Free Markets, Free People


The will to power, exemplified

Stanley Fish, writing in the New York Times today, offers a refreshingly honest view of "slutgate", moral equivalency, and double standards. It is, in fact, a bold statement of what we’ve always imagined the Progressive view is, though they have, in the past, been ever so careful not to admit it. It is, frankly, nice to see such honesty. As Mr. Fish explains:

Schultz and Maher are the good guys; they are on the side of truth and justice. Limbaugh is the bad guy; he is on the side of every nefarious force that threatens our democracy. Why should he get an even break?

There is no answer to that question once you step outside of the liberal calculus in which all persons, no matter what their moral status as you see it, are weighed in an equal balance. Rather than relaxing or soft-pedaling your convictions about what is right and wrong, stay with them, and treat people you see as morally different differently. Condemn Limbaugh and say that Schultz and Maher may have gone a bit too far but that they’re basically O.K. If you do that you will not be displaying a double standard; you will be affirming a single standard, and moreover it will be a moral one because you will be going with what you think is good rather than what you think is fair. “Fair” is a weak virtue; it is not even a virtue at all because it insists on a withdrawal from moral judgment.

I know the objections to what I have said here. It amounts to an apology for identity politics. It elevates tribal obligations over the universal obligations we owe to each other as citizens. It licenses differential and discriminatory treatment on the basis of contested points of view. It substitutes for the rule “don’t do it to them if you don’t want it done to you” the rule “be sure to do it to them first and more effectively.” It implies finally that might makes right. I can live with that.

There you have it. Conservatives are evil, progressives are good. It follows, therefore, that because progressives are good, then what they do in  combating conservatives is right.  Conservatives, being evil, deserve no respect and no attempts at courteous disagreement. They deserve nothing more than to be driven from the public sphere by any necessary means. Progressives are good, and if they commit what would otherwise be questionable acts, it is only the depravity of their political opponents that drives them to it.

Make no mistake: If the Stanley Fishes of this country could imprison you for holding contrary political beliefs, they’d do it in a second.  After all, you are "on the side of every nefarious force that threatens our democracy". This is, of course, justification for a tyranny of the very worst sort. As C.S. Lewis pointed out:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

Progressivism, for all its puffing about equality and justice, is nothing more than totalitarianism cloaked in modern, politically-correct pieties.

It’s nice to see a progressive honestly admit it.

The thing is, it is not possible to have a sustainable, self-governing polity when a substantial portion of the electorate denies the fundamental morality or legitimacy of their opponents. The ultimate outcome of such a belief in a society has historically been an inevitable slide to civil unrest, resulting in either totalitarian repression, civil war, or dissolution into competing states.

I am increasingly beginning to wonder which of those three outcomes is most likely in our case.

~
Dale Franks
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56 Responses to The will to power, exemplified

  • “The ultimate outcome of such a belief in a society has historically been an inevitable slide to civil unrest, resulting in either totalitarian repression, civil war, or dissolution into competing states.”———————————————————-

    Those are not, by any means, mutually exclusive. They could easily be a natural progression. I do not, however, consider that violence is required. Civil disobedience is a powerful tool that our Revolutionary ancestors did not have.

    • @Ragspierre It’s a world where peaceful Tea Partiers are painted as dangerous extremists and OWS rapists are lionized. I wouldn’t pin my hopes too heavily on civil disobedience.

  • Not being in the US terribly often I rarely see Maher. But I did surf past an interview with him on some channel the other day. It was about climate and the degree of certain, self-satisfied loathing he had for anyone questioning the party line was kind of frightening. His whole demeanour was of someone you’d rather not argue with. I really would not want to hear his views on more flammable topics.

  • Obama is the Zima of politics: great packaging, plenty of marketing pizazz, tastes like …. well, the bottle was a work of art.

    The Chinese say “even a donkey turd is shiny on the outside”. At some point the buying public discovers that a donkey turd is what they’ve bought.

  • Might makes right eh Stanley? Trust me on this one pal, libs really don’t want to go there.

    • @The Shark
      “Trust me on this one pal, libs really don’t want to go there. ”
      they are kinda cute when they get all puffed up and tough sounding aren’t they? They’re as tough as a 911 call and a hope the police show up before all that’s left to do is to gather evidence.

  • Limbaugh is not a bad guy. So Fish is wrong right there. Limbaugh wants everyone to do well. He doesn’t think that “doing well” is having the political class give you stuff it has taken from someone else. He also thinks that doing really well is anything to be ashamed of.

