Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Summoners

Samizdata has an post describing an incident similar to the oriental game of scissors-paper-stone

The clampdown on disrespect continues. Sir Iqbal Sacranie is under police investigation. The putative crime, a public order offence, disorderly conduct: behaviour likely to cause alarm, harrassment or distress contrary to the Public Order Act 1986. So, has Sir Iqbal been staggering aggressively around a shopping centre waving his fist at passers-by? Has he been picketing a building yelling threats at workers? Has he been hanging around on a street corner with his legal director and PR man, holding open bottles of cheap cider and throwing traffic cones at one another?

No. Sir Iqbal is a genial, if quite intense, man. He's been doing the sort of thing he got knighted for.

The alleged offense took place in the course of a serious discussion of his religious beliefs on Radio 4. He reportedly said that homosexual behaviour is not acceptable on moral or health grounds, and that civil partnerships therefore were not acceptable either. Some people were offended by this "homophobia" and complained to the police.

I don't care for what Sir Iqbal thinks about gays. But he does think it. I do care that he should be allowed to say what he thinks. And it does worry me that offending people by your mere opinion expressed publicly in a public forum can now be a police matter. ... This adumbrates a world in which officially approved opinions may be expressed freely, but those that are not officially approved will be deemed offensive, and suppressed therefore. Whatever it is, it is not freedom of expression.

To appreciate the context it's important to understand that Sir Iqbal Sacranie is Chairman of the Muslim Council of Britain; a man who once said "Death is perhaps too easy" a fate for the author of The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie, and who boycotted the commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz. Sir Iqbal was pretty near the top of the class of uncriticizables. That he should be the subject of a police investigation simply for asserting the undesirability of homosexuality shows that in the pantheon of political correctness some gods must bow down to others. It is similar to the scissors-paper-stone game in that one object trumps another, but unlike the oriental game the inequalities are not circular: Muslim beats Jew, Gay beats Muslim but Jew does not beat Gay. In modern, liberal Europe, the relationship between politically correct objects is strictly transitive: Gay > Muslim > Jew > any class of "nonvictim" human beings. The mystery is: how did it get this way?

The process through which certain ideas are assigned a higher value than others is one of the unexplained phenomena of Western liberalism. Unexplained because there is no obvious process through which the values are ordered. It's not as if a referendum were periodically held to settle the rankings. They simply are. So when gasps of horror are heard because Samuel Alito will not declare Roe vs Wade "settled law" in the sense that it "can't be reexamined" and not simply in the sense that it has "been on the books for a long time; it has been challenged on a number of occasions... and the Supreme Court has re-affirmed the decision...and I think that when a decision is challenged and it is reaffirmed, that strengthens its value as stare decisis" -- the question becomes not simply whether Roe vs Wade belongs in this unimpeachable category but how it got there.

Part of the answer, I think, is 'unconsciously'. The presumed hierarchy of values against which Sir Iqbal Sacranie has transgressed was probably created entirely informally. Gerard Vanderleun gives us a glimpse into the process of this meme creation in his roundup of New York Times editorials.

Editorial: Fairness in the Alito Hearings : "The biggest concern in Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s confirmation proceedings is not whether they will be fair to him, but whether they will be fair to the American people."
Editorial: Lost Time, Lost Lives in the Mine : "The pro-company bias of the Bush administration is itself a factor in the deadly mine disaster in Sago, W.Va., deserving full investigation."
Editorial: A New Friend With Good Advice : "If German Chancellor Angela Merkel feels strongly about the disgrace of Guantánamo, she also feels strongly about the importance of trans-Atlantic relations."
Editorial: President Bush at Recess : "President Bush has used the recess appointment power to rescue egregiously bad selections that would never pass muster on grounds of experience and competence."
Editorial: Recklessness in Indonesia : "The environmental damage caused by Freeport-McMoRan, an American company that operates a giant open-pit copper and gold mine in Papua, has been breathtaking."
Editorial: Honing the Proper Punishment : "The Securities and Exchange Commission took an important step in the fight against corporate malfeasance by issuing guidelines on when and why it would impose fines."
Editorial: Judging Samuel Alito : "The Senate has a duty to delve into the many areas in which Judge Samuel Alito Jr.'s record suggests he is an extremist."
Editorial: Marines Without Armor : "American marines have every right to expect the Pentagon to provide them with the most effective armor available to maximize their chances of staying alive and in one piece."
Editorial: Newt as Diogenes in a Dark Capitol : "It was a measure of the failure of Congressional leadership on both sides of the aisle that Newt Gingrich, the disgraced former speaker, lectured House Republicans on the siren lure of lobbyists."
Editorial: An Anemic Jobs Recovery : "The bigger picture on job creation is not so pretty."
Editorial: New Jersey's Medical School Mess : "The scope of the wrongdoing at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey is staggering."
Editorial: Working Together for the Average Joe : "The gadget contest doesn't have to be a zero-sum game. The sooner the geeks figure that out, the better off we'll all be."

