Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Reposted Comment

At the end of a conversation I was having at Ace of Spades, regarding Trump's statement about illegal immigration, and why I defend it:

I would like to win elections, yes. I'd like to see more conservative policies passed - better border control. Less corporate welfare. Less subservience to the state. Lots of things. 

Ace says that he thinks the cost of defending statements like Trump's - even saying 'they are not racist, there's nothing to apologize for' - is lost elections, and never winning another. 

In addition to what I said before - I think ace's strategy, as he's laid it out, is a losing one - there's another consideration. Imagine if you told black people that the only way for them to get any political power is if they were silent in the face of insults, if they avoided saying anything that would upset anyone (including a hypothetically black-hostile media), and if they just were good little boys and girls who did what they were told, and basically accepted that culturally, they would be expected to be ashamed of themselves, their culture, and their history. 

Do you think black people would be wise to accept those terms for a -chance- at victory? What's the point of winning when those are the terms? 'You can win, but only if you shut your mouth, never say anything that upsets people, and give up on a lot of what you want besides. Then you'll be able to sometimes eke out a victory, maybe, and if you're lucky your 'victory' - which means a successful election - will result in policies you like, unless the powers that be decide they have other priorities now that they've won'? 

No, they wouldn't. Because you're basically telling them that the only route to victory is humiliation, shame, and acting as social lepers who should be grateful they have any input in society whatsoever. 

Which is part of the reason why Trump is surging. He may be lying (rather impressive lie, as he's actually losing a lot of money so far for taking his stand) but he's sending the message that no, perpetual serfdom to a hostile culture isn't the right course to take. He has a right to speak his mind, and in this case - a case where his sin is minor at worst when reasonably looked at - he has no need to apologize. 

Put another way? Let's say I was able to choose between the following two choices. 

1) 30 years of electoral victories, but the perpetuation or even growth of the culture that we have right now - a culture where conservatives are mortally afraid of even stating their opinions openly on various issues, despite half the country (or more!) supporting them. 

2) 30 years of electoral losses, but a change to the culture that meant conservatives could speak freely, without fear of backlash or punishment, about issues that mattered to them. 

I would choose 2 in a fucking heartbeat, and 1 would be tantamount to defeat anyway.


Syllabus said...

The main problem I see with 2 is that with electoral victories (if they're sufficiently extensive) comes the ability to ram judicial nominations down the country's throat. Losing the presidency is harmful (mainly because of the appointees to various bureaucratic positions in the federal kleptocracy), and losing the Congress is as well, but losing both of them is disastrous for a variety of reasons (the passage of the ACA, for instance).

But those can be up-turned every 2-4 years. SCOTUS nominees last for decades, and I shudder to think the havoc 2 or 3 more Sotomayors could inflict upon the rickety vestiges of our legal system. Especially if this last term is an indication of how the Court will act in the future - abandoning any last pretense of acting like a judicial body and acts purely on the political whims of the day (or, really, the New York Times).

B. Prokop said...


As to the Supreme Court, it doesn't seem to matter which party picks the judges. After all, the author of this latest judicial disaster was Justice Kennedy, appointed by none other than Ronald Reagan.

Syllabus said...

As to the Supreme Court, it doesn't seem to matter which party picks the judges.

Correction - it doesn't always matter. Reagan also picked Scalia. Bush 2.0 picked Alito and Roberts (who, idiocy regarding the ACA aside, is actually quite good). And, gay-rights cases aside, Kennedy can be decent. He took the correct side in Burwell vs Hobby Lobby.

In any case, I put it to you that, though conservative appointees have not always turned out how I might have wished, progressive appointees have almost exclusively marched in lockstep (even Ginsburg, the only actually principled one amongst them). The main reason we got Kennedy is because of the despicable slanderous shit Teddy Kennedy pulled with Robert Bork (even though, to be quite frank, Bork's judicial philosophy was far from optimal in many respects), not strictly 'cause Reagen screwed up. So I will take some good and some bad appointees over people who I am almost certain will be just like Sotomayor (for an example of why I refer to her as a paradigmatic example of a less-than-desirable jurist, read her dissent from the Schuette case from 2014).

Crude said...

He took the correct side in Burwell vs Hobby Lobby.

I am not convinced he would do so again, despite it being recent.

More than that? I understand the logic. I've subscribed to it, and I still subscribe to it to a degree. But more and more, it seems pathetic.

Keep in mind what the bargain is: 'Be quiet about your social conservative issues. Be quiet about illegal immigration, despite that being a literally country-transforming issue, because we'd like the hispanic vote. Be quiet about gay marriage, and religious freedom - those are now unpopular, and we don't want to fight those battles. Be quiet about abortion - politically active women love it. Be quiet about racial issues, because anything you say other than capitulation is racist. Take down every confederate flag - swallow your pride. And shut up about religion too, except in the most namby pamby ways.

In exchange for your near complete silence, and now and then sacrificing anyone who does speak about these things in a way that upsets the media, we will try to appoint what seem like conservative justices. If we have complete party-line power in the senate and the white house, that is. Otherwise we'll have to cut some deals. Assuming the Democrats are even willing to cut deals at that point, since we've established we buckle whenever things get tough."

The cost is too high.

I cannot shake the sensation that we have made ourselves into intellectual cowards, on the mistaken belief that we were being crafty. The cost of acting as if our position was too controversial and shameful to be boldly defended in public has been our cultural evisceration. If we keep with this tactic, it won't matter if the Republicans hold the presidency, house and senate, because we'll have 'strategically' taken so much off the table that all we'll be able to count on is 'policies friendly to multi-billion dollar corporations are legal, and maybe the NRA will be protected'.

GoldRush Apple said...

Prokop: As to the Supreme Court, it doesn't seem to matter which party picks the judges. After all, the author of this latest judicial disaster was Justice Kennedy, appointed by none other than Ronald Reagan.

And Reagan's choice before Kennedy was Robert Bork who was rejected by the Senate.

Nice try.

B. Prokop said...

Irrelevant. Bork is dead, so he wouldn't have been voting on this decision. Someone appointed by President Obama would have been his replacement.