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Prof. Reynolds has another theme, and I wish others would pick up on it.

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 As can be seen daily, that assumption is no longer valid, if it ever was.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.

The blogfather quotes James Taranto:

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

“Julia” was the Democratic Party’s “attempt to make singlehood cool and fresh and new…”“… in an attempt to court [the single woman] demographic.”

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?

“Whatchu doin’ hyar, boy?”

Some years ago, my boss and I were on the way home from a business trip, and decided to stop for the night at the home of a mutual friend who lived in a gated community in Sacramento. Some time around midnight I woke wanting a cigarette and a short walk, so I went outside. A few minutes later I was accosted by the security guard employed by the homeowners’ association: What was I doing there?

I responded without excitement. Holding my hands in plain sight and open, I approached the rent-a-cop with a casual gait. “I’m Ric Locke,” I told him. “My boss and I are visiting at [address]; that’s our van, with Texas tags, sitting in front. I just came out for a smoke and a short walk.” He asked to see my ID, and I shrugged and showed him my driver’s license. Strictly speaking, he didn’t have the authority to demand ID — but I thought then, and think now, that since he asked politely and had an obvious, valid concern, showing him ID was a reasonable thing to do. He handed it back, apologized for bothering me, and said they’d had some recent break-ins. We discussed the matter casually for a few minutes and parted amicably, and I went back in and went to bed.

The parallel should be obvious. What if, instead of acting furtive and trying to get away, Trayvon Martin had recognized that the other residents of the community might have a valid concern? He might have approached George Zimmerman, keeping an unthreatening pose, and said, “Hi, I’m Trayvon Martin. We’re visiting [family] at [address], and my little brother and I wanted some Skittles, so I walked down to the convenience store to get them.” What would the likely result have been?

From what we know and observe of the character of Zimmerman, it’s very likely that his suspicion might well have turned to concern — especially when he discovered that Trayvon’s little brother was home alone. People are entitled to visit one another, and the simple truth would have provided Trayvon Martin with all the justification he needed to convince Zimmerman that he wasn’t there for any nefarious purpose. Zimmerman might still have been suspicious, but it would have been easy enough for him to check with the residents when they got home; that would have confirmed Martin’s story. In the meantime, it would be sufficient to see Martin admitted to the home by someone already inside, taking note that although it looked all right, it might be best to check further, later on.

/Of all the sad words/Of tongue or pen/The saddest are these/”It might have been.”/ It didn’t happen that way, and somebody got dead because it didn’t. Why didn’t it happen like that?

There are a lot of reasons, but they eventually boil down to: Somebody told Trayvon Martin he couldn’t do it that way, that “they” were Out to Get Him and the thing to do was break contact and get away. Trouble is, trying to break contact is exactly the behavior a suspicious person would see as requiring additional suspicion. Martin had the right to be there — but he didn’t act like he did; he acted exactly like someone would act who was casing the joint, looking for opportunities for petty theft. And he acted like that because somebody (several somebodies, no doubt) told him that was the right thing to do.

They lied.

 

We didn’t have lynch mobs where I grew up, thanks to an accident of history, but my relatives and neighbors knew the principle and discussed it.

If you should want one, this is how it’s done.

The good news is, not enough people seem to be paying attention for it to reach critical mass. The bad news is, that’s clearly pissing the Leftoids off enough that we need to watch closely as they try more and more extremes.

Schumpeter at The Economist analyzes the failure of “John Carter” the film, and comes up with three rules for making a total failure:

First: slaughter a sacred cow.

Second: mix oil and water.

Third: produce a genuinely awful product.

Now, in fact, from looking at people’s reactions, I don’t think you can fairly say that the movie is a “genuinely awful product.” There are lots of people who’ve said they enjoyed it. The first two rules have some genuine content, but not in the way Our Columnist describes them. Take them, turn ‘em around a bit, and you have a real insight: One way to make a megaflop is to start with something utterly dependent upon the cultural and social factors of an earlier time — factors you don’t even know exist, let alone understand — and try to “interpret” it in terms of current mores. There is no way in Hell the result can possibly make sense, either to the original audience or to today’s, and all it will be is puzzling and disappointing.

