Some of my readers may know that we were blessed with a new addition to our family a few days ago. Juliet was born, and is healthy. She missed being a Christmas baby by two days. More to come as time goes on and the wife and I catch up on a lot of missed sleep over the last few days.
Hopefully my readers are settling down with a nice meal, good company, and a bit of old fashioned entertainment. It’s one day where I often feel the need to set politics aside, because damnit, you can’t talk about that all the time, right? Tomorrow is another day, and I have a full plate of things to discuss then, but for now enjoy a day off from it all.
We’ll be settling in to eat in a few. Turkey, ham, bacon, and all the usual fixings, of course. Stuffing, corn, mashed potatoes and gravy, and yes, the jellied cranberry too – even though some folks think that’s sacrilege. Also, plenty of beer, cigars, and whiskey. Not necessarily in that order, of course. To me it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a glass of bourbon on the rocks.
I tried to think of something profound or really meaningful to say for Thanksgiving, but it’s a holiday that doesn’t really lend itself to that, in my opinion. To me, it’s just about how things used to be. Family, friends, and a hearty meal. Simple, but enjoyable. Take time away from the world and focus on people who are important to you.
Of course, I try to pretend Black Friday doesn’t exist, and that it isn’t creeping into Thanksgiving itself. What a mess that is. I’ve no idea why anyone would brave it, and push aside a wholesome day to wait in a long line of angry people for a cheap TV or Xbox. But I promised no politics, so we’ll talk more about that another time.
So relax, my friends, have a good time, gorge yourselves silly, and enjoy Thanksgiving.
We live in a time, dear readers, when things are becoming rather Orwellian. Yes, yes, I know. It’s cliche. Everybody says that, even the Leftists I often excoriate. Hillary Clinton herself suggested that Nineteen Eighty-Four was about people being convinced to distrust their leaders. The absurdity of this is obvious, but in the minds of those who read her book, it is already fact. Donald Trump is Big Brother. Or maybe he is Goldstein. It doesn’t matter. None of it matters. Objective reality is an oppressive illusion of the white cisheteropatriarchy anyway.
How many genders are there? However many they desire. All is subjective, all is tied to their will. It’s a convincing illusion for people who believe themselves to be wise, for they can imagine no limit to their knowledge. Such are not atheists, not in the sense that they do not believe in God. Rather, they hate God. They loathe the idea that somewhere, somehow, there is a force greater than they, someone more powerful.
For them, any absurdity can be true if enough minds can be made to believe it. And any truth can be made false by their fiat. It’s not about ending racism, sexism, or some other -ism or -phobia. It is about their power to shape your beliefs with whatever lever will move you. Long ago Xerxes learned, as many tyrants throughout history have discovered, that there is a limit to the power of arms alone; that they inspire resistance and resolve in an enemy. So much the better if the resolve can be broken before it can take shape. Break the mind before the body, and you will not have to fight your way through the 300 or worry about those famous words: molon labe.
Nice guy disease infects our society like a bubonic plague of the mind. It is there when a man refuses to discipline his child for fear of being seen as mean. It is with us when the TV sputters on and some talking head lectures us about the evils of white privilege. And with weaponized empathy, it is in every politically-charged photograph shared on social media. It is the Syrian child washed up on the shore, it is General Nguyen Ngoc Loan shooting a Viet Cong captured near a mass grave of civilian victims, a context lost on those for whom the picture was a mere weapon.
My friends, I’m not much of a theologian. I have my faith in God, but I struggle with it as any man might. One truth, however, I believe in totally and absolutely. Our world is a fallen world. While it is full of good things, good people, and pleasant times, such are always bounded by suffering, evil tyrants, and pain. There will be no utopia of man. Protesters out in the streets holding their signs “love wins” are delusional fools, or worse. Only God could ever make such a thing come to pass, and God is the one thing they hate the most.
Let me say it again: there will be no utopia of man. Not now. Not ever. Any man out there making such utopian claims ought to be dismissed as a liar, or committed to the asylum for treatment. It is an insane belief. Everything must begin with the assumption that men are flawed, sinful beings who will make terrible mistakes. We are no angels, and no angels may be found among us.
