Free Markets, Free People

The problems of a post-modern legal system

A columnist at the Washington Post (via Insty) looks at the Rosen case, and finds some problems with the logic at the Justice Department.

The essential question is the definition of criminal conduct. It’s against federal law for authorities to “search a newsroom for the purpose of obtaining work product or documentary materials relating to a criminal investigation.” This presumably applies to reporters’ emails as well.

The law makes an exception if a reporter is suspected of criminal behavior. That’s why Rosen was named a co-conspirator – that’s the only way the Justice Department could get a judge to go along with their fishing expedition. In the Post column, the columnist Erik Wemple says:

It [the Justice Department] told a judge that Rosen may well have committed a violation of the Espionage Act as it pursued its e-mail search warrant.

But it turns out that the Justice Department apparently has no tangible evidence of any criminal behavior by Rosen. They’ve already said they have no intention of prosecuting him.

David Schultz, a lawyer for the AP it it’s own Justice Department scandal, spots the contradiction in that:

”They’ve done the expedient thing that allows them to get what they want without giving the press an opportunity to object,” says Schulz. “If they did not believe Rosen was committing a crime, they shouldn’t have been invoking that part of the PPA. Either they were really accusing him of a crime or they weren’t. I mean, you can’t have it both ways.”

Clearly, Mr. Schultz does not understand post-modern reasoning. For today’s leftists, there are no contradictions when someone is defending the left. That’s because they merely change definitions as necessary to eliminate the contradiction.

Look at their recent attempted re-definition of the word “scandal”. If you ask a typical English speaker what a scandal is, they’ll describe a situation where a person or organization got caught doing something they were not supposed to do – often illegal, usually unethical, and typically embarrassing. The IRS targeting of conservative groups, the Benghazi debacle and subsequent cover-up, and the Justice Department abuses of the AP and Fox News obviously fit that definition.

To the left, though, the word “scandal” means whatever they need it to mean to further the leftist cause. So they have taken up the mantra that these things are not “real scandals”, with the implication that they are not scandals at all. They want to own the terminology in every discussion, and bend it to whatever suits their present argument. That’s why I’ve stopped arguing with them. By the fundamentals of their own philosophy, it’s impossible for them to lose an argument because the objective standards of logic, reason, and reality don’t apply to them. To them, the only thing left is “narrative”, and they reserve the right to hold onto their own narrative no matter how obviously nonsensical it might be.

The narrative rules all for a post-modernist because it’s fundamental to post-modernism that words have no objective meaning. Just as there is no objective reality to them, there is no objective meaning either. A word means whatever a leftist can convince the present listener that it means, and the leftist reserves the right to redefine the word for another listener tomorrow if that helps promote tomorrow’s narrative.

The problem is that a legal system depends upon reliable meaning of words. If words can be redefined to suit the whims of someone in power, then no one can ever know whether they are obeying a law or not.

The Obama administration is so steeped in post-modern leftism that they don’t get this, or don’t care. So we see Holder’s Justice Department adapting the word “co-conspirator” and claiming criminal behavior to justify it, all out of pure expedience. They needed to accuse Rosen of being a co-conspirator to get what they wanted, so they simply told a judge that he was one. Hey, it’s just a word! It has no objective meaning, so we can redefine it to mean whatever we want!

As always, when they do that, they don’t think they’ve done anything wrong. They feel no shame or remorse over it. They get legitimately confused when a contradiction is pointed out, because in their world-view, there is no contradiction.

To a leftist, “co-conspirator” can mean one thing when leftists are in power, and something quite different when they are not. If Bush/Ashcroft had done exactly what they did, the very same people in the Justice Department who named Rosen a co-conspirator would be howling about it 24/7. They would be hectoring anyone who would listen that a journalist with no evidence of criminal behavior can’t possibly be named a ‘”co-conspirator”, and probably beating the drum for impeachment for anyone involved. But since they’re the ones doing it, the reaction among the left has been muted and mostly apathetic.

It is obvious to we Enlightenment types that it’s not possible to have a functioning legal system for a free society based on expedient re-definition of the terms used in laws. That’s why the Right has been opposing this folderol all the way back to FDR’s flouting of clear Constitutional language. It’s clear to anyone who understands plain English that a person growing wheat in their backyard for their own use has no relationship to “interstate commerce” as anyone before 1930 understood it. But it was expedient to simply pretend the term meant something else, to rationalize giving the government more power.