    My only reticence about Limbaugh is that there are times when he wades into a subject and addresses it with conflicting views, which leads to self-contradiction. That happens every once in a while.

    But Limbaugh was really the first media guy to go on air fifteen hours a week and really go after the conceits of liberalism and give a pretty full expression to an alternative set of ideas. He is not a bad guy at all. And he’s got a lot better sense of humor than Maher.

    Most of my closest friends are liberals and we just don’t talk politics, which is a little awkward since that is the major topic of conversation in America. The two sides are incompatible politically. There is no middle anymore. But take politics out of the equation and people are people.

  • Limbaugh is not a bad guy. So Fish is wrong right there. Limbaugh wants everyone to do well. He doesn’t think that “doing well” is having the political class give you stuff it has taken from someone else. He also thinks that doing really well is nothing to be ashamed of. My only reticence about Limbaugh is that there are times when he wades into a subject and addresses it with conflicting views, which leads to self-contradiction. That happens every once in a while. But Limbaugh was really the first media guy to go on air fifteen hours a week and really go after the conceits of liberalism and give a pretty full expression to an alternative set of ideas. He is not a bad guy at all. And he’s got a lot better sense of humor than Maher. Most of my closest friends are liberals and we just don’t talk politics, which is a little awkward since that is the major topic of conversation in America. The two sides are incompatible politically. There is no middle anymore. But take politics out of the equation and people are people.

    • I wonder if it is true that “People are people” ? What I mean is that is seems to me that there is a certain type of person who is drawn to a left wing view point, and a certain type of person who is more liberty oriented. And a lot of in betweeners. . . Facebook has reinforced that to me. With face book I have come into contact with many people I knew in high school when we were all pretty a-politcal. Some of those people developed very left wing views and some very right wing views, but in no instance was I surprised at all. It all seemed to fit their personality as I remembered it. @martinmcphillips

      • @kyle8 Most people on the left believe strongly in liberty. You again are simply defining another perspective as inherently immoral and anti-liberty, you are denying the legitimacy of a position different than your own. You are lost in ideology, you are out of touch with reality.

        • @scotterb No, Erpo, your Collective does NOT believe in liberty. It is interesting you even have the chutzpa to attempt that here. Even you, in a sane moment, could list all the various affronts to liberty being mounted by your Collective, and all they would LOVE to mount. Seriously…you are so unserious…

        • @scotterb Collectivism is incompatable with true liberty. You fail.

        • @scotterb And your idea of “liberty” is I should compromise and do what you want. That’s liberty to you. You’re the same guy doesn’t believe in any inherent rights, that all rights descend from the good graces of ‘the state’. And you believe in Liberty? Good heavens, you don’t even know what it means, how can you believe in it? And if that’s a personal attack, it’s a personal attack based on your own arguments posted here on this site. Facts about things you’ve said yo u believe are facts, they’re not personal attacks on you.

        • @scotterb “Most people on the left believe strongly in liberty.”

          Most people on the Left don’t know what the word means.

      • @kyle8 “I wonder if it is true that “People are people” ?” Well, most people will, in an immediate sense, try to do the right thing. But most people are also afflicted by not knowing what they are talking about when it comes to politics. One very good friend of mine, who would have my back in a tight spot, believes everything he reads in the New York Times. Most liberals that I know have no idea which way is up in politics, and they repeat the Party line pretty much like clockwork. I’ve heard it so many times that I sometimes pretend I’m falling into a trance when they start up. Because they’ve never actually been exposed to serious thinking or arguments other than those that are liberal the get very confused when challenged to understand anything outside that box. This is the flatness of thought brought on by our terrible educational system and its reinforcement in the media, an educational system that systematically attacks, as well, any values that it’s not endorsing at the moment, like those of the parents of the children attending the public schools. But my friends are still my friends.

  • You write: “it is not possible to have a sustainable, self-governing polity when a substantial portion of the electorate denies the fundamental morality or legitimacy of their opponents.”

    EXACTLY! That’s the point I’ve been making here — and then you go and do to “progressives” exactly that, calling them “totalitarian” as a group because of one silly example. The delicious, tasty, wonderful irony of you doing exactly what you condemn within a few inches of text. The thing is, I don’t think you even realized you were doing it. That’s a sign that you are so lost in ideological fog and a belief in your own inherent morality that you don’t think the same rules apply to you that apply to others. Your hypocrisy so so obvious, yet you don’t see it. Amazing.