It is not as bad as folks might think, reading all that. There is good in man too, I’ve seen it. A spark of the divine. I don’t care what social “scientists” say about the falseness of free will. They will tell us all day that free will doesn’t exist; that choice is an illusion, that all is predetermined in probabilistic or even fatalistic fashion. We are passengers in our bodies, mere observers. No. I don’t believe this. Even if their data was true, even if every experiment they’ve conducted was accurate, they are making an assumption as to the nature of man. They assume that the flesh is all there is, and all that ever will be. That no part of us is greater; that there is no divine.
If such were true, morality would be irrelevant. Nothing would be anybody’s fault. If a man walked out and stabbed another in the face, that was fate. That was determined some billions of years ago in the Big Bang. There would be no agency, no purpose to existence. No, that too is a lie, or at least another assumption on the part of the scientists that they have all the answers; that no part of man is beyond their understanding. Fools, all of them.
That’s what it comes down to, dear readers. The tyrants are concerned only with power, the useful idiots are in their thrall because they want so badly to believe that they are smart, that they have the answers, a fiction the tyrants find useful to their cause. And then there are those of us who just don’t know. Maybe we’ve faith in something, maybe not. But in the tradition of Socrates, we know we are not wise. And what a difference that makes on a man’s outlook on life.
Do you know why I believe the free market is superior to a command economy? Because in a command economy, those doing the commanding think they have all the answers, and they damn well don’t. In a capitalist economy, it’s every man trying to figure out his own little corner of things, trying and often failing. Some eventually figure out what people want, what they need, and deliver it. It’s trial and error as much as anything, but that’s a branch of human knowledge that is given too little attention those days. Even within most companies, these days, it’s all about bureaucracy and five year plans; it’s an HR meeting about why making jokes is racist. Even what we consider to be nominal capitalism is, in fact, merely a different form of command economy; another set of technocrats playing at godhood.
Even the insults on social media reflect this. It’s all about being perceived as more intelligent and posturing as more moral. It’s all appearances and no substance, as if all of these people are frightened to death that people will pull the curtain back and everyone will know they are tyrants and morons. Even competitive victimization is now a thing, where people compete for social status by claiming they’ve suffered more than another. People in First World countries who do this need to be committed. While some RadFem is complaining that a man whistled at her on the subway, people die in job lots all over the world. Slavery proliferates. War rages on. Genocide is a fact of life for millions.
It is proof that such people can never be made happy. Even at the pinnacle of technological society, in the richest, most peaceful places in all of human history, they complain about perceived imperfections because even still, their utopia is not here. And idiots everywhere cater to their delusional fantasies in an effort to be seen as nice. In so doing, they are throwing away everything our forebears labored, fought, and died to create for us. Look at Venezuela for a glimpse at the future that might await us, should they hold on to the levers of culture, media, and political power.
I’m tired of nice, my friends. I’ve no use for it. Nice is why we are here; how we got to such lunacy. I don’t have all the answers, folks. I never did, and I never will. But one thing I know is true: since we live in a fallen world, the idea that we can nice-guy our way out of every problem is a category error. It cannot be. Anyone who demands this of us is either a tyrant, or one of their stooges, and deserves our contempt.
At least O’Brien tortured Winston terribly to break his mind, to force him to acknowledge untruths; to create in him a love of Big Brother. The nice guys today do so whenever someone accuses them of not being nice enough. They are like Peter, denying Christ, but never repenting of the denial, never realizing their own failure and moral cowardice.
To close, I offer this semi-famous quote from The Princess Bride:
“Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”
If you want to read a little more on what inspired this post, I suggest visiting Liberty’s Torch. Specifically, this: Nice-Guyism And Ethical Imperatives.
