Unless you’ve been living under a very impressive rock – like a bad Brendan Fraser movie about people stuck in a bunker for decades – you know about this George Lloyd business. I’ve seen the video. If you haven’t, you should do so. It is pretty incriminating for the officers involved. I’ve never been much of a thin blue line kind of guy, but I definitely check out here. I know two very good friends who have been screwed over by exceptionally bad police overreach. Francis, over at Bastion of Liberty, surely knows one of them – he is a friend we have in common.
Police petty tyranny has been growing worse in recent years, and we add to that a certain tendency of some urban police departments to engage in soldier-LARPing behavior, well the problem only gets worse. Add to that the condition of various inner-city black communities, the current political climate of race-baiting social justice activism, and the fact that COVID-19 lockdowns have surely driven people mad with boredom and lack of social contact, and you have a perfect storm for this rioting behavior.
It’s hard to blame it on any one thing, save that the poor behavior of the officers in question surely struck a match and stuck it firmly in a powder keg of epic proportions. Personally, I am exhausted of this repeating cycle, which has been a thing since at least the early 90s and the Rodney King riots. Questionable police behavior (sometimes not really so bad, and other times absolutely inexcusably idiotic) leads to racial animus, which results in barbaric looting behavior. We’re all spiraling toward a singularity of stupid, the gravity pulling us deep into a descending orbit, too strong for any of us to escape.
Political rhetoric has become absolutely poisonous. Sure, it was bad in 2016, but this year it grows worse, and I grow weary of it. Every discussion even coming anywhere near a political point is liable to turn into a land mine. Friendships are breaking. Families are cracking. America is burning and creaking at the seams. I don’t know how much longer this dysfunctional system is going to continue to limp along. We may be witnessing its slow death. Or maybe we’ll bounce back again, and our country will be undone at some unspecified point in the future. It’s hard to say.
With the election approaching, I think it’s only going to get worse.
Sadly, I think underneath all the nuclear-level rhetoric, the unleashed ids, the emotional appeals and post-hoc rationalization, both sides of the American political spectrum are clutching a piece of the truth. I’m not sure how many people want to hear that, but I’ve become convinced that it is true. I posted the following summary on Twitter earlier:
- In general, policing has gone very bad in many ways.
- Black communities in most major cities suck.
- At least some of the suck is self-inflicted.
- I despair of any of that changing in the near future.
- We’ll be here again. And again
- Racial profiling is almost certainly a thing.
- It is not without some rational basis.
- Both facts poison interactions between cops and blacks.
- White liberal race-baiting doesn’t help.
- Neither does ‘thin blue line’ garbage.
- No political faction wants to tell the whole truth because it will piss off constituents who don’t want to hear it.
- Both major factions possess at least some components of the truth.
- I feel like some character in Battlestar Galactica. “All of this has happened before.”
The black communities in most major cities are littered with problems. Violence, crime rates, economic depression – you name it. Rightists are right about that. Leftists want to blame white racism, but that doesn’t hold up to investigation. Surely, even if Leftists believe racism to still be bad even they must acknowledge that it is far less bad than, say, the Jim Crow era. Why do these problems continue? Why do we see so little progress? I was rereading Larry Elder’s Ten Things You Can’t Say in America today after a debate with a Leftist on this subject, and it struck me how little had changed since then on matters of race, saving that acrimony continues to worsen. The same issues from 20 years ago are little changed today. What gives?
Police officers know this as well as anyone. Let’s be real, they certainly do racially profile (the Left is right about this); stereotypes about violent crime have a basis in fact, and cops know it. And, from the other direction, blacks certainly are inclined to see cops as the enemy, the attitude leaks into police interactions all the time. Combine those two factors, and the chances of an interaction going bad increase dramatically. And when that happens, prepare for protests that, likewise escalate in severity. Riots, looting, mob interactions – all intermingling with the still-peaceful (but emotional and crazy) main element – while the cops either stay on the sidelines as Rome burns, or escalate the situation even more themselves.
In some ways, it almost doesn’t matter that this particular policing incident really was bad. If it had been a legitimate death, it still had the potential to flare up into what we have today. We are at the point that any police interaction with the black community has the potential of blowing up into a national orgy of combined protest-riots. This one is the worst I’ve seen in my lifetime. There is a protest scheduled down the street from where I live tomorrow – it is likely they won’t bother my neighborhood (it is known that a lot of military folks live around here), but even the potential is strange to me. There were burnings and lootings all over Tampa Bay, especially in the University Mall/Temple Terrace area.
Tampa is not exactly a city known for rioting behavior. I cannot imagine how bad it must be in other major cities.
And we’re not even halfway through 2020 yet. The election looms over us, while the COVID-19 pandemic continues (and may be exacerbated by the riots – we don’t know yet), and political rhetoric has reached levels that make 2016 look like a picnic in the park. We may solve the police overreach issue – though I really doubt it, now – but the broader issue about any police interaction with the black community potentially triggering national riots remains no matter what might be done about that. I think we’re well beyond the ability to solve this in any constructive manner.
I’d like to be wrong. I’d like for someone to pour some water on this fire, to rein in police overreach, to deal with qualified immunity, poor recruiting, travesties like civil asset forfeiture, etc… I’d also like to take us back from 5 minutes until midnight on the racial rioting clock. But I doubt either will happen anytime soon.
Like I said, I feel like it’s an episode of Battlestar Galactica, and I’m reciting the catchphrase. All of this has happened before and all of this will happen again. Again. Again. Again…
So I’m mostly back from my self-imposed ascetic period. I needed some time to clear my head, and politics certainly has a way of muddying the religious waters. But I feel that I can safely return to my long-winded screeds and overly-involved fisks. And my friends, we have a whopper today. In fact, this is not just a fisk, it is a comparison of two viewpoints, one interesting and one a well-spun lie. Before we get into it, I have this observation for you:
One of the more penetrating questions to a liberal is “when is my duty satisfied?” It lacks the grounding necessary to recognize a success condition. It embraces its own form of original sin, but lacks the redemption method.
Think carefully on this. Leftists generally like to, for example, push taxes higher. What rate of taxation is enough, after which they must better allocate the funds instead of asking for more? With respect to racial grievances, how many affirmative action programs, how much money, how much tireless media spin is necessary before we can say that we have satisfied the duty they ask of us? What level of involvement in Social Justice programs is enough that, when satisfied, the person can proudly state that he is not racist/sexist/whatever?
