On the one hand, I'm not sure that this rises to the level of 'treason.' It's not in the strict sense waging war on the Republic, or giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Even the latter phrase isn't meant to be construed lightly as 'doing things the enemy might like' or '...that might help the enemy,' but in concert with a war, actively aiding enemy agents. There's no war, at least not in the strictest sense.

On the other hand, it is a kind of coup against the elected government by what is sometimes called 'the Deep State,' and that could be construed as a waging of war on the Republic by certain members of the government.

Also on that same hand, it's a much more plausible charge of 'treason' than the ones that have been being leveled against Trump himself by the Left all this time: that he might have engaged in 'treason' by seeking to find out what Russia knew about Clinton corruption, for example. That's not war-waging against the Republic at all, and could even be said to be a kind of competitive good governance. The reason to have an adversarial politics is that everyone won't be cozy the way that the Clintons tried to be, but that instead things will be brought to light so the citizenry can hold the powerful to account.

I sometimes think that the charge the left really wants to raise isn't 'treason' but 'heresy,' only that they don't know how to frame that charge. What they really seem to mean is that Trump violates their basic ideas of what the Republic should be about. The recent pieces on Oprah as Priestess-Queen make clear the degree to which this is a more primal violation than treason: it is not really that the man has been disloyal to the state, but that he is a committed violator of their sacred ideals. Even if the worst things he'd been accused of was true, it would't be treason: it'd be unwise to take aid from Putin's intelligence officers in order to persuade voters to vote against Hillary Clinton, perhaps, but it would not be illegal. Yet this has always been treated as a capital crime by the President's enemies, intensely and passionately so.

We are getting closer to something. I wonder if all the go-along-get-along in the world among the comfortable establishment can avoid the powers being raised by these invocations.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

Heresy is a better way to characterise what Trump's opponents are really bothered by. It's hard to know exactly what they are thinking, because they often respond with emotional and social arguments that are necessarily fuzzier. But I think you are onto something here.

They have a vision of how things should be, and believe that those who disagree must be uninformed, not very smart, have some other agenda (whether personal or cultural), or are not properly taught. They have trouble conceiving of a different way of looking at things. Not all of their view is evil, but the inability to see other effects, and the narcissism of not thinking they need to even try is very, very dangerous. However well-intentioned it starts, it ends up as an evil thereby. Evil is only spoiled good after all.

Heresy is also defined by a priestly caste, which may have reasons but not logic. The very vagueness of it is a weapon. In That Hideous Strength, the guiding rule of NICE was that one should always show proper initiative without overstepping one's authority. The trick was that everything took place in a gray area where they could get you one way or the other.

They define. The only possible downstream result is that others must obey or be punished. Trump and his followers do not obey. Therefore they are wrong. Hell, I think he's wrong a lot of the time, but for what I hope are actual reasons.

Grim said...

I think you must be right, especially as I watch the debate of this morning. The President asked, in a barnyard way but in a closed-door meeting, why we pursue immigration from the third world and not from advanced countries like Norway. Actually, we had exactly the policy he is suggesting for most of American history. There is an actual answer to his question about why it changed: the law was changed in 1965 as part of a raft of Civil Rights legislation designed to eliminate racism as a factor in American law. Partly it was a response to Kennedy's assassination, as he had favored this change and supported the Civil Rights movement in general; a grieving nation acted to enshrine his vision as a way of dealing with his murder.

The policy might reasonably be questioned, since the authors believed the change wouldn't have a great effect. LBJ said it wasn't a monumental law that would create massive changes; in fact, it set off a demographic tidal wave that continues today. Any time there's a massive unintended effect from a decision, it is reasonable to drop back and question that decision -- is this what we really want, tidal wave included?

But nobody in the media is asking that question, or explicating the answer. They're reacting to the question exactly as if it was the expression of a heresy. Nobody's even interested in the answer, or in defending the principle underlying the policy change of 1965, and definitely not in discussing the fact that there has been a massive unintended consequence of a decision made in grief. They're interested in punishing the heresy of speaking and thinking in this forbidden way.

E Hines said...

It's also hard to take what a non-lawyer says about treason seriously in any legal sense. The charge has tightly circumscribed meaning only in court. In general usage, it has much broader meaning ranging from the less common usage of "I don't like those actions" to "Those are seriously bad actions, and I think they hurt us/our government/our nation."

What Trump actually said, according to the transcript of the interview was this: ... what went on with the FBI, where a man is tweeting to his lover that if she loses, we’ll essentially go back to the—we’ll go to the insurance policy, which is—if they lose, we’ll go to phase 2, and we’ll get this guy out of office.
I mean, this is the FBI we’re talking about. I think that is—that is treason. See, that’s treason right there.

If the description of the FBI persons is even remotely accurate--and the released emails suggest that it is--the described behavior plainly is treason in the vernacular, even if, legally, the charge is questionable--but even legally, it's at least that much, depending on the rest of the facts of that matter.