It’s been a crazy week, dear readers. I’ve overloaded myself with too many contracts again, and they are proving difficult to manage. Ah, but every extra dollar I make shrinks that mortgage balance. Soon I shall dispense with that last, and most mountainous of debts. And, naturally, I’ve been worrying over the troubles of my Texan friends and readers. Don’t misunderstand me, I knew that my Texans friends would survive this thing. They are a resourceful and independent-minded people. But things are going rough for them. Spare a prayer for them, and keep an eye out for your own people out there. They’ll probably need some help rebuilding.
Over the course of this week’s general craziness, I’ve been thinking rather deeply about this sudden upsurge in usage of the word “Nazi.” It’s everywhere. It’s headache-inducing. Without exception, now, I see the word “Nazi” in my social media feeds every single day. Witch hunts are approaching levels unseen since Salem. Flip on the TV, should you dare (I usually don’t), and you’ll see journalists insinuating that some Rightist is a secret Nazi or Klansmen. Many are even rather open with the charges. Some time ago I gave up defending myself against the charge. If a Leftist wants to compare me to them, then there is no reasoning with him.
But it did get me thinking. Why the sudden focus on Nazism? What is the root cause of this obsession?
In short, Nazism has been equated with Evil, and I use the capitalization here for a reason. You see, evil as a word has a rather specific (if sometimes difficult to quantify) definition: “profound immorality, wickedness, and depravity, especially when regarded as a supernatural force.”
But Evil, as conceived by Leftists, means something rather different. Let’s go back to history for a moment to understand why. The Third Reich was one of history’s most blatantly evil regimes. Between genocide, wars of world conquest, and notions of racial superiority, Nazism amassed quite a body count, and did so in a cold, almost industrialized manner. Nazis created what might be regarded as factories for death. Such cold efficiency of murder was new and terrifying, and it scarred the countries who witnessed it forever.
Those who witnessed first-hand the fruits of Nazism were horrified beyond our capacity to fully understand. To them, Nazism was the most pure strain of evil they had ever personally witnessed. Over time, it became synonymous with evil itself. When one conceived of evil, the first thing that came to mind was Nazism. Media of the post-war period reflected this. Nazis were the quintessential villains, both the spiritually evil pagans of Indiana Jones, and the comical drunk chimpanzee baddies of Hogan’s Heroes.
Somewhere along the way, America slowly came to forget that Nazism was merely one strain of evil among many. Soon, most villains were Nazis, even when not explicitly stated as such. In the recent Disney expansion of the Star Wars franchise, we see this illustrated:
Red banners, a shape vaguely reminiscent of the Swastika, the general dressed in black standing in front of throngs of banner-wielding stormtroopers; it is all very Nazi-esque. The Star Wars Empire already drew many parallels with Nazi Germany, but they were amped up to the eleven for The Force Awakens.
Less obvious parallels also exist, and are perhaps more common. In Star Trek: Beyond, we saw the villain as a sort of human supremacist. In something of an ironic twist, the villain was a portrayed by a black man. But the references to Nazi ideals of racial supremacy were obvious to any who cared to look. Star Trek: Into Darkness carried a similar theme, wherein the genetically-engineered Khan considered himself a representative of the superior race, a theme carried over both from The Wrath of Khan, and the original TOS episode, Space Seed.
Racial supremacy as the ultimate evil is an absurdly common theme in Hollywood today. And while that doesn’t bother me, per se (Star Trek II remains my favorite of the original movies), what does bother me is how synonymous evil has become with racial supremacy. Almost as if other forms of evil have been forgotten. Americans have forgotten the evils of censorship, the sort of mind-numbing gaslighting of Nineteen Eighty-Four. They have lost touch with the evil of the French Revolution, of unrestrained collective madness and murder-lust that, unlike Nazism, lacks a clearly defined target. The guillotines just fall, day-after-day, until the piles of skulls reach monstrous proportions. The evils of Stalin and Mao are swept aside. Their constant search for ideological purity (as distinct from Nazism’s focus on racial purity) even managed to exceed the body count of Nazism, which to my reckoning only reaches #3 on the most murderous regime list. They forget the rapine and murder of conquerors since the dawn of time, from Xerxes to Genghis Khan.
