The Choice Before Us

To any sane person, the choice this November is stark.

Our two great political parties' Presidential nominating conventions are now over, and what bizarre conventions they were!  Never before have we seen something whose historical point has been to bring people together from every corner of our country, executed with the specific and careful intent of not doing that at all.

And, in keeping with this Alice-in-Wonderland theme, your humble correspondent declined to watch a single one of the addresses given to nobody in particular, by people who we've either all heard of already or don't know from Adam (or both), saying the same things that have been repeated countless times over the past few months and years, most particularly so in the case of serial-plagiarist Joe Biden.  But really, Donald Trump was just as unoriginal - he merely plagiarized himself, which is allowed, but boring.

Which is not to say that nothing has changed - American for sure has, and overwhelmingly for the worse throughout the course of this annus horribilis.  Who would have expected that serious discussion of civil war would be on everyone's lips?  But then, who would have expected that an entire political party and just about all of our big-city mayors would have wholeheartedly endorsed mobs burning down their own cities?

Now, if you are standing up in righteous indignation after reading this, you almost certainly want to shout back one of two things:

Those "mobs" are protesters, rising up in righteous indignation and vengeance after centuries of inhuman oppression!  Any "looting" is long overdue reparations!


These horrible things have come to pass only because millions of deplorable Americans, more fools they, chose to send to the White House the most lazy, corrupt, incompetent, self-centered, arrogant, ignorant, foul-mouthed, racist, sexist, xenophobic, greedy, evil bag of protoplasm - with bad hair to match - that ever walked the earth!

If you believe either of those, it is profoundly unlikely that we'll be able to persuade you to change your mind.  We have written thousands of articles from the conservative and occasionally Trumpian perspective.  You can look at any one of them in case you're interested in letting us try.

But that's not the point of this article.  Let us freely admit that Donald Trump is neither Abraham Lincoln nor Mahatma Gandhi, and that Joe Biden is neither Joseph Stalin nor Pol Pot.  And, let us also point out that, while you may disagree profoundly with our views and with those of Donald Trump, your own views are every bit as distasteful to the President and to us as ours are to you.  If nothing else, we have that in common.

Similarly, there is probably one fact on which every one of us agree: that there are a vast number of our fellow American citizens whose views are noxious, destructive, appalling, and even evil.  We no doubt disagree as to exactly which citizens those are, but that they exist and that their interests and programs differ from ours, neither of us have the slightest doubt.

Yet, for now, we all have agreed to live together in the same country.  There are surely a certain number of people who don't wish to do that anymore: they want to simply kill people who disagree with them, or to break off and form their own country.  Should that undesirable outcome become absolutely unavoidable, we'll give those sentiments due consideration.

But, in hopes that we haven't quite reached that point, there is only one real question: Given that the division in this country is so deep, so profound, so vehement, and so total; and assuming that it cannot be healed in the sense of bringing everybody back together into one common culture as we mostly enjoyed for so many centuries; which point of view is, in the real world, more willing to accept the right to exist unmolested of the other view?

What Happened to Tolerance?

Although the term "politics of personal destruction" was coined when President Reagan nominated Justice Robert Bork to the Supreme Court and was popularized by President Clinton during his impeachment trial, what we now call "cancel culture" is merely a continuation of decades of liberal character assassinations of conservatives that began in the 1940s.

President Roosevelt's warmongering was opposed by Charles Lindbergh, the hero of the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean.  FDR wanted badly to get into World War II to help the British fight Hitler.  Lindbergh was leading the anti-war America First movement which stood in the way.

To remove him as an obstacle, the hero and adventurer was neutralized by an organized campaign of smears.  Yes, Lindbergh had accepted a medal from Adolf Hitler, back when everybody from the New York Times on down was promoting der Fuhrer as the wave of the future; but as soon as war broke out, Lindberg instantly marched in formation to fight America's enemies.  No Nazi he, despite what he'd been called!

Similarly, the Left falsely accused Richard Nixon of having a secret slush fund because he helped convict Soviet agent Alger Hiss, another darling of the left, for perjury.  When Senator Goldwater, who'd founded the Arizona Air National Guard, ran for President in 1964, he was accused of being an insane Nazi sympathizer who wanted to start a nuclear war with Russia.  They called Ronald Reagan a racist for advocating states' rights in Philadelphia, Mississippi.  President George H.W. Bush's truthful Willie Horton ad, which featured a convicted black murderer who murdered again when he was freed in a furlough program supported by Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, brought out even more vehement accusations of racism.