A Princess of Mars is written in first person, as the intensely personal memoir of a character presented as an instance of an archetype familiar in Burroughs’s day, but almost entirely absent from current ideas. To present John Carter as “a Civil War veteran” is true, but misses the point. He describes himself as “a fighting man”, and if you don’t know what that means — and most of you, and damn near everybody in Hollywood, have no teeniest hint of a Clew — the whole story is just a mass of unconnected violent events. If that’s all there was to it, Burroughs’s audience wouldn’t have grabbed the narrative and held it in their minds. There were lots of “pulp” writers in that day; what most of them wrote was as simplistic and undriven as any of the drivel put out today, and most of them are utterly forgotten except for a few academics who might dig them out of dusty archives. Why did A Princess of Mars resound and become beloved, where the Rover Boys and similar stories — much more popular in their day than Burroughs ever was — descended into obscurity?

Answer: In many subtle ways, Burroughs presents The Fighting Man on his own terms and subverts the notion. The result is fascinating in its own terms, with the SFX being a sideline.

The Fighting Man, as an archetype, was almost the last holdover of the millenium-long European wars. He is an effective dealer and organizer of violence, and is proud of his laboriously-acquired skills and knowledge; the overlying society admires him in many ways as an expert in his profession, but regards him with some suspicion because now that he’s out of work he may become a danger. Both he and the society he lives in recognize that he is restrained by the ways he was taught, summarized in the word “honor”. John Carter, in the introduction to the book, chafes at those restraints but understands that they are necessary, that the society he lives in has no use at the moment for his talents and abilities, the which talents and abilities can and would make him a real danger if he were to forget his honor so far as to employ them. His transubstantiation to Mars, where he can freely indulge himself in the joy — his very word, often repeated in the books — of fighting and killing his opponents, is a dream come true for him.

In present-day society, the only referent we have for The Fighting Man is the caricature of soldiers presented by the Left; such people are to be medicated into submission at the very least, and (especially among the preening Progressives so common among the elite) a person fighting for a wrong cause cannot be taken as having virtues of any sort. In Burroughs’s day the Fighting Man was still honored, though perhaps more in theory than in substance; valor, in and of itself, was seen as a Good Thing no matter which side the valorous individual had taken when valor was exhibited. In that connection, it is worthwhile to point out that John Carter is a Confederate veteran. When the books were written, it was still taken for granted in most circles that such people could have been and often were brave and honorable, even though they were on the wrong side and fighting for a Cause that was (even then) considered villainous.

So Carter, in his own eyes a Good Guy who is unfortunately out of work in his chosen profession and doesn’t care to learn another, finds himself on Mars, where he is presented with a series of challenges that exactly match his skills and talents. He takes advantage of that, and is extremely pleased by it despite the fact that it results in danger and privation.

Then he meets Dejah Thoris — and, almost more importantly, Sola, the green woman.

To a modern person, steeped in feminism, Dejah Thoris and Sola are very nearly nonentities. They are slaves in a slaveholding culture, constrained to act in certain ways by the assumptions of that culture, which they fully accept (though they may resent their status, they understand it). In Burroughs’s day the memory of slavery was yet green, and Sola and Dejah Thoris are fairly accurately portrayed — and that’s where the story goes off the rails in then-contemporary terms, and the reason it caught people’s imaginations sufficiently to be preserved when much of the other adventure fiction of that day has been lost. Carter, too, sees them as nonentities in the beginning, though on completely different terms than the way a modern has to see them — Sola is a servant, to be ordered about without expecting questions; Dejah Thoris is a game token, to be carried back to her parents for an expected reward, like the flag in a paintball game. Neither of them is a person, to be interacted with soul-to-soul.

But that’s not the way it works out. Sola first begins mutating into Yet Another Instance of the “n– sidekick”, like Friday in Robinson Crusoe — dependable, but lacking her own motivations. It doesn’t take long, though, for Carter to realize that Sola has an agenda of her own, and that she helps him not out of any obligation as a lesser being serving the greater but as a way of furthering her own goals. Woola is unthinkingly subservient and helpful; Sola is not — she’s a thinking being, and if at any point Carter’s goals don’t lead toward her own she’ll abandon him like a used hankie (in fact she does so, at least once). That, in Burroughs’s day, was a startling subversion of a common trope, and people read on to see where he’d go with it.