If you cheat and look in the back of the book, so to speak, you will find that the answer is nothing. Nothing will satisfy them. Nothing is ever enough. Unlike Christianity, the original sin of Liberalism can never be expunged. There is no redemption, racist.
Don’t believe me? Let’s fisk some of this.
The New York Times bestselling author of White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism sat down with Teaching Tolerance to discuss why working against one’s own fragility is a necessary part of white anti-racist work—and why good intentions don’t matter.
And later in the article she expands on this:
I think intentions are irrelevant. It’s nice to know you had good intentions, but the impact of what you did was harmful. And we need to let go of our intentions and attend to the impact, to focus on that.
Intentions don’t matter. That’s a good place to start, and by itself explains a great deal about Progressive political thought. In a criminal case, intentions do matter. If you intend to kill someone, that is murder, and it is worse than killing someone by accident, which may be manslaughter or negligent homicide, or some other thing. Or, if the other person intended to harm you, your killing him in turn may be justified. Intentions surely do matter. What happens in the physical world also matters, of course, but to say good intentions don’t matter is already a lie.
Well, when I coined [white fragility], the fragility part was meant to capture how little it takes to upset white people racially. For a lot of white people, the mere suggestion that being white has meaning will cause great umbrage. Certainly generalizing about white people will. Right now, me saying “white people,” as if our race had meaning, and as if I could know anything about somebody just because they’re white, will cause a lot of white people to erupt in defensiveness. And I think of it as a kind of weaponized defensiveness. Weaponized tears. Weaponized hurt feelings. And in that way, I think white fragility actually functions as a kind of white racial bullying.
Fascinatingly enough, the author tells us that white fragility is actually a form of Weaponized Empathy, in so many words. It’s interesting to note this because this is a very clear form of projection. I’ve delved a lot into Weaponized Empathy as a concept here at The Declination. I am certainly one of the originators of the term. And so it is quite fascinating to see the author of this book, and the responses in this article, using a very similar phrasing. If a white person is defensive he is, by her own words, a kind of racial bully. The tears are offensive weapons. The hurt feelings are offensive weapons. But let’s explore a little more here.
We white people make it so difficult for people of color to talk to us about our inevitable—but often unaware—racist patterns and assumptions that, most of the time, they don’t. People of color working and living in primarily white environments take home way more daily indignities and slights and microaggressions than they bother talking to us about because their experience consistently is that it’s not going to go well. In fact, they’re going to risk more punishment, not less. They’re going to now have to take care of the white person’s upset feelings. They’re going to be seen as a troublemaker. The white person is going to withdraw, defend, explain, insist it had to have been a misunderstanding.
If you make an accusation, the accused gets to have his own say in the matter. Justice is not one person making an accusation, and everyone else immediately agreeing with him and not giving the accused an opportunity to defend himself. If I make an accusation, I expect the accused to defend himself. This applies even when I know he’s in the wrong! The author implies that a person defending himself, explaining his actions, and suggesting whatever happened was a misunderstanding is not engaging in acceptable behavior. Only admission of guilt is acceptable. But let’s continue.
There’s a question that’s never failed me in this work to uncover how racism keeps reproducing itself despite all of the evidence we like to give for why it couldn’t be us. And that question isn’t, “Is this true or is this false: Was the person’s intention good or not?” We’re never going to be able to come to an agreement on intentions. You cannot prove somebody’s intentions. They might not even know their intentions. And if they weren’t good, they’re probably not going to admit that. The question I ask is, “How does this function?” The impact of the action is what is relevant.
There is an interesting omission here. Do you see it? We don’t know a person’s intentions with certainty, that is true, though this has not stopped legal proceedings from finding evidence for a motive, and for ruling on such cases. However, note that the defender’s testimony is dismissed as irrelevant because intentions cannot be proven, but thus far in the article, we have not once made similar questions of the accuser’s motives! This is extremely important, because the demand for racist activity far outstrips the supply. This is why we have seen so many hate crime hoaxes of late, including the very public Jussie Smollett affair, but also lesser “crimes” like the Mizzou poop swastika, the receipt with vague racist crap scribbled on it, and others.
A person who claims to be a victim of such an affair is, like the receipt faker, often doing it for social media attention. Posts of sympathy are many. A person makes the evening news, and maybe boosts his failing career. The media eats these affairs up! It’s crack cocaine to a journalist, and people know this. But the author of this piece doesn’t even mention the possibility of a false accusation, and hammers homes a focus on the accused.
Foundationally [we] have to change our idea of what it means to be racist. As long as you define a racist as an individual who intentionally is mean, based on race, you’re going to feel defensive. When I say you’ve been shaped by a racist system—that it is inevitable that you have racist biases and patterns and investments—you’re going to feel offended by that. You will hear it as a comment on your moral character. You’re going to feel offended by that if you don’t change how you’re interpreting what I just said. And I would actually agree with anyone who felt offended when I say, “It is inevitable that you are racist,” if their definition of a racist is someone who means harm.
Note the first sentence. We need to change our idea (the definition) of what the word means. Here we see Progressive thought laid bare: we change the definition of a word or concept. The author is not just admitting that they do this, she is demanding that we be complicit in this change. Note the dictionary definition:
Racism: prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.
Note the word “directed” used here. This implies intent, especially when combined with “based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.” So to be a racist, you must believe in the superiority of your own race, and direct some form of antagonism or discrimination intentionally toward a person of another race. The author is telling us to change this definition so that her entire book makes sense, because otherwise it’s a form of meaningless nonsense. For her position to be internally coherent we must change the meaning of our own language. She’s telling you this, straight up!
Change how you understand what it means to be racist, and then act on that understanding. Because if you change your understanding, but you don’t do anything different, then you’re colluding.
And now comes the threat. Change the definition, or you’re a traitor/colluder/heretic/whatever. Distilled to its most simplistic form, obey me, or I will call you a mean name. Now many Rightists will scoff and laugh at this. Don’t. Leftists use this tactic because it works on at least some people. Here’s the real weaponization. Obey, or I will apply social peer pressure to you, racist.
In fact, white people measure the value of our schools and neighborhoods by the absence of people of color.