So this problem isn’t new. The difference today is that it used to be rare. Now it’s business as usual. Clinton’s defense against everything questionable that he ever did depended on re-defining words such as “sex” and “is”. Holder’s Justice Department clearly thinks they can simply dictate what words like “co-conspirator” mean.

A legal system allowing such re-definition to suit those in power is built on sand, awaiting the first strong shake to liquefy and bring it down.

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14 Responses to The problems of a post-modern legal system

  • They needed to accuse Rosen of being a co-conspirator to get what they wanted, so they simply told a judge that he was one. Hey, it’s just a word! It has no objective meaning, so we can redefine it to mean whatever we want!

    What they did do…in a sworn affidavit…is lie.
    Now, Holder is pretending to be “anguished” by his own conduct.  Well he should be.  His is the single worst DoJ in the history of the United States.  He is a serial perjurer and an outlaw.  He and his president are disgraceful.

    • What they did do…in a sworn affidavit…is lie.

      By any standards you and I would understand, they did indeed. But I still think it’s helpful to realize that, in their own mind, they are not lying. They’re just redefining words. Really.

      This might seem like a trivial difference, but it’s not. It means, first, that they will never really believe they’ve done anything wrong. Holder is showing us the results right now. He knows he’s supposed to sound remorseful, but he isn’t, so it’s all an act. And he doesn’t know how to act remorseful, because he’s never been remorseful.

      Second, it means that we can’t enter good-faith agreements with them to solve any of these problems. Suppose we got an agreement on changes at Justice and in the IRS that, by any objective standards, would fix the problems. It wouldn’t work. The left isn’t interested in coming to agreements that mean anything objective. They would interpret and re-interpret as necessary to get what they want. That’s exactly what they did with the plainly written law that they used to go after Rosen.

      That’s why we all find Professor Polywobble so frustrating. He doesn’t think he’s lying, even when he spouts the most outrageous, false-to-fact, easily refuted balderdash. In his narcissistic leftism, he doesn’t think he’s ever said or done anything untrue or dishonest. So he shrugs off your claims of lying like a duck sheds water. His post-modern worldview prevents the very possibility of thinking he might be wrong in his defense of leftism and you might be right.

      • What you describe in the personalities (Obama, Holder, Erp) is not simply post-modernist confusionabulation, but a deep, dark pathology.
        Which I have always known exists in Obama.  It has become apparent in Holder.  Perhaps you are correct, but my impression has been that even psychopaths know they are lying.  They simply don’t regard it as bad because they live by that means.  See Clinton, Bill.
        I think Erp is just your typical poorly-informed dishonest moonbat.  I agree as to the narcissism.

      • Suppose we got an agreement on changes at Justice and in the IRS that, by any objective standards, would fix the problems. It wouldn’t work.

        I totally agree.  Which is why we have to radically reshape our central government.
        Which is ALSO why no permutation of a “Gang Of Eight” immigration bill is acceptable.  It won’t be cool off the presses before they (the Collective) start crawfishing on the elements that provide the US security and election integrity.

        • Another bill where the Democrats will take their rewards and the Republicans will be left looking stupid and surprised when all the promises the Dems never intended to keep are reneged on.

      • In his narcissistic leftism

        “In his nihilistic leftism”. Fixed that one, too! 🙂

    • As someone put it the other day after his off the record press conference with ‘approved’ leak publishing.
      “He didn’t do anything wrong…and he promises not to do it again”.

  • Second, it means that we can’t enter good-faith agreements with them to solve any of these problems.

    >>>> No kidding. We have to get away from them on a national scale. Let them have their states, we’ll have ours. I have zero doubt that within a decade, all of their states will be a cross between Detroit and Stalinist Russia.

    Three-year-old deaf boy violates “weapons policy” by the way he signs his name.

  • Clearly, Mr. Schultz does not understand post-modern reasoning

    Should be: Clearly, Mr. Schultz does not understand post-modern “reasoning” Fixed it!
    Remember, according to post-modernism, reason (and its counterpart THINKING, is impotent and facts are a subterfuge of repressive Western culture. See “Erb”, our most prolific demonstrator, for numerous examples.