    Of course, that’s been my point here — you guys attack all those (political types, pundits, etc.) who disagree with your ideology as being inherently immoral and anti-freedom. When I make an argument you quickly try to turn it into something personal about me (especially when my argument is strong) because that’s what people do when they define the opponent as inherently immoral. They don’t engage (why engage someone inherently immoral?), they just attack personally.

    But the fact you would so openly do what you condemn is testament to the fact you don’t see what you’re doing. I think you need to step back, reflect and really ask yourself if you’ve not dived so deep into ideological jihad that you can’t trust your reactions — you need some self-critical thought. That’s the key to avoiding ideological blinders.

    • @scotterb Yah, but Erpie, lying IS morally wrong. It is OBJECTIVELY wrong, and it is an affront to rational thinking. And you do it all the time. That is not name-calling, but an observation. The Collective HAS a very clear history of marching towards a totalitarian goal…which Mussolini considered benificently to include everybody…and to USE anything to get to its utopian end. Same as now. Fish isn’t a silly example…not published in the NYT. He was speaking for a population you can’t pretend doesn’t exist…well, being you, yeah, you can be that delusional…

    • @scotterb Oh god, the living parody has arrived…

    • @scotterb “Rather than relaxing or soft-pedaling your convictions about what is right and wrong, stay with them, and treat people you see as morally different differently. Condemn Limbaugh and say that Schultz and Maher may have gone a bit too far but that they’re basically O.K. If you do that you will not be displaying a double standard; you will be affirming a single standard, and moreover it will be a moral one because you will be going with what you think is good rather than what you think is fair. “Fair” is a weak virtue; it is not even a virtue at all because it insists on a withdrawal from moral judgment.”
      My God, you ARE a hypocrite. Either that or you didn’t bother to read what Fish said. I suppose you think that Fish is some sort of by-blow, a no-one, yes? Is that why the New York Times, THE Paper of Record, had him write an opinion piece, because he’s a non-entity like you or me? ONE Guy published in the New York Times, which although I loathe, I acknowledge to be a highly regarded newspaper and certainly one that still can sway opinions. Take a deep breath and grow up, that opinion piece wasn’t published in the Farmington Gazette.

      • @looker “…because he’s a non-entity like you or me?” Now, there’s no need to get sacreligious…

        • @Ragspierre I’m rather sure he thinks Fish is some right wing whacko writing a parody of progressive thought.

        • @looker But…really, looker…to compare his Advanced-Degreeness to your own mortal self… No reason to get nasty here.

        • @Ragspierre well, I KNOW that was rather personal, and I shouldn’t have sunk to the level of comparing him to me on the level of national importance.

    • @scotterb >

      Apparently, you don’t read for comprehension. I’m HAPPY to have progressives finally admit they hate conservatives. I’ve said repeatedly that the US cannot continue to exist with two fundamentally incompatible visions of the nature of government. I expect the US to split apart in my lifetime.

      That Mr. Fish finally publicly admits the truth about the situation merely brings that day closer, and hopefully, I’ll be able to live in the freer of the resulting states, while Mr. Fish and his ilk can meddle in the lives of their fellow gulag’s inhabitants to their heart’s content.

      • @DaleFranks Ah, but they will need the rest of us drones for their progressive paradise to flourish. I expect their states will have products no more valuable on average than the current products of the current government. They’ll need those backward states as we exist now where they can put the power plants they don’t want to see, or the power lines they don’t want to have to look at, or the factories they don’t want to know about to perpetuate their cloistered faux egalitarian life styles. It WILL be interesting because they will almost certainly inherit the most significant portion of those “on the dole”, and it will be a glaringly ugly demonstration of what happens when that dole comes to an end as they run out of other people’s money to hand out.

        • @looker My gradient theme comes to play here. There WILL be a separation before long. There has to be, as there really is no “compromise” possible. Many of us will simply not live in the Collective. When that happens, there will be a very interesting gradient created, and a natural “birds of feathers” sorting out. That will lead to a very instructive period of history.

        • @Ragspierre And I’m counting on not having to move to end up in a place where I’ll want to be. God Bless Texas.

        • @looker “and it will be a glaringly ugly demonstration of what happens when that dole comes to an end as they run out of other people’s money to hand out.”

          What, you mean there is going to be a sudden surge of emigration to Greece from mainland-Maine?

        • @DocD Heh, the funny part is, when it’s all said and done, I rather expect the people of the great state of Maine will NOT establish the sort of place that the professor will want to remain in. Vermont perhaps, or Masswatuchetts, Connecticut or New York. Going to leave the Downeasters at the tail of the supply line, but perhaps they can throw in with Canada, which will look adequately sane compared to any place controlled by the progressives.

