands in the way of chaos.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #6
    • August 13, 2020, at 7:21 AM PDT
    • 16 likes
  7. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Kephalithos (View Comment):
    Halfhearted Bolshevism is still deadly.

    Keph,

    Yep.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #7
    • August 13, 2020, at 7:30 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. Kephalithos Member

    Old Bathos (View Comment): Instead of the impossibility of communicated truths, the new twist was that power necessarily infects and controls language and meaning. It is impossible not to be oppressed so long as you use words and meanings crafted by the oppressors. The cute trick is to pretend there is some objective standard by which these hidden aspects of language can be detected and judged while nominally rejecting the possibility of the existence of such a standard. It is a power trip word game that thinks it is not.

    Exactly.

    If truth is illusory, and we’re all enslaved to arbitrarily constructed ideologies, then the critical theorists are themselves . . . enslaved to an arbitrarily constructed ideology, and one which cannot justify its own veracity. Best to follow Roger Scruton’s advice, then:

    A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ‘merely relative,’ is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.

    • #8
    • August 13, 2020, at 7:31 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  9. Old Bathos Moderator

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):

    Trump doesn’t have an ideology – limiting or otherwise. Instead, his political limitations are imposed by his personal limitations: Mental laziness, pettiness, self-absorption, obsession with real and imagined slights, and an inability to see beyond his own immediate self-gratification. Still, a president who is restrained for all the wrong reasons may well be preferable to a president is is completely unrestrained.

    Richard,

    General Grant was a drunk and General Sherman was insane. Of course, without them, American slavery would probably still be in existence. Many times the contributions of flawed people are not just tolerable but necessary. Biden is a senile bigot and Harris is a shallow political trollop. These aren’t flaws but personality disasters.

    For whatever reason, Trump stands in the way of chaos.

    Regards,

    Jim

    As I tell my liberal friends, I agree with the great majority of things that Trump’s critics say about his character and manners. And that is exactly why I passionately hate those who fashion such abhorrent alternatives that it forces me to vote for Trump without hesitation. You malignant commie buffoons are why we have Trump, so back at ya with the hate.

    • #9
    • August 13, 2020, at 7:35 AM PDT
    • 17 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  10. KentForrester Moderator

    Great post, as usual, Doc. Your passion for reason, argument, and conservative politics always resonates with me. We’re lucky to have you on Ricochet. 

    • #10
    • August 13, 2020, at 7:52 AM PDT
    • 13 likes
  11. TreeRat Member

    Dr Bastiat:

    [Republican] voters are voting for an idea, not necessarily that particular office holder.

    Unless they are NTs, of course, in which case the particular office holder is the most important issue, ideas be hanged.

    • #11
    • August 13, 2020, at 7:57 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  12. I Walton Member

    “The only over-riding ideology I can find is the quest for power. Cold, bloody, power.” Exactly, good article. There is no other goal, just short term themes that seem to work for them. Once they (there is no they really) get power we have all of human history to give us insights. It narrows as those with relatively more power push out those with less. The US founders did it differently and transformed the world. Same process but at the ground level peoples interests and power can converge, but not at large abstract levels. It was a brief but good run. Tragically, it seems it’s going end. 

    • #12
    • August 13, 2020, at 8:32 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. MarciN Member

    Dr. Bastiat:

    You have no interest in treating your opposition with respect and dignity. You have no interest in representing your point of view honestly and openly. You have no interest in debating policy or ideology.

    You have no interest in anything but power.

    Very well said. Especially for me this morning. I made the mistake of reading some of the draft of the Democratic Party 2020 Platform last night. I could not believe what I was reading. “Trump” is mentioned 114 times.

    Just reading the first ten pages–it’s eighty pages long–it is painfully clear what these last four years have been about, and now they are trying to pull it all together so as to remove Trump from office and destroy the Republicans.

    This effort to launch a coup has nothing whatsoever to do with principles or ideals nor even the truth.

    This is strictly and nakedly about power.

    This is an excerpt from the opening section on covid-19:

    When we do not have competent, experienced, compassionate leaders in government, the
    American people suffer. That is the case with the novel coronavirus. President Trump and his
    Administration missed multiple opportunities to protect the American people from this deadly
    pathogen. Instead of recognizing the danger and confronting it head-on, President Trump lied to
    the American people about the disease’s severity, its transmissibility, and the threat it posed to
    lives and livelihoods.

