Saturday, August 29, 2020

Andrew Sullivan's Confusion

Let’s see. Andrew Sullivan writes an extended critique of the Democratic Party, lamenting the fact that the party cannot do better as nominee than a man who is suffering from senile dementia.

He trashes the Democratic program, pins the current wave of violence and rioting on Democrats, and then declares that he is going to vote for Joe Biden. To each his own.

Confusion on parade.

Take the following graph, from near the end of the essay. Ask yourself: what’s wrong with this picture:

Yes, we still have an election. But barring a landslide victory for either party, it will be the beginning and not the end of the raw struggle for power in a fast-collapsing republic. In a close race, Trump will never concede, and if he is somehow forced to, he will mount a campaign from the outside to delegitimize the incoming president, backed by street-gangs and propaganda outfits. If Biden wins, we may have one last chance for the center to hold — and what few hopes I have rest on this.

It pops out of the page. Sullivan accuses Trump of doing what Democrats have actually been doing for the past three plus years. Aside from the fact that that incompetent fraud, Hillary Clinton, just told Biden never to concede, the fact remains that Democrats did mount a campaign in order to delegitimize the president, and that they have been backed by street gangs and propaganda outfits. Black Lives Matter and Antifa are street gangs. The mainstream media is a propaganda outfit. 

Given the Democratic Party reaction to Trump, you have to admit that the center of American politics has not held. And that Democrats are largely responsible for it, for having defied and trampled the norms of democracy.

So, Sullivan is correct in his analysis. The only problem is: he is confused about who is committing the crimes and who is destroying democracy. You can’t have everything.

As for his observation that when rioters are allowed to destroy cities and when the police have been ordered to allow them to do so, opposing groups will inevitably take to the streets to try to restore order. It should not be a controversial thought. It does not, as Sullivan does not, prejudge what happened in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Besides, Victor Davis Hanson made precisely the same point a week or two ago. 

For his part Sullivan tries too hard to be fair and balanced. He fails to notice that the source of the violence is a domestic insurgency mounted by leftist enemies of democracy. At the same time, he rejects the basic premise of the BLM movement:

But I’m equally repelled by the insistent attempt by BLM and its ideological founders to malign and dismiss the huge progress we’ve made, to re-describe the American experiment in freedom as one utterly defined by racism, and to call the most tolerant country on the planet, with unprecedented demographic diversity, a form of “white supremacy”. I’m tired of hearing Kamala Harris say, as she did yesterday: “The reality is that the life of a black person in America has never been treated as fully human.”

So, the dogmatic truth, one that you must accept lest you be harassed in public by BLM demonstators is that America is a racist country, the worst ever. To his credit, Sullivan calls out BLM for trafficking in nonsense.

Moreover, Sullivan rejects any justification for rioting and lawlessness. If only he had limited his analysis to blaming the people who are committing the vandalism and who are mounting the current insurrection, we would be cheering more loudly. But still, his point is well taken:

But here’s one thing I have absolutely no conflict about. Rioting and lawlessness is evil. And any civil authority that permits, condones or dismisses violence, looting and mayhem in the streets disqualifies itself from any legitimacy. This comes first. If one party supports everything I believe in but doesn’t believe in maintaining law and order all the time and everywhere, I’ll back a party that does. In that sense, I’m a one-issue voter, because without order, there is no room for any other issue. Disorder always and everywhere begets more disorder; the minute the authorities appear to permit such violence, it is destined to grow. And if liberals do not defend order, fascists will.

Obviously, he has provoked a gale of outrage by using the word fascist in the last sentence. He might have said that the National Guard can restore order, as it did, to Kenosha, and that it is not a fascist organization. In truth, a few representatives of the Proud Boys, an extremist group, have been out trying to confront Antifa, but, the damage done by the rioters so vastly exceeds anything that the citizen militias have done that the word “fascist” is simply misplaced. The McCloskey’s, who waved guns at marauding BLM rioters, rioters who tore down their front gate and threatened them with violence, are not a fascist mob. 

Sullivan seems to want to tell his fellow traveler Democrats that the current domestic insurgency is costing them votes and will likely cost them the election.

And as I’ve watched protests devolve over the summer into a series of riots, arson expeditions, and lawless occupations of city blocks, along with disgusting and often racist profanity, I’ve begun to feel similarly. And when I watched the Democratic Convention and heard close to nothing about ending this lawlessness, I noted the silence.