It is against that background that Carter encounters Dejah Thoris. At first she is merely a game piece, somebody to be rescued for the reward — which may include her person in marriage; the rules of honor on Mars echo those on Earth, and under those rules, for Carter to “take advantage” of her person (sexually, although that’s never mentioned directly; it’s omnipresent in then-understandable code we now find hard to interpret) is Wrong, dishonorable. Carter, being honorable, accedes to that requirement despite strong physical attraction and plenty of opportunity, and proceeds to rescue the Princess in much the same way as he would seek to take advantage of any other treasure trove. Again, though, it doesn’t work out that way. Dejah Thoris turns out to be smarter than he is, and much better versed in the ways of her society; she brings him up short at several points, and even abandons him at considerable cost to herself when his proposed course of action can only bring disaster in her society’s terms. She knows what she’s doing, and knows that he doesn’t — and that, again, subverts the then-prevailing trope. Pauline, having been rescued from Peril, is supposed to throw herself upon the arms of her rescuer. Dejah Thoris is no Pauline. She starts out that way when it doesn’t appear that the result will be rejoining with her family — she likes Carter, and would be content to be his mate as a commoner — but when it becomes clear that her rescuer is determined to go all the way back to Helium with his game-flag, she demurs, and makes that demurral real.

It is that character interaction (and others along the same line) that made A Princess of Mars stick in the minds of its first readers, who placed in the pantheon and have referred to it ever since when most of its contemporary fiction has been forgotten. It is, in reality, a fairly powerful story of how honor and faithfulness can be achieved under difficult conditions, and how a character can grow and change to meet new challenges without recognizing it himself — as narrator, Carter never drops the “Fighting Man” trope even when he is clearly acting in violation of that ideal.

All of which is why I haven’t seen the movie, and won’t. Given modern ideals, it is inevitable that Carter must be flawed, an apologetic semi-warrior who sees his abilities as somehow shameful and tries to minimize them, and that Dejah Thoris must be a spunky feminist who takes over the action. Against those ideals, none of what happens in the book makes any sense whatever; it’s just a bunch of swordfights and jumping through hoops with no overarching narrative, which is why the filmmaker had to drag in Therns and the life-after-death scam (and get that mostly wrong, too) in order to provide some sort of plot that he could process into a sequence of events. In a literary sense, the whole thing’s a tragedy on the same order as Starship Troopers, and for the same reasons: the filmmaker was simply and categorically incapable of understanding what the story is about. Of course, for all his flaws Voerhoven is a good filmmaker, and the resulting movie is worth watching so long as you realize that it is emphatically not the story Heinlein told. John Carter doesn’t rise to that standard, and flops on its own terms.

On the matter of Rand Paul’s being detained by TSA, I see people arguing that the machine pinged, and that Senators should be subject to the same rules as everybody else.

Bullshit. It is absolutely, positively, totally irrelevant whether the machine pinged, didn’t ping, or lit every situation board at NORAD with red lights and sirens. Bringing up the machine’s reaction is either abject stupidity or deliberate dishonesty — misplaced pseudo-egalitarianism or an attempt to divert people from the subject.

Paul is a Senator. Senators are members of Congress. Members of Congress SHALL NOT BE IMPEDED except in extreme cases. The Constitution doesn’t say “stopped” or “prevented”. It says “impeded”, that is, slowed down or temporarily inconvenienced. Paul lost two hours and missed his flight. That’s an impediment, and it’s unConstitutional.

Yeah, there’s the potential for abuse — LBJ doing 110 in his Lincoln on Texas back roads comes to mind. It fails to matter. The Constitution ALSO says that the only judge of the qualifications of members of Congress is Congress. If anybody’s going to slap a Senator down, it has to be the Senate, not some TSA baby-groper.

Senators are not “anybody else”, they’re Congresscritters. Congresscritters are important, and have that privilege in the Constitution, because they’re Congresscritters. The Framers put the requirement in because they knew history, particularly the events surrounding the English Revolution and Restoration. There’s a long history of rulers getting a free hand by preventing Parliament from meeting, and although there’s no way for Law to stand in the way of that in a practical sense, with that provision as Law of the Land Teh Protector at least can’t argue that the tactic is legal.

