Literature, Politics, World Affairs

Individuals and Symbols

In the past few weeks, we have been watching the fall out of what has been dubbed Sokal Squared, the effort by James Lindsay, Helen Pluckrose, and Peter Boghossian to expose the low standards and hateful ideology to which much of the humanities have been in thrall in recent decades. In my response, I highlighted the postmodern assault on epistemology. I said, it has been “the explicit goal of post-modernity to reject reason and evidence: they want a ‘new paradigm’ of knowledge.” During this same period, we also saw a sad episode in US history, in which this rejection of reason and evidence arrested the Democratic Party, as well as the media, academia, Hollywood, and several notable legal institutions, who each marched in quasi-fascistic lock-step in their attempt to eviscerate Brett Kavanaugh, now a Supreme Court Justice. It has been notable after the confirmation how quickly the media—who were nothing less than Orwellian in their complicity—have sought to move on from this ugly affair. They lost, but the toll that the nation had to pay for their struggle, was severe.

This represents a turning point in the culture wars. I watched it play out with a sense of dread and horror. It was mortifying enough to see so many people completely abandon standards of jurisprudence such as burden of proof, or innocent until proven guilty. It was almost amusing at times to watch them disingenuously mount each step of the goal-post treadmill: “It’s not a trial it’s a job interview.” Anyway, it doesn’t really matter if he did it or not: “He got angry! He drank beer! He threw ice in 1985! Look at this yearbook from 1982!”

At times I felt dazed trying to keep up with the mind-bending logic of people who argue only from Machiavellian tactical ends and never from first principles. Thus, within a week, the message went from #BelieveAllWomen to “don’t believe women that Michael Avenatti puts forward.” When there was still a chance it could bring Kavanaugh down, in lieu of corroboration or evidence, the Democrats and their assorted cheerleaders in the media and academia—and even some Republicans—endlessly repeated the phrase “credible testimony.” To quote Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow: “A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth. Authoritarian institutions and marketers have always known this fact.” This had all the hallmarks of gaslighting, and it was alarming to see august institutions such as The New Yorker ready to cash in decades of cultural capital for a tawdry political hit job. The Nobel laureate, Paul Krugman, opted to drain away the last dregs of his credibility in an extraordinarily tin-eared column, even by his low standards,  which has rightly been taken to task by Quillette already. More alarmingly, this was all done in broad daylight and millions could see it. If I was being optimistic, I’d say it was a moment in which lots of normal people woke up. If I was being pessimistic, I’d say it was a moment in which the left chose a nuclear option that threatens to turn the culture wars into a civil war.

However, the thing that worried me most about the whole episode was something else: the basic inability of those on the left to see Brett Kavanaugh as a human being with a family, friends, and a reputation to uphold. Most normal people saw Kavanaugh on the stand fighting for his life. Personally, I was reminded of John Proctor from Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, a play about the Salem witch trials, who screams “because it’s my name” as he refuses to sign the confession that he has consorted with devils. However, this was not the reaction from thousands of people on the left. To them, Kavanaugh was something else. He was a symbol of the “white male patriarchy.” He was a petulant and spoiled creature of privilege, and an emblem of everything wrong with the US and Western civilization more generally (which, of course, they also despise). To these people, Christine Blasey Ford was not simply a victim, but a symbol of all women: a hero, a martyr, a modern-day saint. To me, as someone who believes that the Western ideal of individualism is a bedrock of our common values, this is terrifying. It marked the moment that the juvenile “Resistance” movement and the genuinely important #MeToo movement coalesced into something resembling the spirit of the French Revolution. Protestors swarmed Senator Ted Cruz and his family in restaurant with chants of “We Believe Survivors!” Whenever a political movement ceases to see people as individuals, and rather sees them as symbols of a class, violence usually follows. In the French Revolution, they famously dealt with the aristocrats by chopping off their heads with the guillotine. In Soviet Russia, on Dec. 27, 1929, Joseph Stalin announced “the liquidation of the Kulaks as a class.” In Nazi Germany, it was of course the Jews who faced genocide. In Uganda, Idi Amin expelled the Asians. In Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe expelled the whites. There are countless examples throughout history, of what happens when people see other people by their group identity and not as individuals. The rhetoric around Kavanaugh in the past month reached such a fever pitch that these comparisons are warranted. A writer for the “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” boasted: “I’m glad we ruined Brett Kavanaugh’s life.” And an associate professor from Georgetown wrote the following on her Twitter account: “Look at [this] chorus of entitled white men justifying a serial rapist’s arrogated entitlement…All of them deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps. Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to swine? Yes.” We are still at the stage where such sentiments are considered beyond the pale, but the more disturbing fact is that these people have been whipped into such a frenzy that they are saying such things at all.

As a Shakespeare scholar, I must constantly think about why Shakespeare is relevant to us today. One of the many reasons is that his plays—unlike French Revolutionaries, Soviets, Nazis, or our modern-day friends on the left—always focus on the individual rather than the symbol or archetype. They do not simply see Othello as a Moor, Shylock as a Jew, or Hamlet as a Dane—they register their individual faces and expressions and personalities. One cannot easily generalize about women in Shakespeare’s plays just as one cannot easily generalize about women in real life: Portia is precocious in Merchant of Venice, Rosalind runs rings around the men in As You Like It, Ophelia is fragile in Hamlet, Margaret of Anjou and Joan of Arc in the history plays are fierce generals and warriors respectively. The plays force you to consider these women as individuals. Even when painting with broad brushstrokes, Shakespeare always finds time to zoom in and find individuals in the crowd. Thus, during the scenes of Jack Cade’s rebellion in Henry VI Part 2 we don’t get a nameless mob, we get Dick the Butcher and Smith the Weaver. In Richard III, the two nameless assassins sent to kill George, Duke of Clarence, are given recognizable personalities as one of them comically gets a fit of conscience about his chosen line of work just moments before doing the deed. We cannot think of them as “just assassins,” Shakespeare reminds us that they are people too. Students like to say that this fact makes Shakespeare “relatable,” I prefer to say it is what makes him the most humane of writers. His plays also record the fact that once this basic recognition of a common humanity is lost—as is the case in the more brutal moments of King Lear, Titus Andronicus or the history plays—then endless and vicious cycles of revenge perpetuate.

