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R. S. McCain is out, even as we speak, covering the Washington, DC Tea Party, and we can be sure that he will return with a report of triumph, ecstatic or otherwise. At the same time, trolling ’round the blogosphere demonstrates that the process I described in my previous post has already begun.

One of the major tactics being used by the Leftoid faction is to note that the crowd appears to be melanin-deficient. This is, or has become, absolutely standard. Don’t see any black people, they snark. This is just prole white trash hatin’ them some blacks.

I’m going to agree that they have something approaching a point that can’t be concealed by a good hairdresser. The problem is, it doesn’t lead where they think it does, and where it does lead is very dangerous… for them, and for a lot of causes that they claim to hold dear without any real evidence that they are prepared to support them with anything but snark.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: half a century or so ago, their predecessors came to me and mine and complained that we were perpetuating injustice. The arguments were sufficiently persuasive that we agreed — or, at least, enough of us did — to go along with attempts to correct that longstanding condition.

Very important: What we agreed to was equal protection under the law; it was not “our turn in the barrel”. If you gave an accurate precis of the current situation via time machine to the people back then, including many of the advocates of civil rights, the whole matter would have been dismissed.

What the Leftoids intend to do with the charges of “racist” is to embarrass people into shutting up and going along with them. Unfortunately — and I do not claim to be the first person who’s noticed this — “racist” has become a knee-jerk response, meaning neither less nor more than “disagrees with some aspect of the Leftoid program”. And if that’s the case, if it is equally “racist” to use the n-word and to suggest that, e.g., the GM bailout may not have been the best possible action at the time, or (worse) to assert that certain people are “racist” without reference to their actual views on, well, race, then what has been created is a situation where there is no additional penalty for genuine racism over and above what is meted out for policy disagreements that have little or no connection with “race”.

It is to my mind unquestionable that black people have, in the history of this country, suffered oppression, unfair discrimination (note the adjective), and severe suppression of their rights under the Law and the principles of this country — but if the only possible redress of that undoubted wrong is to place black people in a position where they can do that to non-blacks, or if it’s merely that black people can have anything they want without regard to the cost (whatever currency that cost is denominated in), that’s not equal protection under the Law, and it’s going to be opposed.

There’s no doubt in my mind that there is an undercurrent of that in the TEA Parties, and thus that the charges of “racist!” have some tenuous grounding in fact. There is also no doubt whatever in my mind that opportunists are using that as an excuse for further depredations against civil liberties and for their own personal profit, in cash money sometimes, but more often in the attainment of power positions that will enable them to aggrandize themselves at everyone else’s expense — including black people in the “everyone else”.

It is entirely possible that that situation could end up in a tendency to backtrack on the real gains of the Civil Rights Movement, and I’m starting to pick up on the first whiffs of it among the people I talk to day to day. Leftoids will dismiss that as an aberration — I’m a broken-toothed redneck living in redneck country, and by their lights the motivations of the people around me are either of no account or should be actively suppressed — but the ominous thing is that they would be right in a way that bodes ill for the future. The people I’m hearing that from are not the no-class stereotypes they’re thinking of; they’re the people (or their descendants) who were convinced by the liberals of an earlier day to go along with the change in the program.

If it becomes clear to the majority of people that the current set of soi-disant “liberals” are not bargaining in good faith, the people who have been convinced to support civil rights against their own profit and advantage begin to have second thoughts about that. Do I think that would be a good thing? No, I most emphatically do not. Do I think it possible? Damn straight!

Moderately impressive. I wasn’t able to find a webcam covering the front of the Capitol, but the DC traffic cameras from TrafficLand were impressive enough.

It fails to matter. What matters is what will be seen on the TeeVee later tonight, and as commenter “Snowcone” over at Protein Wisdom remarks, what that’s going to be will be

Haha, I take it you missed Obama’s inauguration?And every NFL game ever played?

… in other words, trivial.

What Teh Medja will do is dig through the crowd until they find enough shouting loons to be “representative” of the bunch. They will then go back to the office and begin scanning through the recordings, looking for the sparsest possible assemblages of my relatives and associates, that is, the worst-dressed, least kempt, and most toothless people in the group, with flags for the editors put on anyone prepared to shout something that can be sound-bitten to sound “racist”. From that they will assemble a “report” that conforms to The TRVTH as they know it, and that’s what will appear on the seven o’clock “news”.

