Instapun*** Archive Listing

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February 8, 2008 - February 1, 2008

Thursday, November 09, 2006


DISSENT. There's a curious thing about reason. It almost always seems reasonable, especially to its most ardent practitioners, but when it's unhooked from common sense, it tends to float off into detached self-absorption, which provides its own immunity against criticism of any kind, practical verities, and, yes, common sense. In the process, it somehow turns reason into its opposite -- from a logical progression toward the right answer to a mere mechanism of rhetorical condescension.

Glenn Reynolds has abundantly documented the pilgrimage of Andrew Sullivan along this path, heh-ing, for example, over the fact that Sullivan's sense of his intellectual gravitas entitles him to review his own book in the most glowing terms while scorning all so-called conservatives who dare to challenge his intellectual and educational superiority. Never mind that even the most casual observer can chart Sullivan's course to Bush hatred from the first instance of the administration's opposition to gay marriage.

I have long believed it one of the saddest aspects of American life that lawyers have so dominated our political life, because legal education is expressly designed to separate reason from common sense, to camouflage ordinary, obvious reality via the pyrotechnics of semantically acrobatic somersaults until the plain facts are rendered bizarre, stood on their heads in a disorienting contortionist's pose. Then it is that the oh-so-rational attorney drily informs us that there are no plain facts except for the ones he chooses to present in his summation. In fact, his real triumph is to substitute himself and his appearance of rationality for common sense.

This is the means by which we journeyed from Martin Luther King's color-blind dream to a Kafka-esque oxymoron of equality achieved by dizzying amounts and degrees of racial discrimination peddled under the rational sobriquet 'affirmative action.' It's how we progressed from the basic moral requirement to be fair to others even if they're different to the latest incarnation of 'poliical correctness' -- blaming ourselves for all the ways we are different from those who view those differences as a reason to annihilate us. It is this exquisite brand of reason that transmutes tolerance to a self-hating death wish. Interestingly, the mechanism by which this sleight of hand is accomplished is not actually reason, but the air of detached objectivity and farsightedness affected by those who presume to know.

And now I am about to commit an unpardonable, irrational sin of the contemporary Internet. I'm going to criticize the Blogfather. In the week before the election, Glenn Reynolds offered up his pre-mortem, explaining why and how Republicans were sure to lose, and mused that a Republican loss was well deserved. He linked to multiple sites in which conservatives and pseudo-conservatives announced they were planning to vote Democrat. I read what they, and he, had to say and sent Glenn the following email:

I read this today at your website:
Reading the comments lambasting Bill doesn't make me feel better about the GOP's current situation. I think that the decision whether to vote for the GOP or not is one that reasonable people, even reasonable pro-war people, can differ on, and Bill is definitely on the right side where the war is concerned. And I'll ask a question that I often ask of the lefties -- do you really think this stuff will win people over?
I didn't read the comments to Bill Quick, but I read some at Brendan Loy's site and added one myself, not profane, but not respectful either. Permit me to point out that as an academic, you are more susceptible than many of us to adopt a perspective that's too, er, academic.  I specifically object to your repeated use of the term "reasonable." This is not a reasonable situation, and it is not reasonable to prefer deliberate, premeditated sabotage of the war on terror to garden variety poilitical bumbling. It is not reasonable to hand the country's affairs over to the likes of Pelosi, Conyers, Rangel, et al. And it is not reasonable to expect that people unprotected by tenure and other academic perks will respond to the schoolteacherish disciplining of "the whole class" by tossing off a proper Brit "Cheerio, old top. Can't say I see it your way, but that's the way the cricket ball bounces. Pip pip." The way they see it, their taxes will go up, their President will be hounded into paralysis, and the national security of their country will be seriously if not irreparably damaged. Why? Because congress spends too much money, Harriet Miers got nominated to the Supreme Court, and various politicians got caught in the wrong cookie jars!!?? Which part of this nonsensical logic do you wish us to take reasonably?
I also commented on your pre-mortem last week, not waspishly and without kneejerk defense of Republicans, as you can see for yourself.
InstaPunk Archive
Something about the tone of your latest comment rubbed me the wrong way, however.
Regards, as always,

He didn't bother to answer, which is his prerogative, of course. But since the election, he has more than once referenced his own pre-mortem in a self-congratulatory way, as if the election were some kind of academic exercise in which he had acquitted himself well. I suspect that's all it really is to the paper tigers of the war on terror. Actually winning it isn't as important as being the smartest one in the room about it.