If there is any alternative to Nazi-esque evil in media and culture, it is Salem-esque Christian totalitarianism, such as The Handmaid’s Tale. At least Nazism was a real evil, a thing which actually did exist, and actually did threaten civilization. The imagined Christian theocracy has never existed outside of isolated villages. Even Salem was not so bad as they portray (though don’t sign me up for 17th century New England, please). No truly threatening Christian theocracy of such a sort ever existed, and only one Christian theocracy ever even managed any kind of real longevity at all, and that was the Byzantine Empire (edit: we may wish to add the Papal States and modern Vatican City to that list as well).
Byzantines, meanwhile, were nothing like The Handmaid’s Tale. Oh, they could be murderous and treacherous, when they wished to be. They killed each other in job lots over iconoclasm, so they were certainly capable of evil (one empress blinded and murdered her own son to take the throne). But Puritans? No. After all, the most famous Byzantine Empress, Theodora, spent her early life as a prostitute before catching the eye of Justinian. It was scandalous, even at the time, but it wasn’t that big of a deal. The sort of woman-hating, frigid, anti-sex Puritans were an exaggeration of an absurdly small minority of a Christians from a very specific time and place. And not even that long of a time, or that big of a place.
Today, we see the two more or less combined. The villains of The Handmaid’s Tale are not dissimilar from Nazis themselves, after all. One of the more bizarre accusations to be leveled against Donald Trump is that he is a Nazi theocrat, as if he is some kind of Puritan Hitler himself. Those who study the rise of Nazism know that Hitler was rather irreligious himself, and had a distaste for Christianity. Like Nietzsche, he regarded it as a religion of weaklings. Hence the almost quasi-pagan feel of Nazism, with its peculiar form of symbol-worship. Either way, the idea of Donald Trump as a theocrat is, itself, rather laughable.
Thing is, Evil, as conceived by the Left is Nazism. Or, more charitably, a combination of Nazism and a fanciful version of Puritanism. In such a way, the evils of Communism and other murderous regimes throughout history are, if not excused, then at least somewhat ignored, because they are not Nazism. The myth of Communism as good intentions that maybe didn’t work out so well in practice continues to hold sway to this day. Nobody believes “real Nazism has never been tried” or “the Nazis were just misguided.” So why are such excuses accepted for Communism?
In this way, the current obsession with Confederate statues is easy to explain. Besides being another two-minutes hate pushed by a complicit media, the Leftists are told that the Confederacy was Evil. And since Evil = Nazism, then the Confederacy must have been run by Nazis. And since the Confederacy was run by Nazis, those who fought for the Confederate side must have also been Nazis, thus Evil. Thus Robert E. Lee was a racial supremacist and a genocidal Nazi (and I’ve had a number of detractors try to argue with me that slavery is the same thing as genocide). Any attempt to explain to them that the Confederacy, despite its various evils, was not Nazi Germany is doomed to failure. Robert E. Lee was literally Hitler, so much so that a sports announcer of Asian descent who shared his name had to be taken off the air to avoid offending people, as if his name had been Adolf Hitler.
Meanwhile Mongolia can erect a 130 foot tall statue of Genghis Khan, who was quite the aficionado of mass murder and world conquest himself, without so much as a peep of protest from anybody. Did people forget his exploits? Or did they just fail to care because Genghis Khan was not a Nazi?
In this way, the Left has come to suspect all Christians of being neo-Puritans, and all white people of being neo-Nazis, because they don’t like Christians and white people (even when, paradoxically, the Leftist is white himself), and the easiest way to justify the hate is to label them as Evil. Evil, of course, is Nazism. Thus, in their quest to be seen as not-Evil, they must constantly virtue-signal how opposite of Nazis they really are. Nazis idolized a self-declared “Aryan race”, which Leftists have conflated with white people in general (hint: Hitler didn’t like the Slavs much more than the Jews), and so the Leftists have taken to hating white people and idolizing non-white people as superior, because it is, in their minds, as far from Nazism as one can possibly get.
A more unbiased observer might think that they have merely traded one form of supremacy for another, but that’s a conversation for another time.