Western civilization, at least since about Shakespeare’s time, has rested on this notion of the individual as sacrosanct—as against the collective, the group, or the mob. When people have given into the tribal instinct in the past and seen individuals only as symbols of a group or a class, it has resulted in atrocity. We should not think that this cannot happen again. Remember what Douglas Murray said in The Strange Death of Europe: “Everything you love, even the greatest and most cultured civilizations in history, can be swept away by people who are unworthy of them.” And make no mistake, those who are currently stoking the mob’s worst instincts—at this point with naked hatred—are unworthy of Western civilization. They would do well to remember that there are many of us who still believe in individualism, reason and evidence as the cornerstones of that civilization. We aren’t ready to hand the keys to the barbarians at the gates just yet.

 

Neema Parvini is senior lecturer in English at the University of Surrey. He also presents a podcast series called Shakespeare and Contemporary Theory.

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106 Comments

  1. ThereAreDozensOfUs says

    Incredibly readable and apt. Parvini sums up so well that torrid affair and the spiral of madness that emerged from it

    • Actual Яussian Troll says

      “Western civilization, at least since about Shakespeare’s time, has rested on this notion of the individual as sacrosanct—as against the collective, the group, or the mob.”

      No … the individual as sacrosanct against the collective or mob burst into existence with the execution of Yehoshua Ben Nazareth. That was the social innovation that defined Christianity and set it apart from the pagan world of collective scapegoating of the OT, Greeks, and others.

      Shakespeare explicated this revolutionary idea and built on it, but he and his contemporaries did not come up with it by a long shot. I’m a huge Bardophile, but credit where credit is earned.

    • They should have focused on his actual work record to judge “a job interview.” In what other job interview are people who don’t like you allowed to speak? In which your personal life from 30 years ago is applicable? In which the FBI failed to uncover during their background check?
      He had enough questionable material just in his highly pro-republican past to suggest he’s too politically biased to hold such a position (and shouldn’t likely even be a federal judge).

  2. Peter from Oz says

    Great article. We have to somehow bring the discourse back to the individual. Maybe we have to point out that a person’s immutable characteristics are the least important thing about him or her.
    The funniest thing in modern life is the new fashion for young women to be trans so as to be part of a group and different from others at the same time.

    • @ Peter from Oz

      ” The funniest thing in modern life is the new fashion for young women to be trans so as to be part of a group and different from others at the same time.”

      You are the king of writing utter rot like this.

      • RobMore (@RobMoreStores) says

        “You are the king of writing utter rot like this.”

        @Neading Romad and @Peter from Uzi

        I sense a deep, unexpressed homoerotic attraction here.

        The truth will set you free.

    • Bread Pirate Strawberts says

      “… the genuinely important #MeToo movement coalesced into something resembling the spirit of the French Revolution”

      I can’t be the ONLY one who has noticed the pun here. I know that the kids all call it a “hashtag”; but those of us with hair on our chins and who once read those papery bricks called “books” would articulate “#MeToo” as

      “Pound Me Too”.

      A bunch of people running around shrieking about sexual assault twitting “pound me too”.

      You can’t make that up.

  3. Circuses and Bread says

    I appreciate the effort that went into this article, however I think the author missed the proverbial forest for the trees. He listed a litany of terrors throughout history, yet seems to view them as anomalous. Politics has always had a tendency to bring out the worst in people. Given its druthers, politics over time will usually descend into the basest forms tribalism and evil.

    So how many times do we have to look upon the results of politics with horror before we start asking ourselves if maybe, just maybe, we would be better off without it?

    • Jeremy H says

      I think you have it completely backwards: we need more (but better) politics. You’re presuming that politics is the cause of the symptoms you decry and not actually the best defense (when functional) against them. If you understand that politics is a literal stand in for violence as a means of resolving disputes in society then many of itself more distasteful aspects make sense. If it weren’t so petty, vicious, underhanded, cheap, opportunistic then it would not be a useful substitute for violence. People screaming at each other across an aisle is a huge advancement on using clubs and knives to settle differences.

      You’re mistaking the degeneration of a process for the process itself.

      • Circuses and Bread says

        @Jeremy H

        Thank you for your comments.

        There’s a passage in the Bible that I’m fond of. I’m paraphrasing but it goes like this: “you’ll know a tree by the fruit it bears.” With regard to politics, we’ve had what, 5,000 years of recorded history to judge the “fruit” of politics. So if you’ll pardon my language, it’s been an utter shit-show. War, corruption, genocide, enslavement, suffering. This is what politics delivers with alarming regularity. That’s not to say that politics have never worked, ever, or anywhere. Because if you look hard enough you’ll find places that have avoided the more horrible excesses of politics over significant periods of time. But they are few, far between, and represent a negligible part of the worlds population. But let’s give a shout-out where it’s due: woo-hoo! Go Lichtenstein! Awesome job, Andorra!

        If I understand your argument, what you’re pointing out is that it’s not the political process that’s the problem, it’s the corruption or degeneration of the process or the lack of morality of the actors. Here’s the problem I see with that argument: we’ve been running this experiment countless times with countless numbers of different actors over the millennia. And within a generation or two, the end results seem to be pretty much the same. And it’s not for a lack of trying different political philosophies or structures, either. We’ve tried communism, socialism, capitalism, cronyism, and Peronism. We’ve tried monarchy, oligarchy, dictatorship, and democratic republics. And yet here we are.

        Finally, I may be misunderstanding your point about violence. Are you saying that politics is needed because without it, people will resort to violence as a method to resolve disputes? If so, the recent evidence we have from countries finding themselves in a state of political paralysis doesn’t seem to bear that out. Belgium was without a government for about two years recently, and last I checked, Northern Ireland remains without a devolved government. If the populace in those places has taken that as a reason to loot, pillage and lop-off heads, it’s missed my notice. And even in my own beloved USA we’ve had recent periods of political paralysis. During the Clinton presidency, the national government was essentially in a holding pattern for two years while the question of whether or not the President received extramarital felatio was scrupulously analyzed. I recall those as prosperous and happy times.

        Thank you again for your comments.

    • Bill Hogarth says

      I think you might be using the word ‘politics’ when you mean ‘ideology’.

      • Circuses and Bread says

        @Bill Hogarth

        Thanks for taking the time to comment.

        Politics is the term I meant to use. Not ideology. The problem of course is in the definition. Here is a definition of politics that I like “ the art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government.” And I reject that “art or science” as a reasonable means of achieving beneficial ends in society.

        So on political websites I’m pretty much a heretic. 😁

    • How can you have a world without ‘politics’? All politics is at its root is interpersonal relationships of a large group of people. With more than 2 people; you will always have politics of some sort.

      • Circuses and Bread says

        @Alex Posch

        Thank you as well for commenting.

        I think we differ on definitions. I don’t define politics that widely. Here is a definition of politics I like “ the art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government.”

        I do see a post political world on the horizon, although I don’t know that I’ll live long enough to see it.