Personally, I think it was in the nature of a trial run. If this stands, all the President has to do is tell TSA to crank the machine’s sensitivity up to “tooth fillings and gum wrappers” whenever a Senator comes through. Presto, no session, and a free hand for recess appointments. Oliver Cromwell would be so proud.

[UPDATE] Thanks, Glenn, but a minor correction. I’m not “worried”. I expect abuse, in the same way I expect sunrise.

And how many siblings?

Mark Steyn points out, quite correctly, that many if not most of the problems of Western society are ultimately demographic:

[Greece] has one of the lowest fertility rates on the planet. In Greece, 100 grandparents have 42 grandchildren — i.e., the family tree is upside down. In a social-democratic state where workers in ‘hazardous’ professions (such as, er, hairdressing) retire at 50, there aren’t enough young people around to pay for your three-decade retirement. And there are unlikely ever to be again.

And why will there never again be enough young people? You do know where the babies that grow up to be young people come from, don’t you? Young people still like to fuck!

This also points to the vexing question of why there aren’t more youngsters going into the “STEM fields”, the professions where creativity can result in something enduring.

Bluntly: They ain’t gonna get paid.

If you know — know for sure — that if, as a young person, you go into a productive field, you are never going to be rewarded for your productivity because any return will be immediately skimmed off to pay for the three-decade retirement of your elders, what’s the point in learning to be productive? Calling for the younger generation to work harder so as to provide their parents and grandparents with comfort, while they must content themselves with a tiny fraction of the fruits of their labor, is just a call for volunteers for slavery. It’s no real surprise that they’re seen as such, or that the response of the real, ultimately rational young people is “Fuck that for a game of soldiers!” Instead, they angle for their own seats on the gravy train.

The problem is made worse by Progressive ideology. Every society ever has agreed that taking things away from people is Bad, right up to the Socialists, whose initial impulse came from people who noted angrily that Workers weren’t getting their Fair Share of production. Of course there’s a loophole: It’s not just all right, it is positively Virtuous, to take things away from Bad People in order to punish them for being Bad. It is therefore Progressive to define anyone who has things as Bad, in order to justify taking them away. Producers will inevitably have more than parasites, up to the point where what they have is <hiss>redistributed</hiss>. It follows that the productive must be defined as Bad People, in order to justify depriving them of what they have produced — and few want to be Bad, to be seen by society as Evil, so even if they don’t see a future of slaving away for no return they choose the Good by avoiding productivity.

This has long been the case in the STEM fields, especially engineering, where the diligent, creative, and productive have seen the fruits of their labor go largely to Management and other offshoots of politics. What they got in return was job satisfaction. Even if they didn’t get a lot of money, they could point with pride to the bridges and moon rockets they built. I have an acquaintance who is quietly proud that some of the things he made using machine-shop tools are now on Mars, components of the rovers. No more. Newt Gingrich is a wild-eyed visionary! He wants to build moon bases! This cannot be borne! Technical resources must be directed to Saving the Planet, and (not incidentally) preserving the lifestyles of the parasitic classes. It’s not a wonder that young people don’t go into science, technology, engineering, and medicine. Not only are they difficult studies, not only is it clear that they won’t get paid proportionately for their efforts, they won’t even be allowed to build anything cool. No spaceships — it’s gonna be incremental improvements to wheelchairs and portable oxygen generators right up to the point where they’re needing them. This is (ahem!) not a particularly exciting prospect for an enjoyable career.

And I don’t know how many offspring Mark Steyn has, but as an intelligent and rational person he might well have seen this situation coming — and, if he did, might well have concluded that producing another few slaveys or parasites wasn’t worth the effort. How about it, Mark?

Stacy McCain rips most entertainingly into Amanda Marcotte over her anti-endorsement of Santorum. There’s no doubt whatever that Our Amynda is a piece of work with a number of fairly frantic bees in her bonnet, but it’s worth asking how she got that way. Rightists often ask, with visible wonder, how people like Marcotte and Margaret Atwood come up with their extreme and often hysterical views of the Right, and I consider myself a Rightist (of sorts) but totally understand where they’re coming from.