Another example of the NLMSM's routine distortion is alluded to by this comment: The President asked, in a barnyard way but in a closed-door meeting.... Says who? Meckler's et al. piece in the WSJ quoted only "two sources" who by her phrasing may have heard the claim second hand--though maybe not, her phrasing was unclear. More importantly, Meckler chose not to identify her sources, and she chose not to say why she chose to walk away from an old journalistic standard that required at least two on the record sources to corroborate anonymous claims. Thus, we have no reason to believe the "sources" even exist. Assuming the sources are real, though, Meckler further chose not to explain why we should believe those sources given the dishonesty they've demonstrated in giving up the (selected) contents of what was a private meeting. On the other hand, an on the record source says the term wasn't used, even if rough language was.

Now Senator Dick Durbin (D, IL), who was present in the private meeting, is denying Trump's on the record denial of using the term. But on what basis do we believe Durbin? Aside from all the other demonstrations of his disingenuousness, Durbin is displaying open dishonesty here by revealing the contents of a private meeting.

It wouldn't matter whether anyone in the media is asking that question, or explicating the answer[,] it would be hard to take the media's selected questions and the answers they'd choose to report seriously.

Eric Hines

Ymarsakar said...

Here comes the Deep State again. While some factions are involved in COINTELPRO, Nixon's coup de tat, fall, and setup, the majority of them is on a different government entirely. They are not the FBI or the bureaucracy, as many people take the term to mean. The term was originally developed by the ALt Right to refer to conspiracy facts, similar to the ones Alex Jones or Trum believes in. Cruz's father, after all ,was part of the JFK Cuban assassination plot, according to the US President that everyone has to obey now.

The trail, as usual, goes back a few decades, as it did for the Left and Disinformation from Yuri Bezmenov. Operation Paperclip.

Ymarsakar said...

Also Operation Fishbowl, Operation High Jump, Operation Deep Freeze. Dominix.

jaed said...

This would be a plot to carry out a coup d'etat, I think. Overthrow of the Constitutional order and substituting an order approved of and backed by what we may as well call the Deep State.

Some or many of the personnel, including elected officials, might be the same afterward, but the order would be completely different because what constitutes valid authority would be different. In the Constitutional order of things, the President gains his authority via election, but in this proposed order, the approval of certain Deep State institutions is also required, and a president who has been elected without such approval would not possess legal authority.

If there's a specific crime associated with such an action, it might be seditious conspiracy: "If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States..."

E Hines said...

The (questionable) case for a treason charge, aside from facts not presently published, would hinge on who's an enemy.

Treason against the United States, shall consist...in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

Are Russia (or the PRC, or Iran, or northern Korea, or the Daesh, other polities that have attacked us in one form or another) enemies within the meaning of that clause of our Constitution?

Eric Hines

Anonymous said...

Thinking about the charges that the Left brings as "heresy" provides a logical framework by which to describe their actions, but their real problem is with people who fail or refuse to be useful idiots. To put it another way, the real objective may be to create and detect useful idiots.

If a useful idiot is a person who will support the leftist agenda, no matter what it is or how it changes, then the head-snapping changes from the left begin to make sense. They do not care if they repel most people: they can get and find people to do their dirty work.

The notion that Trump's alleged use of the world "sh*thole" shocked or even mildly perturbed our screaming lefties is ludicrous. These people have been using this kind of language for decades. Indeed, what they are doing is playing "F*ck the System," in hopes of bringing about the Revolution. I was there for the 70s. I was happy to crawl into that ivory tower for graduate school, and not have to hear it, any more. I am not delusional enough to think that because I stopped hearing it, that it wasn't being used.

I believe I may have observed the model the Left is using when I used to attend a First Baptist Church with my high school friends. The pastor's favorite phrase was "don't even think about (whatever was the sin of the day)." He would explain how more and more innocuous actions were sins. He'd jump about in the Bible to prove his point, rattling off citations of clips of 2 to 5 words without context and far too fast to check. I found that the few references I checked were invariably grossly wrong. But it seemed to me that the whole point of the entire exercise was to disable their ability to think.

At least, the inability to think was a definite side effect. Being Catholic, I naturally expected to talk about the sermon afterward, and I found out the kids did not remember anything he said, and further acquaintance led me to understand that they did not know anything about moral reasoning. They could not tell right from wrong. To the extent I could observe it, they thought that anything fun might be a sin, and a few of them seized on "situational ethics" as a justification to do anything they wanted. I thought his "teaching" was dangerous, because it left the teenagers in his church wholly unequipped to deal with their own lives.

To me, theses lefties sound like that preacher. They specifically do not want anybody to reason through any situation, and so they push a succession of contradictory and illogical themes on a whim. Anybody who stays with them is weak, and manipulable. Those people can be persuaded to do anything.