It is not just silence; it is active collusion. Democratic political leaders in the cities and state effected have actively stopped the police from intervening.

When a political party finds itself so wedded to a new and potent ideology it cannot call out violence when it sees it, then it is walking straight into a trap. When the discourse on the left has become one in which scholars and editors and Tweeters vie with one another to up the ante on how inherently evil America has always been, redescribe it as a slaveocracy, and endorse racist books that foment the most egregious stereotypes about “whiteness”, most ordinary people, who love their country and are mostly proud of its past, will rightly balk. One of the most devastating lines in president Trump’s convention speech last night was this: “Tonight, I ask you a very simple question: How can the Democrat Party ask to lead our country when it spends so much time tearing down our country?” A cheap shot, yes. But in the current context, a political bullseye.

So far, so good. An astute analysis, one that collapses as Sullivan essays to make the Republican Party seem to be equally demented and equally disgraceful.

Sullivan cannot resist suggesting that Republicans are really Nazis:

The key theme of the RNC was reminding people of the American narrative that once was. Yes, it was unbelievably vulgar. Yes, it looked like a cross between a sophisticated CGI video-game and a crude car dealer ad with a dollop of Leni Riefenstahl. But it was extremely effective. To see that, you have to remove your frontal cortex and put it in a jar, accept that it’s all going to be a series of lies so massive they stupefy us into stutters, and then cop the feels.

Having offered the usual pro forma denunciations of Republicans, Sullivan continues to trash the Democratic Party:

All this reassurance played out against a backdrop of Kenosha, which was burning, and Minneapolis, where a suicide led to a bout of opportunistic looting, and Washington DC, where mobs of wokesters went through the city chanting obscenities, invading others’ spaces, demanding bystanders raise fists in solidarity, with occasional spasms of violence. These despicable fanatics, like it or not, are now in part the face of the Democrats: a snarling bunch of self-righteous, entitled bigots, chanting slogans rooted in pseudo-Marxist claptrap, erecting guillotines — guillotines! — in the streets as emblems of their agenda. They are not arguing; they are attempting to coerce. And liberals, from the Biden campaign to the New York Times, are too cowardly and intimidated to call out these bullies and expel them from the ranks.

The fanatics are in fact the face of the Democratic Party. And, right now, they have become an albatross. So much so that commentators on CNN are whining in their latte about how Democrats are throwing away the election.

Sullivan is not finished with his critique of the American left. He explains that the principle behind cancel culture is being played out on the streets of Democrat-run American cities:

Remember the pivotal moment earlier this summer when the New York Times caved to its activist staff and fired James Bennet? It’s no accident this was over an op-ed that argued that if New York City would not stop the rioting in the streets, the feds should step in to restore order. For the far left activists who now control that paper, the imposition of order was seen not as an indispensable baseline for restoring democratic debate, but as a potential physical attack on black staffers. They saw restoring order within the prism of their own critical race ideology, which stipulates that the police are enforcers of white supremacy, and not enforcers of the rule of law in a liberal society. It was a sign that the establishment left were willing to tolerate disorder and chaos if they were directed toward the ideologically correct ends — which is how Democratic establishments in Minneapolis and Seattle and Portland responded. The NYT, CNN and the rest tried to ignore the inexcusable, and find increasingly pathetic ways to dismiss it. This week, their staggering bias was exposed as absurd.

But then, Sullivan denounces Republicans, not one of whom has been running a cancel culture at a major American newspaper. Leftist democrats are not being canceled. Republicans and conservatives are. After all, the New York Times allowed its staffers to harass Bari Weiss for being Jewish. And precious few people cared.

So, Sullivan wants to vote for the cerebrally defective Joe Biden. It is his right. His effort to balance badness between both ends of the political spectrum is ultimately unpersuasive. Simply put, the domestic insurgency mounted against America was produced and aired by the Democratic Party. Obviously, in certain quarters you are only allowed to say such a thing if you add that Donald Trump is the root of all evil.

In the end, the reason for defaming Trump is simply that you can use his evilness as an excuse for mounting an insurrection against America. Thereby you can shift the blame and declare that whatever Democrats have been doing, Trump really wants to do it. Sullivan does not see it, but his analysis still has value.


urbane legend said...

. . . whining in their latte . . .

Sounds like a good title for a Ted Nugent album about what's going on in America.

exnihilo1968 said...