With the rise of social media, many far less significant individuals have had their jobs and careers destroyed by being canceled.  In recent months, complaining about crimes committed by convicted jailbirds who're released to help them avoid the virus is almost guaranteed to get you accused of racism and worse.

The violent riots we see today had their precursor a few years ago, when students at the University of California rampaged and set fires to prevent a scheduled speech by a conservative.  Students at Middlebury College went further, and put a professor in the hospital when she tried to defend the right of a conservative speaker (with whom, being liberal herself, she disagreed vehemently) merely to speak his mind.

Canceling has escalated to doxxing, where a victim's address is published so that mobs can protest, threaten, and vandalize the victim's home.  They've gone after public officials such as the LAPD chief and the apartment occupied by the mayor of Portland.  Violence is escalating - rioters whom the MSM deem "mostly peaceful" have been blinding law enforcement officers by shining powerful lasers at them, lobbing bricks, and setting fires, sometimes after trying to barricade people inside.

There have been occasional deaths - the widow of a former policeman who was murdered during the St. Louis riots spoke at the Republican convention.  Kenosha police arrested passengers in three out-of-state vehicles which were found to have helmets, gas masks, protective vests, illegal fireworks, and controlled substances - passengers in one of the vehicles were filling gasoline containers.  Officials suspect that they planned to imitate the New York City lawyers who threw Molotov cocktails at NYPD vehicles.

As elected Democrats keep police departments from stopping the riots, we're seeing armed citizens protecting the peace, just as we'd expect.  This YouTube video shows Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, running from a crowd.  Some rioters followed and seemed to try to overwhelm him after he tripped and fell.  He ended up shooting three people, two of whom died, all three of whom happen to be convicted felons.  We offer no prizes for guessing which faction regards him as a hero for protecting lives and property from a criminal mob and which believes he's a murderous vigilante who belongs in jail.

A question for our Gentle Readers: when was the last time that conservatives took it upon themselves to seek out, assault, and kill people known for liberal political views?

There have indeed been occasions when conservatives called for people to be fired from official or publicly-funded positions due to noxious leftist bigotry.  Occasionally, they're even successful, as in the case of Laura Krolczyk, vice president for external affairs at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, who lost her job after posting a message claiming that Trump supporters did not deserve ventilators should they come down with the Wuhan flu.  If this is the sort of person you want running your local hospital, well, you're welcome to her.

No remotely fair-minded person can place any sort of equivalence between the actions of the left against the right, and the actions of the right against the left, within our lifetimes.  There simply is no comparison: the right wants to be left alone to get on with their own lives, whereas the left wants the right at best utterly silenced and invisible, and where possible exiled to the permanent silence of the grave.

The progression from smearing political opponents to canceling and doxxing ordinary persons to blinding and killing people who disagree makes the choice clear: Donald Trump, for all his ills, recognizes and acknowledges the right of American citizens to disagree with him.  Joe Biden and his puppet-masters of cancel culture, riots, hate speech, social "justice," and murder flatly do not.

But surely good ol' Uncle Joe Biden would never be so un-American?  Personally, probably not.  Alas, he's selected a vice president, and likely successor, who is as firebreathing against conservative, particularly religious, opposition as could be imagined:

As California attorney general, Harris prosecuted and persecuted pro-life undercover filmmaker David Daleiden for his work exposing Planned Parenthood’s trade in fetal remains. She seized his recordings while pursuing the abortion lobby’s endorsement for Senate. She was also the first prosecutor ever to use California’s eavesdropping laws against a journalist, all after secret consultations with the abortion provider.

The federal government should treat pro-lifers like segregationists, Harris has argued publicly... She's called the Knights of Columbus "extremist."

Is this the sort of person we dare have anywhere near the Oval Office?  Absolutely not, not if you value the First Amendment, not to mention the 2nd and all the others.

The Ultimate Tyranny

To explain why, let's turn to a profound quote from that great early-20th-century thinker, C.S. Lewis:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

― C. S. Lewis

We see this illustrated today with the mask wars.  Let us give the Democrats the benefit of the doubt and assume that they do not actually want all conservative Americans to die from Covid.  And, even most of the rabid left surely must admit that Donald Trump, too, doesn't positively seek the deaths of Americans (they argue that he doesn't care, but that's not the same thing).

Nobody denies the right of someone to wear a mask for their own health should they deem that prudent, but that's not good enough for the Left, of course.  They demand that you wear one, for your own good.

