Mimsy Were the Borogoves

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

Your devil has no clothes

Jerry Stratton, September 22, 2014

The devil in politics: Every politician needs a devil.; politics; devil; Satan

Othering was making the rounds of blogs I read a while back, and it got me to thinking about the different nature of the devils of the left and of conservatives. I just finished P. J. O’Rourke’s Parliament of Whores. In it, O’Rourke quotes Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer, which led me to add that to my want list. I found it recently in one of the local Half-Price Books.

Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil.

At the risk of internalizing the othering of our politicians and writing my most partisan blog post yet, while conservatives have their own devils created for them, the left creates devils where they wouldn’t otherwise exist.

Not only would no one on the left consider Alaska’s former Governor Sarah Palin an evil worth stalking at her home and on her Facebook page—to the point of wishing death upon her children—if she hadn’t been turned into a devil, many would look up to her as a moderate Republican maverick in the style of John McCain, fighting against the Republican establishment. The snow devil that the left hates and the politician that Palin was are very different creatures. She had to be turned into a devil fictionally.

The devils of the right, instead, are so because of their policy differences. They are mostly not even devils: I have not seen anyone wish that President Obama’s children had been killed1. It’s their policies that make them into opponents and they would still be opposed even without any othering by mass movement leaders. Even if there were no Ace of Spades HQ continually ranting about the bad policies of President Obama, I would still be looking at his actions since taking office and thinking, this guy is making really bad decisions that are really hurting people in America and the world. The only change, if there were no conservative blogosphere, is that I’d be wondering why nobody else saw it.

It’s not Barack Obama that conservatives hate. It’s what he’s doing to our economy, to our freedoms, and to world relations. In a sense, leftists despise politicians but love the government made up of politicians, whereas conservatives dislike government but think individual politicians are fine.

You look at the othering of Ted Cruz, or Sarah Palin, and I really don’t think the left would care one bit about them if it weren’t for the hate machine. Palin especially is an odd target for the left. She really seems to have been a moderate as governor of Alaska, working with the left and the reform right in the Alaskan legislature. Without the hate machine, it’s easy to look at her actions, such as recommending that Alaska give up its bridge money in favor of another state that needed the money more, as something good in politics that the left would praise.

But she threatened the election of Barack Obama and had to be otherized. The left made personal attacks against Palin, lying about things as basic as her biology. Her child was not her own; she banned books; she failed geography; she had no fashion sense and paid too much for clothes.

Conservatives—including Palin—made policy attacks against then-Senator Obama. They made predictions about what Obama would do based on what he had already done and not done and what he promised to do. Those predictions—a lengthened economic downturn, health care turmoil, the further rise of cronyism, and a foreign policy nightmare—came true. Whether or not you support those policies, conservatives can reasonably think they were right about the results. Their opposition was policy-based: increased cronyism was predicted from increased government power over a huge sector of the economy, health care turmoil due to the propensity of government monopolies to fail and government regulations to mess up what they’re trying to solve, lengthened economic downturn due to furthering the policies that conservatives believe caused the downturn, and the expected result of a foreign policy based on trying to make people like us rather than a Reagan-like hard line against tyrants and support of Democracy.

To take one of the devils of the right, on the other hand, Ted Kennedy drove a woman into the water and left her to suffocate to death. I’m striving to think of anyone idolized by conservatives as much as Ted Kennedy is idolized by the left, after doing something that evil. And wondering how high the hatred would go if George Bush had done what Ted Kennedy did.

Take, as another example, the Koch brothers vs. George Soros. Soros is a hundred percent left; you will have to search very hard to find any conservative policies he supports2, if he’s supported any. It’s easy to find Koch donations to organizations run by and for Democrats (Democratic Governors Association); it’s easy to find statements by the Koch brothers in favor of leftist policies such as gay marriage, defense cuts, and withdrawal from the Middle East; and against corporate subsidies, and cronyism.3

George Soros is almost as much of a bogeyman to conservatives as the Koch brothers are to the left. Almost, because it is the rare conservative protest that gives a damn about Soros on their signs and in their slogans. But the Koch brothers are such devils to the left that the left even complains when they make such innocuous donations as donations to hospitals.

I recently ran across a Netanyahu quote about disarmament in the Middle East.

The truth is that if Israel were to put down its arms there would be no more Israel. If the Arabs were to put down their arms there would be no more war. — Benjamin Netanyahu (Knesset speech)

This is one of those things that everyone knows is true, but is unwilling to admit, because it doesn’t help solve the violence in the Middle-East. Israel is unwilling to cease to exist, and the Arabs and Palestinians are unwilling to let it exist. This means that, even though it’s true, it doesn’t help find a solution. Yet, pretending that Palestinians will accept a living Israel is also not going to help find a solution. Unless, secretly, international politicians support the dissolution of Israel.