I know exactly what a “good” school is, and I know what we’re talking about. We all know what we’re talking about when we say “good school” versus “bad school.” We use race to measure those things. And now, you take the product of that conditioning, that segregation, that narrow story, and you put that teacher in a position to socialize everyone’s children—and that is a critical piece of [the] school-to-prison pipeline.
The first portion of this bit is actually correct, to at least some degree. Let’s be more specific, however. She uses the term “people of color”, but this doesn’t really work. There are few people bothered by the presence of, say, some Japanese kids or something. Is anybody really worrying about Chinese kids, or Cuban kids? It’s not “people of color” folks worry about (and note that said Japanese, Cuban, and Chinese kids are just as worried as the white kids, if not much more so). It’s much more specific than that. It’s mostly blacks that people worry about. That is the elephant in the room here, that has both Conservatives and Liberals tied up in politically-correct tongue twisters like “people of color” and such, because they can obfuscate the truth behind the idea that people are running in fear from Chinatown or something.
Why is that? Racism? Jim Crow? Or is it rational behavior?
The statistics on black crime are staggeringly bad. And here I am using a source, The Prison Policy Initiative, that is not friendly to my political views (intentionally). People of all races – blacks included – know this. They see first-hand, in many cases, how bad majority-black schools really are. Has the author ever been to Detroit? Washington DC (outside the nice parts)? There is a wealthy black family in my neighborhood. I was told, in polite language, that they left the ghetto they grew up in for good reason. Deep down, blacks know this is true. This is after spending in Detroit schools was elevated to near the highest spending per student in the country. The supposed-racists threw a lot of money at this problem. I suppose they are still guilty, though, right?
Either the statistics are true, and blacks commit crimes at a much higher per-capita rate than any other ethnicity in America, or a lot of people are being falsely convicted. As in most of them. The latter is not very likely. Now, argue all you want on why these things are true. But do not spin this as a “people of color” thing when it clearly isn’t. It is much more specific than that. Tell me, how many of you – even Liberals who found their way here to drop me some hate mail – want to live in a majority-black neighborhood in Detroit?
I don’t call myself a white ally. I’m involved in anti-racist work, but I don’t call myself an anti-racist white. And that’s because that is for people of color to decide, whether in any given moment I’m behaving in anti-racist ways. And notice that that keeps me accountable. It’s for them to determine if in any given moment—it’s not a fixed location—I haven’t made it or arrived. …
Again she tells us that only the accuser’s perspective matters. This is a recipe for complete submission.
Read the rest if you like. But now let’s compare to another piece, this one recommended by Fr. Brendon Laroche. The title is instructive: Liberalism Is Failing Because It Rejected Orthodox Christianity. This piece is a reflection on a book The Lost History of Liberalism. Full disclosure, I have not read this book, I have only read the rebuttal. But that in itself is interesting enough. Let’s begin.
A similar sense of gloom hovers over Helena Rosenblatt’s recent book, The Lost History of Liberalism. Rosenblatt presents her work as a history of those who have called themselves liberal through the centuries. More accurately described, however, it is her attempt to redefine liberalism’s founding in order to rescue it from the worrisome future toward which it seems to be headed. Liberalism was founded on commitments to duty, patriotism, self-sacrifice, and the other virtues that guide humanity’s use of freedom, she notes. But contemporary liberals are trading their birthright for an untenable pottage of rights talk and anarchic freedom that lacks solid grounding.
Rosenblatt foresees disaster at the end of that path, and her book is a call from within the liberal tradition to turn back. That alone is worth a cheer.
Indeed, I do welcome liberals who are willing to point out the flaws in liberalism to talk. There are flaws in conservatism, Libertarianism, and other Right-ish beliefs. I will readily admit them. Indeed, a friend of mine who is more Rightist than I am (he absolutely knows who he is) has frequently pointed out where I and others become too tribal in Rightist thinking. Certainly, it has irritated me on occasion, but he is correct to do this. That is Proverbs 27:17 at work. Also, Tom Kratman has frequently challenged my foundations as well, something I do appreciate quite sincerely. And so I do understand that it takes a certain measure to critique your own belief systems at this level. Let’s continue.
Rosenblatt’s central claim, however, is that the word “liberalism” has a strong historical connection to moral virtue. Although virtue has fallen into obscurity in contemporary liberalism, Rosenblatt argues that it needs to be recovered because it is essential to the liberal project.
I am not so certain of this. The idea of the Classical Liberal is a more Rightish thing. But again, I haven’t read her book, so I would need to see the claim in more specificity, and certainly the terms have been muddied and poorly-defined for some time, now. Nonetheless there is some kind of truth to this in the more modern sense. Liberals today are quite obsessed with signalling moral virtue. So it is possible their thought-lineage originates from a place where the moral virtue was more than just a mere signalling of tribal membership and a sort of assumed humility contest. Perhaps over time, the real moral virtue was replaced with the false one. It’s plausible, at least.
There follows a lot of exposition and rebuttals of Rosenblatt’s claim, which I will skip over for purposes of this post, but do give it a read. It is important.
Continental liberals believed that republican self-rule required the people to be educated in moral and civic virtue. In fact, at least in the early years, they seem to have agreed on little else. For many years, liberalism in France and Germany was a grab bag of political projects and policies. Still, these liberals always shared a commitment to republican forms of government founded on a civic virtue inculcated in the populace. They distrusted or even opposed pure democracy as little more than mob rule (although they recognized, especially thanks to Tocqueville, the inevitability of democracy’s rise). Only virtuous citizens, they reasoned, could navigate between the extremes of reactionary royalism and radical democratic revolution. A combination of democratic institutions with the more aristocratic emphasis on virtue would ennoble democracy and prevent the return of the exhausted ancien régime.
But how are citizens to be fitted with the virtue that republican government requires? This question brings us to the second important contribution of this book, and its most curious feature. Liberals concluded that the answer to this question was religion—Christianity, to be specific. Not the Christianity of the Catholic Church, which liberals regarded as the problem; and not the Christianity of orthodox Protestants, either: they, too, had often sided against democratic forces during the French Revolution. Early liberals needed a new theology for the new man at the dawn of a new age.
Here it is worth pausing to note what happened. Titanic figures in liberalism’s history, such as Benjamin Constant, explicitly asserted that liberal forms of government would stand or fall on the success of religion’s moralizing force. For liberalism, religion became good because of its usefulness for politics and not because of its truth. Liberalism instrumentalized religion, subverting it to “higher” political purposes.