There is a vast chasm of a gap between opposed to abortion and wanting a Law against abortion. The first is both moral and practical. Moral issues are canvassed elsewhere much better than I can manage, but the practical remains stark: You are gonna die someday. The future belongs to those who show up for it, and if you don’t have children you have no future. The second — aaah. The second is what generates Marcottes.

Postulate a Law against abortion. What would have to be done? Well, would the simple existence of a Law stop babies being killed? Of course not. The Law would have to be enforced. There would still be doctors, nurse practitioners, med students, a host of other medical practitioners, and a good-sized number of wannabees providing the service on the sly, and you have to have a way to detect them and put them out of business. The information about how to do it is public on the Internet and elsewhere, and you have to find a way to suppress that. It’s perfectly possible, although damned dangerous, for a woman to do it to herself, perhaps with a sympathetic friend to help, and a method must be found to keep that from happening.

Parsing the Whys and Wherefores, we circle around and come to a conclusion: the only way to stop abortion using a Law is to establish a massive, powerful, expensive, and highly intrusive police force, charged with finding out whether any woman is pregnant and preventing her from getting an abortion. Any lesser means will still allow leakers, and experience tells us that any system that allows leaks will eventually allow a flood. Behind all of Marcotte’s sneers and vulgarisms, it is that police force that she opposes; The Handmaid’s Tale describes one alternate version of such a police force, and not the worst version possible by any means. Atwood, too, is opposed to the establishment of such a force — and so am I.

If you want to establish a massive, powerful, expensive, and highly intrusive police force, I am your opponent — and I don’t give the slightest whisper of the faintest possible hint of a damn what you want it for. It’s a source of power, and by Rule #3 becomes an attractant for power-seekers who, once ensconced in it, will seek to expand its power without limit regardless of its original function or the reasons for establishing it. Nor do I give the slightest whisper of the faintest possible hint of a damn about your bitching about, e.g., the EPA, which is a marvelous example of a police force seized by extremists and power-seekers who use it for ends its founders never intended. In all the history of the World, there has never, ever, ever been a case in which such a police force didn’t get seized by extremists and power-seekers, and if you want to set up Yet Another Example of a proto-Gestapo (which is what all such are, your excuses about Saving the Children being totally irrelevant), I’m agin it.

I vote for, and generally support, the Right over the Left, and I consider Amanda Marcotte and her ilk to be generally wrong and distastefully nasty in expressing themselves, but I also see, at least in many cases, where the fears that led to their nastiness originate — and they are often, as in this instance, perfectly logical and rational. I don’t like them worth a damn, but if push came to shove I’d be bound to join their camp over the underlying issues. The fact that they have issues requiring the establishment of massive, powerful, expensive, and intrusive police forces for their own ends just makes it into a matter of selecting the lesser of two evils, and as a general rule the Left at least tends to be honest about it, to the point of delighting in what their goon-gangs will do to opponents if allowed. It’s unattractive as all Hell, but the obliviousness displayed by many “socon” rightists is even more distasteful. If you’re going to rant that consequences be damned if you can save one child you make my trigger finger itch in exactly the same way the Leftists do, because the only difference between you and them is some technical terminology. I have to ally with you because the other causes you support are more in line with my thinking, but it doesn’t mean I despise you any less than I do any other supporter of intrusive meddlers with guns.

All of which is one of the main reasons Left and Right have gotten to be, and stay, neck-and-neck in politics. Independents, whose votes are crucial in any election, tend strongly to have (usually incoherent versions of) the same attitude — there are already plenty of goon squads euphemized as “police forces” out there, and establishing another one is not to be favored. The fact that socons tend to gloss over, or seem oblivious to, the difference between wanting some outcome and establishing a goon squad to achieve an outcome makes them equally, if not more, unattractive to people whose actual wish is to be left the f* alone. It was opposition to such measures that led to “smelly hippies” getting their hands on the levers of power in the first place, and that’s going to keep happening. Examine your Issue. If it means establishing a massive, powerful, expensive, and intrusive police force in order to accomplish it, I’ll vote for the Other Guy — and I know damned well I’m not alone in that.

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