    Make no mistake: President Trump’s abject failure to respond forcefully and capably to the
    COVID-19 pandemic—his failure to lead—makes him responsible for the deaths of tens of
    thousands of Americans.

    COVID-19 has laid bare deep fault lines in our economy, our society, and our health care
    system. Disparities in health care access, in environmental quality, in the employment market,
    and in housing have contributed to disproportionate rates of infection and death among Black
    Americans, Native Americans, and Latinos.

    President Trump’s failure to pay attention to early intelligence reports about the pandemic
    wasted critical weeks in which we could have prepared for the outbreak. Once the pandemic
    began spreading in the United States, the President’s failure to lay out clear, consistent guidelines
    for cities, states, businesses, and school districts to control the spread of COVID-19 created
    widespread confusion and chaos. His reckless disregard for the advice of public health experts
    has made it harder for mayors and governors to protect the American people. Rather than surge
    the production of personal protective equipment and other critical supplies where they were
    needed most, the Administration held life-saving resources hostage for political obeisance.
    Instead of bringing Americans together, President Trump tried to divide us, using racist and
    xenophobic rhetoric that has contributed to an increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans
    and Pacific Islanders. And in the midst of the pandemic, the Trump Administration is arguing in
    court to invalidate the Affordable Care Act and rip health coverage away from tens of millions of
    people.

    [continues in following comment]

    • #13
    • August 13, 2020, at 8:37 AM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  14. MarciN Member

    [continued from preceding comment]

    President Trump and his Administration have also failed to drive an economic response that is
    commensurate with the scale of the challenge before us, preferring to act as though the recession
    caused by his incompetent mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic will correct itself. He has
    hung small businesses out to dry while cutting blank checks to the largest corporations; failed to
    enact adequate support for public school systems, colleges, universities, and state and local
    governments to maintain public services and jobs; endangered the health of essential workers by
    failing to enact workplace safety standards; and neglected to protect working families from economic ruin.

    Democrats will save lives by using every available tool to beat back this pandemic, which
    continues to sicken and kill hundreds of Americans per day, and lead a global effort to prevent,
    detect, and respond to future pandemic threats.

    We must start by making COVID-19 testing widely available, convenient, and free to everyone.
    We must also expand funding so state and local public health departments can hire sufficient
    staff to conduct contact tracing for everyone who tests positive for the novel coronavirus. Only
    through widespread, regular testing and tracing can we hope to understand the scope of the
    pandemic and contain it.

    In a public health crisis, we all have to rely on each other. That’s why Democrats support making
    COVID-19 testing, treatment, and any eventual vaccines free to everyone, regardless of their
    wealth, insurance coverage, or immigration status. We are all only as safe from this disease as
    are the most vulnerable among us.

    It has always been a crisis that tens of millions of Americans have no or inadequate health
    insurance—but in a pandemic, it’s catastrophic for public health. The current crisis would be
    even worse without the Affordable Care Act in place. But in the COVID-19 pandemic,
    Americans need even more help, which is why Democrats will take immediate action to preserve
    and expand health insurance coverage. We will provide direct, increased support to states to
    enroll eligible adults in Medicaid, have the federal government cover a higher percentage of the
    bill, and add incentives for states which have not yet expanded Medicaid to do so.

    For people who risk losing their insurance coverage if they lose their jobs in this pandemic and
    in President Trump’s recession, Democrats believe the federal government should pick up 100
    percent of the tab for COBRA insurance, which keeps people on their employer-sponsored plans.
    We will re-open the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, even outside of the normal open
    enrollment season, and expand subsidies to make it easier for people to buy health coverage.
    Democrats will also make available on the marketplace a public option administered through the
    Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) which includes a platinum-level choice,
    with low fees and no deductibles. Low-income Americans will be automatically enrolled in the
    public option at zero cost to them, though they may choose to opt out at any time.

    • #14
    • August 13, 2020, at 8:39 AM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  15. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    Leftist ideology is to follow their emotions. Feel and react. Reacting requires power and control. 

    • #15
    • August 13, 2020, at 8:45 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Stad Thatcher

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):
    Mental laziness, pettiness, self-absorption, obsession with real and imagined slights, and an inability to see beyond his own immediate self-gratification.

    And yet, Trump does a great job . . .

    • #16
    • August 13, 2020, at 9:11 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  17. Songwriter Inactive
    SongwriterJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    You malignant commie buffoons are why we have Trump,

    This is the heart of the matter. President Trump is the result of a constantly over-reaching Left. And they don’t get it. And I don’t think they ever will. 