The TEA partiers will go home to discover, through the Magic of Television™, that the “protest” consisted of a few dozen, perhaps a couple of hundred, partisan Republican malcontents whose only intent was to see to it that brown people die from lack of medical care, and whom the Dear Leader may ignore or (preferably) send to the gulags. The “reporters”, editors, and newsreaders will retire to the nearest bar, where they will lament their declining viewership and/or readership and wonder how such a thing could possibly happen.

Commenter Bob Reed suggests

…with such a large crowd in attendance there will be a sizeable number of people to call bullshit on anyone that tries to diminish the event…

They have already conclusively demonstrated that they don’t give a [something valueless] about that.

Every single one of those people is going to go home and turn on ABCBSNNBC, and there they will learn that they were part of a minuscule “demonstration” consisting entirely of prole-class Republican partisans whose agenda is killing off brown people as quickly as possible and opposition to the Dear Leader whose beneficence is showered upon the Weak and Oppressed™, just as Snowcone outlines.

And every single one of them will conclude that the alphabeciles are either lying through their teeth or too ignorant to pound sand; in either case, that they can’t be trusted to let people know what’s going on. So they’ll turn off the TeeVee, or switch to the Seinfeld reruns and/or Design Star, and the readership and viewership for the MSM “news” will go down another notch.

And the next time the MSM have the opportunity, they’ll do exactly the same thing again. They know The TRVTH, you see, and sacrificing their credibility is a small price to pay for propagating The TRVTH. The total value, as stock price multiplied by shares outstanding, of the NYT is now less than the value of the real estate they occupy — and Pinch doesn’t care. It’s too important that The TRVTH be got “out there”.

I would like to suggest that, instead of checking the teevee to see how it really went, TEA partiers might have a look at Blow Out Congress, a (no doubt futile, but reach must exceed grasp and all that) attempt set up AFAIK by a minor Dallas talk-radio host with the goal of booting out all the incumbents regardless of race, creed, color, country of national origin, Party allegiance, sex, gender, personal habits and/or hygiene, or preference in T-shirts. A job worth doing, if at all possible.

In the comments to Rule #2, Monster upbraids me for ethical deficiency and my own domain error:

…equating an exchange of value for value (what I mean when I say “trade”) with an exchange of value for a promise not to destroy something of value is the category error here.

No. The domain (“category”) error here is one you can’t see in yourself, and it handicaps you. Perhaps it should be Ric’s Rule Number Zero: The Universe isn’t “fair”. Neither is it “ethical”, “moral”, “just”, “equitable”, or any of the other slippery and ultimately nonsensical-at-the-root terms we use to justify social behaviors.

The Universe is arbitrary, and the only truly deep, fundamental rule of it appears to be the so-called Laws of Thermodynamics, which nobody has ever found a reason for, but nobody, despite centuries of truly stalwart effort, has ever found an exception to.  The Laws of Thermodynamics can be stated in several ways, including dividing them up into several parts (usually three), but the economics version would be something like

  1. You have to pay for everything.
  2. You always get less than you pay for.
  3. The difference doesn’t do anybody any good.

My focus here is helping you figure out how the Leftoids think, so you can counter their arguments effectively. Monster’s error is assigning the concept of “ethics” to a mechanical transaction that’s part of the Universe, and the reason that’s an error is that it’s almost always possible for somebody, somewhere, to come up with an objection to any particular ethical standard — there is no fundamental, thermodynamics-level basis for ethics; they are purely human behavioral rules.

More specifically, Monster (like most of us) sees a significant ethical difference between “trade” and “robbery” (or “theft”). Your Leftoid doesn’t see it that way. A has X, and B wants it. To the Leftoid, there is no ethical distance between “A demands compensation” and “B demands the goods.” The “compensation” becomes Y, and the transaction is converted to A has X and demands Y; B has Y and demands X — a perfectly symmetrical situation which can only be resolved, in ethical terms, by appealing to an outside consideration such as “need”.

The best way to approach a resolution of the difference is to reduce the complexities by eliminating outside considerations, especially “ethics”, “justice”, and the like, and getting down to a fundamental statement that everybody can agree to — not that everyone will; the temptation to inject ethical considerations is overwhelming, as Monster demonstrates. That doesn’t mean the outside considerations don’t exist, or can be ignored — it ain’t that simple. It does mean the outside considerations are added on to the fundamental principle rather than inherent in it, and have to be discussed that way. Thus the definition:

“Market” is the process by which goods and services are exchanged.

We can then discuss the ethical and moral considerations involved in particular instances of “market”.

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September 2009