    • Andrew Mcguiness says

      @Circuses & Bread You’ve posted this idea of doing without politics a few times – could you expand a bit on what you mean? What would we change if we were to do without politics?

      • Circuses and Bread says

        @Andrew McGuiness

        With pleasure…this is an edit of something I posted last night.

        I’ll provide my definition of anti politics: the view that politics is not a reasonable way to accomplish beneficial ends in a society. But I’ve come to realize that I also need to provide a definition of politics as well: the art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government.

        Here are some ancillary thoughts:

        -that just about any other activity that you engage in to achieve civic virtue is going to deliver better end results at lower cost than a comparable investment of time and resources in politics. Said another way, politics delivers a very poor return on investment both at the individual and societal level.

        -politics by its nature devolves over time into acrimony and tribalism. What we’re seeing in contemporary politics is fairly normal.

        -those who do not get involved in politics are rational actors, and probably the most rational actors.

        I hope that helps.

        • C&B: in your ideal society, how would leaders be selected? What kinds of checks and balances would there be to prevent leaders from abusing their power? How would laws be passed? I’ll admit we’d be better off without many of the laws which emanate from Congress, but I’m grateful to the activists and politicians who enabled passage of the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, etc. It’s obviously easy to denigrate politics, especially in a system as dysfunctional and polarized as ours. However, it’s much more difficult to propose a viable alternative for how society could be governed. Although I respect your perspective, it seems to me that you’re just virtue signaling unless you can provide some idea of how society could be governed in the absence of politics.

          • Circuses and Bread says

            @lemurlover

            Thanks for the comments. You made a great point that I had to think about, It was your last couple of sentences where you noted that I was just virtue signaling. And it ties into something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately; how to build anti politics into something more? Because I haven’t really been looking to recruit or virtue signal or do much of anything here other than test out some arguments for anti politics and see where they go. I’m gratified by the positive responses I do get, but I don’t expect them. Because let’s be honest: this is mostly a political website and what I’m arguing is anti politics. I may as well try to recruit new PETA members at a meat-packers convention. But maybe I’m wrong? Politics is doing such a bad job of things that maybe even this is a fertile ground for folks who are tired of politics failings.

            Getting to some of your other points, I don’t buy this argument that anti politics needs to provide some sort of detailed plan that will solve the worlds problems. All it really needs to do is prove to be a better alternative than politics. Happily that’s a real low threshold to cross. We have no shortage of political philosophies that promise utopian ends if you only Just Believe. And none even come close to delivering on their promise. I’m going to take a different tack. If someone wants to achieve heaven, then they need to consult the real experts within the realm of religion. I personally suggest Christianity, but YMMV. Enlightenment and salvation are not within the realm of politics or anti politics.

            As for how leaders are picked absent politics, I can’t say that Its all that important to me. And dwelling on that misses the point: we don’t have any meaningful choice in how politicians are selected anyway. Or are we going to argue that somehow our one vote in millions cast actually makes a scintilla of difference? I can think of dozens of more efficient ways to select leaders. A national lottery if you want? Random selection from drivers licensees?

            In any case, thanks again for your comments.

            _____________
            A shout out to my anti political friends: Great to have you and welcome! We have a beautiful future ahead of us.

    • There is an odd tendency for a group to point out how bad government is, from systemic racism, slavery, killing of Native Americans, imprisoning minorities, stop and frisk, unfair capital punishment, segregation, foreign wars, police brutality, unfair taxation, political corruption, but then look to government as the source of love and goodness.

      • From my perspective, government is a necessary evil. The goal is to make it less evil, but I have no illusions about its flaws and limitations. In my view, the government exists to create conditions which are conducive to human flourishing. Some governments are more effective in achieving that end than others, but none is perfect.

  4. MoreTemperate says

    Agree completely. How ironic that the most ardent anti-fascists are currently breeding exactly the kind of callousness that makes fascism possible. British Labour MP Jess Phillips is an especially egregious example. When a fellow MP called for debate of men’s only issues, such as their lower life expectancy, higher suicide rates, higher risk of being killed at work or falling victim to violent crime, she simply guffawed.
    Yet once you decide that one particular class or group of people (men) is less deserving of fellow feeling that another, violence is probably not very far away. The callousness shown towards Kavanaugh was all too redolent of that shown by the Nazis towards the Jews, who were declared fair game on the grounds that they had become too rich and too powerful – or to use the current parlance “privileged.”

      • @peanut gallery, nonsense. Thousands of Jews died in those Ghettos. They were cesspools. Educate yourself.

          • @J Ryall, if he/she was facetious, I think it was in very poor taste – people say such things straight faced – plus it serves no purpose. I have many relatives who suffered in the Ghettos which probably makes me respond emotionally.

          • Maj. Bowner says

            Poor taste on an anonymous internet comment board?

            Shocking. No decency anymore. They let all manner of lowbrow knuckle draggers round.

            Beatings. Beatings are what’s needed. Like in the fusileers when I was lad. Rudyard Kipling always said to me, “If you weren’t wearing your socks, those dusky rascals would steal ’em.” He was quite right, as always.

  5. Most of the world’s problems are caused by some combination of Hierarchy, Superstition and Tribalism.

    All IMHO of course.

  6. Aylwin says

    “… in their attempt to eviscerate Brett Kavanaugh, now a Supreme Court justice.” What was the point, here, of adding “now a Supreme Court justice”? I think this is one of the manifestations of the partisan bias of the author. The addition is somehow meant to add weight to the argument. “Look here’s this respectable person, so respectable that he’s a Supreme Court Justice …”. But the whole, hideous, partisan battle is about whether he’s worthy of such a position. You can’t say that he’s in the position therefore he was worthy of it. Kavanaugh clearly, at best, dissembled under oath. This is not the kind of behaviour we should expect of a Supreme Court Justice.

    Yes, an unproven accusation and the rantings of folk who think all women should be believed should not affect such a decision. But your article conflates so much of this story into a one-sided rage against the Democrats and a wider left. Neither side came out well in this hideous saga.

    • ThereAreDozensOfUs says

      Brett Kananaugh is respectable, therefore he’s now a Supreme Court Justice. The act of confirming him proves is proof of his respectability. What’s your point?

    • yandoodan says

      The Democrats’ reaction could never have taken a different course, whatever the facts were. The allegations against Kavanaugh could be completely true, or wholly false, and the Democrats’ reaction would be unchanged. This is why the actual events are uninteresting. They never mattered.

      • Morgan says

        @yandoodan

        I have to agree. It was just a lynching. There is no rhyme or reason to it. And, once it was over, the mob moved on.