    • #17
    • August 13, 2020, at 10:21 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnellJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Great post, as usual, Doc. Your passion for reason, argument, and conservative politics always resonates with me. We’re lucky to have you on Ricochet.

    Amen.

    • #18
    • August 13, 2020, at 11:52 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  19. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat

    MarciN (View Comment):
    an excerpt from the opening section on covid-19

    That passage is incredible.

    80 pages of that. Wow.

    • #19
    • August 13, 2020, at 12:02 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  20. Hang On Member
    Hang OnJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):

    Trump doesn’t have an ideology – limiting or otherwise. Instead, his political limitations are imposed by his personal limitations: Mental laziness, pettiness, self-absorption, obsession with real and imagined slights, and an inability to see beyond his own immediate self-gratification. Still, a president who is restrained for all the wrong reasons may well be preferable to a president who is completely unrestrained.

     

    I disagree with the post that the left doesn’t have an ideology. It most certainly does and it is one that was shared by Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and Barrack Obama. That ideology is of positive rights. Conservative ideology is of negative rights. 

    Neither is always under all circumstances correct. Positive rights lead to overreach which the left always does. Negative rights lead always to inaction even under circumstances where action is required. 

    I agree Trump doesn’t have an ideology and probably would scratch his head about positive and negative rights. But then I loathe ideology. He generally acts on the basis of negative rights, but not always as indicated with the recent set of executive orders. 

    As for mental laziness – that’s probably the laziest comment I’ve read in a long time.

     

    • #20
    • August 13, 2020, at 1:01 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  21. Joshua Bissey Coolidge

    I thought I was the only one left in America with a positive view of ideology. Ideology is principle. With Trump, the American people finally got what they were asking for – a president with no ideology; no political principles. Which is of course better than a president with all the wrong principles (a Democrat).

    • #21
    • August 13, 2020, at 1:58 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  22. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnellJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I would note that in this discussion there seems to be some confusion between “ideology” and “principal.” I would much rather be guided by principal than by ideology.

    • #22
    • August 13, 2020, at 4:28 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  23. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Doc, good posts. I have a disagreement and a comment.

    Dr. Bastiat:

    I’m mystified by my leftist friends who fear conservatives in positions of power. I wonder what they think might happen? What do they consider to be the motivations of American conservatives? Think of the evil conservative thoughts that must control their evil conservative minds: “Ha Ha! Once you allow us to get into power, we will … leave you alone!!! Ha Ha Haaaa!” * evil music plays in the background *

    I disagree with this one. We will not leave people entirely alone. Libertarians might. Conservatives will not. Conservatives will, for example, prohibit abortion. I’m inclined to prohibit pornography, and ban obscene music lyrics. It is probably true that most of what I’d like to see done would not require active government sanction or punishment, but rather withdrawal of current government support or preference (things like eliminating welfare payments for having illegitimate children, repeal of many of the anti-discrimination laws).

     

    Dr. Bastiat:

    I look at various representatives of the Democrat party. Such as CNN, gay/transsexual activists, The New York Times, Black Lives Matter, unions, Antifa, environmentalists, Marxists, the educational establishment, the Democrat party itself, and so on and so forth. I attempt to discern an overriding ideology to their various messages.

    Good luck.

    The only overriding ideology I can find is the quest for power. Cold, bloody, power. Help us achieve control, and you’ll get a seat at the table of power. Unionized Harley-riding deer hunters don’t have to agree with lesbian environmentalists. Their ultimate goals are irrelevant. This is not about ideology. It’s about power. They can work together, to achieve control.

    I think that it’s about destruction. They know very well what they want to destroy.

    Imagine a reasonably happy, prosperous, upright Christian family — mom, dad, and the kids. Chances are that they’re white though they don’t have to be.

    That’s what they want to destroy. In every way possible.

    • #23
    • August 13, 2020, at 4:41 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  24. Richard Fulmer Member

    Hang On (View Comment):
    As for mental laziness – that’s probably the laziest comment I’ve read in a long time.

    I’d respond, but I’m too lazy.

    • #24
    • August 13, 2020, at 4:54 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  25. SParker Member

    Joshua Bissey (View Comment):

    I thought I was the only one left in America with a positive view of ideology. Ideology is principle. With Trump, the American people finally got what they were asking for – a president with no ideology; no political principles. Which is of course better than a president with all the wrong principles (a Democrat).