We've discussed elsewhere how weak is the evidence for mask-wearing, but that's not the point.  We all know that smoking is bad for you, but should that give another person the right to forbid you from making whatever choice you prefer?  How about riding a motorcycle without a helmet, or riding a motorcycle at all?  What about bungee-jumping or skydiving?  Or, if you're on the left, should it be illegal to, as Austin Powers memorably put it, "have promiscuous sex with many anonymous partners without protection while at the same time experimenting with mind-expanding drugs in a consequence-free environment"?

There are a million ways to have fun that are more dangerous to a greater or lesser degree than sitting in a chair; because statistics say they are dangerous, the Left feels it is their holy mission to stop anyone else ever from doing them, just as the fervently religious dedicate themselves to saving other souls from Hell whether they necessarily want to be saved or not.

Would J.P. Morgan risk his own life to make money?  Probably not to any great degree.  Would Mother Theresa, Hudson Taylor, St. Paul, or any of the countless other missionaries risk the same to save a soul?  They would and they did, despite knowing how many of their predecessors had lost their lives doing just that.  Missionary zeal is very real and can accomplish great feats.

The problem that we are now presented with, is an entire political party afire with a missionary zeal to change you.  Just like Torquemada, John Calvin, and the townsfolk of Salem, MA, you will do what they declare to be right, or else.

If you happen to agree with them, well and good.  Are you confident, though, that you'll agree with them tomorrow on all points?  No doubt Bari Weiss, ex-editor of the New York Times, considered her leftist credentials to be impregnably impeccable.  No matter:

My own forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist; I have learned to brush off comments about how I’m “writing about the Jews again.” Several colleagues perceived to be friendly with me were badgered by coworkers. My work and my character are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in. There, some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly “inclusive” one, while others post ax emojis next to my name. Still other New York Times employees publicly smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action. They never are...

What rules that remain at The Times are applied with extreme selectivity. If a person’s ideology is in keeping with the new orthodoxy, they and their work remain unscrutinized.

It is not possible to operate a technological society this way.  A bridge couldn't care less if it was built by the most-woke team that ever walked the planet - if done incorrectly, it will collapse.  The New York Times survives because its product is not truth, it is preaching to the choir, which they do very well.  Reality is irrelevant.

Outside of their editorial offices, though, reality reigns supreme.  If stores get burned down in Democrat disaster cities, they will not be rebuilt, and any locals who are left will have nowhere to buy supplies.

If universities hound professors from their ranks for the sin of wrongthink, very quickly there will be no true educators left, merely functionaries and propagandists.

Do you want to live in a world where everybody must spout the party line at all times, and turn promptly on a dime when we're abruptly at war with Eastasia instead of Eurasia?  Then by all means vote for the Democrats - because that is precisely what they stand for.

If you do not agree with the "trained Marxists" of BLM on any point whatsoever - if there is even the possibility that at any future time you might disagree with them in some way no matter how minor - then, for the sake of your own precious personal hide, you dare not vote for them.

It doesn't matter if there is not one single issue on which you and Donald Trump agree, because Donald Trump recognizes and accepts your right to disagree with him.  If you work for him, of course, he may fire you for disagreement.  He may also use force to create order by suppressing rioters - we wish he'd do it sooner than later.

But he won't use force to change your mind, nor will his supporters.  The left, whether in the form of BLM, Antifa, the Democrat party, teachers unions, tyrannical mayors, dictatorial governors, or even the professoriat of the local state college, do it every day.

The choice is clear - whatever you may think of Mr. Trump's policies, he and his supporters will leave you free to disagree with them.  Mr. Biden's mob will try to ruin your career for even minor disagreement; Seattle Antifa and BLM will cheer if you're shot for not being woke enough.

What more do you need?  Policy is a lot less important than life itself - and, at least according to our Founders, freedom far more so.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments

Really good article. I'm new to this site and will definitely be back.

September 4, 2020 7:21 PM

Important piece; here's hoping it's widely read.
Shortly after that incident at Middlebury Collegew, I received a fundraising call from the school. The caller sounded quite confident that I (class of 1970) would be eager to donate. I replied that, in good conscience, I could never provide funds to any school to which I would never consider sending my own children.

September 5, 2020 8:46 AM

I am a southwest redneck, born and bred. We come into the world detesting arrogant spoiled brat rich kids from New York City.

Trump may or may not love us, but he doesn't actively hate us--as did his predecessor and Hillary.

I didn't have to think for a second who I would vote for in 2016, and even less this time. Go Trump.