    • Jack B Nimble says

      @Aylwin

      “…….This is not the kind of behaviour we should expect of a Supreme Court Justice…..”

      I agree. And how many previous SC nominees have appeared on partisan right-wing outlets [Fox News, Wall Street Journal] as part of a PR campaign to win a SC seat? None.

      Kavanaugh came across as a rigid Republican ideologue, which may be the reason that Neema Parvini is so happy to have him on the SC.

      • Andrew Mcguiness says

        @Jack B Nimble You seem to be conflating an objection to Kavanaugh’s politics with the accusations against him. Aylwin’s point that “an unproven accusation and the rantings of folk who think all women should be believed should not affect such a decision” is central, IMO. I don’t like Kavanaugh’s politics either but I can see that a victory of a supreme court nomination which was achieved by these methods would be a disaster for democracy.

        Then, there’s the theme of Neema Parvini’s article, which is that reducing the identity of individuals to their participation in a hated group tends to lead to atrocity. I don’t actually know what Neema Parvini’s politics are, but the important thing about reasoned argument is that you address the argument that was made, not who made it. Do you agree that reducing the identity of individuals to their participation in a hated group tends to lead to atrocity?

        • Jack B Nimble says

          @Andrew

          ‘Politics’ can’t be separated from the ‘unproven’ accusation. First, senators can vote for or against a SC nominee for any reason or no reason, per the Constitution. The older tradition of senators looking at qualifications rather than party affiliation died many years ago.

          Second, Trump was warned by senators in his own party that Kavanaugh carried a lot of personal baggage and that there were other possible candidates who were less encumbered with controversy. Trump decided to push ahead because–hey, why worry about rumors of sexual misconduct?

          Then Trump called for a full FBI investigation of Kavanaugh’s background, only to be warned by his WH counsel, McGahn [who was orchestrating the confirmation process, and was also personal friends with Kavanaugh] that a full investigation would fatally damage Kavanaugh’s prospects.

          So behind the scenes, Trump ordered the FBI to interview only a tiny list of witnesses. How could the FBI conduct an impartial, thorough investigation when their ultimate boss had fired and then savagely criticized some of their former co-workers. Due process? Of course Kavanaugh didn’t get due process–he got favorite son process.

          Finally, I reject the implication that all of Kavanaugh’s many critics hate him, so your ‘atrocity’ comment is irrelevant.

      • None Oyb says

        “Kavanaugh came across as a rigid Republican ideologue, which may be the reason that Neema Parvini is so happy to have him on the SC”. – And IS the reason that the Party of thrice-accused Al Gore, of lifelong predator Bill Clinton, and of Keith Ellison, decreed that the words of an anti-Trump professor were sacrosanct.

        “I agree. And how many previous SC nominees have appeared on partisan right-wing outlets [Fox News, Wall Street Journal] as part of a PR campaign to win a SC seat? None.” – There have been dozens of former Senators and other career politicians on the Supreme Court. And Ruth Bader Ginsberg was an ACLU lawyer and publicly disparaged Trump. She’s a clear partisan who is/will be ruling on numerous cases that are ACLU v Trump Administration.

    • I think the point was simply to say that the months long saga of Democrats using every underhanded trick in the book to try to stop his nomination from being accepted by the Senate failed….
      Be it lying (4 Pinocchio’s) videos, poorly laid perjury traps, cruel character assassinations, the removal of basic American social expectations like innocent before proven guilty, constantly moving goal posts, or just simply breaking senate rules and decorum; not to mention the childish antics and paid protesters; the end result was the same as if they had simply acted like adults and followed previous Senate protocol; except for the exponentially higher price the country has to pay in social/emotional capital.

  7. Grisha says

    I agree with the main thrust of this generally well-written essay, but the part about the “goal-post treadmill” with Kavanaugh reads like a strawman version of the actual concerns about his candidacy. For me, this was a genuinely difficult situation. Fundamentally, the question was whether this was a man of character who can be trusted, assessed in a setting where his personal credibility was opposed to his accuser’s. His choice of the “I was a choirboy except for a beer now and then” defense made the questions about his yearbook, college behavior, etc. relevant. If he had simply said “I was a drunk teenager and might have done something awful that I now can’t remember, but judge me by the person I’ve been since I’ve attained maturity”, I would have been a lot more comfortable with him on the SC.

    • Heike says

      What happened to Kavanaugh makes a lot more sense if you are familiar with Maoist “struggle sessions”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Struggle_session

      “A struggle session was a form of public humiliation and torture that was used by the Communist Party of China in the Mao Zedong era, particularly during the Cultural Revolution, to shape public opinion and humiliate, persecute, or execute political rivals and those deemed class enemies.

      In general, the victim of a struggle session was forced to admit various crimes before a crowd of people who would verbally and physically abuse the victim until he or she confessed.”

      At least the Left has dropped the physical abuse part – mostly. But when you know what struggle sessions are (I learned about them in 2011 reading “Mao: the Untold Story”, an excellent book that you should read) it’s crystal clear that’s what they were going to Kavanaugh.

      I think it’s very strange that the Maoist version of radical leftism beat out the Soviet version, but that’s what we’ve got today. Watch in the future and you’ll see more struggle sessions play out.

      • Nicholas Yates says

        There are far far too many similarities between the cultural revolution in China and the current Culture wars to be ignored.

        The four olds (culture, customs, ideas and habits) are just the same as in the SJW paradigm. We must remove old western patriachal culture, our customs ( due process) ought be set aside, our ideas about gender and sexuality are antiquated and our habits are microagressions.

        Anybody who fails to embrace the new order is a counter-revolutionary.

        Finally , it will be lead by students in lynch mobs.

        Literally identical but for the abdication of power by the rest of society

    • @Grisha I literally do not understand how you can fail to see the shifting goalposts. In what universe does it make sense to condemn a man in his 50s for very minor, normal behavior (drinking!) when he was a minor in high school? When has this ever been done for a Democrat? Name me one time. If you can’t, ask yourself why. Ask yourself why someone like Clinton, in his 50s and the most powerful man on earth, is given a pass for – by his own admission (after lying and attacking her for being a bimbo and a slut) – conducting hugely disturbing behavior against a 22 year old right in the oval office, not to mention rape accusations that are far more verified. Why was it ok for him to stand next to Hilary Clinton during the campaign? Why is Hilary still defending him?

      When you have grossly unequal standards to the point that you have to literally reach back to a person’s drinking in high school (quelle horreur!) as though that has any bearing whatsoever on the man, then that should ring alarm bells for you. The fact that it doesn’t and that you take it seriously should make you question your own assumptions.