Opinio Juris comes near to discussing the question in the post The Politics of Unacknowledged Legislators. "Percy Bysshe Shelly said that poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world. If that’s true (and even if it's not), then we need to consider why ..." Opinio Juris goes to cite the Nobel Prize awards as an instance of 'unacknowledged legislation'. It is well known, he says that the Prize is often awarded to "to send a signal. This year’s choice of Mohammed El Baradei and the IAEA can be viewed as sending two signals (a) it is part of the periodic reminders at Hiroshima/Nagasaki decennials of the importance of decreasing the threat of nuclear war and (b) it may be viewed as a rebuff to the current U.S. administration." But Opinio Juris never explains how the Nobel awards committee came to be one of the "unacknowledged legislators of the world" nor how they decide on any given year what signal to send. It's a mysterious process for all of its apparent simplicity, and not a little sinister.


Blogger Meme chose said...

Fecklessness enshrined, is what it is.

1/12/2006 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger Brett L said...

Yes, victimocracy is now the hierarchical system en vogue. I always think of the South Park episode about tolerance where the gay teacher keeps doing more and more outrageous things, and the townsfolk keep promoting him... I believe his climactic quote is something like: "You dumbasses, tolerance doesn't mean rewarding people you don't agree with, it means putting up with them." IMO, the best thing to do when an idiot you disagree with starts talking is get him a megaphone.

This is just more proof that Socialism, even in the IngSoc variety, depends on absolute indoctrination. Sir Iqbal at least has the courage of conviction to "speak truth to power" when there are consequences involved. I don't agree with a damned thing he says, but I still want to pin a medal on the guy on a "enemy of my enemy" basis.

As to the "unacknowledged legislators", let us not buy too far into their world. The truth is that in the US they have burned through most of their credibility. When Western Europe collapses about 2015, all the lies will come home to roost. Whistling in the dark past the graveyard only works if the bad things in the graveyard stay dead.

1/12/2006 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

We seem to have blurred the distinctions between and among the notions of tolerance, acceptance, approval, endorsement and encouragement.

Along the same lines, Mark Steyn had an interesting take on what he describes as the 'criminalization of opinion.'

1/12/2006 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Here in the US we have the ACLU to maintain the order of the Gods. Simultaneously, the ACLU is defending affiliates of the North American Man-Boy Love Associations’ (NAMBLA) ‘right’ to publish a how-to kidnap, rape and dispose of prepubescent boys, while defending gay groups demand to keep the boy scouts from using any public facility, ostensibly, because of their refusal to allow ‘openly’ gay men from leading, indoctrinating, and taking the boys on overnight camping trips.

Their most egregious misgivings are that young men might make the following oath;
On my honor I will do my best:
• To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law
• To help other people at all times
• To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight
The homo-supremacists and the ACLU, who will back any ‘progressive’ movement to undermine American tradition and heritage, are outraged by the verse, ‘morally straight’.

In the new world order of the West, a woman is not fully ‘self actualized’ until she has killed a baby. This ‘right’ is held above all other interactions, and if men are to get along (get laid), they better agree.

The self proclaimed iconoclasts of culture are whoever can make the most outrages claims. My performance artist ex-girl friend certainly qualified. Her extensive studies of the Marquis de Sade’s ‘120 Days of Sodom’, written on 120m of toilet paper while in the Bastille, was most influential. While we watch the slow and constant ratcheting of ‘Libertine’ values imbue our culture with a sense of the ‘New World dis-Order’, we can be absolutely sure that in the end, no ‘Christian’ derived sense of morality will survive. My ‘ex’ firmly believed that adult sex with pre-pubescent children was perfectly natural and when we the rest of us got over our ‘tradition-bound’ hang-ups, we’d realize that. There is where it is going, but first we must not only accept, but promote gay marriage.

Lovely, ain’t it?

1/12/2006 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

In modern, liberal Europe, the relationship between politically correct objects is strictly transitive: Gay > Muslim > Jew > any class of "nonvictim" human beings. The mystery is: how did it get this way?
It bears noting that the senior editorial staff at the NY Times is largely Gay. The order of the MSM media in the USA is much similiar to the one for Europe except that the order for Muslim and Jew is inverted--and it is not quite a one way street.

A year or so ago a conservative Italian official was put up for appointment to a senior staff job at Brussels. He was turned down by Brussels. His comment was that the senior staff there was largely homosexual.

From the Roman world of Anatolia or Modern Turkey there comes a statue of a female goddess with what looks like a chest full of grapes or many breasts. In the last couple of years scholars have suggested that those grapes might actually be balls of men--that is the logical prizes/harvest/fruit of temple prostitutes and their homosexual high priests.

It should be understood that there is no such thing is Atheism. People do not replace God with nothing. They replace God with dead idols --and they worship these with the equal passion as those who worship God. (How else to explain men who will trade children for sh-t as the the harvest of their loins. It is this death wish in generations that is the symetric other side of the Jihadistas death wish--that is the fatalistic place where evil meets stupid.) The priest class for idol worshippers is homosexuals. For political science students on the board -- see St Paul's Romans 1. (And if you want to save yourself a decade or two of confusion--take the time to thoroughly understand St. Paul's book of Romans.)