In a very real sense, the right today is what would happen if conservatives disarmed and the left did not. Conservatives evoke policy arguments; the left evokes emotional, unreasoning hatred. And hatred seems to be winning.

April 17, 2024: Why does the Institutional Left hate Israel so much?
There is only one offence: George Orwell: There is only one offense, over image of Winston’s torture from the movie 1984.; George Orwell

If anything in modern life could be worse than the October 7 atrocities against Israelis, it would be the unalloyed support those atrocities have received from the institutional Left in America. Everywhere you turn in academia and even so-called “mainstream” news sites, there are people in power attempting to justify not just the invasion but the kidnappings, rape, and torture that was its entire point.

Why does the left hate Israel so much? While the institutional Left seems to hate just about everyone, here you have a nation of peoples who in other countries reliably vote far left, and whose country began explicitly communist and remains a very left-leaning country.

In my opinion that’s an explanation for the hate, not a contradiction. Israel may have a demonstrably left government, but it began even further left than it is now. Israelis quickly discovered that communes and kibbutzes do not work on a countrywide level. Rather than put up with famine and corruption, they changed. They learned from their mistakes.

This is anathema to the leftist elite. The institutional left deliberately never learns from that kind of mistake and especially never allows its constituents to learn from that kind of mistake. Instead, they blame an imaginary far right for their own failure and double down on failure.

That’s the whole point of creating crises, to use them to gain more power. Looking at a crisis and saying, hey, maybe we did something wrong to get here, is missing the entire point of their policies.

It is power and domination.

You’re a Black woman who turns against the left? You’re neither “a true Black” nor “a true woman”. They actually say this. If you’re a Hispanic who argues for individual liberty? You’re a race traitor. That’s not a phrase I made up. It’s a phrase of the left to describe people who are non-white and yet do not submit to the left.

The institutional Left see everything in terms of race, so it isn’t surprising that when an entire country of Jews turns against socialism even slightly, the Left doubles down on antisemitism.

January 10, 2024: Trump and the January 6 defendants
Admiral Ackbar: It’s a trap!: Admiral Ackbar, “It’s a trap!” for January 6 and Trump.; Star Wars; January 6

I recently read Cynthia Hughes’s Due Process Denied. She’s not a professional writer, and in a book like this that’s a benefit. Her story about how she became involved with the January 6 prisoners runs the gamut from emotional to rambling to prayerful to humorous.

This is the kind of book that we need more of: inexperienced writers telling a story they’re compelled to tell because they have a unique perspective on an important event. Hughes experienced January 6 through her nephew-from-another-family who, like many, was allowed into the Capitol by the Capitol Police and was then arrested for it.

Unlike Julie Kelly, who does great work as a professional journalist, Hughes really is just an American who happened to see evil happen to someone she loves and decided to do something about it. Her Patriot Freedom Project grew from a weekly support chat for families of those held without bail to a fund for helping them survive the loss of breadwinners and jobs, as well as a referral service for helping them find lawyers and therapists. Many people lost both friends and family after the arrests.

She is obviously someone who doesn’t understand what’s going on in her country yet who wants to make a difference anyway. And by most accounts, she is making a difference.

Sometimes, among the concerted efforts to make it seem like President Trump should abandon his supporters, it seems like there’s a concerted campaign on the conservative forums I follow to fool people into thinking Trump has abandoned his supporters. I see a small number of unfamiliar posters claiming that he’s abandoned the January 6 prisoners, for example, despite him introducing and praising people like Cynthia Hughes at his giant rallies for all the world to see, despite him calling out the prosecutions as the witch hunts they are.

“We all saw this a mile away,” they write, so why didn’t Trump? Why didn’t he pardon all of his supporters who attended his rally?

But the fact is, we didn’t see this a mile away. We certainly didn’t see it less than two weeks away, which is what would have been necessary for a blanket pardon between January 6 and January 20. And it would have had to have been a big blanket. It’s not like there were signups for people attending his rally.

Presidents have pardoned named individuals for unspecified crimes (President Ford, pardoning Richard Nixon). Presidents have pardoned specific groups for specified crimes (President Carter, pardoning people who avoided the draft by moving to Canada).

January 4, 2023: January 6 nightmare worthy of Kafka

View video.

Trump thanks the Patriot Freedom Project.

Two years ago tomorrow I was winging my way toward Washington, DC for sightseeing and to attend President Trump’s rally on the National Mall.