Here is where things get interesting. Note that at the end we are given the idea, by the author of the article, that Liberalism used religion in a cynical manner. Voltaire famously encapsulated this with his quotation: “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.” The full text of the verse it appears in is below:
If the heavens, stripped of his noble imprint,
Could ever cease to attest to his being,
If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.
Let the wise man announce him and kings fear him.
Kings, if you oppress me, if your eminencies disdain
The tears of the innocent that you cause to flow,
My avenger is in the heavens: learn to tremble.
Such, at least, is the fruit of a useful creed.
Such, at least, is the fruit of a useful creed. If we account him a Liberal – and I’m not sure that makes sense in a modern context, but let’s provisionally entertain the idea that Liberal thought-lineage descended from something like this for a moment – this would mean that Liberalism found Christianity useful, possibly irrespective of whether or not it was true. Why is that? And, more interestingly, why would modern Liberals abandon this notion and, quite frequently, scoff at the “stupid Sky Wizard believers” and their antiquated, and potentially racist notions?
I wonder – and this is personal speculation – if it isn’t because Christianity posits that God knows your heart. He knows if your charity is sincere, or if it is for personal status signalling. He knows your intentions. If the author of the White Fragility piece believed in a neutral arbiter who knew your heart, your true intentions, that would change things, wouldn’t it? If her intentions are bad, God knows! And if the accused racist had good intentions, He knows that too! The avenger in the heavens, as Voltaire phrased it, is ready to deliver his righteous fury.
Consider the possibility that belief in God restrained Liberals from doing too much “good” in the name of moral virtue, and shamed those who “sounded the trumpets before them” as in Matthew 6:2. A useful creed indeed!
Rosenblatt’s discernment of this remarkable turn may be the most valuable contribution of the book, yet she does not emphasize it. In fact, she discusses liberalism’s treatment of religion in bits and pieces, scattered throughout the text for the reader to assemble for herself. The upshot of these disconnected observations is that one of liberalism’s greatest successes was to domesticate Christianity, very cleverly, to make it safe for liberal politics. Instead of violently confronting Christian believers, or co-opting Christian figures (tactics that had been tried throughout history by Roman emperors, medieval kings, Enlightenment democrats, and countless others), liberalism colonized Christianity itself.
Bingo! I don’t know that modern Christianity’s essence would be all that recognizable to Christians a thousand years ago because of this colonization. Certainly many of the rituals and catechisms would be recognizable. In fact, as I study Catholicism I am surprised by how little has changed, in that respect. But step outside the trappings of the faith for a moment and look at it from a cultural perspective.
I read a piece many years ago which I tried very hard to find today, but failed. Nonetheless, perhaps a reader of mine may have more success. It was about a historian studying the Black Madonna in France. He discussed the Christianity that created it. How Christ as a baby was wise, but harsh. This wasn’t a happy child, this was the child with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Madonna was a hard woman, focused. Brave. The culture of the time was forged in dirt, grime, and war. Their Christianity was illiberal. The Madonna of later periods was soft, the baby Jesus more child-like (though never fully so). The resilience and hardness was lost. In the end, the historian, who had been contemplating conversion to Catholicism, decided he did not care much for the softer modern church, though he noted the older church might have won him over.
I don’t know how true it really is, as it was one man’s anecdote (though the style changes of the Madonna over time lends itself somewhat to his position) and in this portion I am rambling a bit. But again, it strikes me as plausible that the form of nascent Liberalism present during the Enlightenment did indeed colonize Christianity, and to some extent change its essence in some fashion.
But one group of liberals deliberately set out to remake Christianity from within by developing a radical, new theology, new interpretations of scripture, new publications, and new churches. They succeeded remarkably in gaining adherents. Instead of trying to convert people overnight from Catholicism or orthodox Protestantism to secular humanism and its “pure light of reason” (as French historian Edgar Quinet called it), political liberals used liberal Protestantism as a halfway point from which to pry Christians away from dogma.
Now I don’t know how much of this occurred in Voltaire’s time, but this is definitely true of modern Liberalism, which has overridden tradition and dogma in many churches, including some particularly noteworthy examples like openly gay bishops and pro-abortion views from some churches (here’s an example).
The novelty of the liberal approach was the way it changed the Church from within, via its theology. Today’s young Christians practice what sociologist Christian Smith has described as “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism,” a faith whose history stretches back to the French and German thinkers of the early liberal movement. They developed a new method to bring Christianity to heel and shore up liberal politics, simultaneously.
I’ve spoken on this matter before. Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is a very watered down descendant of Christianity, though not really a form of Christianity itself. Consider it as an intermediate stage between fedora-equipped “brights” and skin-suited churches like the mainline Episcopalians.
They retained the parts of Christianity that spurred people to improve themselves and inculcate civic virtues, but sheared off the strong doctrinal claims that divided society and relativized the state’s authority. They wanted a religion that fitted their practical, political aims. The German Johann Semler coined the term “liberal theology” in 1774 to describe a way of reading the Bible that persuaded him (and other scholars) that Christianity’s core was moral, not dogmatic.
Here is where this piece connects to the first fisk. You see, from dogma – and my instruction in Catholicism – I have clearly-outlined duties, and there are clearly-outlined consequences for failing in them. There is a success condition, and repentance, and forgiveness. Modern Liberalism lacks all of these mechanisms. The White Fragility author talks of microaggressions as if they were grave offenses. Why? Because she lacks a success condition. She must always find new and ever more granular expressions of racism, because she has no defined success condition, nor does she appear to desire one (consciously, anyway).
The accused are guilty, and they are always guilty, and they can never not be guilty. There is no forgiveness. Repentance doesn’t matter, because your intentions don’t matter. Her desired definition for racism is, in effect, Original Sin, except lacking all of the dogmatic success conditions upon which your sins can be forgiven, and you can be made whole. She wants to define the word racism this way. But you can find similar arguments on sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc…
There is no set of duties to absolve you of the guilt. The guilt is forever, and constant, and neither your intentions (which are dismissed as irrelevant) nor your actions (you’re still subconsciously racist) absolve you.
What was designed as a political-theological project to modernize religion and moderate democratic politics has proven to be exceedingly fragile. The liberal political settlement is rapidly fraying, and its theological component has collapsed.