For the rest of the board here it should be understood that we are in a two front religious war. The first front is with the late Empire Arian moslems but the second front is with the vertical barbarians and their abominable pre christian religion at top of current western culture.

as to how things got to be that way in the west...its a transit that's taken about four centuries.

well I'm listening to RC Sproul who is doing a series on descartes (as in cogito ergo sum)--which you can tune into here

rc sproul's point today is that the central focus of the attack on christianity for the last century is the notion that there is a self existant God who created the universe. This is the God mentioned in the preamble of the declaration of independence as "nature's God"

1/12/2006 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Bigger Diggler said...

About Alito and Abortion.

First, many people like myself who believe abortion should be legal are utterly and completely appalled by the legal reasoning in Roe v. Wade that made it that way.

Second, it is so bizarre, on many different levels why Abortion has achieved such an unparalled position in the selection of Supreme Court Judges. Maybe in the superheated confines of the Washington beltway does it matter, but really no where else. Maybe among the ultra-insanely-rabid advocates on each side, but how many of those are there? Really? And how did they so completely become the choosers of US Supreme Court nominees?

In the State where I have been practicing law for about 10 years, the actual court cases on the issue indicate that it is a complete non-issue, either for or against. I can recall exactly 2 abortion cases in those ten years, which is a remarkable refutation of the theory that Lawyers incite litigation. Figuring 2 attorneys on each side of each abortion lawsuit, indicating only 8 attorneys have even made a meager living for at most a month on the issue in the last 10 years. This is a State where there are a puny 10,000 lawyers. Yet we spent a good solid month of Constitutional law on the issue. None of my 120 classmates have ever handled an abortion case, yet fully half of them have handled scores, tens of thousands of illegal drug possessory offenses and DUIS, on both sides of the cases, which were not even discussed at all in our Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure textbook or classes!!!! At all!!

Out in the real world of real people with real legal concerns, abortion is an absolute non-issue. The superheated-emotional media-infected Alito hearings are a sick joke and provide no useful information.

1/12/2006 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Bigger Diggler said...

I spoke too soon. I just ran a Westlaw search with a search term of only "abortion." I pulled up a total of 20 reported cases in my state since 1901 that even mentioned that word, in any context. Out of the 20 cases, 12 of them merely mentioned the word and had absolutely nothing to do directly with the issue of whether Abortion should or should not remain legal. Out of the remaining 8 cases, one involved the legal liability of a physician who did not inform his patient that her fetus was terribly deformed, therefore she was unable to procur a timely abortion. Three involved the issue of whether the State government should fund elective medicaid abortions in case where the mother's life and health is not at risk. So a total of 4 reported cases in 105 years have dealt directly with the legality of abortion, on average one every 26.25 years.

Yet Lawyers are accused of causing unecessary litigation and Judge Alito's confirmation absolutely hinges on the issue.

1/12/2006 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

bigger diggler:

thank you for that apology for attorney's.

the fact that there have been so few lawsuits regarding abortion simply implies the real tragedy of the issue. that being the lack of advocacy for the unborn.

i agree that abortion remain legal but only in the narrowest of circumstances. we in the west have made it a convenient form of birth control. it has become the pariah of our times and cannot be argued otherwise.

innocent life needs to be dealt better consideration. i'm NOT talking about tookie.

1/12/2006 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Opinio Juris goes to cite the Nobel Prize awards as an instance of 'unacknowledged legislation'. It is well known... that the Prize is often awarded to "to send a signal. This year’s choice of Mohammed El Baradei and the IAEA can be viewed as sending two signals (a) it is part of the periodic reminders at Hiroshima/Nagasaki decennials of the importance of decreasing the threat of nuclear war and (b) it may be viewed as a rebuff to the current U.S. administration."

Actually, both (a) and (b) are but different frequencies of the same signal, that being criticism of U.S. policy, directed at different times, different administrations, on slightly different wavelengths.

But that is just sniping on the part of those who wish to snipe. The really important thing is that El Baradei and the IAEA have been fitted with the mantle of Nobel authority. The conferrers thereby signal that he and it are going to save the world from nuclear annihilation. So we should all just listen raptly to that signal and take note. By so doing we shall learn the prefered manner in which the important work of the world gets done.

1/12/2006 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Bigger Diggler said...

"the fact that there have been so few lawsuits regarding abortion simply implies the real tragedy of the issue. that being the lack of advocacy for the unborn."

The rare lawsuits (at least here and I can't imagine a situation that would be different in any other jurisdiction)are caused when the Legislature, in response to tremendous pressure from the very powerful Right to Life movement - periodically pass a numbskull anti-abortion bill of dubious constitutional validity.

What is amazing about the whole controversy is that this is a State that has no so-called "elective" abortion providers whatsoever!!!! Out of a population of just under 2 million, reportedly 400 women a year obtain an abortion. I do not know the statistics of how many of those were "elective" versus the ones that are "medically necessary," but I would guess that most if not all the "elective" abortions were performed out of state. How many non-elective abortions were performed in this State? Does anybody really want to stop non-elective abortions, where the life and health of the mother is at stake.

That reminds me of a couple of years ago when the Right to Life people pushed a law that would outlaw 3rd Trimester abortions, in spite of the following facts:

1). There is no record of a third-trimester abortion ever being performed in the state;

2). There are no medical providers who are willing to perform third-trimester abortions;

3). There are no women who claim they desire to preserve their right to third-trimester abortions.

