A Moment of Clarity

On the left:
A mere half-year ago... there was a shining moment where millions of Americans flooded the streets in cities across the country to register their rage that an unapologetic misogynist had just been made leader of the free world....

What wasn’t to like?

A lot, as it turns out. The leaders of the Women’s March, arguably the most prominent feminists in the country, have some chilling ideas and associations.

On the right
I will let the liberals answer for their own sins in this regard. (There are many.) But we conservatives mocked Barack Obama’s failure to deliver on his pledge to change the tone in Washington even as we worked to assist with that failure.... It was we conservatives who rightly and robustly asserted our constitutional prerogatives as a co-equal branch of government when a Democrat was in the White House but who, despite solemn vows to do the same in the event of a Trump presidency, have maintained an unnerving silence as instability has ensued. To carry on in the spring of 2017 as if what was happening was anything approaching normalcy required a determined suspension of critical faculties. And tremendous powers of denial.
On the left, about the right:
If conservatism emphasizes the importance of national security, how does one understand the indifference to Russian interference in our election process? If conservatism extols the virtues of family and religion, how does one understand the tolerance of — indeed, if polling is accurate, the still overwhelming Republican support for — a person whose moral failings could lead to his being fired from every job except the one he holds? If conservatism defends free speech, where is the outrage over the attacks on a free press?

Those who argue that students need more exposure to conservative thinking to understand our current political dynamic seem to be missing the fact that, when it matters most, conservatives have stopped being conservative.

Viewed dispassionately, the lesson that the most visible conservatives appear to be teaching our students is that power is more important than principle, that winning is more important than adhering to an ethical code, that compromise is failure, and maybe worst of all, that facts don’t matter.
I won't bother to cite something from the right about the left, since I'm sure you've all read plenty of such articles in the past.


raven said...

We are two nations, locked in a common border. There IS no common ground anymore. We are no longer arguing about what road to take to achieve a common goal. We fight now about what that goal is, and two more polar opposites could hardly be found. Eventually, one side will destroy the other. I am not a scholar, but have read a lot of history. The only case I am aware of where two peoples peaceably separated is the Czech and Slovakian republics. Maybe someone can enlighten me of other examples.

Eric Blair said...

The Czech and Slovaks separated peacefully because they weren't intermixed. But that's really not a good example. Frankly, *nothing* that has gone before is a pattern for what Trump did.

We are in a new situation.

And the US isn't just 2 nations, there's a lot more than that.

Grim said...

I would say the model might be the India/Pakistan partition.

james said...

I pray not.

raven said...

Amen. The Partition was a insane bloodbath of atrocities.

Grim said...

The Indians are decent people, too: as good as most, anyway.

Anonymous said...

I think there is some projection going on with the "Left on the Right". It's not a matter of dropping principle for power, it's a matter of cultural survival. Why are Nuns suing the U.S. Government? Why are several bakers out of business with fines to pay? Why can a photographer not photograph a wedding? Additionally, I don't trust the media enough that when they point at Trump and slobber that it impresses me. When they have named sources that point to a violation of law, then we need to correct and follow the law. What we have right now fails that standard.

Also, do we really have a civil war? If we could get the political class and the media out of our hair, could we not tone this thing down? Having said that, getting the political class out of our hair is a political position. Phooey...

-Stc Michael

Tom said...

... but who, despite solemn vows to do the same in the event of a Trump presidency, have maintained an unnerving silence as instability has ensued. To carry on in the spring of 2017 as if what was happening was anything approaching normalcy required a determined suspension of critical faculties. And tremendous powers of denial.

I voted for instability, myself. That's where the opportunity for radical change is found. I also voted against normalcy, the status quo, and business as usual. Pretending not to know, or really not knowing, that a lot of conservatives voted for "burn it all down" in the last election doesn't get a writer anywhere with me.

On the lefty's comment about the right, all I can do is laugh and shake my head. There are a lot of people out there with no self-awareness at all.

Grim said...

The thing is, I'm very much prone accepting the argument that civility is necessary for good governance. It's just true that obeying norms of decent treatment for each other enables us to discuss things more rationally. It enables cooler heads, and disables some of the errors of passion to which human beings are quite susceptible.

On the other hand, I've spent my entire life listening to people on the left explain that all of the right's norms of courtesy are secret forms of oppression. Treating women with chivalry is 'putting them on a pedestal' that keeps you from respecting them as equals. (That's not what my mother taught me when she taught me to do that, but it's what I'm told now.) Pushing for norms of etiquette is imposing the white colonialist culture of the Europeans who developed those norms. Even insisting on grammar and spelling is a kind of racism designed to keep non-whites out of power.

Ultimately, when you run down and destroy all the traditional forms of courtesy, what you're going to be left with is discourtesy. I don't like that, and I am doing my best not to give into it, but it's no surprise that's where we are.

Only some people are starting to wake up and realize that they miss... something. Something that used to be here, something they can't quite name, but it sure would be nice to have it back.

Tom said...

I agree with you that civility would be good, if it were mutual. However, after the non-stop hatred and obscenity the left spewed during all 8 years of the Bush presidency, I can't believe they actually expect civility from us, nor that they truly value it.

raven said...

That is why they HATETRUMP -he is not civil, ie, he does not capitulate to their desires. it is easy to be civil to the left-just go along with everything they say or demand and you will be "civil". Counter any item in their litany and you will be a hateful uncivil no redeeming social benefit deplorable. It doesn't matter what it is, it can be flavor of the day- we have all seen the left's rants against illegal immigration 10 or 15 years ago, back when they considered the working class union vote to be of value. There is no principal except power in play here.

douglas said...

Trump is the hired gun- the drifter- employed to do harm to those doing harm. He wasn't hired because he was a good man, but perhaps the opposite, and also because he has an appetite for the fight that most don't. He's not civil, but it gets to a point that the only way to get civility back is to be uncivil. We're about there.

Calls for civility and 'bipartisanship' from the likes of McCain ring rather hollow to my ears. Perhaps once we've erased the previous results of a lack of civility and bipartisanship, I'd be open to the idea we should again be civil, but look where that got us before.

I'll add, civility isn't an end, it's a means. That's important. If it's failing to get you the proper ends, propriety demands a different means.