The point is, as humans are occasionally wont to do, Leftists have come to see different as evil, in direct opposition to their claimed love of so-called diversity. And in their mind, their definition of evil is Nazism. Thus, all that is evil is Nazi. If this were a Venn Diagram, evil and Nazi would be the same circle. Puritanism would, perhaps, be a smaller circle entirely within the other two.
When us Rightists point out that Nazis were indeed evil, but we must be wary for other forms of evil, also, they see this as evidence of Nazism. To the Leftist there is no other form of evil. All evils must somehow stem from Nazism. When we say to watch for other evils, likewise, they hear something very different.
We say: “Nazism isn’t the only form of evil, but it is an evil. We should apply the same diligence we use to keep Nazism out of power to other ideologies like Islamism, Communism, and otherwise.”
They hear: “Nazism isn’t the only form of Nazism, but it is Nazism. We should apply the same diligence we use to keep Nazism out of power to other ideologies like the Religion of Peace, the Ideology of Fairness, and otherwise.”
It is nonsensical to them. In their minds, we are defending or excusing Nazism, and attacking belief systems that are good and righteous. Thus we must be thinly-disguised Nazis, and so Evil.
They are so wrapped up in their Nazi obsession, their constant witch hunts, that they fail to see how they are becoming an awful lot like the thing they hate. And they fail to see the absurdity of what actually passes for a Nazi these days.
Let’s get one thing clear: Nazis do not exist anymore. No, not even the Swastika-bearing Stormfronters are proper Nazis. They are more akin to Nazi LARPers, role-playing or reenacting an ideology that died a long time ago. Even if they suddenly multiplied by several orders of magnitude, and became a real threat, their ideology while still being evil, would not be actual Nazism, no matter what they may claim. Their evil is not Nazism. It’s like an absurd parody of Nazism. I mean, come on, Tiki Torches? They are the JV backbench of evil. And if they ever gained any measure of power, they would spend most of their time arguing who was whiter than thou while pretending they didn’t all have fetishes for Asian women.
Make no mistake, they are evil. But, again, evil is not coextensive with Nazism. Even though the Antifas are becoming a lot like the Nazis in some ways, they aren’t really Nazis either, though like the Stormfronters, they are evil. They, too, are a farcical form of evil. Unlike the Stormfronters, they have a measure of funding, media support, and popular support, which may make them a more prominent threat. And they are much larger, as a group. Quantity, of course, has a quality all of its own. Still, my suspicion is that if you put the Stormfronters and Antifas in a gladiator fight to the death, you would need two or three Antifas per Stormfronter to balance out the betting odds. Your mileage may vary.
Point is, Nazis don’t exist. They are dead. Other forms of evil exist, including one that has a sort of nostalgic love for the Nazis, and including another that claims to hate Nazis, but may be rather closer to them than the first group. We need to be vigilant for such evils whenever and wherever they may crop up. But when a man out there calls you a Nazi, he is merely demonstrating his ignorance, his conflation of evil with Nazism alone. He is showing you his utter lack of imagination and the brevity of his historical knowledge. He is also showing you that, for now at least, he is unreachable. You can’t reach him, you can’t convince him of anything, because you aren’t even speaking the same language.
Perhaps one day he will realize something is wrong with his worldview, and you can reach him then. But he has to figure that out for himself, because in his mind, the notion that evils might not be Nazi-related is not only akin to heresy or political wrongthink, it is quite literally not possible to say in his language. His form of NewSpeak does not allow the conception of the thought as anything but a vague category of political incorrectness, and to him this is a warning to stop thinking entirely.
Every good capitalist is on the look out for imbalances in the market, opportunities to earn a profit off of a thing that either the market lacks completely, or current businesses do very inefficiently and ineffectively. You can consider it a form of arbitrage.
Today’s politicians, media talking heads, celebrities and the like are moral capitalists, even though they are economic collectivists. That is to say their morality is a form of arbitrage, always for sale to the highest bidder, where each statement they issue is calculated to profit them personally.