And yet, the Right to Life movement thinks a law is necessary to prevent an act nobody does and no doctor would perform. This is akin to passing a law prohibiting the citizens of this state from munching on cow pies.

That being said, I also resent like crazy Planned Parenthood using their government and United Way funding to prosecute those anti-abortion lawsuits. Do they REALLY need to bring lawsuits to strike down laws against 3rd Trimester abortions (which nobody wants anyway), parental consent for minors (the only type of medical procedure wherein parental consent is even controversial), or notification of side effects and/or alternatives (I thought they called themselves "pro-choice" so why do they object to providing a list of said choices?)

Even four of these turkeys in 104 years is too many!!!

1/12/2006 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

I think feel good, make-a-statement laws are very troubling. Once a law is on the books it is likely to remain there forever regardless of how absurd it may be.

“You may not tie an alligator to a fire hydrant.”

But feel good laws like it is illegal to shoot somebody from a moving car? How ‘bout it is illegal to shoot somebody, shoot in city limits, assault or a myriad of other laws that might be brought to bear in such cases? But hate crimes really irk me. It is even more illegal to utter an insult while bludgeoning somebody to death. Really? But whereas it is illegal to mention that you think somebody is less than a manly man or is of a darker shade, apparently “take this you f’ing white-@ss m’f’r” is perfectly OK. It seems to me if it is more illegal to kill some people over others, it is true conversely, that it less illegal to murder others in the eyes of the law.

1/12/2006 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger Harkonnendog said...

Fantastic post. The left's unelected legislators get "elected" by taking over enshrined institutions that were formerly apolitical or bipartisan. Nobel commitees, the NYTimes, environmental groups, big 3 news shows, etc.

The right's unelected legislators, like YOU Wretchard, get "elected" by presenting ideas that ring true, and make people want to share them with others.

The enshrined institutions are much more easily targeted by those who wish to subvert them to effect change. More open or newer system that distribute information, like the blogosphere, require different skills.

You have the skills. Even as I wrote the above I was wishing I was reading what YOU wrote about it because I knew you'd write, and actually THINK, what I was thinking better than I would. Lol!

It is kind of funny that you didn't seem to realize you are one of the unelected legislators. Were you really unaware of it?

1/12/2006 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger Bigger Diggler said...

"By so doing we shall learn the prefered manner in which the important work of the world gets done."

Ah yes, by past Nobel Peace Prize Laureates such as Yassar Arafat.

Basically, the Nobel Peace Prize is given to people whom the committee professes an admiration for their engaging style. They wear interesting and exciting headdresses. Like PJ O'Rourke joked, it is like rewarding "the achievements of Winnie Mandella." Not that she ever had an tangible achievements of note (aside from designing the infamous "necklacing" tactic), mind you.

And the latest one to the IAEE and its laughable, completely and demonstrably ineffective tilting-at-windmills utter waste of human breath with Iran.


1/12/2006 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger Prospero, or the home of the Generative Thought Ex said...

The hierarchy of victimization can probably best be analyzed in terms of a given group's distance from an assumed privileged core. For the left, all centers of power--nations, governments, corporations, whites, males (and within these categories, bigger nations with more powerful militaries, nations with bigger corporations, white nations with bigger corporations, etc.)--must disarm, because their unquenchable lust for domination will lead to intensifying and increasingly deadly rivalries and irrationalism. World War I, to a great extent, is the model here. So, you defend, unconditionally, whatever can best be represented as the innocent victim of whatever power center is presently within the line of vision of you and your constituency. Since these power centers, the more "core" they are, more and more must deal with enemies motivated by precisely these priorities, the privileged victims become overt enemies of America, the West, capitalism, etc. The left has become the defense attorney for tyrants and terrorists--they don't like them, mind you, but they want to ensure they get "due process"--and due process, in this case, means no longer using "unfair" (i.e., successful) means of self-defense. The very power of the West has the magical property of endowing its enemies with a sublime innocence. Which is why I would say, contrary to the particular incident you point out, the privileged victims today are overwhelmingly radical Muslims. Let's see, in fact, how far the investigation against Sir Sacranie goes--or whether gay groups in Briain don't end up apologizing abjectly for subjecting him to it.

1/12/2006 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Bigger Diggler said...

"I think feel good, make-a-statement laws are very troubling."

Yeah, as in, they have almost no applicability to anyone.

Remember when that homosexual was murdered in Wyoming a few years back? The one where some redneck yahoos tied him to a post and let him freeze to death apparently in retaliation for his propositioning them?

Well, in response, the very staunchly conservative Republic Wyoming judge presided over an overwhelmingly conservative republican jury, prosecuted vigorously conducted by a thoroughly conservative Republic Prosecutor......which, almost without needing to say, resulted in unanimous death sentences for the two perps.

Oh, but the hue and cry of hysterical outrage over this waive of nefarious anti-homosexual activity!!!! MORE STRICT LAWS AND STRICTER AND MORE PUNITIVE ENFORCEMENT!!!! MORE SENSITIVITY TRAINING FOR ALL!!!! The death penalty is not severe enough!!! It is a mere slap on the wrist in that case, given the gravity of the offense!!!

The joke in the legal community is that Wyoming, with the new laws imposing stricter penalties for anti-homosexual activity, will not allow those two convicts to be executed UNTIL they demonstrate a sufficient documented level of sensitivity programming and political activitism on behalf of homosexual rights.