Two years later there are still people in jail in the Capitol. They’re not in jail because they’ve been convicted of a crime. Many haven’t even gone to trial yet, let alone been convicted. Two years is not a speedy trial and there’s still no end in sight.

They’re legally innocent because they haven’t been found guilty, and for most of them, they really are innocent. The “crime” they’re suspected of is… walking into a public building with permission, gawking like tourists, and going home.

There but for the grace of God.

The only killings were committed by Capitol Police—Ashley Babbitt and, possibly, Rosanne Boyland. Because the news media is so biased in this matter, it is very difficult to separate fact from fiction.

As I wrote earlier, I initially believed the reports from the press, that an officer was murdered with a fire extinguisher. But the foundation changed over the several months that followed. First, the news reports changed to, well, he was injured but we can’t say how or with what.

Then, he was uninjured, but maybe pepper spray killed him.

Okay, pepper spray didn’t kill him either, perhaps it was stress.

The evidence, even if true, has dropped well below the threshold required for the initial conclusion, that the officer died because of the January 6 protests. But it was not true. The officer died of blood clots that would have killed him no matter where he was or what he took part in.

February 2, 2022: Free the January 6 prisoners

This is not a long post but it is an important one. I don’t know anyone in DC. I expect that’s true of most of us at the Capitol of January 6. It must be horrendous for families to have their loved ones in limbo so far away, and it must be horrendous to be imprisoned so far away from your loved ones in such a limbo.

I had the opportunity to hear Brooke Rollins speak two weeks ago. Rollins was director of the United States Domestic Policy Council for President Trump. During the Q&A I asked, "what can we do for the January 6 prisoners?"

She seemed genuinely angry at their treatment, and that they're still held without trial, but the only advice she could offer was, write your representatives.

So I sent this letter to my Senators, my governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and state representatives.

It is unconscionable that we are still holding so many January 6 prisoners without trial or bail.

I do not know the truth of the accusations against them. I cannot trust the media; I know that the media lied about conditions outside of the Capitol: I was there.

Naively, I initially believed media reports about what was happening inside. Then slowly it came out that everything they'd reported about assaults and deaths was not just wrong but a lie.

I cannot trust the Capitol Police. At best they allowed these lies to circulate for months, slandering all of us, before acknowledging they were lies.

At worst, they were complicit in spreading those lies.

But I do know that it is wrong that more than a year later they are still awaiting trial with no bail. The reporting by Julie Kelly and others on conditions within the prison and the long continued incarceration without trial or bail is heartbreaking.

Please do everything you can to bring them home. Please do everything you can to help them and their families.

This isn’t much of a letter, but that’s partly because this should go without saying. I cannot understand why everyone in DC is silent about the uniquely bad treatment meted out to these prisoners.

September 8, 2021: The January 6 witch-hunt

It’s pretty obvious that Democrats and the Left are trying to create a witch hunt around the January 6 rally in DC. It wasn’t an insurrection. Even the “evidence” introduced by Democrats make it the least violent, cleanest riot ever.

This is mostly a link round-up about the prisoners. I don’t really have a lot to say about the “cleanest riot ever”. I don’t even have a lot to say about the political prisoners in DC other than help them if you can. But if there’s a witch-hunt starting, I intend to identify as a witch. Before the witch-hunter’s indicium comes into play.1

As I wrote earlier, I was in DC on January 6, and I was on the Capitol grounds milling around with everyone else who was milling around, talking about the weather in DC compared to wherever we came from, wondering if there would ever be a basic audit into alleged election fraud, and eventually, wandering away to eat Atlantic oysters.

I’m not saying that inside the Capitol was as boring as outside of it. I can only know what I saw, and it was pretty boring outside. What I see reported on the rally in areas I was at is almost universally wrong. It was wrong both at the Capitol and around DC in general. I walked safely around DC eight miles Tuesday evening and eleven miles all day Wednesday—from the Washington Monument to Pleasant Plains, Capitol Hill to Georgetown—and saw nothing requiring police presence, which was fortunate because I saw no police presence. I think I saw one police officer the whole day on Wednesday, and very few on Tuesday as we walked up Pennsylvania Avenue from the Mall after the speeches.

December 2, 2015: Mom didn’t leave the left, it left her

I’ve been doing some travel over the holidays, and I was a little surprised to hear one very left long-time family friend say that my mom is getting more conservative as she gets older. It is supposedly a given that when you are young, you are on the left because you still idolize being taken care of, and as you enter the workforce and family responsibilities you become more conservative because you learn that every resource given had to be earned through work by someone else. But I haven’t really noticed my mom’s political stances changing.

