Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

The Wisdom of Partisan

Jerry Stratton, May 19, 2010

Solomon’s baby

“On hearing this incident, all Israel trembled.”

Jack M. at the Ace of Spades recommends that the Republicans filibuster Elena Kagan just because the Democrats would do it. I disagree with Jack M., but probably because I’m not a Republican. The squabbles of parties matter to me only insofar as they affect the quality and quantity of legislation. I also don’t find Kagan’s nomination a troubling one; I think we need fewer practicing lawyers on the court; we need fewer lawyers and more engineers.1

But his “thought experiment” is undeniably true. If this were a Republican nominating a potential Justice who had the same background as Kagan but from the conservative end, there’s no question but that Democrats would be howling about her lack of experience, her extremism, and how the only reason she was chosen to begin with was as cronyist payback for her work with Goldman Sachs and her support of the Republican’s election.

For all their other faults in the legislature, Republicans don’t tend to play that game. It currently looks as though Kagan is going to sail through; certainly, the far more extreme Sotomayor received only half-hearted opposition, and so far it looks like Kagan is going to receive even less. Conservative bloggers seem to be doing little more than making fun of the White House for freaking out that Kagan might be gay.2 Even Jack M.’s colleague at the Ace of Spades, DrewM., disagrees. He wants Republicans to “fight” the nomination but not filibuster it.

Fight it a little bit, but not a lot. In other words, don’t act like the Democrats did. Now, I agree with that. But there’s a story about King Solomon that these things remind me of. Solomon’s most famous piece of wisdom is probably the tale of the two women fighting over a child. Solomon proposes to give half of the child to one woman, and the other half to the other woman. One of the women agrees; the other woman refuses, saying, “let her have him, then”. Solomon immediately gives custody of the kid to the woman who refused—obviously, she cared more for the child.

But there’s a possible deeper meaning in that story. Solomon was going through a bitter fight over the government of Israel. He wanted to be king, and someone else had a stronger claim to the throne. Solomon’s story, this line of thought goes, was meant to say, “I know I’m not the legitimate ruler. But I will tear this country apart before I give up political power.”

I have no idea if that is true. But voters might want to think about who wants to destroy the process and who doesn’t, based on what the party members do rather than on what party members say.

Speaking of promises, threats, and the moral equivalence of partisanship, over on the Agitator, Radley Balko argues that the Crist-Rubio race is the equivalent of the Lieberman-Lamont race. And that we can expect to see Republicans and Democrats “switching sides” in the debate about the morality of switching sides.

In the comments, someone points out that Lieberman never promised not to run against his party’s candidate, while Crist unequivocally did; the very next comment is simply “QED much?”

There are arguments to be made in favor of Balko’s point, but bringing up Crist’s promise is valid: If we don’t consider a politician’s word to mean anything, isn’t that part of the problem?

August 16, 2017: A direct line to the Charlottesville riots… from 1938

The correct response to the Charlottesville riots is to arrest the perpetrators, give them a fair trial, and put the guilty in jail.

It is the same as the correct response to the violent rioters in cities across the United States since last year’s election, and the violent rioters who “protest” when a speaker the left disagrees with is invited to speak at a college.

Police have literally been asked to stand down in some cases and let the rioters attack and destroy, as in Baltimore last year.

That we haven’t followed the correct response in those cases is why we have the Charlottesville riots.1 There is a direct line from the previous riots to this one. It runs from Seattle through Tucson, Dallas, and through every other violent left-wing fascist rally since the election last year. The direct line is the unwillingness of the authorities to arrest, charge, and imprison violent thugs rather than just make token statements and maybe arrest a handful.

Leftist “protestors” have been burning, stoning, beating people up, and even killing police officers for almost a year. The press hasn’t tied these rioters to the violent rhetoric of leftist politicians; they’ve gone out of their way to exonerate the actual rioters. So take it with a grain of salt that supposedly-right violence2 now has “a direct line to the president”.

I have often said that we shouldn’t have laws we aren’t willing to enforce; conversely, we should enforce the laws we have unless we are willing to repeal them. I can see no reason to repeal the laws against assault, arson, and murder.

When violent thugs see that they can get away with violence by coloring it as protest, it’s no surprise that you get more violent riots.

July 13, 2016: Divisive double standards

It’s easy to see that someone taking part in a left-approved movement has committed a horrendous crime. The media is filled with journalists and politicians calling for togetherness and reason.

This would be fine if it weren’t so hypocritical. Black Lives Matter spokespeople are absolutely right to say that we shouldn’t judge a group based on the actions of one or two members. But their rhetoric since the start has been about judging a group based on the actions of one or two members. Sometimes, even, judging a group based on the non-actions of non-members.

If they really wanted togetherness, reason, and non-judgmentalism, they’d switch their slogan to all lives matter. But they can’t, because they were founded on the principle that brown lives don’t matter and that blue lives don’t matter. Black Lives Matter was formed to protest self-defense by a Hispanic against a black man who, it came out in the trial, had told his girlfriend he was going to assault the Hispanic—who was returning to his vehicle. Medical analysis—and police photos from the night of the assault—corroborated the girlfriend’s testimony. Forgoing self-defense would have meant death for the brown man.

After its founding, Black Lives Matter gained prominence by protesting self-defense by a police officer against a criminal who tried to take the officer’s gun1and was now attacking again. Forensic experts—both for the police and for the dead man’s family—as well as the Obama Justice Department corroborated this, and rejected the myth of hands-up don’t shoot. Forgoing self-defense would have meant death for the officer.

Using the slogan “black lives matter” in response to these incidents is the same as saying that “brown lives don’t matter” and “blue lives don’t matter”.

The response from Black Lives Matter was that the attackers had become “symbols” of victimhood, and that the facts were not relevant because of that. But symbolic or not, it doesn’t change the fact that they still believe Zimmerman should have let Trayvon Martin beat him to death, and that Officer Wilson should have let Michael Brown take his service weapon.

BLM’s response is the left’s reaction to horrendous crimes writ small. When a crime is committed on behalf of the left or a left-approved group, downplay the perpetrator and call for togetherness. When a crime is committed that isn’t clearly on behalf of the left, ascribe it to conservatives and engage in shrill, unreasoning partisanship.

  1. For that matter, we need fewer from Harvard and Yale, and fewer New Yorkers.

  2. Baseball is gay? See if you can guess the “slur” in the news clipping Left Coast Rebel reproduces before following through to the Politico link. I could not.

  1. <- Low taxes
  2. Mandating middlemen ->