1/12/2006 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger Foobarista said...

One issue: it's all about inconsequential sex. "Sexual minorities" are the highest form of victim, followed by "the other" vics, and - a distant third - the actual victims of war, with an internal hierarchy here with victims of pro-American activities higher than victims by anti-Americans.

A fanatic passion of the left for half a century has been to make sex a purely libertine experience, without any connection whatsoever to obligations like marriage or procreation. This is why abortion, "sexual minorities", crusades against religion, and AIDS emphasis (over more mundane but nasty diseases like malaria) has been such a passion.

1/12/2006 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger Yashmak said...

I absolutely loved this entry on your page. You crystallized an issue that's been tugging at my mind for the last couple of years. Inevitably, when we seek to emotionally pad the world such that no one will ever be offended, we'll end up offending someone else by that very act. So who are we more justified in offending? Who makes that decision?

as meme chose said. . . .
It's fecklessness enshrined, and like the tides against the cliffs of Dover, it's eroding western civilization day by day.

1/12/2006 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

So many speak with no authority and are given entirely too much cred. In the past they were largely ignored. Now that the have infiltrated positions of power that is becoming more difficult.

A symptom, it seems to me, of our instant gratification world.

1/12/2006 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Annoy Mouse,

The insight that 'it is more illegal to murder some than others' is a concrete example of how 'unacknowledged legislation' is really a process of re-establishing an aristocracy. It's a backdoor method of nullifying the principle of one man, one vote. Wherever Marxism achieves some influence, it's first ironical act is to re-create a nobility. Whether called a nomenklatura, or 'enlighted public opinion', membership in it is self evident, like the 19th century English aristocrat who carried his credentials in his person, in his very being. You were self-evidently a gentleman; you were to the manner born and entitled, under any situation, whether on a steamer to Ceylon or in a Tibetan mountain pass, to 'natural' leadership.

This explains why liberals can often recognize each other at sight even when meeting for the first time and instinctively state the 'correct' opinion in the same way an English gentleman could always be counted on to the 'right thing' in every situation, uncoached and unbidden.

I think the key to understanding the process of 'unacknowledged legislation' is revisiting the aristocratic structures of the 18th and 19th century, where clubs, universities, societies, salons, soirees was where fashion -- and policy -- was made. Those 19th century structures have their analogues today and I often wondered how much of the virulent reactions against the CAP was a form of projection -- or subtle recognition.

1/12/2006 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger I'M WITH JESUS said...


1/12/2006 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

i'm with jesus:

& i'm a brain surgeon.

1/12/2006 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

If the comparison between the structure of the modern liberal elite and European aristocrats is correct, it becomes easier to understand why the Internet has proved such a threat. European aristocrats were doomed by two major developments. The decline of the horse as the dominant military instrument; the advent of sources of wealth other than land. The blog, by analogy, has reduced the effectiveness of the liberal aristocrat astride his editorial room charger. The possibility of online education supplementing home schooling is another threat to paladins of the ivory tower. The spread of capitalism to the third world has created a new class of burghers: societies of considerable financial clout and technical sophistication who are unalterably opposed to the 'progressive' values of liberalism, such as for example, casual sex. Taken together these developments are the peal of doom -- or at least peril -- for the 'unacknowledged legislators'. I wouldn't push the analogy too far but it seems to provide useful insights.

1/12/2006 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

Steve Chapman over at Real Clear politics writes:
"The Past and Future of Roe v. Wade".

A worthy read.

1/12/2006 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Chapman, after meticulously arguing that Roe vs Wade had no obvious basis in the Constitution and citing a plethora of liberal sources, including the man who penned the decision, characterizing it as a stretch then wearily concludes:

"At this point, though, even a grossly flawed decision may be too established for the justices to abandon. To say Roe was wrong in 1985, a dozen years after it came down, is very different from saying today that the court should upend a landmark decision that it has repeatedly reaffirmed."

Without taking sides on Roe vs Wade it is possible to remark on the process through which it achieved its unimpeachable status. Even to Chapman it remains a mystery and he accepts it with the resignation of one who has found a talking, radioactive, golden idol suddenly materialized in the middle of his living room. It's accepted because it is.

1/12/2006 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

This amazing bit of thought control is not merely one of the amusingly exotic foibles of our cousins the British.
A couple of years back a woman dining in a restaurant in Michigan overheard some other patrons conversing in a foreign language and said to her companion, “You would think that if they are going to come live here that they would learn our language.”
This statement so shocked one of the employees that he followed her out to her car, noted the license number, and had her charged with a hate crime. Called to court she was convicted and received a light sentence, probation and some hours of community service.
Who establishes such standards?
THEY do.
Who can stop them?
Personally, I would have left Michigan and urged everyone I could contact to buy no product made there and to never even visit the place.

By the way, that pushing cheap cider and throwing traffic cones at people sounds like fun!
But Doug probably has the U.S. concession on that.

1/12/2006 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger Harkonnendog said...


Michigan???? Michigan, England?

1/12/2006 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

We live in a country whose very core is becoming futher corrupted by insidious forces. Woe that we couldn't simply reformat the hard drive and install a fresh copy of the old reliable OS.