One can easily sympathize with Rosenblatt’s anxiety over the future of the liberal project, which once seemed so promising. However, because she overlooks the most important implications of her work, she misdiagnoses the root cause of the failure of liberalism: its rejection of the kind of Christianity on which it depends. From its earliest days, some of its strongest proponents have recognized that liberalism on its own lacks the resources to form the kind of citizens it requires.
Voltaire was wise enough to understand that, whatever his belief system really was at its core, he still needed God at some level. Humanity still needed God. Nietzsche told us that God was dead, and by implication, that it was the Enlightenment that killed Him. For one, I believe God is still there, but even independent of that thought, the first wave of the Enlightenment did not try such a deed. That was for the successors in the Liberal tradition to attempt.
And where they have succeeded, where they have stripped away the divine, removed dogma, and destroyed the success conditions upon our moral duties, they have left us with only an invented moral preening, a virtue signalling so bereft of meaning and utility it must openly rewrite our very own language to disguise its nature as futile nonsense. It features no redemption, no hope of success. Ray Bradbury warned us of the Autumn People, that they would “frenzy forth”, and now I take his meaning. They have no purpose but to signal their status, but in this they whip themselves into a frenzy. Cut those racist dreadlocks, white boy. You are guilty. We need no trial, no defense. Only the accusation ever mattered, and even there, the intent is meaningless.
One SJW explained that Elon Musk was a racist because he launched his car into space and didn’t spend the money on Flint’s water supply, as if it was his duty to attend to such matters, and not that of another, like say the duly elected government charged with the job. Why could she make such an absurd claim, and why would it stick with many Lefties? Because they have no success condition, no list of moral duties, nothing to benchmark anything against. Only accusations, which are proof of guilt, matter at all.
You, dear reader, did you donate all of your wealth to some Liberal political cause? No? You are guilty! All it takes is one accusation!
Sound your moral trumpets before you, for surely you are holier than thou, yes?
Ask a modern Liberal: “what duties must I fulfill, upon which I may be judged as having satisfied my moral responsibility?” Most will respond with vague platitudes. Save the world from Climate Change (I can’t do this, supposing their notion of what this means is even true), end racism (they told me this can categorically never happen), etc, etc… Their lack of dogma leads them to wander a twisted moral landscape with no compass, no grounding, until they are spouting absurdities about tri-gender gay 3 year olds, because somebody, somewhere, accused someone who was against it of unforgivable sin. Remember, only the accusation matters.
Liberalism disconnected with Christianity over time. And the more it did so, the more it lost that grounding. Almost none of it remains today. As such, we are all sinners – that is the one point which survived the ideological culling – but there is no redemption to be had. The guilt is forever, racist.
The misery of such an existence is hard to fathom. For the first time in a long time, I almost pity them.
At times, I talk with my wife about Communism, the Cold War, and the like. She is generally uninterested in politics save for the fact that, as a daughter of Cuban exiles, she has an instinctive loathing for Communism. When I talk with her about these things, though, they are always personal. Her family suffered under the Castro regime, and that is enough to prove to her that the Communists are on the side of evil. No further analysis is really required for her. Another acquaintance of mine is a woman of Vietnamese descent. Her opinions of Communism are likewise informed by the experiences of family during the fall of South Vietnam and the long course of the war which preceded it.
America defeated the Soviet Union through near-Herculean economic and technological feats, while the Soviets destroyed themselves utterly trying to push their flagging, hobbled economy to keep up with us, with the boat anchor of Socialism holding it back all the while. Yet already, most of the world was Socialist or at least leaned that way to some degree. Socialism continues to gain ground. The rats of world Socialism bailed from the sinking Soviet Titanic, but did not die. My wife cannot go to Cuba, my friend cannot go to Vietnam. And though the Berlin Wall fell, it’s questionable if the long term future of Germany is improved with millions of migrants instead of Stasi secret policemen.
Movement toward Socialism is one-way and inexorable everywhere. Once a Socialist policy is implemented, getting rid of it is a Herculean feat. I remember when Bush II floated the trial balloon of allowing workers to contribute to private investment accounts in lieu of Social Security. That lasted all of about 5 minutes. The outcry could probably be heard from orbit. Obamacare is still around, despite Trump’s best efforts (at least the tax mandate is gone, though). Look at socialist programs around the West. Once passed, they never die. Its partisans will fight to the death. Its opponents presumably have better things to do.
Earlier today, I was reading a little about the fall of Saigon and the final days of South Vietnam, and it is fascinating to see how fast the South fell apart. Kill nearly a million Socialists and somehow more sprout up from the ground. One gets the feeling that America was simply exhausted at a moral level as much as anything else. Imagine fighting Communists in the bush for years on end, only to watch Jane Fonda do her little puff piece act, and watch popular support evaporate like a fart in a hurricane.
Socialists are good at hacking the human emotional landscape, so to speak. As I stated in an earlier post, the nature of this moral argument stems from a misinterpretation of the Golden Rule, or alternatively, from the optimum play strategy in Game Theory. In the first round, you ought to Keep Faith, in the hopes that your opponent will do likewise, and you may both benefit. If this fails, you should Betray in the next round, to teach the other a lesson, and to avoid being a sucker. Treat the other person how you would like to be treated and all that. However, this has a deeper implication. If the other person hits betray, then it is assumed he likewise treated you as he wished to be treated. So now we play the game by his rules: betray, betray, betray.
Socialists reset the game with each transaction, however. The moral trick of the political Left is to consider every action in a moral vacuum. Keep Faith this time, the Leftist says. And when the betrayal happens, ignore it and reset the game. Keep Faith again, and again, and again… until they march into your headquarters and finally tell it to you straight: “There is no question of your transferring power. Your power has crumbled. You cannot give up what you do not have.”
By doing this, Socialists will win any moral argument. If, for instance, they provide a picture of a poor Syrian child, and say “how could you possibly turn away this poor innocent child,” hordes of people will lose their resolve and agree to allowing millions of migrants to go wherever they please without resistance. The Syrian child doesn’t exist in a moral vacuum. You’ve been betrayed, and the Left reset the game again. Same with illegal immigration in the United States. In debates with Leftists, I have seen them refer to the conditions illegals in our custody live in as worse than Nazi concentration camps. Who believes this? And yet they will defend the point with a thousand rationalizations, and then demand we Keep Faith again because clearly we’re horrible, and the poor innocent kids need us to keep the faith.
