Free Markets, Free People

It’s easy to be smug when you think you’re smart and virtuous. Exhibit A: Lois Lerner

Over at Cold Fury, Mike is discussing the spectacle of Lois Lerner taking the 5th before Congress. He observedquoted DrewM at Ace of Spades:

What a smug SOB she is. She sat there like she’d done nothing wrong and was above it all.

That is not due to any intended deception on her part. She believes that she did nothing wrong, all the way to her core of her being.

First, as Heinlein said, no one is a villain in their own eyes. They always manage to rationalize why their immoral or unethical actions were actually just peachy if everyone knew the whole story about them.

But it goes beyond that with today’s leftists. They are steeped in post-modern philosophy, so steeped in fact that they can’t even think outside the patterns imposed by that philosophy. There are axioms that they believe cannot be violated, and that reality can never falsify.

One axiom is that leftists are wise, beneficent people who are eminently qualified to boss everyone else around by virtue of their superior intellect and good intentions. The direct corollary to this axiom is that any time they fail in the real world, the fault must be ascribed to someone not on the left.

Reality doesn’t matter here. Any non-left group will do as the scapegoat, even squishy establishment Republicans. Any excuse (non-doctored "doctored" emails, non-hacked "hacked" Twitter accounts) will do.

That leads to another axiom: anyone who opposes the left deserves whatever the left can inflict on them. Anyone opposing the left has shown by that very fact that they are morally deficient, have bad intentions, and are possibly less than human.

So it’s not wrong to discriminate against them, violate the law to deny them access to the political process, throw them in jail for non-existent or flimsy reasons (such as carrying a perfectly legal gun in the trunk of their car), tax them until their ears bleed, seize their property because someone else happened to be parked there with a joint, seize their property because they changed the course of a creek that only runs once every three years, throw them out of college for inoffensive remarks that accidentally offend another hyper-sensitive leftist, take their children away from them for indoctrination by the state, and prohibit them from doing a thousand things that used to be perfectly legal and have no demonstrated harm or ill effects.

In fact, it’s not simply that it’s not wrong to do those things. It’s virtuous to do such things to those who oppose the left. Lois Lerner can sit there and be smug in the face of Republican questions because she’s positive in her heart and soul that she was doing good to impede and harass the Tea Party organizations. It was a virtuous act, as far as she is concerned, and she does not feel the least shame or guilt over it.

It’s an inconvenience that she and the rest of the oppressive leftists who love government got caught, of course.  They have to manufacture narrative, dance around those bumbling Republicans who have to put up a show for the people back home, and, perhaps worst of all, they’ll have to suspend their oppression of their political enemies during a short cosmetic period before they get back to business.

But never, ever expect today’s left to show remorse for any act they undertake, no matter how illegal, immoral, or unethical it might be. For them, whatever behavior benefits the left is, by definition, virtuous. 

*** Update 11:40 CST ***

The very next article I read is an excellent example of one of the points above. Kirsten Powers in USA Today is doing her best to defend the indefensible.

A synopsis of her article is:

“These scandals can’t possibly be blamed on liberalism because liberals are good, virtuous people. Therefore the Republicans who are claiming these scandals indicate flaws in big government are unfairly twisting the truth for political advantage. Big government is clearly wonderful when run by virtuous liberals.”

Notice how this dovetails into the idea that the left is never at fault when things go wrong, and thus a scapegoat must be found. It was big-government advocates who put the tax system in place, appointed people with the willingness to suppress opposing viewpoints with the power of the IRS, and covered up those actions as long as possible. Nevertheless, the real villain in the investigation is small government advocates!

She dismisses those who actually did the political oppression as aberrations and peripheral to the entire debate. But those who indict big government using the very actions of big government are somehow bad actors.

There’s no debating people who will simply deny the facts sitting on the table because their worldview does not permit them to think liberalism/leftism has any flaws.

Look, I know the flaws of free market economics. Some abuses will occur, usually transient and corrected in the long term by the market, but real for a time. I know allowing radical freedom means some people will make bad choices.

I don’t claim limited government is without flaw, nor that everyone on the right is a saint. But history and our internal desire for freedom tell us that limited government is the best system we can get.