For the record, since 2010:

Antifa: 0 kills
BLM: 0 kills
Right Wing activists: 117 kills
Police: 6000 kills (since 2015)

Sam L. said...

Sullivan is a man without a country or a party to cling to (or walk away from). He should "start making sense".

exnihilo: stats and documentation, please,

Riots, I've read, are one of the best reasons for voting Trump.

"Sullivan does not see it, but his analysis still has value." About one cent, so far as I can see.

exnihilo1968 said...

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Very happy to have these statistics. You might ask yourself how much crime, how much violent crime and how many homicides in America are committed by members of minority groups.

trigger warning said...

Ex: Don't worry, comrade. Nobody I know thinks Antifa pencilnecks are dangerous individuals, unless they can sneak up behind you with a bike lock. Every time they take their squalling into suburban neighborhoods where citizens with guns are out, they run away crying for police protection. They did guillotine a teddy bear, though.

exnihilo1968 said...

Stuart: Red Herring. The protests are a response to police killing minorities nearly every day. They aren’t asking you to ignore violent crime by said group, they are demanding due process which is not such a far fetched dream considering its the law.

Trigger: Comrade?! Ad Hominem. But you agree that antifa aren’t a danger to society so your point is that you and your gun strapped coterie are? Well played sir.

Anonymous said...

Please don’t feed the trolls.

Walt said...

From the top of my head I can think of the 2 BLM/Antifa murders in CHAZ, the murder of retired cop David Dorn, the murders of several police at various riot scenes, I can think of the shopkeepers mercilously beaten and only miraculously not killed for trying to protect their shops, . I can think of the murderous assaults on the truck driver, and the Seattle legislator, and the attempted murder by arson of all the police officers in a Seattle station house last week when BLM/Antifa tried to cement the doors shut as they set fire to the building.

I dispute the cockamamie idea that police kill black people "every day" when according to stats in the Washington Post, last year a total of nine unarmed black men were shot by police--as opposed to say the thousands of black men (and women and teens and children) killed by other black men in American cities. And how many police were shot by armed black men? My bet is, more than nine.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thank you for giving us the facts...

trigger warning said...

IMO, focusing on BLM/Antifa body counts is a distraction. Face it, BLM is an organization run by women, and displays all the mob courage to be expected from a gaggle of squalling women backed up by a mob of incels. That's not to say that swarms cannot be dangerous, but frankly, a platoon from the 10th Mountain Division would powerwash the Portland streets in one night without firing a shot and provide a needed boost to Portland's dental care community. BLM/Antifa do what they do because the mayors of Blue cities permit it and, yes, support it.

In a just world, the organization that would matter is the far more effective FBL (figure that out for yourselves) organization run by men. FBL exists in Chicago, LA, Baltimore, Detroit, St Louis etc., DBA Bloods, Crips, Vice Lords, et al. They kill, maim, and destroy the lives of more black people in a week than all the Antweefer pussyhat pencilnecks or so-called "white supremacists" have done thus far in the 21st Century.

So, with sincere apologies to the decent people of Proglodyte-blighted cities, I thank the mayors for their generous in-kind contributions to the Trump Campaign. Video footage of burning neighborhoods, boarded-up blocks, and deranged MSM chyrons is, as MasterCard would say, priceless. I have no doubt that, sooner rather than later, Unka Joe will dodder to a microphone and read a mild pro forma chastisement to the Pussyhat Parade for having gone native.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ex must be a SPLC guy — an experts on “far-right groups.” I found the source to be the Guardian. Unbiased news source, eh?

Since we are using logic, Ex’s post is reduction ad absurdum. He uses the body count of two specific Lefty organizations, and then uses the comparison group of an entire political genre (not specific groups), and the entire U.S. law enforcement apparatus. Without specifics, he talks about “due process.” Self-defense is authorized under specific circumstances. In our urban areas, those circumstances occur far too often. Chicago just crossed the 500 murder mark yesterday. How does that fit into your equation?

As for the Lefty body count, Ex seems to have forgotten Micah X. Johnson in Dallas (2016) who killed 9 police officers and was tied to BLM. You had Bernie supporter James Hodgkinson targeting Republicans playing baseball.

And last night you have a Trump supporter killed by Lefties in Portland, Oregon, where we are on Day 92 of continuous rioting. No doubt Far-Left groups cannot be reached for comment.

Facts are stubborn things.

David Foster said...