If we do, another few million will cross the border. They hit Betray, just as they did to Reagan after amnesty. Again and again.
Socialists are relentless in their political fighting. They are like political Terminators. They do not stop until the whole world is Socialist. For them no lie is too great, nor is any murder too evil, if truth and life stand in the way of Socialism. And once they dig their claws into a place, getting rid of them is a Herculean effort. The Cold War and the defeat of the USSR was, perhaps, the greatest achievement America ever accomplished, and even that was not enough. Socialism continues its long march through the institutions.
My Cuban in-laws lament that, when America falls – as they think it probably will soon – that will be it. America was the last place for them to go and be free. If America falls into Socialism, the rest of the world is sure to follow. I’ve long suspected that fear of America is all that kept many places from openly embracing it, in full rather than in part. Meanwhile, within our borders, the disease festers and grows. I remember Bill Kristol extolling how he was embracing his Socialist side in the wake of Donald Trump’s election. Even the nominal Right has been infected by it.
In a conversation with Sarah Hoyt some years ago, I remember her telling me that she was infected, to some degree, by Marxist thinking. That we all were, myself included. We were raised in it, like a fish in water. It’s in academia, media, culture, and even lower education. The simple moral reset is a sort of brain hack – where otherwise intelligent individuals are somehow stymied from critical thinking by the right picture, the sob story media puff piece, the Palestinian actors (some who forget to stop moving in their body bags when the cameras pan over them).
The gullibility of regular folks, unable to parse that an unpleasant act in the immediate moment may indeed be the correct answer to a moral quandary in the same way medical triage prioritizes some patients over others, enables the Socialists to continue forward, their opposition caught in a Kafka trap. The Socialists are pushing through the ARVN again and again, melting resistance like a hot knife through ideological butter. Donald Trump’s election was indeed a great reversal for them, but that bought us 4 years? Maybe 8?
And 2 of them are already up.
Folks, I don’t know that America has another Hail Mary pass in her like the one we pulled in 2016. I want to believe it does, but damnit… people need to get over this moral trap bullshit. It’s followed us from French Indochina to the steps of the White House. It has pushed from Havana to Miami. Where it was booted out of Moscow, it has taken root throughout the Eurozone. And one wonders if Putin himself desires to resurrect the Soviet corpse. Even in Chile, the land of Pinochetian helicopters, Pinochet has now become reviled, his sins made into the worst thing ever. The sins of Socialists, far greater though they are, are glossed over as mere nothings. One wonders if, had Pinochet never taken power, Chile would look like Venezuela today.
Everywhere I look the Socialist enemy advances, and his chief weapon was the same a hundred years ago as it is today. It is always the moral argument – and a foolish one that people really shouldn’t fall for, and yet do, time and time again. Kill a million Communists, come home, and find the Communist on your television set, lamenting how evil you were for resisting him.
Hanoi Jane should have gone into a wood chipper upon her return. Instead South Vietnam went down the shitter. Batista was terrible, they told us, and so we could not oppose Castro because the optics were bad. That’s another way of saying the State Department was then (as now) infested with sympathetic Socialists playing the moral reset game. Keep the faith with Castro, they said. He’ll see the light – whatever that is.
In the book I Was Castro’s Prisoner, John Martino, an American caught up in the days of the revolution, was betrayed by his very own embassy staff, and left to rot in a Cuban prison. All because the timing was wrong, they said. To be clear: American officials told him to report back to the Cuban prison for political reasons after a sympathetic Cuban doctor helped him escape to the American embassy. John Martino – naive at the time – agreed under the condition they would negotiate his release the following day. That, naturally, never happened.
Do not Keep Faith. They. Will. Betray. Every fucking time. I don’t know how much more clear I can make it: DO NOT KEEP FAITH. John Martino should have followed the advice of the Cuban doctor and insisted he was staying in the embassy, and if they wanted him removed, they would have to do so by force. The optics of that would have looked bad even in the Socialist-infested State Department.
The Long March of Socialism continues. It has suffered reverses at various times – some of them severe – at our hands, but this has made them hate us more. And by our hands, at this point I mean anyone who doesn’t want to see the world fall into darkness and tyranny; anyone opposed to this Communist crap. I am not choosy about my allies, so long as the thought of Hanoi Jane disappearing out of a chopper somewhere over the Atlantic gives them shivers of joy.
This is why, despite the fact that I was never much of a fan of Trump at any kind of personal level, I was did not fall into NeverTrump stupidity. Donald Trump may have a myriad of flaws, but he fights, and he has made his stance against Socialism clear. NeverTrumpers stupidly kept the faith with the Left again. Stop doing this, for the love of all that is Holy it DOES NOT WORK. We no longer have the luxury of picking perfect, upstanding, flawless men to fight this battle. We’re against the wall. If we don’t fight now, at the very end, we’ll die against that wall. Anybody who wants to fight gets a weapon and gets his chance to dive into the fray. If Trump isn’t nice, well then I don’t care. He gets his pitchfork to stick the Socialist shitstains if he wants it.
I don’t want to be nice to them. My Cuban in-laws lost their country. My Vietnamese friend lost hers. I have a friend in Venezuela, trying to flee that place… and for him, the result is likely to be the same. That’s us if we don’t stop this madness, folks. Kurt Schlichter is fond of telling us that the other side hates us. They do. They want us dead, and they lack the patience of their Fabian Socialist forebears. You think, after they gain power, that we’ll be around much longer? Look all around, everywhere, and you see that this is it. We live in the time when fighting Socialism or bending the knee to Socialism are the only two viable options.
My knees are not so good anymore. I don’t like bending them. It’s uncomfortable. In any event, the American knee does not bend easily, or naturally, in the service of tyrants. I’d rather fight. That’s my decision. So I don’t Keep Faith with Socialists anymore. Never again. This shit has to stop. We’re the last line of defense.
What’s your decision? Unlike my wife’s family, there will be nowhere for us if America falls. There will be no helicopters over Saigon to evacuate us to friendly territory. So either bend the knee or take up the pitchforks. Make your decision. If you choose the latter, stop listening to their moral preening. It’s all a bunch of bullshit designed to con you into hitting Keep Faith one more time.
That’s all it ever was. That’s all it ever will be.
I’ve discussed many times how Progressives use guilt and Weaponized Empathy to shame people into supporting their agendas. How does this find purchase in the minds of normies, however? The answer to that is found in one of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals:
4. “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules.