      This started as a very last minute accusation by a single accuser with no proof of sexual misconduct. When that failed, the goal posts kept shifting to more and more ludicrous positions as the author points out. It’s hardly a strawman to say so. The only way I can see for otherwise intelligent people like yourself to not see this is that you come to the conversation extraordinarily biased and/or you allow yourself to be easily manipulated.

      • It was simply forming a perjury trap like the one Mueller undoubtedly hoped to snare President Trump in. Throw out this stuff form 30+ years ago, even if completely false, in order to get him to say something that someone else can come out of the woodwork to contradict so you can declare “ah HA! PERJURY!” — just as happened about the whole drinking / blacking out bit. It was never about the truth of the allegation by Ford, it was about having a trap on National TV that would never need be proven. You had the peer coming forward “he lied! he was drunk” and then quickly “well, he could have blacked out” because had Kavanaugh NOT been confirmed he would have been exposed to a lawsuit like Susan Shannon of Everett, Washington found herself when she cratered the career of Col. Riggins.

    • Ma Rainey says

      Good points here, but I was also disturbed by the conspiracy theorizing (“revenge for the Clintons”), threats (“What goes around comes around”) and bizarre responses (“Do you like to drink Senator?”). Not the type of temprament/judgment one wants in a Justice.

      • Rob G says

        if you find his reaction disturbing, I think perhaps you have never had your reputation unjustly destroyed in public. The emotional pain would cause anyone … anyone … to lash out. What is surprising is how much restraint he showed at the time and the grace to apologize later. Little has been said of the character of a person who apologizes to those who unjustly accuse them.

        • My wife (who’s far left) did the same “his reaction!” only she had been accused of theft once, by a con artist immediately after the death of my father. This con artist filed a warrant for the arrest of me and my wife for stealing her belongings. We had to show up before the magistrate, who of course found the whole assertion by this con artist ludicrous, but my wife was outraged that she had been accused.

      • I’m assuming @Ma Rainey These are classic gas lighting tactics. You make a terrifying accusation or observation that is either unhinged from reality or shows standards never applied to anyone else, then watch as the victim responds in terror at the unreality of it, at the inability to defend (any defense is taken as additional proof of guilt), then act like the victim is deranged. if you’ve never experienced you may not get it but trust me it’s awful. He showed great restraint given the circumstances but let me ask you–had he responded unemotionally, do you really think the Dems would have not said, “He is suspiciously unemotional”? — Actually they did say just that only a few days earlier. Again this is classic gaslighting–you are damned any which way you respond. The fact that so many eagerly participating appalled me.

        • ga gamba says

          “He is suspiciously unemotional”?

          After claiming it’s the guiltless who strongly proclaim their innocence, they would have added remaining cool and collected suggests Kavanaugh is a psychopath.

      • Reading Nomad says

        @Ma Rainey

        “Not the type of temprament/judgment one wants in a Justice.”

        🍆✊

      • frances says

        Agreed that those were uncomfortable to watch and hear – but there is a distinction between ‘judicial temperament” and what we refer to in everyday transactions as ‘temperament’. It’s a specific way of conducting oneself on the bench and apparently, in his existing judicial appointment, he was exemplary in that regard. I was surprised that more lawyers were not making this point at the time.

    • He claims to have been 18 when he drank beer, all fully legal at the time, and not a “drunk teenager.” I happen to believe he likely was a drunk teenager, and he likely drank beer illegally too, but these evidence-free allegations of a near-crime 30 years ago did not deserve the Senate’s time, the FBI already missed it as being relevant, or the media frenzy.

  8. We should focus on people as unique individuals.

    Now let me write an essay explaining why my political opponents are monsters.

    • Peter Kriens says

      Exactly my idea. The author surprisingly does not seem to follow his own admiration for making the bad guys individuals.

  9. Juan F Villamil says

    Dark times if society starts seeing certain individual as symbols of something they hate.

  10. David Walsh says

    Great article. “this rejection of reason and evidence arrested the Democratic Party, as well as the media, academia, Hollywood, and several notable legal institutions”. I still cant understand how this
    rejection of reason generally has come to be. And this is happening all over the Western world.
    When the media in general takes a position in favour of identity politics, it is very difficult to turn the tide.

    • I think there are several complex reasons. One is, as was predicted, the death of God in the west. It turns out we need some funnel for the irrational parts of our brains to be expressed, and/or some passion or meaning in our lives deeper than family and work. For these people, collectivist thought, passion with spoonfed dogma, in groups and out groups, Good and Evil, the Other, Scapegoats, a priestly caste – these are all fulfilled by the Left.

      As far as why the media is so into it–I do think they want to feel saintly and powerful, can’t when they’re such puppets and social media is on the rise. THis gives them a way. But I also think the Globalists – very wealthy billionaires who want a global economy and the world as their oyster – are using them as useful idiots or else as paid hacks. If you ask yourself in whose interests it is for people to suddenly act like hysterical barbarians, think back to Rome’s Bread and Circus strategy. THis is the circus and we already have the bread.

      • Andrew Mcguiness says

        @d I agree with the reasons you suggest and I’d add a couple more. The death of God, and the Church, and more generally of the ‘grands histoires’ of eg. patriotism, left a vacuum in terms of decision making for ordinary people. Where before there were pretty clear ideas about how to live your life, what goals you could pursue, and so on (even if people rebelled against specific parts of that), now everyone is left with the responsibility of thinking through life for themselves and deciding what makes a ‘good life’. It’s not as simple a job as it sounds and most people – even if they’re up to it – don’t realise that they need to do it. The result is that people reach for a) clear and simplistic rules about how to think, and b) a tribe to join who think the same way. (That’s pretty much what you said, with a slightly different slant.)

        Then there’s the internet, which favours speed over thought, and makes the tribe much bigger.

      • Circuses and Bread says

        @d

        I think you’re absolutely right that political identity is (very poorly) filling the void left by a lack of religion in people’s lives. I differ a bit though in that I see this as both a right and left phenomenon. Political identity filling a religious void is just as pernicious when we see it amongst social conservatives as it is when we see it among SJWs.

        What we’re really talking about here though is idolatry. Political identity has become the Golden Calf that we bow down in front of. And we know from our religious traditions that widespread idolatry doesn’t end well.

  11. This discussion avoids the key points about Kavanaugh: was he more likely than not to have done what he was accused of, and did he lie. The circumstantial evidence (friend’s book, other only partially confirmed reports) strongly supported Ford, but a much more definitive investigation could have been done. His comments about “boofing” and Devil’s Triangle were obviously lies.
    So the remaining question is, “is someone who did what Ford accuses him of and lies under oath suitable to have a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court?”. My answer is “no!” And I had the same opinion about Bill Clinton 20 years ago; his indiscretion with Ms Lewinsky would be a firing offense for any CEO, and he perjured himself.
    The Democrats to some extent are living with the results of their own low standards then, which is unfortunate for the country.