Sullivan: "A long time ago, I was mocked for saying that I believed that the election of Donald Trump was an extinction-level event for liberal democracy. But this is where we are. There is no place for liberal debate or dissent, just competing mobs..."

If Andrew thinks these mobbing trends began with Trump, then he either hasn't been paying attention very well or is just plain dishonest...I'd prefer to think the former. The use of Brownshirt tactics to attack political opponents has been a big and growing thing in American universities and has, inevitably, moved out into the broader society. See my 2016 post The United States of Weimar?

If I run this again, I may have to remove the question mark.

trigger warning said...

IAC: I laughed when I saw it was The Guardian and Business Insider, too. But even better, Goggle the writer, Lois Beckett.

Nevertheless, it's good to know the Guardian is still running its Bootlicking for Bucks campaign.

Freddo said...

Every four years Andrew Sullivan does a - by now tiresome - little song and dance, wherein he claims to be a conservative, but the Republican candidate for this cycle is beyond the pale and hence he has no choice but for the Democrat ticket. If only the Republican party would nominate someone like the candidate of four years ago (which of course he also didn't vote for).

Giordano Bruno said...

Andy remains a coward who lies to himself. It is no more complicated than that. He has no integrity and will always make the incorrect decision in the end. He can join the other cowards over at the Bulwark. When the leftist mob puts them all up against the wall, I'll light a small candle for them.

Giordano Bruno said...

Andy remains a coward who lies to himself at the end of his process of reasoning. It is no more complicated than that. He has no integrity and will always make the incorrect decision. He can join the other cowards over at the Bulwark and become irrelevant. When the leftist mob puts them all up against the wall, I'll light a small candle to their memory.

It's nice to see we have acquired a leftist troll. I wondered what took so long. As has been said, from nothing, nothing comes.

Anonymous said...

Hard to see the "value" in the piece, when he provided no examples or evidence of what made the convention, the president, or those who follow him, so inevitably "bad." You can't just write an article claiming that it's "self-evident" that everything associated with PDT is bad, so therefore, he and his party are equal to those who are (as he admits) burning down cities and stealing property, as well as greedily taking over public spaces and threatening others because they do not agree with PC.

Where's the value? He made a false equivalency, gave reasons why (which we all already knew) one side was so threatening to the country, gave no example (but pretended everyone agreed or that it has been proven, when neither is true), and then said he was going to vote for the one with all the proof of their destructive ways anyway.

Nope. No value there. That dem/leftist/corporate media style of argument, is rsally, only the ranting of a schoolyard bully. It's purely name-calling, with the pretense that he doesn't have to list the "bad" things the people's president does or did, because we all know. We don't.

Anonymous said...

Gentle suggestion: We all note how the left (mis)uses the language so effectively. For those who say to "google it" instead of saying "seach it" or "search for it" --- pls remember that you are giving invaluable free advertising to a powerful and corrupt multinational that tries to rig elections, that works for the globalists who would do away with American society, and that hides some information (anything not PC) while pushing other information.

It's a small thing to mention, but they also treat conservatives unjustly, esp when they are in their employ. We now have generations growing up not even knowing that google is a search engine and a choice, that there are many others to choose from, and that they track more by a high percentage than any other Big Tech company.

Thanks for at least keeping it in mind.

Linda Fox said...

He's where a lot of Liberals are - hating the Trump administration, but fearing the mob.

He is 90% of the way to identifying and naming the current Dem philosophy. He just can't bring himself to cross over the rest of the way.

Not unlike the old revolutionaries of the Soviet regime, who supported Stalin as his henchmen sentenced them to the gulag. "It must be a mistake! Stalin wouldn't allow this! If only he knew!"

Stalin knew. As do the Dems.

Anonymous said...

Kinda of an old piece now, but he supposed to be a great thinker? Calling himself a one-issue voter and then voting in the partyl responsible for issue? Voting for the party fomenting the violence?

The other part that esp stood out was when he called the gathering of citizens at the convention "unbelievably vulgar" with no explanation (because there was none possible. Name-calling is no substitute for discussion. He may as well have called them "big meanies" or something. But, of course, in his circle, being mean is fine (depending on the end result), but being what his circle calls "vulgar" (meaning representing anyone but those in ... his circle...) is not.

Crazy to think pieces like this get printed at all. The international left -- supposedly so good at propaganda-- can not see that they are making fools of themselves with this type of "thought piece"?