        • @looker I hope they enjoy buying oil and grain from the free states while dealing with their crushing poverty and union problems.

        • @Ragspierre
          “That will lead to a very instructive period of history.”————————-
          AKA “interesting times”. Oh joy. I’m too old for that shite.

        • @timactual I figure it will be a good time for showing the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. A small government, market-oriented state would be very clearly superior to its Collectivist neighbor, IMNHO.

        • @timactual Aside from the fact that I can easily see the collectivists inviting in Russian or Chinese ‘help’ thus prolonging their decline. A good portion of the rest of the world will look like hell anyway when the beat cop is busy with a domestic dispute at his house. Be interesting to see the Mexican and Canadian take on a disaster like that – any bets who they’d try to cozy up to?

        • @looker The collectivist states would quickly degenerate into a vassal or client state of a foreign power. If left on their own they would become a failed state.

    • @scotterb Here, here’s some GREAT thinking from the left – DeNiro decides that we need to discuss the color of the first lady…..even jokingly…..This is WRONG, there’s just no two ways about it. It’s divisive and it’s not funny. Try to imagine anyone, ANYONE, at a Republican gathering suggesting it was time for a white First Lady again, my GOD! This is ‘progressive’, I’ll be surprised if there’s an eye blink over his statement, other than the usual right wing nutzo people complaining about how objectionable this sort of statement really is.
      http://www.politico.com/blogs/click/2012/03/de-niro-too-soon-for-another-white-first-lady-117982.html

      • @looker “It’s divisive and it’s not funny.” Not according to the homogenized crowd of elite Collectivists assembled to support Obama. It was a yuk riot, with SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much truth imbedded in it. “Post-racial” my ass! The Collective CANNOT allow that.

      • @looker Remember how many Democrats made nasty remarks about Clarence Thomas having a white wife? For them, it’s OK to make an issue of the skin color of a political figure’s wife IF the political figure is a Republican.

      • Well well, Gingrich called them on it (no surprise there). And even the Obama campaign recognizes it was tacky and inappropriate. Now we need some faux outrage from the ‘hurt’ left telling us we’re being too sensitive.

        • “Callista Gingrich, Karen Santorum, Ann Romney,” said the Oscar-winning director, according to a pool report. “Now do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady?”

          As the crowd in a New York City restaurant roared, and someone said “no!” De Niro added: “Too soon, right?”

          De Niro’s wife, Grace Hightower, described the Obama critics as “dissenting voices, and I’d like to say, vampire energies.”
          ———————————————————————————
          Just to point out, the crowd at the dinner didn’t seem to think there was a problem though. And vampire energies? Vampire energies?

        • @looker Maybe she meant, “They suck”…???

        • @looker “Vampire energies?”

          They were in New York, which Billy Beck so aptly calls the Vampire State.
          ———————————————————————————
          I’m getting to where I simply don’t want to know about any political activity or remarks by entertainers–I’d rather be oblivious and simply judge them on their artistic skill.

    • @scotterb “When I make an argument you quickly try to turn it into something personal about me (especially when my argument is strong)”

      errr… you misspelt wrong.

      “They don’t engage (why engage someone inherently immoral?), they just attack personally.”

      And once again… any apologies for calling people neo-Nazis, dear Professor Sudden-attack-of-the-vapors-and-retires-quietly-with-no-further-”engagement”???

  • @scotterb “Most people on the left believe strongly in liberty.”

    (Insert usual disclaimer about the utter stupidity of using a one-dimensional metric derived from French politics concerning the monarchy.)

    No, you don’t believe in INDIVIDUAL liberty. You believe that rights are defined by the powers that be, those who hold political power purportedly for the sake of the community (but, in actuality, they usually do not faithfully carry out the will of the majority, but serve those who buy influence). So, to you, “liberty” means whatever you want it to be.

    And, since you always, always, always push candidates and legislation on the side of big government, more mandates, less individual choice (at least as far as commerce, employment benefits, doctor visits, medical tests, and medication), this pretense of being on the side of “liberty” you’ve been pushing the past few days is *demonstrably false*.

    You want those in government to be the ones to make decisions. Yout don’t trust individuals to make their own choices.

    • @myweeklycrime Hence, his open hostility to markets. That…all by itself…tells the tale.