    • Jack B Nimble says

      @CH

      I agree with your first two paragraphs, but your third point is weakened by the fact that prominent Democrats recently helped force Democratic politicians Sen. Al Franken, NY Gov. Eliot Spitzer and NY AG Eric Schneiderman to resign over sexual misconduct charges, without waiting for any judicial proceedings.

      That willingness to sacrifice their own compensates somewhat for the behavior of [an earlier generation of] Democrats during the Clinton-Lewinsky saga. And we should remember that some members of that earlier generation of Democrats excused Clarence Thomas’s behavior as well.

      Republicans, of course, can’t take charges of sexual misconduct seriously, without having people wonder why they gave a free pass on that issue to Trump during the last election.

      • Rob G says

        Jack, I would almost conclude that you didn’t read the article, or at least didn’t get the point.
        Every case is one of individuals. Bringing up cases that exhibit different behavior by different Democrats is meaningless. These Democrats, in this circumstance, abandoned all decency and civilized behavior, and public ally dragged the accused and the accuser through humiliation for political ends.
        These Democrats, not all Democrats. If you were among them in your heart as you watched the trial, if you secretly hoped so see the accused torn apart in the arena without due process, then that bit of savagery in your heart is between you and your God.
        But these Democrats performed public torture on a national stage, and it worth asking why

    • You had me ’till ‘boofing’.
      Amazing how a couple of clicks proving easily its variant use including Kav’s it’s still the smoking gun even for the ever so ‘rational’ Sam Harris.
      But when one wants to believe…

      • James Lee says

        @Anj

        Same with “Devil’s Triangle”. Six people have said it was a drinking game.

        But the Identity Puritans can read minds with the aid of their Diversity God, and they know what it *really* meant.

        • Jack B Nimble says

          @James Lee

          “…..Same with “Devil’s Triangle”. Six people have said it was a drinking game…..”

          Wow! SIX people! For those keeping score at home, here is a more complete accounting of Kavanaugh’s lies*:

          https://www.currentaffairs.org/2018/09/how-we-know-kavanaugh-is-lying

          *But still not including mis-statements about his role in the GW Bush admin, concerning which many thousands of documents were withheld from Congress.

          • I would have more respect for Kavanaugh’s defenders if they would admit that he was clearly lying about his past. Personally, I opposed his nomination because I think he’s a partisan Republican with a reactionary judicial philosophy. Unfortunately (from my perspective), the Republican party currently controls the Senate so they have the power to confirm Kavanaugh despite his extreme views. If he had been honest and forthright when the charges first surfaced, the country might have been spared the sorry spectacle that’s deepened divisions between left and right. For example, he might have said something like: “I drank to excess when I was a young man and blacked out on several occasions. Although I have no memory of the incident that Dr. Ford described, I can’t rule out the possibility that it occurred. If it did, I’m deeply sorry.” Would that have satisfied all of his critics? Obviously not. But it would have mollified the concerns of moderates and centrist liberals like me about his honesty and temperament.

          • James Lee says

            You’re right Jack, how can six people with directly relevant information—four of whom state they invented the game at Georgetown Prep—compare with thousands of uniformed opinions, much less the highly respected “Urban Dictionary”?

            https://www.nationalreview.com/news/kavanaugh-hearings-georgetown-prep-alumni-devils-triangle/

            We all know that by the new leftist “logic”, relevant supporting information doesn’t matter. As US Democract Representative Eric Swalwell said, “When truth rings, you cannot unhear it. Dr. Ford spoke her truth. And it’s ringing”.

            Jackie of UVA, the Duke lacrosse team accusers, Tawana Brawley, and the ex-girlfriend of Democratic Representative Keith Ellison all spoke “her truth”.

            Personally, I think Kavanaugh is a not-so-secret white supremacist, because his friend flashed white supremacist hand signals during the Kavanaugh hearing to let everyone know. Remember that? It was conspiracy theory #24, so you probably forgot it by now. Hard to keep up.

            For a more thorough debunking of the lies,

            https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/10/kavanaugh-case-for-confirmation-allegations-explained/

    • brainly says

      “The circumstantial evidence (friend’s book, other only partially confirmed reports) strongly supported Ford, but a much more definitive investigation could have been done. His comments about “boofing” and Devil’s Triangle were obviously lies.”

      Oh yeah. This is what I’m talking about. You gotta give me the name of your dealer. Spread the love baby. Don’t be bogarting the source.

      • @lemurlover
        ‘Personally, I opposed his nomination because I think he’s a partisan Republican with a reactionary judicial philosophy.’
        – You are already far more honest than most people who opposed Kavanaugh’s nomination, so props for that. At least your willing to just come out and say ‘I don’t like him because he is a Republican, and I won’t vote for Republicans’. It may be damaging to the functional nature of government, but at least this isn’t a lie. Most of his opponents decided they were not gonna support him, and then went looking for a reason. That is what the democrats did, and when they didn’t find a sufficient one, someone just made one up.

        The rest of your post is just treading water trying to look less partisan. (Why? You just admitted your a partisan?) You, nor anyone else, has any evidence Kavanaugh ever blacked out. He openly and repeated admitted he drank in excess 30+ years ago. That you demand he apologize for something he very clearly feels he didn’t do, because it makes you feel better about your intolerant political views, is just sad.

        If it is as you say, shouldn’t Dr Ford be forced to admit, ‘it is possible that over the 30+ years since this happened, my memory of a traumatic and drunken experience has become warped and it is possible I am accusing an innocent man. That would explain why no one but me has any idea what I am talking about.’

        • @Alex, thanks for your response.

          “He openly and repeated admitted he drank in excess 30+ years ago.” Can you provide links to an account of these admissions? I was under the impression that Kavanaugh portrayed himself in a much more positive light and insisted that Ford’s claims could not possibly be true. I could very well be wrong and would appreciate the correction.

          Given what happened with the Merrick Garland nomination (please read the PolitFact article on the ‘Biden Rule’ before responding with that objection), I’m not sure it’s fair to accuse Democrats of “damaging the functional nature of government.” I also recommend the Atlantic’s recent article on Newt Gingrich, who was one of the architects of the hyperpartisan and proudly obstructionist scorched-earth approach to politics of the past two decades.