1/12/2006 06:16:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Paine said...

Wretchard, you said:

“In modern, liberal Europe, the relationship between politically correct objects is strictly transitive: Gay > Muslim > Jew > any class of "nonvictim" human beings. The mystery is: how did it get this way?”

IMHO. The hierarchy is ordered by whatever is perceived to be either the least like, or most offensive to, socially conservative, and/or successful, and/or patriotic westerners, (particularly Americans of the type). That is, those people who opposed, exposed, and defeated “benevolent” Communism and it’s intellectual socialist fellow-travellers.

Thus white people who have taken initiative and become successful without government assistance or permission are at the absolute bottom of the group pecking order unless there are “mitigating” factors.

Then come Jews, who are much too successful (both personally and as Israelis), but it’s mitigated somewhat by that little holocaust thing.

Muslims are better still because they hate America and they are victims of those successful Jews, but they have this politically-incorrect habit of openly oppressing all of the same minorities that social conservatives allegedly oppress.

Women are victims of all men including muslim men, but unfortunately most of them are white and many are becoming very successful.

Blacks are always defined as perennial victims of the “white devil slavemasters” (and they cannot – ever – do anything about it – except become Republicans) but too many tend to be religious and have other unfortunate socially conservative attitudes.

Gays are disapproved of by all types of conservatives, including blacks, so they’re Ok.

And then there’s abortion; the ultimate way to gratuitously stick your finger in the eye of social conservatives. If Sir Iqbal had proclaimed himself anti-abortion, I imagine “tolerant” Europe would have denaturalized and deported him in 24 hours – without a hearing. Heh.

1/12/2006 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

I'm very worried by the

Gay > Muslim > Jew >


Since homosexuality is now compulsory, how long before we are forced to be Muslim?


1/12/2006 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger Brett L said...

Wretchard nails what I was reaching for (of course). I was going to cite the old Vonnegut story Harrison Bergeron and the idea of forcing everyone to be physically equal rather than 'equal in the eyes of the law'.

Hierarchy is, thus far, a necessity for any human colony larger than about 100. Truth is, below that you get familial hierarchies - above, someone makes the unit move as a unit. The type of human hierarchies can then be divided by fluidity (the ability to move up the ladder), depth (how many rungs on the ladder), and flexibility (how hard/easy it is to "bend" the hierarchical order). The US, being relatively capitalist and meritocratic, traditionally had a more fluid, shallower, but somewhat less flexible hierarchical system then the European aristocracies. Socialism has a very shallow hierarchy (party insiders, party workers, proles) that is neither fluid nor flexible. Like most things that are solid and inflexible, it tends to break rather than bend under stress.

Socialism is the Perpetual Motion machine of politics: It is physically impossible, but the suckers always buy it.

1/12/2006 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...
There is a Paris, Texas, a Vici Oklahoma, and an Abeeville, South Carolina, so there may well be a Michigan in England, but the heinous crime which I descibed took place in the Michigan that is on the West side of the Big Pond. As best as I understand the place is located well north of the Mason-Dixon Line - which is a good thing, in my book.

By the way, y'all, my verification word this round is "WBUHT".
Not quite sure, but I think I am offended!

1/12/2006 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


The interesting thing about liberalism is that while it is ostensibly about tolerance it is actually about intolerance. Mark Steyn has often pointed out that 'multiculturalism' is not about understanding other cultures so much as embracing a certain monocultural view. Thus under the velvet glove you find the iron fist, as Sir Iqbal discovered.

It was pointed out many posts ago that the unspoken assumption, evident even in the Alito hearing and running like a thread through Vanderleun's collection of NYT editorials is the notion of 'we ask the questions'. It a psychological totalitarianism of the most extreme kind, which is yet brittle because it relies on the passive acceptance of the dominance.

1/12/2006 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

It goes without saying of course that the rise in power of the homosexual elites dates to the passing of Roe V Wade.

Anyone with even a passing familiarity with premodern religions like those of the aztecs or the caanites understands why.

1/12/2006 07:47:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Bigger Diggler said its a fact that no woman advocates third trimester abortion.I disagree with that statement.If you've ever heard the audio of a NOW rally or heard some shrill NARAL harpie pontificating they not only advocate but celebrate abortion any time under any circumstance.I heard one audio where a woman confessed she had an abortion and the crowd cheered like a tent meeting flock hearing a salvation testimony.
Its a cult;the whole radical feminist/homo cabal.Bernard Goldberg in his book"100 People who are screwing up America" lists a NYTimes reporter named Amy something.She wrote an essay celebrating selectively aborting 2 out of 3 babies in her womb.She did it not out of health concerns but because triplets would cramp her Manhattan vain lifestyle.She spoke of the evacuated babies in the dispassionate tone of one taking the trash out.
I wonder if "Brokebutt Mountain" is penance to the gods of Sodom for the martyrdom of Matthew Shepherd.Maybe in the sequel the two poofters can get revenge on a straight kid.

1/12/2006 08:25:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

"The biggest concern in Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s confirmation proceedings is not whether they will be fair to him, but whether they will be fair to the American people."