    • @scotterb “You are lost in ideology…”

      This from the guy who consistently pushes his ideology in which he denies inalienable rights (since they easily demolish the arguments for using force to impose his ideological blueprint of egalitarianism). The same guy who is blind to the ethics of the individual right of liberty, such as the freedom to make economic choices, when he’s rationalizing how “free markets” (which are actually crony capitalism, thus an example of government abuse of power) are baaaaad.

  • @scotterb “The delicious, tasty, wonderful irony of you doing exactly what you condemn within a few inches of text. The thing is, I don’t think you even realized you were doing it. That’s a sign that you are so lost in ideological fog and a belief in your own inherent morality that you don’t think the same rules apply to you that apply to others. Your hypocrisy so so obvious, yet you don’t see it. Amazing. Of course, that’s been my point here…”

    Yes, your point here is to engage in the very hypocrisy you’re now decrying. Take, for example, you moaning about “tea party extremists”, then, “within a few inches of text”, you complain about, “a sign of the kind of demonization and irrational discourse that has added so much toxicity to our political system.”

  • @scotterb “…you guys attack all those (political types, pundits, etc.) who disagree with your ideology as being inherently immoral and anti-freedom.”

    That’s a flat-out LIE, specifically: “all those…who disagree with your ideology….”

    It isn’t *disagreement* which warrants condemnation. While others here often have similar arguments to my own, I won’t speak for all of them. For me, I react to the *arguments* and *actions* of people, condemning those which are immoral because they advocate/implement unethical behavior. I also reject your claims of being pro-liberty, or the narrative of Democrats and their ilk of the politicians in their party supporting liberty, when you and the office holders consistently oppose the freedom of individuals to make their own choices. You and the other Democrats are for mandates, regulations, targeted incentives, etc. which give a few in government (oligarchy) the power to forcibly make decisions for everyone (except when they’re granting their cronies exemptions, as Pelosi does for businesses in her district at 10000% the average when it comes to ObamaPelosiCare rules).

    You’re anti-liberty because you support legislation and politicians who increasingly deny individuals liberty.

  • “I am increasingly beginning to wonder which of those three outcomes is most likely in our case”

    - This is the desired outcome. Fragmentation and Chaos. And people are reciprocating this person’s sentiment. That is functioning as intended.

    Because there’s no good geographical division, chaos will likely occur over fragmentation. In which case most people will get sick of it and welcome ‘order’.

    Fragmentation is essentially the same thing. The Founding Fathers didn’t consider breaking away unless there was a sizable block of states willing to go along. The reason is that small countries and entities don’t last long without becoming someone’s bitch. Fragmentation means getting picked off one by one.

    The article you quote is functioning as intended. Its designed to bring people in to politics on an emotional level instead of one of reason. And by reading some of your comments, its pretty much working.

    Making people emotional about politics has been the purpose from both the left and right for a while now. In the media its great for ratings. In the long run, logic goes out the window and people commit themselves to suicidal paths. Which is the purpose.

    • @jpm100 Yeah, the Founders were Vulcans who were TOTALLY logical.

      Pffft….!!!

      • @Ragspierre, The Founders weren’t a bunch of girls with synchronized periods, either.

        There’s a difference between having emotions and thinking with them. Its the reason in sports a player will try to get under an opposing player’s skin.

    • @jpm100 Well, if you assume Texas will accept the same ‘order’ as Illinois, but it won’t. The ‘order’ they get will probably hasten the split. And there are perfectly good geographical divisions, but we choose to ignore them because we traverse them so freely we ignore them. You control or drop the bridges across the Mississippi, the Ohio, the Hudson as examples, and you see fast how divided it can get. You close some of the passes across the great divide and see how divided we can get. Do it up sometime between October and Christmas when the snow sets in and no one clears the roads. Shut down transport and the system dies as the population starves and panics. Some states will roll, because they have no identity any more. Other states will not.

    • @jpm100 Well, if you assume Texas will accept the same ‘order’ as Illinois, but it won’t. The ‘order’ they get will probably hasten the split. And there are perfectly good geographical divisions, but we traverse them so readily we ignore them and think crossing a river or a range of high or swampy ground is natural. You control or drop the bridges across the Mississippi, the Ohio, the Hudson as examples, and you see fast how divided it can get. You close some of the passes across the great divide and see how divided we can get. Do it up sometime between October and Christmas when the snow sets in and no one clears the roads. Shut down transport and the system dies as the population panics, riots, starves and freezes. Look no further than New Orleans in Katrina and this time, don’t send any relief, this time, don’t have a place for sensible people to evacuate to. Some states will roll, because they have no identity any more. Other states will not.
      ————————————————————————————————————

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