    Better I don’t know about. That overlooks the corrupting influence, the permission to abandon all the principles just yesterday you said you had. In fairness to Satan-in-Chief, a lot of Republicans never needed much tempting. (The continued existence of the Export-Import Bank–finally axed in the House, resurrected in short order in the Senate in 2015–would be a convenient example.) And, I’m kind of fond of the politically very odd tendency for Democrats to say what they mean these days. To the extent the President amplifies both tendencies, bravo low-rent Satan, you show us who we are.

    On the value of principles, Yogi said it best: if you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know when you’re lost?

    • #25
    • August 13, 2020, at 5:51 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  26. MarciN Member

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):
    an excerpt from the opening section on covid-19

    That passage is incredible.

    80 pages of that. Wow.

    Yup. If I were President Trump or the Republican National Committee, when the Democrats accused us of being responsible for this:

    Make no mistake: President Trump’s abject failure to respond forcefully and capably to the
    COVID-19 pandemic—his failure to lead—makes him responsible for the deaths of tens of
    thousands of Americans.

    I would reply, “You are blaming us for those deaths? I am not sinking so low as to blame you for the deaths the virus caused, but if people have had trouble getting healthcare, if the medical profession had difficulty launching an effective response to this crisis, why don’t we talk about your role in the way events played out over the last eight months? How about the disarray into which the Democrats put what was once the best healthcare system in the entire world in 2010 with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which was your boondoggle and which cost billions of dollars to implement and resulted in worse care than existed before, computer software that would drive the saints crazy, and a whopping 27 million people still uninsured? You promised the country that the ACA would result in everyone having good health insurance. Why should we believe anything you say or promise now?”

    • #26
    • August 13, 2020, at 7:09 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  27. Henry Castaigne Member

    The idea is that if the right people have the power, then they can use that power for good. And the right people are so good we don’t have to worry about limiting their power because they will only do good things. There is a vision that humanity can be perfected and if you that the right politicians are more noble and decent than crass businessman or the common people. 

    • #27
    • August 13, 2020, at 10:02 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  28. EODmom Coolidge

    I Walton (View Comment):

    “The only over-riding ideology I can find is the quest for power. Cold, bloody, power.” Exactly, good article. There is no other goal, just short term themes that seem to work for them. Once they (there is no they really) get power we have all of human history to give us insights. It narrows as those with relatively more power push out those with less. The US founders did it differently and transformed the world. Same process but at the ground level peoples interests and power can converge, but not at large abstract levels. It was a brief but good run. Tragically, it seems it’s going end.

    It mystifies me why so many otherwise intelligent people are so reluctant to accept this clearly presented quest at face value. They rationalize something that is determined to do them absolute harm and pretend they don’t really mean it. They mean it. They want to eliminate the American way of life, all it has accomplished and all evidence that it ever existed. As readily and as viciously as the Taliban eradicated Buddhist, Greek and Christian sculptures. They mean it. 

    • #28
    • August 14, 2020, at 6:29 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  29. Michael Brehm Member

    Kephalithos (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment): Instead of the impossibility of communicated truths, the new twist was that power necessarily infects and controls language and meaning. It is impossible not to be oppressed so long as you use words and meanings crafted by the oppressors. The cute trick is to pretend there is some objective standard by which these hidden aspects of language can be detected and judged while nominally rejecting the possibility of the existence of such a standard. It is a power trip word game that thinks it is not.

    Exactly.

    If truth is illusory, and we’re all enslaved to arbitrarily constructed ideologies, then the critical theorists are themselves . . . enslaved to an arbitrarily constructed ideology, and one which cannot justify its own veracity. Best to follow Roger Scruton’s advice, then:

    A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ‘merely relative,’ is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.

    At my college orientation, the Dean or the President or whomever stated that college was a place to question everything, including traditions, long held beliefs, and what authorities tell you. So I did. And since he was a high-ranking muckety-muck at a liberal arts college, I figured he qualified as an authority figure, so I proceeded to question what he just pronounced to my class. I suppose that sort of mindset is the reason why I’m here with you all today.

    • #29
    • August 14, 2020, at 10:39 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  30. Stad Thatcher

    Hang On (View Comment):
    That ideology is of positive rights. Conservative ideology is of negative rights. 

    You mean rights “of the government”, correct?

    • #30
    • August 14, 2020, at 2:05 PM PDT
    • 1 like