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

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Only Progressives

Today, we'll listen to political theater as only the Democrats can deliver it. We'll hear them ask accusatory questions that indict Neil Gorsuch for judicial rulings that followed the law ... but, came into conflict with the notion, particular to Dems, that the law should favor one group over another.* We'll hear mindless accusations that Gorsuch is "out-of-the mainstream," even though 98 percent of his rulings were in line with the majority of the federal court on which he served. We'll hear pontification and hypocrisy, whining about the fate of Merrick Garland, and a variety of other unrelated nonsense. We'll listen to statements that imply that the progressive way is the only way, all intended to provide some measure of solace to the Democrat base.

And where is the Democratic base? I ran across a prescient essay on American liberalism written in April, 2016 by Emmett Rensin at Vox, a generally left-leaning on-line media source. Rensin's words are particularly appropriate, given the events that led to Donald Trump's upset victory in the presidential election and in the unhinged response to his victory by the America left. Whether it's urban hipsters, social justice warriors, the glitterati, or any of the other subcategories and groups that define American progressive thought, Rensin nails it when he writes:
There is a smug style in American liberalism. It has been growing these past decades. It is a way of conducting politics, predicated on the belief that American life is not divided by moral difference or policy divergence — not really — but by the failure of half the country to know what's good for them.

In 2016, the smug style has found expression in media and in policy, in the attitudes of liberals both visible and private, providing a foundational set of assumptions above which a great number of liberals comport their understanding of the world.

It has led an American ideology hitherto responsible for a great share of the good accomplished over the past century of our political life to a posture of reaction and disrespect: a condescending, defensive sneer toward any person or movement outside of its consensus, dressed up as a monopoly on reason.
Condescension may be the single most important reason that the Democrats are out in the wilderness. Those who don't agree with every progressive shibboleth are viewed by many within the progressive movement as flawed, uninformed, unintelligent, or otherwise "deplorable."

This progressive condescension has grown in both depth and breadth in the months following the election. Nothing Trump says or does—no policy, no appointee (think: Gorsuch), no position—is acceptable, and anyone who suggests otherwise is beneath contempt.

Here's an example of progressive condescension from an article by Conor Lynch in hard-left Salon. Lynch actually references Rensin's piece:
Sure enough, many liberals have seemingly doubled down on this smug style, which tends to come out in full force whenever the president screws over his dumb, country-bumpkin supporters. But this attitude has also been challenged by those on the left who argue that the Democratic Party has to offer a more populist vision and break out of its technocratic bubble in order to start winning elections again. This tends to offend many liberals, who respond by reminding everyone that the Democrats ran on the “most progressive platform in party history,” yet still failed to persuade uninformed blue-collar Americans who credulously fell for the countless lies and false promises of Trump.

Both sides have a point, of course, and it is hardly smug to point out that American voters are overwhelmingly ignorant and uninformed about politics and government, or that Trump supporters are particularly misinformed. Nor is it smug to correct someone when they state an obvious falsehood, or to challenge the nonsensical rhetoric of a demagogue like Trump. The truth is, it can be hard not to come across as smug when you have to repeatedly debunk the endless falsehoods and conspiracy theories that come out of the president’s mouth (and when so many of his supporters seem unwilling to listen to reason).
Lynch does exactly what Rensin describes when he states: " ... it is hardly smug to point out that American voters are overwhelmingly ignorant and uninformed about politics and government, or that Trump supporters are particularly misinformed." Really? Only progressives are "informed" and sophisticated in their election choices? Only progressives have defined the right path for the country? Only progressives understand healthcare, or free speech, or the proper approach to immigration, or climate change, or school choice, or the role of government in the every day lives of citizens? Only progressives should be appointed to the Supreme court?

Yeah ... only progressives.


* As if on cue, CT Senator Richard Blumenthal demanded that Gorsuch answer questions on how he would vote in specific future cases. That is, of course, an absolute violation for any judge, but Blumenthal is too dishonest or too political to acknowledge that. By the way, Blumenthal was State Attorney General in CT. The Wall Street Journal documents the utter hypocrisy of this position:
That’s [requiring any Supreme Court nominee to answer questions about future rulings] wildly inappropriate since Judge Gorsuch can’t know the facts or the law of future cases that would come before the Court. If he were to speak out extensively on any case at the confirmation hearing, his comments could require his recusal.

Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor didn’t have to meet this open-kimono standard. Neither did Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who said at the time of her confirmation hearings in 1993 that “[a] judge sworn to decide impartially can offer no forecasts, no hints; for that would show not only disregard for the specifics of the particular case, it would display disdain for the entire judicial process.”

Mr. Leahy told nominee Ginsburg at the time that he “certainly” did not want her “to have to lay out a test here in the abstract which might determine what your vote or your test would be in a case you have yet to see that may well come before the Supreme Court.” At the 1967 hearings for Thurgood Marshall, then Senator Edward Kennedy called it a “sound legal precedent” that “any nominee to the Supreme Court would have to defer any comments on any matters which are either before the court or very likely to appear before the court.”
Ahhh. We return to the "smug style" of Democrat Senators, defining one set of rules for conservative nominees and a completely different set of rules for progressives. Why? ... only progressives need apply.