At least it has feedback built in to correct flaws. Perhaps the biggest indictment of today’s leftism is demonstrated by Kirsten’s column: she and her ilk are incapable of taking feedback on the flaws of the political system she prefers. All she can do is blame problems on the other side, and keep maintaining against all evidence that her side does not have the flaws that it so evidently does have.

*** Update 15:00 CST ***

Looks like Congressman Issa wasn’t any more impressed with Lerner’s smug “I’m so, so innocent” performance than the rest of us. He’s hauling her back and telling her that her opening statement claiming innocence means she waived 5th Amendment rights. (Via Drudge)

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43 Responses to It’s easy to be smug when you think you’re smart and virtuous. Exhibit A: Lois Lerner

  • “it’s not simply that it’s not wrong to do those things. It’s virtuous to do such things to those who oppose the left.”
    As I read this, I thought of the racial hatred the left feels free to unleash on conservative blacks, the misogyny they show toward women who piss them off (I was going to say conservative women, but the Obama worshippers got pretty nasty about Hillary Clinton when she dared challenge their demigod for the 2008 nomination), and the antigay slurs they’ll throw at gays who don’t toe their line.
    And they don’t see any cognitive dissonance.  If you’re black and conservative, well: The Right is racist, you’ve allied yourself with them, therefore we’re <i>defending</i> blacks (real ones, defined as the ones on our side) and you deserve all the abuse you get.

  • Nothing to see here, move along.

  • Personally, I have decided to use Alinsky’s Rules to to channel the dogma of inclusiveness on these folks.
    When they go after somebody, I remind them that this doesn’t seem very inclusive (or diverse).  It sure shuts them up.

  • “What a smug SOB she is. She sat there like she’d done nothing wrong and was above it all.”
    SOB without the “SO.”

    • One might say she is a DFC (and that ISN’T a Distinguished Flying Cross).

  • Lerner is going to be the scapegoat.  The Juiceboxers received their talking points personally at the WH yesterday, and today they are calling for Lerner to be fired. 

    They need to manufacture consensus that firing Lerner will “fix the problem” so that Obama can then fire her and end the scandal.

    • Based on what I’ve seen, I think you’re right. Doesn’t mean they actually think she did anything wrong – just that things are so bad that the usual blame-the-other-side isn’t working. It’s  the best tactical way forward, assuming she goes along with the gag.

      I expect her to do so, and for there to be a quid pro quo for her at some indefinite time in the future. If she hews to omerta, she’ll personally turn out fine in the long run.

      So there will be a show of outrage that anyone could do something like that, and Obamaco will then switch to “Hey, we fired the person responsible, so nothing more to see here. Why can’t you nasty Republicans shut up and let us go back to using government power however we want?” Lerner will lay low for a while, and then surface somewhere in the leftosphere to collect her reward for taking the heat.

      • Indeed.

        Her position is probably difficult to fire outright, so I’m guessing she’ll be asked to resign, resign and then collect her due.

      • SOP.
        Some nice job on the ‘outside’ will be found for her.
        This one is too obvious for them to put her on leave and quietly return her to work or transfer her later.

      • And they’re counting on our short attention span – perhaps some starlet will have breasts removed, or added, or maybe get three of them.
        There will be some important news that we’re all aflutter with, and this will pass.
        And if it doesn’t, it’s just a partisan witch hunt by Republicans.

      • But (que heavy German accent), “She was just following or’ders”.

    • It’s not just Lerner.
      In a move that can only be described as a “War on Women”, the White House and it’s special minions are now pointing at White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler

  • Tar & Feathers, or gallows?

    “These scandals can’t possibly be blamed on liberalism because liberals are good, virtuous people. Therefore the Republicans who are claiming these scandals indicate flaws in big government are unfairly twisting the truth for political advantage. Big government is clearly wonderful when run by virtuous liberals.”

    Welcome to the schizophrenic world of post-modernism.

  • Ahh…..they’ve decided that saying “I did nothing wrong” is the same as saying “I waive my 5th amendment right”.
    Now she can sit in a cell for contempt, because I’m betting she won’t answer any questions.
    Place your bets gentlemen.

    • Lock her up throw away the key. As if HER rights mean anything.

      • I say she should be judged by the same standards the IRS uses on taxpayers. Guilty until she proves her innocence.