Today, he has already begun the process of being superior to the political anarchy that has been unleashed by the Democratic win he sort of kind of hoped for. His response? Two of his patented "Hehs" in a single screen. (Scroll to the entry after Dean Demands Recount.) Is that what we have to look forward to from InstaPundit for the next two nighmare years? An endless succession of "Hehs"? Sorry, but this stuff was predictable months ago, and it's just not that funny.

I continue to have great respect for Glenn Reynolds. However, I have begun to doubt the accuracy of the title of his book, An Army of Davids.  True Davids are more focused on winning than being the most brilliant doyenne at the party. What Davids do is go to war for the purpose of winning when everyone else is trying too damn hard to be reasonable.

Like my father used to say when he disciplined me, "This hurts me more than it does you." I mean it and I'm sure I will pay for it. But what's the point of being a little guy if you can't load up your sling and take a shot?


Wednesday, November 08, 2006


A Dissenting Voice

RIGHT AS ALWAYS. I was fully prepared to be cheerful and philosophical about the outcome of the election, especially since this site came closer to predicting the actual results than most of the right-wing blogosphere. But the sheer volume of cheerful, philosophical postings by conservative bloggers this morning gives me pause. Yeah, the Republicans might profit from the message sent by the electorate. And, yeah, a bunch of pretty dumb, listless, and corrupt Republicans got deservedly booted out of office.

Those are insufficient grounds for cheer. There's a lot more going on here than an object lesson for one political party. Of course it's possible to turn a blind eye to everything but that and go looking for bright spots, but bright spots are by definition merely spots. Here's some of the vast dark background the determinedly good losers are overlooking.

1.  A lot of the Democrats elected may be "Blue Dog" conservative types, but this remains to be seen, and there's absolutely no doubt that the new House and Senate leadership is about as far left as you can get. That's not a good omen despite all the superficial talk about cooperation and reduced partisanship.

2.  The Democrats, individually and as a party, still have absolutely no ideas to bring forward about anything. Their economic models are relics of Europe's suicidal romance with socialism, and their foreign policy models remain stuck in the self-hating time warp of Vietnam. Truthfully, they have no alternative to offer but partisan obstructionism. Politically, they are the Miss Havisham of America. This is an unmitigated disaster.

3.  The Republicans remaining in Congress are still just as stupid as they were last week and last year, and their so-called leadership is even more pitiful than the Dems -- McCain and his self-absorbed disregard for freedom of political speech, Specter and his massively unsubtle resolve to sabotage the confirmation of conservative judges, Lugar and his positively iconic exemplification of all that is dull, inarticulate, and indecisive in the Republican political class... Well, you get the point.

4. We are still at war with an implacable, stateless, utterly irrational enemy prepared to wage their crusade over decades, while the supposedly enlightened among us who should be defeating them cannot think in timeframes beyond six months.

5.  We are the complacent electorate who walked into voting booths across the nation yesterday and deliberately cut off our own noses to spite our face, voting in favor of higher taxes on ourselves, far more vicious political infighting in the Congress than we've been subjected to till now, and the absolute certainty of chaos and paralysis in the pursuit of foreign policy objectives that are vital to the national security.

A great day for American democracy? I don't think so. But go ahead and be cheerful, philosophical, humble, chastened, optimistic, gracious in your losing, and even (some of you) just a little smug. Fine. Just don't start whining in a few weeks or months when it turns out that Pelosi is Pelosi, Reid is Reid, Rangel is Rangel, Conyers is Conyers, Durbin is Durbin, Kennedy is Kennedy, and Robert Byrd is still venting his cobweb-filled head on the floor of the Congress. You won't find any sympathy here.

One more thing. The impeachment clock is ticking. Don't you dare doubt it, whatever they're saying today. Like the fable tells us, scorpions cannot change their fundamental nature. The American frog elected to give them a ride across the river. You all know what happens next.

There. Somebody had to say it.

Monday, November 06, 2006

BGNN Scoop!

