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It’s another of many reasons to rage at the leftoid hijacking of the hippie “movement”. Prior to SDS, Ayers&Dohrn, and the rest of the KGB tools (witting and unwitting), some very sound views on police power and the utility thereof were being developed, and were being promulgated in the best way possible: using ridicule.
That all went by the boards, and the result is as we see. Of course, no matter what they say, the Left wants and needs powerful, intrusive police forces. Somebody’s going to have to machine-gun the “dissidents” and “deniers”, and they’re sure as Hell not gonna get their own precious delicate hands dirty. At one time, it might have been supposed that policemen were American citizens, too, and would refuse to go along with that sort of program. As can be seen daily, that assumption is no longer valid, if it ever was.
One of the supporting arguments for a free press is what I’ve seen described as the “leprosy argument”. Rulers tend to become isolated from the people they govern; there are many mechanisms promoting such isolation, but the predominant ones are the rise of “courtiers”, people who force themselves into association with the Big Guy in order to bask in the reflected glow of power, and the multiplication of bureaucrats the Big Guy appoints to implement his policies.
One of the effects of leprosy is loss of nerve endings that may result in the sufferer not even noticing damage to his or her extremities because the pain that normally accompanies such damage isn’t felt. Courtiers are by their very nature flatterers, who achieve their positions by playing on the self-image of the ruler to gain their privileged position. Bureaucrats are specifically intended to take the burden of day-to-day interaction with the populace off the boss, who doesn’t have time to deal with minutiae. In both cases the result is layers of intermediaries between ruler and ruled. Leprosy is no longer a common occurrence, so most of us instead refer to a “bubble”, analogous to the child-in-a-bubble who has to be isolated from disease organisms in order to survive and thus cannot interact freely with the world around him.
A free press bypasses all that; its expostulations can, at least in principle, help by passing pain signals from the populace to the ruler despite the insulation provided by the courtiers and bureaucrats.
Moe Lane notes:
I’m used to the President lying to me. It’s a thing. I’ve almost grown comfortable with it. But Obama lying to his own base is pretty darn low-rent of him.
Politicians are supposed to take sides on questions of public policy.
News reporters are not.
Reynolds then goes on to remark
The idea of an independent media has been eclipsed by crony journalism to go with the crony capitalism.
Which is precisely the case. In the terms I introduced above, the (supposed) journalists have converted themselves into courtiers, who see it as their job to both flatter Mr. Obama and to use their considerable power to see to it that anything unflattering is concealed to the extent possible. Coupled with the huge and still-growing armies of bureaucrats who are taking charge (or trying to) of every tiniest aspect of American life, and who are essentially unmanageable from the top simply from their number and the complexity of their operations, this means the President very likely has no knowledge whatever of what lower-ranking Democrats think, let alone the populace at large. The bureaucrats have no intention of bothering the Big Guy with minor details, and the soi-disant Press take it upon themselves to suppress any hint of opinion that might disturb his equanimity.
So I disagree with Moe. I don’t think President Obama is lying to anybody. It’s a matter of definitions. “Lying” requires that the liar knows the truth and suppresses it. A person who has imperfect knowledge and/or a firm belief that’s wrong, and who makes statements based on that, may be issuing and perpetuating total falsehoods, but is not a “liar” because he or she is not suppressing the truth. It’s fairly clear that Mr. Obama tends to reject data that might contradict his firmly-held convictions, but in the present case it’s highly unlikely he will ever detect any such data, because the Press will suppress it in an attempt to keep him looking good and the bureaucrats won’t tell him because it’s their job to handle such objections without jogging his elbow. The result is egregious mistakes, due to the leprosy-like inability to feel damage brought on by the layers of courtiers and bureaucrats.
Which is fine by me. I’d like to see the man turfed out of his sinecure; the more mistakes he makes the more likely that becomes; and the thicker and denser the “bubble” gets, the less likely it becomes that he’ll feel any pain from his mistakes, right up to the point where his extremities start falling off.
We got it from “Julia”, who is so flaccid and incapable of self-direction that she needs the helping hand of Government in every phase of her life. Now we get it about black people:
The prepared content of a Tuesday presentation to the House Democratic Caucus and staff indicates that Democrats will seek to portray apparently neutral free-market rhetoric as being charged with racial bias, conscious or unconscious.
It’s not so much that they need to be trained to race bait — they surely have enough practice at that — as it is the underlying assumption. Black people and women are so incapable of managing their own affairs that Mother Government must lead them by the hand in every phase of life; it follows that any reduction in, or even failure to extend, the scope of Government programs means that black people and women will fail to get the assistance they need to survive, so is either “war on women”, “racist”, or both.
As I’ve mentioned before, my grandmother was a liberal Southern Democrat (1950s version). She told me “You have to be nice to the Negroes, because they can’t do for themselves the way white people can.” Rephrasing it in 21st-Century PC-speak doesn’t change anything, although I suppose it’s nice (in a cynical sort of way) to see that nothing fundamental has changed in half a century. I don’t think she would have approved of making her advice into a principal function of Government, and I’m damn sure that extending it to women would have motivated her to pick up a hatchet.
The feminist message I responded (favorably) to was independence. Women are perfectly capable of managing their own affairs without being dependent on men, and should (or must) assert independence because of the costs. In the end, the one who pays the piper calls the tune, and feminists regard the quid pro quo for relying on men with horror.
Now we have Julia. Ann Althouse links to a Washington Post op-ed that asserts
What I want to know is: Why the Hell doesn’t that generate outrage? “Julia” is totally dependent; she does not (cannot?) make a single move in her life that doesn’t depend on Government support. It’s a direct, in-your-face contradiction of the ideal of independence from women.
At least some of the associated commentary assumes, without explicitly stating it, that being dependent on Government is superior to being dependent on “the Patriarchy” because Government won’t demand anything in return. The “story of Julia” directly contradicts even that, at least on one point — “Julia” runs her own business for several years, at least, but doesn’t make enough out of it for a comfortable retirement; she then has to depend on Social Security in her Golden Years. All the small business owners I know, a considerable number, make an explicit point of doing their damnedest to sock away enough that when they retire they don’t have to live on beans and cornbread. Where did Julia’s profits from her business go? Did Government take them all away, leaving her with nothing of her own to live on? It would seem so. Was that a good trade, worthy of her sacrificing her independence in order to batten off others including other Julias?