In his attempt "to be fair to the American people" Teddy Kennedy thought nothing of applying the power of the state to obtain William Rusher's private papers as he tried to dig up some dirt on Alito. Surely that must give all true-blue liberal defenders of our democracy pause. What about it NY Times?

1/12/2006 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

The frightful Sir Iqbal incident reminds me of what one British officer had to say about political correctness in his country five or so years ago. Upon being told by an American counterpart that, in the US, political correctness had inevitably elicited a wave of popular irritation and resentment as well as corrective (occasionally devastating) humor, he responded that in Britain it was taken quite seriously and "PC" was anything but a joke.

Behind the curve but not lost, one hopes.

Wretchard wrote:

"The interesting thing about liberalism is that while it is ostensibly about tolerance it is actually about intolerance."


In 1970 Ayn Rand observed:

"It has been reported in the press many times that the issue of pollution is to be the next crusade of the New Left activists, after the war in Vietnam peters out. And just as peace was not their goal or motive in that crusade, so clean air is not their goal or motive in this one."

1/12/2006 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger usually mellow said...

This post reminds me of a book by Walter Lippman. The beginning of the book described a scene where people were watching a play on a wall.

The characters were actually shadows, which were controlled by the puppeteers in the back by the light.

While the people watching the play up against the wall perceived that as their reality, the 'real reality' was being created by the puppeteers in the back.

Extrapolate to the debate over any issues today and many of the parameters (the 'truths' proffered by the left) of debate are already set.

Reread the headlines of the editorials and you'll see these 'truths' for what they really are: left wing slant.

1/12/2006 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Here's an interesting link to a review of Anthony Browne's Retreat from Reason

"Anthony Browne describes political correctness as a 'heresy of liberalism' (p.2) under which 'a reliance on reason has been replaced with a reliance on the emotional appeal of an argument' (p.6). Adopting certain positions makes the politically correct feel virtuous, even more so when they are preventing the expression of an opinion that conflicts with their own: 'political correctness is the dictatorship of virtue'."

An excerpt:

"In the topsy-turvy politically correct world, truth comes in two forms: the politically correct, and the factually correct. The politically correct truth is publicly proclaimed correct by politicians, celebrities and the BBC even if it is wrong, while the factually correct truth is publicly condemned as wrong even when it is right. Factually correct truths suffer the disadvantage that they don't have to be shown to be wrong, merely stated that they are politically incorrect. To the politically correct, truth is no defence; to the politically incorrect, truth is the ultimate defence."

1/12/2006 11:19:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Also worth reading is Bruce Bawer's review of Berman's book. An excerpt:

"How did Western Europe come to be ruled by monolithic ideologues? Short answer: the "'68ers," which is what Europeans call those who came of age in the radical movements of the 1960s, revering Mao and reviling the U.S. as Nazi Germany's successor."

The story of our times. It's been a long time coming.

1/12/2006 11:33:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"'political correctness is the dictatorship of virtue'."

Since when did intolerance itself become a virtue, for crying out loud?

I pray for the day when conservatives get their shit together.

1/13/2006 12:09:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Body Armor and BS

Red On Red (Ongoing)
Tom Maguire
Dexter Filkins and Sabrina Tavernise of the Times continue their coverage of the rift in Iraq between Sunni insurgents and Al Qaeda foreign fighters.
NY Times Jan 12:
Local Insurgents Tell of Clashes With Al Qaeda's Forces in Iraq

1/13/2006 04:18:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mao, eh?
Incredible story of a woman tortured under Mao for half her life who now owns
Geomagic, which has "defined and dominated the high-tech field of digital shape sampling and processing, or DSSP"
Ping Fu: Entrepreneur of the Year

"Ping was forced to watch the Red Guard tie a kindergarten teacher to four horses. The Guard members--just teenagers themselves--then startled the horses.

Ping was forced to watch another teacher be dropped head-first down a dry well.
She watched the Red Guard scald her little sister with boiling water because one day Hong made too much noise as she played.
Another day, the Red Guard threw Hong into a river for the fun of watching her drown.
Ping jumped into the river and dragged her out. The enraged Guard members then beat the girls, and raped Ping.

Now that Ping was an adult, and condemned as an enemy of the people, what hope did she have for a quick death?
As the dark hours bled out, Ping considered her "crime." Five years earlier, in 1976, Chairman Mao had died and the Cultural Revolution had come to an abrupt end...

1/13/2006 04:36:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Wretchard: Well said, and another observation I might make is that liberalism is very much about forgiving but is perhaps even more concerned with assigning blame.

The "poor unfortunate" who holds up a 7/11 is forgiven because his category of people have been discrimminated against, even if perhaps he himself has not been.

In turn, someone has to be assigned blame. It usually is "society" but a comparatively new development is that the 7/11 company itself may be found liable in some way - just as the producer of $150 sneakers has been accused of formenting the violence that some resort to in order to obtain them.

Here in Florida, last year a teacher wrote her U.S. Congressman a letter complaining that the influx of large numbers of Puerto Rican children had imposed a burden on her school that had resulted in a general lowering of standards. Through some as-yet- undefined process, her letter was published in a local Spanish-language newspaper. She was suspended by the school district and shortly thereafter quit.
She is now suing the school district for somewhere around a Gadzillion bucks. I rather hope she wins.