Take Marco Rubio, who today issued a series of tweets condemning Donald Trump for suggesting that the Charlottesville attack, and other similar incidents between Antifa and White Supremacists, was equally the fault of both parties. Donald Trump’s position is that both are hate groups, and both are quick to resort to violence to further their political goals, and that putting them together like that was surely going to stir up violence.
Personally, I think Trump is somewhat understating the case. White supremacists are exceedingly rare, even if they’ve received a shot in the arm from SJWs harping on white people all the time (hint: that tends to manufacture more supremacists, not less). What happened in Virginia may very well represent peak white supremacism, the very most such groups are capable of. Antifa and militant Marxists, meanwhile, enjoy far greater support from media, financiers (oh, the irony), and society-at-large. Antifa dwarfs Klansman and Neo-Nazis. Militant Marxists are, by far, the greater threat currently.
But that being said, Trump did put his finger on the central point: both groups espouse violent ideologies that are incompatible with freedom.
Marco, meanwhile, in his own words, pins 100% of the blame onto the supremacists.
This argument is remarkably similar to Antifa and other Marxist groups saying that mean words justifies violence, that speech they don’t like justifies burning down cities and attacking people. It is okay for them to violently shut down anybody right-of-center on college campuses around the country, but it is not okay for anyone right-of-center to speak.
Marco is on a continuum with the SJWs on this matter. He concedes the central point, that violence is an acceptable response to speech deemed offensive. Yes, in the case of Neo-Nazis and Klansmen, the speech actually is offensive. But it is still speech. Until it isn’t, anyway.
But if you’re a regular reader of The Declination, you already know my position on freedom of speech, and how speech alone does not justify violence.
To be fair, a lot of people are saying this, though, so let’s analyze this a little differently. Why does Marco denounce the white supremacists so readily, yet lets militant Marxists off the hook? As a man of Cuban ancestry, he ought to be very familiar with the depredations and dangers of Marxists. Why is he so willing to assign them 0% of the blame?
There is moral arbitrage here. When some politician or celebrity denounces Neo-Nazis, Klansmen, and other assorted white supremacists, he is cheered. He is called stunning and brave. He is bashing the fash, taking a brave stand against the most evil ideology of man. In other words, he gets a huge moral bonus in the eyes of the media. It is easy to denounce white supremacists, who probably represent less than a tenth of a percent of the population. And it is profitable to do so, as well.
If it’s cheap and profitable, expect everyone to jump on the bandwagon. The explosion of Nazi denunciations is like the proliferation of those little fidget spinners that cost 10 cents to make and sell for $7.99 in every convenience store from here to Seattle. Everybody wants a slice of that action.
Meanwhile, taking a similar stand against Marxism is expensive. If a politician or celebrity stands up and denounces Marxism as a hateful, murderous ideology that is at least as evil as Nazism, he is often shot down. Real Marxism, of course, has never been tried. Real Marxism is a good theory, a good idea that maybe just hasn’t been implemented quite right. It’s morally true and righteous, and even if it has some problems, surely bashing the fash has to take precedence, right?
Except Marxism has a much higher share of the population. Marxism is celebrated openly on college campuses around the country. Marxists trash cities, riot, commit acts of violence with frightening regularity, and Marco assigns them 0% of the blame, because somewhere, there is an inbred Neo-Nazi off his meds tweeting from his mother’s basement.
Marco obtains a moral profit from denouncing white supremacism. He incurs a moral cost from denouncing Marxism. Playing the moral arbitrage for profit thus demands he pin the blame for political violence on only one participant. Then he is “stunning and brave” in the eyes of the body politic.
Marxists have been doing this as long as I’ve been alive. It is correctly seen as stupid and disgusting to wear an Adolf Hitler t-shirt. Yet somehow Che Guevara t-shirts are absurdly common. The Nazi swastika is correctly seen as a hate symbol, yet the Soviet hammer & sickle is given a pass. It is a historical tragedy that Communism was not discredited with the same vigor as Nazism was.
It is socially cheap to oppose Nazism. It is socially expensive to oppose Communism.