          I’m not sure why you regard my political views as “intolerant.” Although I can’t prove that Kavanaugh ever blacked out, it’s equally true that you can’t prove he was being honest in his testimony. We’re both drawing conclusions based on our evaluation of the available evidence and are undoubtedly being influenced by our political preferences.

          • @Lemorlover- Thanks for a reasoned response. One thing, I only said he admitted to drinking too much and denying the allegations, which he did. he seems to address it here….

            https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/national/wp/2018/09/27/kavanaugh-hearing-transcript/

            Kavanaugh: I drank beer with my friends. Almost everyone did. Sometimes I had too many beers. Sometimes others did. I liked beer. I still like beer. But I did not drink beer to the point of blacking out, and I never sexually assaulted anyone.

            There is a bright line between drinking beer, which I gladly do, and which I fully embrace, and sexually assaulting someone, which is a violent crime. If every American who drinks beer or every American who drank beer in high school is suddenly presumed guilty of sexual assault, will be an ugly, new place in this country. I never committed sexual assault.

            Later on…

            KAVANAUGH: Yes, we drank beer. My friends and I, the boys and girls. Yes, we drank beer. I liked beer. Still like beer. We drank beer. The drinking age, as I noted, was 18, so the seniors were legal, senior year in high school, people were legal to drink, and we — yeah, we drank beer, and I said sometimes — sometimes probably had too many beers, and sometimes other people had too many beers….

            So he clearly and repeatedly states he drank heavily/in excess 30+ years ago; aka ‘too many beers’.

            Yes, he paints himself in a positive light and denies being Dr Ford’s assailant. The only reason he is in the room is to address her charges; so of course he brings it up. He admits to having too many beers, to the point of being drunk. But he repeatedly denies the escape hatch people wanted of ‘well, maybe you were too drunk to know you assulted her’. He denies the party ever happened, and no one (other than Ford) can place him in the same room as her. The fact he drank isn’t proof he assulted her. Unless you have proof, and if you do please bring it forward, then all you can say is ‘I don’t believe’; and that isn’t here nor there. As far as I know no one has any actual evidence he lied. Lots of people said ‘I saw him trashed’ but when confronted can’t say ‘he told me he didn’t remember last night’. I have lots of drunken memories, some of my favorites actually. Drunk doesn’t equal rapist.

            As to the the Merick Garland fiasco, that was sad. The Republicans were pathetic, shirking their constitutional duty. They at least owed him a hearing, where they said ‘we are partisan hacks, and will vote you down not because you are not qualified, but because we are holding out hope the 2016 election will turn out favorable to us and we can get someone else we like more.’ Then the people can judge them for being partisan hacks.

            But this is a far cry from what happened to Kavanaugh. This was not a ‘job interview’, this was a constitutionally required government function to ensure the proper working order of our constitutional republic. This is the proverbial ‘check and balance’ that is suppose to lift us up as an example to the world of how governments should be. This is a hairs breath from sedition, as the Democrats tried to co-opt required government function and turn it into a kangaroo court where allegations are evidence, and you are guilty before proven innocent. All to hold another branch of the government hostage until they can get their way.

            The Republicans never hid unverifiable assault allegations against him until too late, never sent out bullshit edited videos of his testimony, never broke Senate rules in ‘Spartacus’ moments. They didn’t Just make shit up about 30 year old year book entries or try to redefine words to trap Garland. No paid protesters were running around trying to shut down hearings or trap senators in elevators. And they most certainly didn’t tell 1/2 of the population to ‘shut up and fall in line’. The Senate has the constitutional requirement to give its consent, and they didn’t. It was crappy, but not illegal or against any senate rules. The democrats just broke every rule in the book; written and unwritten.
            Your a partisan, and I give you credit for admitting it. Just realize not everyone is like you. Some of us still believe it is more important to be an American; and to treat others as we would want to be treated. I have a close friend who was falsely accused, and that is why I care. I watched the system attempt to destroy an honest man 10 years ago, and I watched a bunch of dangerous zealots full of hate and retribution try to do it again in these hearings.

  12. Caligula says

    “As a Shakespeare scholar, I must constantly think about why Shakespeare is relevant to us today.”

    A Shakespeare scholar? I can see why you’re concerned about mobs. We don’t need no Shakespeare scholars. Just ask the Red Guards: they will free you from all your petty delusions.

  13. Excellent readable piece again Parvini.I too was reminded of The Crucible by this saga.
    Frightening how easily ‘believability’ & ‘probability’ dominated this discourse even by IDW so called defenders of ‘reason’.
    ‘Bout time Quillette finally stepped up for the ‘individual’ in reality….

  14. James Lee says

    Great article. You clearly articulated my views on the Kavanaugh debacle. Watching one of the two major American political parties—and what have seemingly become their allied propaganda organs—descend into Salem Witchhunt histrionics felt like an ephochal moment in Western history. I’m not a big fan of the GOP either, but at least they aren’t attacking the rule of law and the presumption of innocence, two of the central pillars of civilized society.

    After having recently read Patrick Deneen’s “Why Liberalism Failed” and Alistair MacIntyre’s “After Virtue”, I am becoming persuaded that the visible cracks of insanity in the HyperLiberal regime are not sustainable. I hope we can salvage the best elements while jettisoning the atomized selfishness and globalized McHomogenization of what has become our “culture”.

    When the dominant ideology doesn’t even bother disguising its growing mountain of blatant double standards and ends-justifies-means approach, you know you are in dangerous territory.

  15. yandoodan says

    “…an associate professor from Georgetown…

    Why are you hiding her name? It’s Christine Fair.

  16. Farris says

    To anyone who can honestly claim he/she would feel justice was served should on him/her when denied a coveted post based upon the level of proof (or lack thereof) leveled against Bret Kavanaugh, and can honestly state they would maintain a calm demeanor in such circumstances, then those persons (if any) are justified in opposing his confirmation. Anyone else is engaging in the type of dehumanizing the nature of which the author is illustrating. How easy it is to claim that others should be required to fall upon their sword, be excommunicated or pay a price to satisfy a petty notion of vengeance.