September 5, 2020 6:53 PM

Every time that revolutionary dog has caught that societal pickup...China,Cuba,Venezuala,etc.... the result has been the same. Ignoring history is to be expected from the radical leadership of the "bus chasers", but the fears, ignorance, and delusions of the followers are what must be altered, if sanity is to prevail.
By what means is this possible, before a tipping point is reached?
The most frightening aspect of the march appears to be the educational system, which may be the most pernicious form of guerilla warfare; it"s happening in our homes without our knowledge!
What's always missing in the follower's minds is a clear image of what always happened after the dog caught that bus; the death, destruction and poverty.
I suggest, only partly in jest, that given the inclinations and habits of today's youth, one possible solution is wide distribution of a video game that plays out the logical conclusions of the present "bus chase" on the lives of today's youth, as they see their lives of luxury disappear as they hunt for food and shelter.
Of course, there's always Bernie's line, that "We'll get it right this time", but after several centuries of trying, that theory will eventually get a bit tired.
Somebody show me a plan.....PLEASE.

September 6, 2020 11:29 AM

"Donald Trump, for all his ills...."

Stop that. Just cut it out. Enough already. I've never heard such ridiculous, out-of-the-gate concessions in my life. You'd never expect anyone to defend a Democrat by beginning with such talk. Nothing about Trump's conduct is in any way unprecedented or beyond the pale, and it's time to stop conceding such a thing.

September 7, 2020 11:11 AM

American Greaness argues that the choice is even more stark than you said.

Conservatives will be instantly de-platformed. That is already happeneing; it will got a LOT faster under a Biden administration:

Zuckerberg was sorry that Kenosha Guard, a handful of armed volunteers who showed up to confront the looters and protect local businesses, used Facebook to organize and attempt to stop the mayhem, after the Democratic governor abdicated his responsibilities, just as the Democratic mayor of Kenosha abdicated his.

The two “mostly peaceful protesters” shot and killed by 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse in apparent self-defense are “remembered as ‘sweet,’ ‘loving’ guys by family and friends.” ...

“Facebook is now taking down posts that praise the shooting or shooter, Zuckerberg said.” If Facebook has a policy against praising “mostly peaceful” looters who torched Kenosha, with priors for battery, drugs, disorderly conduct, domestic abuse, child molestation, or public intoxication while brandishing a firearm, the company has yet to announce it. ...

“Aaahh!” you say, “but we don’t need Facebook to organize! We’ll use email!”

Except that the same tech giants—Google, Yahoo, Microsoft—run many email accounts. Google (and others) will set up filters to monitor the political content of your emails. As soon as the filters pick up that you are trying to organize a conservative group, surprise! Suspension.

Should there be a Biden-Harris Administration, expect this to start happening immediately. Not in the long run — immediately.

The reality is that all of this would be merely an extension of what Big Tech is already doing. Recall the stories of Republican digital ads and videos “labeled” or censored. Can you recall a Biden ad being censored? Recall recent stories about American Thinker being blacklisted in Google searches. Google had to back off and pretend that it was some sort of “technical error.” Unsurprisingly, the “technical error” targeted conservative publications. This is happening today.

With Biden-Harris in charge, why bother pretending? Google can just say it: conservative publications will no longer show up in searches. With the House, the Senate and the White House in Democratic hands, whatchya gonna do about it? Or, maybe conservative publications will still show up—on page 19 of the Google search listings. Whatchya gonna do about that? Sue the algorithm? Good luck.

The Great Books will disappear - Amazon will choose not to sell them.

Amazon won’t even need to pretend it’s a TOS thing—it can just say it outright: “We don’t sell conservative books.” Don’t like it? Tough. Maybe you can find a publisher for your book that criticizes Kamala Harris, and print a few hardcopies, and maybe even sell one or two copies in some specialty bookstore somewhere. Maybe. Good luck with that.

They own the "justice" system thanks to Soros-funded prosecutors.

Consider Kenosha again: Wisconsin’s Democratic Governor, Democratic attorney general and the entire Wisconsin state law enforcement machinery twiddled their thumbs, while looters burned and rampaged through the city. But the smell of gunsmoke from that AR-15 was still in the air when they filed murder charges against Kyle Rittenhouse.

This is not even about defending the relative merits of Rittenhouse’s self-defense claims. The point here is to contrast the speed with which Democratic-leftist legal machinery reacted when their own people won the Darwin Award with the Democrats’ apparent lack of interest in hundreds of other violent events that have taken place recently.

Dozens of people have been killed by Antifa-BLM rioters in the past three months, hundreds assaulted and injured, countless businesses burned, looted, and destroyed, monuments desecrated, city after city convulsed from vandalism, arson and mayhem that left their downtowns in ruins.

Read the whole thing and weep.

September 8, 2020 7:40 PM
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