The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017


It is just me, or is all the outrage coming from the Left getting just a bit tedious?

Doesn't matter the subject — the budget, the Russians, Trump's staff (with particular emphasis recently on Jared Kushner), climate change, Trump's tweets, James Comey, women's issues, tax reform, NATO, immigration, entitlements, Islamophobia, and, of course, healthcare. It's wall-to-wall outrage with "activists" staging demonstrations that are often as destructive as they are ridiculous, and the #Resistance is doing everything possible to shout down elected representatives at town hall meetings while suggesting that an elected president be impeached because ... Trump.

Following the age-old wisdom of the parable about the boy who cried wolf, when it's OUTRAGE all of the time, it's outrage none of the time.

Progressives' shock at losing a 'gimme' election has gone through five stages: sadness, disbelief, anger, viciousness, and now, outrage. In many cases, the Democratic base is suffering from all five stages at once. You'll note that appropriate stages like acceptance, self-reflection, and cooperation (where appropriate) simply aren't part of the process. So, it's outrage, 24-7.

But maybe there more to the outrage than that. Most progressives align themselves with other elite progressives in politics, the media, and the arts, and all lay claim to a special morality that allows them to propose progressive solutions to the problems we face.* When others question the wisdom or practicality of those solutions, the elites and their followers tend to lash out, demonizing the person who has the temerity to question their positions. Richard Fernandez addresses this when he writes:
... elites are on the defensive because their stock of knowledge, so useful in the past, is now ineffectual against the present chaos. This helplessness has the effect of lowering their status, as with a priesthood faced with the manifest futility of their rites. Legitimacy is based on working magic, and the wizardry is faltering.
Hence, the outrage. Their "magic" and "wizardry" are under attack and they really don't like it.

Here's the problem for progressives elites. The country rejected their policies after eight years of experiencing them. During that time they lost close to 1,000 elections at the federal, state and local levels—1000! That simple fact contains a deep message, but it also requires critical thinking to decode it. It demands analysis, adaptation, realism (the rejection of fantasy thinking), and finally, humility. Those four characteristics appear to be in short supply among the outraged.

There's something called the Law of Holes. Wikipedia defines in in the following manner:
The first law of holes, or the law of holes, is an adage which states that "if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging". Meaning that if in an untenable position, it is best to stop carrying on and exacerbating the situation.
It's possible that progressives have never heard of the Law of Holes, and if they have, reject it because they truly believe that they have a monopoly on what is moral and right. So, they keep digging, getting more outraged over issues both little and big.

Here's the thing. Most people are no longer listening as the shrill voices of the outraged echo off the walls of a hole that keeps getting deeper.


In an fascinating exploration of some of the comments made by progressive opinion leaders who now argue that liberal "condescension" toward the "deplorables" is doing the Democratic party no good, William McGurn (read the whole thing) provides example after example of the advice progressive writers are giving to other progressives. To wit, this question from a writer at Slate who was interviewing Joan C. Willams (an lawyer and activist who "has worked her whole adult life on gender bias") on the topic of liberal condescension. The interviewer asks:
“What attitude should we be taking toward people who voted for a racist buffoon who is scamming them?”
You just can't make this stuff up!

McGurn comments:
Ms. Williams, a University of California law professor who has written a new book on the white working class, generously avoids telling her interviewer he is a perfect instance of the problem. But the larger progressive dilemma here is that contempt is baked into the identity politics that defines today’s Democratic Party.

When Mrs. Clinton labeled Trump voters deplorable (“racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it”) she was simply following identity politics to its logical conclusion. Because identity politics transforms those on the other side of the argument—i.e., Americans who are pro-life, who respect the military, who may work in the coal industry—from political opponents into oppressors.
The hole gets deeper every day.


* It would be unfair to omit the fact that there are many conservative elites who think that their positions are also unassailable. The neocons sold us on the notion that we could democratize the Islamic states of the Middle East—purple thumbs and all. That has not worked out well. They were dead wrong. Now they are horrified by the election of Donald Trump, sniffing at his tweets, encouraging and sometimes contributing to the soft coup attempt that is ongoing, and smirking as he struggles to govern. Funny though that their governance, although certainly more effective than the brand offered by the previous administration, was still flawed in a variety of fundamental ways.