    • I’m betting she’ll invoke the 5th on a point-by-point basis for each question Issa asks.

      She can probably get away with that in a Congressional hearing, but it’s going to be horrible PR.

      Obama must be shitting his pants about now, and his team will no doubt we working late into the night on a strategy.


  • I’m confused by the situation.  Without Lerner’s actions to plant the question, would we know anything about the IRS scandal?  Maybe it was an attempt at shaping the story in the media before it got in front of Congress.  But from what I can tell, Congress had concerns, but nothing was going to happen.  The world was much better for Obama before the scandal than after.  Maybe they thought it would be a small scandal and erase Benghazi from the headlines.  Maybe this was a backfire, but this would be an uncharacteristic mistake on the part of their PR team.

    • My understanding is that the report from the Inspector General was on the verge of releasing his report, which would expose the targeting. Lerner was part of the effort to get ahead of that release and shape the narrative, or at least confuse things and give gullible leftists a reason to put their fingers in their ears when the real report came out.

      I’ve heard her attempt called a “controlled explosion”.

      • Not only Lerner, but also Obama. The weekend before the report was to be released, he made his bizarre “ignore the voices warning about tyranny” speech at Ohio State.

        • Yes, I’ve been thinking that his speech wasn’t a coincidence. That speech sounds, in retrospect, like he knew something damaging to big-government leftism was about to hit. I’m not buying his Sgt. Schultz impression for a moment.

          His leftist training tells him to control the narrative, first and foremost. I think his speech at Ohio State was he opening shot in that effort.

          Speaking of the Sgt. Schultz “I know nuzzing!” impression, does anyone else get the idea that it isn’t playing as well with the press as he thought? I think after the shock of these scandals wears off, his compliant acolytes in the media will return to their usual habits, but for the moment they have seemed at least mildly interested in whether he knew about these things before he claims he did, and skeptical of the “I just know what I see in the papers” defense.

    • Lerner was attempting a “modified partial hangout” but the story was too big to hold it together.

  • If these scandals are not sorted out correctly, then I will support the next Republican administration making use of the IRS as a political weapon.
    We probably should go back to the spoils system too for all agencies, since they are essentially all staffed by Democrats now.

    • The spoils systems at least had the advantage that the mattress got turned every few years.

      However, as with education and the media, the Democrats will defend their gains. They like having collaborators in the bureaucracy when they are in office and resistance fighters when they’re not.

    • If these scandals are not sorted out correctly, then I will support the next Republican administration making use of the IRS as a political weapon.
      >>>> +1.  +1000.

      I prefer to not have a system like that but if it’s gonna be broken then it’s broken for everyone.

  • Lerner is a true believer. She will not resign, will not testify, will not apologize.
    She thinks she is Rosa Parks. She would love to go to jail for the cause. She knows that would engender great sympathy for her and support throughout the country. She will be a hero. This would greatly enhance the Dems theme of the Republican “war on women.”
    All going according to the Clintons plan. Benghazi off the radar, hero in the making (over time), Hillary clear from scrutiny.
    Lerner will be the Attorney General in next Clinton Administration.

  • In criminal court one is expected to plead guilty or not guilty.  One should be able to do so in a Congressional hearing too.
    However, her opening statement did go beyond a simple statement of “I’ve done nothing wrong.”

  • Lois Lerner is not a wanna-be tyrant. She is not a pretend tyrant. She is the real thing. In defiance of the Law she was sworn to uphold, in defiance of human liberty and human rights, and in defiance of human decency and in service to her ideology of Obamunism, she persecuted her and her boss’s political opponents. She and he are enemies of state and people of America.
    From the ample history of tyranny—Nazism and Communism which in living memory enslaved and murdered millions—we learn that exile and imprisonment have no effect on the followers of hateful ideologies or upon tyrants. Both Hitler and Stalin and legions of their followers were exiled or imprisoned. It is inevitable that the Lerners of the world do not fear disgrace, they do not fear imprisonment, they do not fear exile, for what small price such punishments are when the glory of Obamunism can be served.
    I do not wish to see her retire. I do not wish to see her resign. I do not wish to see her prosecuted and imprisoned. I want to see her head picked up out of a basket. For only death, degrading, bloody death can halt tyranny.