The delicious thing about the "Sir Iqbal" incident as well as to a degree the Florida teacher's lawsuit, is that it is a case of what we all saw as inevitable: The absurd preying on itself.

1/13/2006 05:58:00 AM  
Blogger Prospero, or the home of the Generative Thought Ex said...

I assume we're all familiar with the following:

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

Pastor Martin Niemöller

The sacrality of something like Roe v Wade follows from what we might call the axiom of post-Auschwitz ethics articulated by Pastor Niemoller: we must stop things with the "first." And we could easily push this reasoning back further--first they said hurtful things about the Jews and I said nothing...The trick for the left has been to apply this post-Auschwitz ethics politically by identifying the U.S. with this "first...then..." logic. You don't have to show the US to be genocidal (although, of course, many have no problem making such claims)--it's enough to point to a "first." So, which precedents become sacred for those captured by this very compelling logic comes down to which get convincingly portrayed as "firsts" with a built-in "slippery slope"--first, they took away the constitutional right to an abortion, then...To a great extent, which precedent wins out will be accidental, dependent upon victories (or traumatic defeats)which couldn't have been predicted but then have to be defended at all costs (or repeated ritually). In other words, it's not "logical," but it's not simply arbitrary either; we could trace a whole series of such precedents among the cause celebres of the left over the past century from Sacco and Vanzetti, through the Rosenbergs, the defendent rights and privacy decisions of the 50s and 60s, anti-war and anti-colonial movements, etc. The one thing they all have in common is a warning of the deadly power possessed, and always ready to be unleashed, by whatever is "normal," by the "center." It is this dangerous power that these mysterious taboos woven around liberal idols like Roe v. Wade are meant to ward off.

1/13/2006 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

The damage done to the war effort by various forms of PC degeneracy has been much discussed on this blog.

But I think the ultimate price for such intellectual foolishness has yet to be paid. Consider:

- The classification of rambunctious, boyish behavior as pathologies to be treated with drugs and therapy;

- Television's depiction of fathers and husbands as helpless buffoons and its acceptance of violence by women as the appropriate response to real and perceived slights by men;

- The false and misleading sense of empowerment (available only in the democratic West) conveyed to women by popular culture and entertainment;

- The precipitous decline of male university enrollment;

- The dismantling of men's athletic programs to meet the requirements of Title IX; and

- The attempted feminization of culture by decree and through the de-legitimizing of competition . . .

Even if all of this were actually a prescription for a kinder, more equitable society, not everyone on the planet is on board.

You can bet that our Jihadist enemies, or the Chinese for that matter, (despite all the criticism both certainly deserve for the disposition of women within their societies) have no interest in hobbling themselves in what is still -- as we will all soon learn, the hard way -- a very tough world.


In 2004, the U.S. sent some 50 fewer male athletes to Athens than it did to Sydney in 2000. This was hailed as a triumph of gender equity, since the size of the men's and women's teams were, for the first time, roughly the same size.

This misplaced priority will become apparent at the 1936 Munich -- er, sorry -- the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where a government that still receives foreign aid and allows its babies to be sold for hard currency somehow finds money for nukes, space shots and Olympic gold medal programs.

Of course, anyone back in the the U.S. who grumbles about our deliberate handicapping or the re-appearance of a Soviet/East German-style Olympic team will certainly be accused of that other great PC no-no: excess nationalism.

I only wish the outcome of athletic contests were all that was at stake here.

Sorry for the long post -- took Friday off.

1/13/2006 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger truepeers said...


Is it the same ritualistic "logic" when it comes from the conservative side? "First they came for the fathers, then for Bush and the American military, then they came for free speech via campaign finance reform, and then finally they came for the Bloggers!"

Like you, I'm all for firstness as a creative necessity. But what's the difference between seeing yourself as a victim of American or Jewish firstness, and as an enemy/victim of the liberal elites? Does it lie simply in recognition of the fact that the liberals no longer embody real firstness but are rather the ritualistic followers of old romantic heresies about freedom?

1/13/2006 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger Prospero, or the home of the Generative Thought Ex said...


Well, from the left it's a recoiling from firstness (firstness can only be threatening), not an embrace of it. But you touch on an important point--victimary discourses coming from the conservative side are not much better. But is that really what we see here? Even you say "enemy/victim," not victim--an enemy is very different from a victimizer! We have victimary discourse when the victim is presented as wholly innocent, because all of his actions, however horrific, can ultimately be traced back to causes outside of himself--one therefore can't attribute responsibility to the agent. But if I say, for example, that liberals, through campaign finance reform, are trying to minimize and, perhaps, ultimately significantly curtail, even, if they can, eliminate free speech, I say that in the context of an ongoing battle in which I (and, I would hope and insist, my allies), take responsibility for own actions. Because, among other things, we realize that if we lose those rights it will be because we were insufficiently vigilant, not because we were powerless. For us, there is always a positive norm and system to be defended, and we can name it (and perhaps should do so more often)--for me, most basically, it's constitutionalism. For the victimary left, it's a nihilistic attack on all norms and systems that can actualize themselves, which are all, for the left, so many "deep pockets."

1/13/2006 03:18:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

EU Says Gay ‘Marriage’ Rights Should Over-ride Clergy

1/13/2006 10:06:00 PM  

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