Dems win, Earth explodes

BGNN. By a shockingly huge margin, the Democrats took control of both houses of the United States Congress tomorrow, November 7, paving the way for Nancy Pelosi (D), California, to become Speaker of the House and Harry Reid (D), Nevada, to become Majority Leader of the Senate.

In a related development, the planet earth spontaneously exploded a few hours later, extinguishing hundreds of endangered species and fouling the environment in ways too numerous to mention. In addition, the planet's six and a half billion human inhabitants were instantaneously vaporized by the blast, which Speaker-Elect Pelosi described as "yet another example of the gross negligence and incompetence of the Bush administration."

Final vote tallies were not available due to the destruction wreaked by the end of life as we know it, but it is believed that the Democrats gained more than 40 seats in the House and more than 10 in the Senate. Majority Leader-Elect Reid called it "a ringing affirmation of the policies and positions of the Democratic Party" and said it proved that "the American people have rejected the unilateralism and elitist tax policies of the Republicans."

Reid went on to express his "grave disappointment" about the annihilation of the earth, "because now we will be denied our rightful opportunity to demonstrate to the people of America and the world that the United States can protect itself without being a military bully, a sadistic jailer, or a tactless eavesdropper on private conversations between political activists at home and abroad.

"The world would have been a much better place," he said, "if only Bush and his cronies hadn't blown it up. We Democrats just plain care more about people, and now we'll never get the chance to prove it. It's a pisser."

Reid and Pelosi both promised extensive hearings to assign blame to the President for the "criminal failure of this administration to prevent the death of everyone and everything."

Presidential press secretary Tony Snow called the Democrat charges "purely political" and said the evidence suggested the explosion was caused by the "unthinkable Democratic victory," not Republican malfeasance. He added that FEMA was responding to the disaster "as well as can be expected under the circumstances."

He also said that the heavy Republican losses in the election were caused largely by an unexpectedly low turnout and professed the belief that people hadn't lost faith in the administration but had fallen prey to "the natural desire for change we've seen time and again in the sixth year of a presidency."

Various pollsters who failed to predict the enormity of the Democratic landslide could not be reached for comment.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Pre-Election Bombshell!

Lawn Jockey Slams Malkin,
Steele, and the Republicans

XOFF NEWS. In a desperate attempt to find something, anything, outrageous to put in print on the last Friday before the election, XOFF News reporters have tracked down the most senior Lawn Jockey in Maryland to get his response to this quote from Michelle Malkin's blog:

Steele has tapped into bubbling discontent among independent-thinking minority voters--a phenomenon ignored by MSM elites intent on smearing him as an Uncle Tom, sellout, or "lawn jockey" and pandering to the tired, old liberal establishment.

Lemuel Jones, as he likes to be called, has spent a lifetime guarding the front entrance of one of the oldest surviving mansions in Annapolis, Maryland. But that doesn't mean he's a traitor to his race.

"I've voted straight Democratic in every election they take me to," he said in a personal interview Friday. "Just who is that Malkin woman to be telling stories about me? She's one of those Asians, isn't she? Probably Korean. Or Jewish. I've got no use for her kind."

On the touchy subject of whether he's going to vote for Maryland's black senate candidate, Michael Steele, Mr. Jones is firm: "He's a Republican. I don't vote for Republicans, white, black, brown, or purple. Never did. Never will. Period. So if my ride shows up, I'm going for the other fella."

Why, he's asked, do people continually think that black people of his profession are closet conservatives, capitalists, and other despicable things?

"I don't know," he says. "I never even had an Uncle Tom. Maybe it's the uniiform. I'd like to put my cap on backward and wear my pants underneath my buttocks like all the other homeys white women like so much, but I wasn't allowed to go to college in my day, so this is the kind of job I have to take. But I'll tell you one thing," he adds, "I'm no sellout. I don't ever smile at all the rich white crackers who drive through this entrance. And that goes double for Michael Steele and all the other white, racist Republicans -- like that no-account Malkin broad. And that Bush. Did I tell you how much I hate the President? Well, I do. Any more questions?"

No. That's about it. Now, if you'll excuse us, we have to track down a lead about Laura Bush's torrid sexual affair with Lynn Cheney and George Bush's secret deal to let Halliburton strip-mine all the blue states for coal slag. One of these stories just has to break in time to make sure the Dems win the Senate on Tuesday. Trust us. Would we lie?

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