At the close of a meditation on Justice Antonin Scalia and his replacement, Peggy Noonan says that the American left has become, in her word, "unappeasable."
Call it a will-to-power, call it a lust for total victory, call it whatever you want, but no matter how many battles the left has won in the culture war, it is never enough. Like a petulant child, it must always get its way. And it must also have the power to control your mind.
Leftists insist that you think as they think, feel as they feel, do as they do. Your mind and your freedom belong to them. They do not care about the will of the people as expressed by their democratically elected representatives or even as expressed through ballot initiatives. They care about imposing their will on everyone, depriving people of their freedom, and doing it through the courts.
When it cannot use the courts it uses the power of the academy and the media. Try writing a paper in a college class or an article in the press using correct English pronouns. You will be downgraded or chastised for failing to follow politically correct usage. If you write proper English you will offend those who hold to an ideologically driven, and somewhat paranoid worldview. The thought police are the speech police. It's not just that they want to use language idiosyncratically. They insist that you do the same.
If you disagree with the dogmas of what I call the Church of the Liberal Pieties, you are a bigot and your opinion will be suppressed. Your views are hate speech and you will be banned from universities across America.
The cultural warriors of the left are radical to the point of being totalitarian. They are practicing what totalitarian states called thought reform, aka brainwashing. As I have suggested, it has become especially virulent now because the left is trying to shift the blame from the failed presidency of Barack Obama.
You are, dare I say, not allowed to think of Obama as a failure. You are not allowed to believe that he is responsible for anything that has gone wrong during his time in office. If you dare think such thoughts, you are a racist and must be suppressed.
Calling the left unappeasable seems almost too mild.
As you know, Justice Scalia predicted this outcome when he denounced what we can call judicial overreach. Once the courts got in the business of legislating reality, and of circumventing or undermining the results of elections and referenda, it opened the door to tyranny and set in motion a process that will likely lead to rebellion.
In one opinion Scalia expressed his philosophy:
Hubris is sometimes defined as o’erweening pride; and pride, we know, goeth before a fall. . . . With each decision of ours that takes from the People a question properly left to them—with each decision that is unabashedly based not on law, but on the ‘reasoned judgment’ of a bare majority of this Court—we move one step closer to being reminded of our impotence.
Whatever the hot-button cultural issue, Scalia declared that the decision should be left with the people, not with a bunch of judicial oligarchs.
For her part, Noonan offers an excellent analysis of the cultural climate:
There is something increasingly unappeasable in the left. This is something conservatives and others have come to fear, that progressives now accept no limits. We can’t just have court-ordered legalized abortion across the land, we have to have it up to the point of birth, and taxpayers have to pay for it. It’s not enough to win same-sex marriage, you’ve got to personally approve of it and if you publicly resist you’ll be ruined. It’s not enough that we have publicly funded contraceptives, the nuns have to provide them.
This unappeasable spirit always turns to the courts to have its way.
Noonan believes that the left should take a step back and savor its gains. It feels perfectly reasonable, and yet, we all know that the ravenous and unappeasable left, believing that it is on the side of the angels fighting the devils of prejudice, will never accept. It will fight to the death and use every means at its disposal to peel off enough squishy Republicans to make the Senate replace Scalia with a liberal.
Noonan explains that leftists are lacking in a certain quantity of wisdom:
If progressives were wise they would step back, accept their victories, take a breath and turn to the idea of solidifying gains, of heroic patience, of being peaceable.
Don’t make them bake the cake. Don’t make them accept the progressive replacement for Scalia. Leave the nuns alone.
Progressives have no idea how fragile it all is. That’s why they feel free to be unappeasable. They don’t know what they’re grinding down.
They think America has endless give. But America is composed of humans, and they do not have endless give.
Isn’t that what we’re seeing this year in the political realm? That they don’t have endless give? And we’ll be seeing more of it.
If the left were progressive or even liberal, it would heed Noonan’s advice. But, it is neither. It is totalitarian in its impulse and it will never be satisfied. As always happens when a culture turns to witch hunts and inquisitions, there is no real limit. There is always anxiety that the individual is lying to you, deceiving you as to what he really thinks. It is impossible to know exactly what any individual thinks or feels.
Facing a loss of freedom people get angry. They distrust the institutions that have been lording it over them. A restive electorate now wants to tear the house down. At some point the unappeasable left is going to find that when you refuse to negotiate and when you refuse to compromise, you will be subjected to the rule of force.