  17. The author focused on the due process angle. Another contemporary angle is the freedom of speech protection from groups like the ACLU. The Left (?!?!) cheered when Facebook banned Infowars. They needed to protect us, after all. Those exact same “champions” are screaming now that Facebook has banned them too. For those who missed it due to the lack of coverage in the MSM…FB has blacklisted Reverb Press who, ironically, had emphatically praised FB for their blacklisting of InfoWars. RP’s writers had posted things like “conspiracy creep got what he deserved” in their rah rah’ing of FB for the removal of Jones..now? Why, they think it’s ABSURD that FB thinks it can define what is ‘legitimate’ news. =)

  18. Benjamin Perez says

    Once upon a time, liberals argued against racial profiling and gender stereotyping. Alas, today, liberals can’t seem to stop demonizing whites and pathologizing males. Ad hominem used to be a fallacy: now it’s policy. Collectivist rhetoric, informed by an essentialist worldview, is crowding out – shouting down – the ideas and ideals that not only distinguished liberalism from conservatism but from leftism. The leftist troll that used to live under the bridge of liberalism is now not only taking tolls but saving up enough to buy the bridge. Once upon a time…

    • @Benjamin, do you think your description applies equally to all liberals? I hold liberal views on most issues but reject hyperbolic claims about patriarchy, white supremacy, the evils of capitalism, etc. Is it possible that you’re overgeneralizing about people on the left, assuming that vocal extremists represent the views of all progressives?

  19. “And make no mistake, those who are currently stoking the mob’s worst instincts—at this point with naked hatred—are unworthy of Western civilization. They would do well to remember that there are many of us who still believe in individualism, reason and evidence as the cornerstones of that civilization. We aren’t ready to hand the keys to the barbarians at the gates just yet.”

    I fully agree with Parvini’s concluding statement. That’s why I plan to vote for Democrats on November 6.

    • Victor Victoria says

      I don’t know how you failed to notice that your party has been taken over by extremists. The evidence for that is incontrovertible. So if you believe in individualism, reason, and evidence you are not helping to support those ideals by voting a straight Democrat ticket.

      • I respectfully disagree. It’s actually not my party – I’m an independent. (I’ve voted for a third party candidate in the past four presidential elections.) However, I agree with Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein that “today’s Republican Party…is an insurgent outlier. It has become ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition, all but declaring war on the government. The Democratic Party, while no paragon of civic virtue, is more ideologically centered and diverse, protective of the government’s role as it developed over the course of the last century, open to incremental changes in policy fashioned through bargaining with the Republicans.” This was written before the election of President Trump, and it seems to me that the derangement of the GOP has only accelerated since then.

        When you say that the Democratic Party has been taken over by extremists, what evidence do you have in mind?

    • Efram Tegrity says

      I get it. Republicans are still pretty closed minded when it comes to having sex with lemurs … and bestiality generally.

      On the Crat side … I can’t imagine Bill Clinton hasn’t loved him some lemurs. Gotta vote your values. That’s what I always say.

  20. As the nation moves a little closer to crazyville, and more talk of civil war keeps coming up, maybe we need to ask – what does all this mean?

    Ideas about how we treat other people are breaking down in the West. The international order is breaking down. There is more and more talk about the possibility of nuclear war between the US, China and/or Russia. Just waiting for an accident or miscalculation for things to spiral out of control.

    The overall situation today reminds me of a forest that hasn’t had major fire in 100 years. It is ready to burn down to the ground. And it won’t take much to make it happen.

  21. Pingback: Could the culture wars descend into civil wars? – The Burning Archive

  22. Crisp says

    Alexandr Solzhenitsyn drew a similar parallel between Shakespearean tragic heroes and the political apparatchiks of the Soviet Communists. (I think it was in “Cancer Ward” but it has been decades.) One had to face his conscience and take personal responsibility for the consequences of his action. The other had no conscience for blind faith in ideology obviated the need for such a thing, and the ideology could justify any action, no matter how evil.

  23. Crisp says

    Surely there are some decent-minded Democrats who see how that once-great party has abandoned the very principles on which the American Republic was founded. These principles are those that evolved and were espoused by the Age of Enlightenment. Absolutely fundamental to these are that justice be based on a presumption of innocence and the accused be provided a fair trial based on factual evidence, not on emotion and not on sentiment.
    For the sake of democracy, those decent-minded Democrats must speak out now to save their party from this ruinous far-left fanaticism.

    • Rashid Haddad says

      If the Democrat party gets rid of the Clintons and disengages from George Soros, it may stand a chance. I am sure there are many decent Democrats within the party but they’re fearful for their futures and perhaps even their lives. I would encourage such decent individuals to cross the floor.

    • I agree that some Democrats behaved badly, but I could make the *exact* same arguments about Republicans and far-right fanaticism. I don’t think the contemporary Republican party is an exemplar of Enlightenment values. Rabid partisanship and obstructionism have afflicted both sides, leaving reasonable moderates without a viable option.

  24. Rashid Haddad says

    What the Democrats did to Brett Kavanaugh is as deplorable as can be. I do hope that he or his wife sues Feinstein, Ford, and Flake and others for the harassment, the emotional distress, etc that was brought on the family and, especially the children. And, whoever published that disgusting cartoon of Kavanaugh’s daughter praying against her father should be sued for everything he or she has.

  25. Rashid Haddad says

    If the Democrat party gets rid of the Clintons and disengages from George Soros, it may stand a chance. I am sure there are many decent Democrats within the party but they’re fearful for their futures and perhaps even their lives. I would encourage such decent individuals to cross the floor.

  26. Stephen says

    I wonder, could there possibly have been a motive behind the accusations made against Kavanaugh?

  27. franks_television says

    Very nice article. I feel like at a time in history (post world wars, lessons that should have been learned from 20th century atrocities, unprecedented information technology) when amazing things should be getting accomplished, we are dropping the ball as a civilization and going in the completely wrong direction.

  28. A very good commentary but it does seem to be a little biased, when referring directly to the Kavanaugh hearings. I was slightly surprised that there was no mention of Rebublicans decrying the delaying tactics of the Democrats, when they used exactly the same tactic, successfully, in the case of Obama’s last nomination (well before he left office), and no mention of the worrisome divide where the votes in the committee and the Senate were almost entirely along party lines.

    The fact that I didn’t read of any school/college acquaintances who stood up for his character but several who contradicted Kavanaugh’s statements was also troubling, though that doesn’t counter what you wrote here, of course. Again, an otherwise very good commentary.

    • There were tens of dozens who stood up for his character, and no, the Republicans did not “use exactly the same tactic” in regard to Garland.

      Not even close.

  29. Oss Ickle says

    This is a terrific post and I’m in complete agreement. One gentle correction, though. That tweet from the “Stephen Colbert” writer was intended to be sarcastic, i.e., she was acidly referencing all her adversaries on the right who claimed the investigations were ruining K.’s life, and saying “Looks like we did NOT ruin his life.” Her fault lay in being too subtle – the tweet really was open to misinterpretation.

    If it’s any comfort, both Colbert and she got in a lot of trouble at CBS for it!

  30. Wow, very well done. I think it is important to note the importance of individualism and how the left really should go back to embracing that ideal. Great read!

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