Buried in this rule is an implicit assumption: every rule must be obeyed perfectly and completely. If a person fails to live up to the rule, he is shamed and made to feel guilty for his failure. As Alinsky tells us, no rule can be obeyed to this level.
Growing up, I had an evil stepmother who shall serve as a good example of how this behavior works. Yes, yes, cliche, but I learned a lot from the experience. She was fond of pronouncing rules like “if you see a mess, clean it up!” That rule sounds reasonable enough, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it contains no upper bound, no condition, upon which, I may consider my duty satisfied. This gave her carte blanche to find fault in everything I did. If I walked past an errant dog hair on the carpet, I technically violated the rule. I saw a mess, I failed to clean up. Therefore, she was justified in punishing me. If I did not see the supposed mess, I was still guilty, because my failure could only be due to either negligence or dishonesty. If I cleaned up a room, invariably I would miss a spot, or fail to eliminate a streak, or some other such thing, and that was deemed evidence of laziness.
The end result of the “if you see a mess, clean it up” rule was that I had two options: be cleaning at all waking hours of the day or accept constant punishment and abuse. The purpose of the rule and the strict interpretation thereof, of course, was merely to provide an excuse for the abuse, an excuse for her to have additional power over me. However, if challenged by my father, she could always escape by saying that I violated the rule.
Progressives use this tactic on a much larger scale. In America, we have largely eliminated the sort of poverty you find in a Charles Dickens book, or in the Third World. Exceptions exist, of course. They do not change the rule. The major mess, so to speak, has been thoroughly cleaned up. Yet some people have much less than others. There are still spots in the room, hairs in the carpet in places. It’s not perfect. This is deemed evidence of racism, sexism, x-phobia, bigotry, hatred, or a just plain greed. That absolute equality is, like absolute cleanliness, an impossibility actually serves the Progressives.
In a debate, the Progressive can always escape by saying that we violated the rule. The implicit rule, of course, is that “if you see poverty, make it go away.” Or, put more generally, “if you see x-ism, clean it up!” Again, it can be made to sound perfectly reasonable to those not attuned to what it really means, and yet it results in a choice of either serving the Progressive agenda at all times, or being punished and abused by the long arm of Progressive media and social justice mobs.
Over the years, many have been converted into the service of social justice and Leftism by such guilt and shaming tactics. This includes many on the nominal Right who, even if they still proclaim the virtues of limited government, military service, and self-reliance, have implicitly accepted the Left’s rules for how the game is played. Watch a debate on social media, and you will see the Rightist claiming that Capitalism serves to elevate more poor than Socialism. Completely true, but like telling my stepmother the bathroom was cleaned, the Progressive will invariably find a spot, and declare the whole thing to be a failure. You didn’t eliminate poverty, you see. Therefore you failed. Therefore you need to be punished (usually by social shaming, but sometimes mobbing, threats to your job, etc…). Unless, of course, you accept Progressivism as your Lord and Savior, and work to advance its agenda at all times.
Always be cleaning. Always be practicing activism. The parallels between a wicked stepmother and Leftist thought is utterly disturbing, at times.
If there is anything I regret from my childhood, it was not punching the manipulative little tart in the face. If anyone I’ve ever known deserved it, it was her. But there again, she would hide behind her gender. Sure, she could chase me around the house with a knife and threaten to stick me with it, but if I even raised my voice at her… I was an evil woman-beater in training.
Even in this, Progressivism is similar. They will justify violence, assault, property destruction – even violent, murderous revolution. They are fond of catchphrases like ‘speech is violence’ to justify themselves. If you have the temerity to even publicly dispute this – with words, no more – you, naturally, are Hitler-incarnate. The purpose behind all of this is just power. Nothing more. They want it, using guilt as a political pry bar has worked for them for many years (Trump’s election was a sign that the tactic may be weakening from overuse, however), and so they will continue to do it until someone pops them in the mouth.
They’ve set the rules and standards for long enough. They set them maliciously, to entrap their political opponents in an endless guilt-shame cycle. This gains them some converts, and weakens the resolve of those who continue to fight through a constant wearing down process of media and social bombardment. This is what must change if are to free ourselves of them.
That, and like my stepmother, if anyone in history deserves a metaphorical (or perhaps literal) punch to the face, it is these cretinous, manipulative asswipes.
Sympathy is often conflated with respect. This insight popped into my head during a conversation with a friend. What do I mean by this? It’s difficult to articulate, but I will try. Most folks I know have a relative or two who frequently uses guilt trips to get what they want. If, for instance, you got caught behind a bad traffic accident, and were a few minutes late meeting one someplace, he would be offended by it. He might say “you don’t care about me” rather than merely inquire as to why you were late. The idea is to elicit a sense of guilt, and then a corresponding sense of sympathy for him as the victim of your mistake. You’re a bad person for not doing what he wants. You should try to be a good person by obedience. It’s kind of like a weird form of Pavlovian conditioning. He controls your behavior through conditioning.
Such people are deeply unpleasant to be around. Always, they are on the lookout for ways to be offended, to take things personally, and bludgeon you with guilt in an attempt to elicit your sympathy. Some will even burden you with their other problems, completely unrelated to you, in the sense that they will complain about things in an effort to make you feel sorry for them, and then use that to get things from you. If you deny them their requests, the guilt trip will be applied. “You don’t want to help me? You don’t care about me!” They always portray themselves as victims. They rarely take responsibility for anything, but demand that you take responsibility even for those things you have not done.
It is as if they have conflated sympathy with respect, and strive for the former over the latter without really realizing it. They do not understand that you can feel sorry for someone you do not respect, and you can respect someone you don’t feel sorry for. Since they crave your sympathy, they are on constant lookout for ways to obtain it. Such a man can deliberately take your words out of context in order to cast himself as the victim. He can deliberately misinterpret your gestures, ignore context, dispose of nuance. He can even mishear what you say completely, or make something up. A common method of the latter is to say something like “well, someone told me that you said X, how could you?” Naturally, this is done without inquiring whether or not you actually said X. Sometimes the statements are completely fictitious, in that no one even told them anything of the sort, but it is useful to solicit sympathy by making the claim anyway.