Donald Trump, whatever his other faults, possesses enough moral courage to speak the truth: both groups are hateful. And he paid the price for speaking that truth. Marco Rubio, meanwhile, lacks the stones, even though as descendant of Cubans, he ought to know better than most.
I’m very disappointed in him. I expect this from Democrats who have lacked moral courage as long as I’ve been alive, I even expect it from Republicans who have no history with Marxism. But I do not expect it from a Cuban Republican. Of all people, Marco, YOU should know better. Stop playing the moral arbitrage and speak honestly.
After all, even Donald Trump is showing more honesty and integrity than you are, right now.
Weaponized Empathy has long been a topic of discussion here. Today, let’s break down a very common use of it in private circles, in debates between regular folks on social media.
The tactic looks something like this:
Conservative: I believe in [insert policy here].
Progressive: Here is a sad story about someone (or even a hypothetical someone) who would be affected by the policy. Do you want this person to suffer?
Conservative: Well, no, of course not…
Progressive: Well then, you shouldn’t believe in [the policy]. It’s immoral.
This is an exceptionally low bar to clear for the Progressive. No matter what political positions a person might have, at least some people, somewhere, can be found who would be negatively affected by it. If, for instance, the tax code were simplified, the poor IRS agents auditing people with a microscope for violations of their arcane system might lose their jobs. Or, perhaps some poor person somewhere might end up with slightly less from the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Clearly the Conservative then wants poor people to starve, and IRS agents to be unable to feed their families. This is, of course, a rather blatant example, but read on for a more subtle and more powerful version of the argument.
Once a negative example is trotted out, the Progressive declares moral superiority and thus victory in the debate. Clearly he is more moral, because he wants to make sure nobody slips between the cracks, and everyone gets their fair share of… whatever.
A classic example can be found in this debate with Ron Paul, wherein the liberal moderator trots out a hypothetical person who has “a good job” but somehow has no money, decides not to buy a healthcare plan, has no existing government aid, can obtain no charitable aid, and possesses no friends willing to help him, and is experiencing an expensive health problem. What would happen, asks the liberal?
The absurdly unlikely (but theoretically possible) scenario is thus implied to be proof that we need government-managed universal healthcare.
Conservatives need to stop accepting this low bar as evidence of anything. Time after time, I’ve witnessed Conservatives argue these types of absurd positions by positing equally unlikely ways the free market or charity will cater to all such edge cases. Once dragged down to this position, victory is impossible. The best debaters may score a draw, edge case vs. edge case. Everyone else will lose, and the Progressive will trumpet his moral superiority over the evil, greedy Republican Uber-Nazis until he is blue in the face.
Ron Paul, being a very smart man and a doctor himself, argued this thing to a draw. I doubt many others could have pulled this off.
This is the wrong way to argue the point. It is, in fact, tacitly accepting that the Progressive’s position that the edge case means anything about national policy in the first place. Progressive policies, even if they are theoretically universal in scope, will also be subject to edge cases, as the Charlie Gard incident demonstrated. In fact, one essential truth about government micromanagement is that it is likely to result in more such edge cases, not less. Bureaucracies aren’t known for their intellectual flexibility. More people will fail to get the care they need, not less.
But even that isn’t quite the right way to argue the point. Leftism is demanding a sort of universalism that simply isn’t possible in any human institution. And, invariably, when the institution falls short of universal perfection, it is excoriated by the Left and used as justification for giving them (as in the Progressives themselves) more power under the excuse that they are morally superior. It is nothing more than a blatant power grab, thinly disguised as a moral argument.
This must be challenged immediately in any debate with them that goes down the edge case path. “Are you demanding perfection? That every single person receive 100% of all needed care? If so, you are a lunatic. Hard cases make bad law.”
This moves the bar up a notch. Now the Progressive must demonstrate that his system is better at a meta level, not just an individual hard case level. Weaponized Empathy can still be deployed at higher levels, but this is generally much more difficult, especially given the fact that Socialism generally produces very poor results when taken as a whole. However, expect the next rung on the Progressive argument ladder to be something along the lines of “well, Nordic Socialism is just great.”
More on that argument later.