What I have noticed is the left becoming more and more intolerant of religion and forcing people more and more to have political stands where once they were content to merely have personal stands.

My mom rarely if ever mentioned abortion until the eighties or possibly even the nineties. She was always religious and I suspect always considered abortion wrong as a personal choice. But until the left decided that abortion was a right that must be paid for with people’s taxes, I couldn’t have said. There was no religious need to be publicly and politically anti-abortion. She could still vote Democrat while not having an abortion herself. Even after abortions skyrocketed and became part of the general Democratic position, the left still tolerated people who were personally anti-abortion and against public-funding and public-encouragement of abortion.

Today, however, that is no longer true. If you are a woman against abortion today, you are not only engaged in a war on women that puts you beyond the pale of the left, but you are not a true woman yourself.

That makes it difficult for a woman-whose positions haven’t changed—to continue to identify as on the left. It’s hard to identify with the left when the left is telling you that you are not who you are.

Even if you fully support keeping abortions legal, you are engaged in a war on women if you merely want to require parental notification when a minor wants to have the surgery.

This didn’t used to even exist to be against.

October 17, 2014: Evil and religion in the modern media

Over at the Ace of Spades HQ, Ace writes about the media’s partisanship:

I’ve been saying this for a while: The press claims to be nonpartisan and to only be interested in “good stories,” no matter which party they might damage.

They can’t really make these claims in the age of Twitter. Because their reading list—the Twitter accounts they follow daily—is public information.

You’d think these guys would at least try to “make it look good” by adding in a few of the more credible, less strident twitter accounts of right-leaning writers. But no—no one bothers even to follow University of Tennessee Law School Professor Glenn Reynolds.

They don’t follow conservative ideas because conservatives are evil. When you are part of a movement, you don’t look for balance. You look for allies and enemies. Since the media is progressive, conservatives are their enemies. They are the devil, and you don’t look to the devil for reason and truth. Any compromise between good and evil is evil. Any compromise between the truth and a lie is itself a lie.

And when you are part of a movement, any alternative views are lies.

I recently read Samuel G. Freedman’s Letters to a Young Journalist. In it, he decries the loss of alternative views in the media—and also decries the existence of alternative views on the right. Despite having somewhat conservative views himself, he must, to be accepted as a journalist, share the same views as his colleagues.

Ace continues, pointing out that while members of the press don’t follow even moderate conservatives,

On the other hand, many follow the over-the-top hard-left rantings of Jay Rosen of NYU University, a media critic who frequently declares that the media must drop even the pretense of impartiality and embrace a resolutely left-liberal advocacy position, because there is no “balance” possible between Truth and Lies.

Now, Rosen is, in fact, partially correct. There is no balance between truth and lie. Facts themselves are not a compromise. But he’s also wrong: you don’t know which is fact and which is not without putting both in the scales and measuring them. To think you can know the truth without measurement is to have a religion.

As a journalist or a scientist you only get to choose which is truth and which is false after you have sifted the evidence. Only priests get to decide truth by recourse to a higher cause. Only priests—and liars.

October 1, 2014: Remember this when the New York Times criticizes conservatives

According to Peter Baker at the New York Times, if you criticize a person’s politics, you really want them murdered. No joke:

President Obama must be touched by all the concern Republicans are showing him these days. As Congress examines security breaches at the White House, even opposition lawmakers who have spent the last six years fighting his every initiative have expressed deep worry for his security.

“The American people want to know: Is the president safe?” Representative Darrell Issa of California, the Republican committee chairman who has made it his mission to investigate all sorts of Obama administration missteps, solemnly intoned as he opened a hearing into the lapses on Tuesday.

Yet it would not be all that surprising if Mr. Obama were a little wary of all the professed sympathy.

Baker himself made a living criticizing President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Does this mean he would have no concerns about assassination attempts against them? Was his book criticizing the Bush administration really attempted murder?

There’s a joke about the left that if you want to know what they’re thinking, watch what they claim about conservatives. Baker’s article really does seem to come from an assumption about political criticism that he—and the New York Times—must personally hold, or it wouldn’t make any sense.

The New York Times daily criticizes conservative politicians. Does this mean they want conservatives dead? Does this mean they want to weaken law enforcement protection of conservative presidents? Their snide remarks about how conservative critics can’t really be concerned about the safety of a leftist President say, yes.

  1. I’d be hard-pressed to remember their names without googling.

  2. Outside of his business decisions, perhaps.

  3. Though with the health care takeover, the various solar energy debacles, and the General Motors restructuring it’s easy to make the argument that cronyism is now something the left supports.

  1. <- Tough cheese
  2. Always get tape ->