Of course, in order to get back into the good graces of a person like this, you must prove your worthiness. This can be done by doing what they want you to do, by giving them things, by obeying their every whim. Such a person might ask you to denounce people he doesn’t like, even if those people are close to you. You may be required to buy things, give them money, or do work for them. It may be more emotional nature, where you have to constantly manage his own feelings, such that he can outsource responsibility for his own emotional state to you. The price for that person not treating you as if you were a bad, hateful person has a tendency to rise. Eventually your whole life must revolve around him, or else you don’t care. And you want to care, don’t you?
Does this sound like a good many political activists these days?
Weaponized empathy works much the same way, just on a much larger scale. Groups of people can burden you with their failings and blame you for them, then demand that you take action or you don’t like them, you nasty racist you. You’re a bad person for not doing what they want. The price similarly has a tendency to constantly rise. Today X is demanded. Tomorrow X, but also Y.
The real goal of such people is power over you. Power to make you do what they want, to be made to obey. And they use your own desire to be seen as a good, caring person to do this. Guilt only works on someone who is not a sociopath. But guilt is an effective weapon for a sociopath to deploy on others. Such people find sympathy more useful than respect, perhaps. Of course, you don’t have to be a sociopath to use it. For some, I suspect, it is confusion which drives this behavior.
Such confusion may begin in our education system, which has been infected by victim politics for as long as I can remember. The sanctity of the victim is absolute with them. Is it any wonder people can so readily confuse sympathy and respect? Too many people want to be victims, thinking that sympathy will grant them power that has been denied them otherwise. In this they are correct for the nonce, given our political climate, but in accepting this, they have thrown out legitimate relationships with people built on respect. Again, it is very possible to feel sorry for someone and to still lack any real respect for them. Respect is more enduring the sympathy.
Consider the racial animus present in today’s political environment. Many others feel some sympathy for the historical wrongs perpetrated upon American blacks. They may wish to help them. But when demands are made upon wallets, and when not acceding to these demands is declared prima facie evidence of racism, good will is extinguished. The possibility of earning respect is lost. Sympathy may still be forced by peer pressure, but genuine sympathy is replaced with grudging reluctance forced upon others at metaphorical gunpoint. This grudging reluctance is then declared further evidence of racism. It all spirals out of control.
With the possibility of mutual respect taken off the table, all options become progressively worse.
The use of weaponized empathy may rip this country apart. It is extraordinarily divisive. It makes people hostile and defensive. And for good reason. After all, if you have a relative who does this to you frequently, do you really want to hang out with him? Do you really enjoy his company? Do you respect him? Clearly he does not respect you, if he blames you for things you didn’t do, and demands that you right wrongs you have not committed. The terribly irony of it all is that if he didn’t make demands upon you, you might very well offer to help him right the wrongs of your own free will, regardless of who was at fault for them. You might possess both sympathy and respect for him. And that could become the basis for a real relationship. But his attempt to make himself out to be the victim, and his assumption that you must pay the penance for being a victimizer, destroys any potential goodwill.
This problem is everywhere in modern America. It crosses lines of race, gender, sexuality, religion, and a thousand other such things. And at some point – probably in the near future – the demand for sympathy will come up dry, such that not even peer pressure and a metaphorical gun held to your head will be sufficient to compel it. Only the literal variety of gun will be work then, and that is when it will descend into pure madness. Weaponized empathy is a sociopolitical weapon of mass destruction. It almost assuredly will result in the deployment of something equally nasty. It needs to be put away before it is too late.
But I have no expectation that it will. After all, “victims” want their sympathy, and the power it brings them. That there is a price for this hasn’t really occurred to them yet. And by the time it does, it will likely be too late.
Today there is a new weekly column up on Dangerous: THALES: Turning Empathy Into a Weapon, How Social Justice Fights Dirty. This is a summary of a concept that’s been central to my posts here at The Declination.
Weaponized Empathy is a chief weapon of the Left, and we need to deprive them of it. To do so will impose a cost. Namely, many Leftists will hate you, and say the worst about you. But its a cost that must be lived with if the truth is to prevail. Indeed, the longer the cost is deferred, the worse it is likely to be.
On Monday, Francis penned an interesting post which touches upon the idea delayed gratification, something most Americans do not practice. By pushing instant gratification, and kicking the cost can down the road, our civilization has incurred an enormous amount of debt, and not merely financial debt (though that too).
The perverse incentives of our political figures has made this possible. But the citizenry itself cannot avoid responsibility either. After all, Americans have been voting en masse for short-sighted, destructive policies as long as I’ve been alive. The money quote:
We the People have earned a certain suffering-debt for our previous sociopolitical sins – never mind that we were set upon our sinful courses by an earlier We the People, who passed their accumulated suffering-debt down to us – then our choice is simple:
We could accept the penalty, endure it, and come out healed;
We could reject the penalty, which would compound the ultimate suffering.
Since World War II at least, the public has preferred politicians who will “kick the can down the road.” In consequence, government has gone ever further astray and our accumulated debt of ultimate suffering has compounded year by year. At some point, though the moment is difficult to predict, the debt will be paid. If it’s grown large enough, it will destroy our society completely.
But a payable sociopolitical suffering-debt is like a prison term: it’s finite. It will end. It can and should be endured, especially if the alternative is to raise it to an unpayable level. Our unwillingness to accept and endure the penalties that have already accrued is propelling such debts toward the threshold of sociopolitical bankruptcy.
Note, when Francis speaks of sociopolitical bankruptcy, is essentially discussing the fall of the United States as a functional, intact nation. And the longer we kick the can down the road, the more likely that outcome becomes. Indeed, I’m not even sure we can still avoid it.
On a positive note, Trump managed to push tax cuts through. They are not anywhere near as extensive as I would have liked, and I am sorely disappointed with the behavior of the GOP (more with the Senate than the House), but this is something.
Tax cuts used to be a sort of bread-and-butter of GOP politics, alongside strong foreign policy. The various factions within the party would jockey and argue over everything else, but low taxes and strong military were generally always agreed upon. That this much infighting was required to get the GOP to push through a tax cut – any tax cut at all – is disturbing. It demonstrates the slow evolution of the GOP Establishment away from the base, and toward a more Fabian Socialist agenda, agreeing with the Democrats in principle if not in time frame.
Still, this was why many folks chose Trump over Hillary. We knew we weren’t getting what we wanted, but a tax cut is better than a tax hike. Still, some Dems are going off the deep end telling us the tax cuts will literally kill people. They’ve clearly left sanity behind.