Sunday, October 11, 2020

UPDATED: Virtue Versus Fear

My father was a clinical psychologist. One of the things he said to me, many years ago, that made a deep impression was to this effect: Intelligence is, to a great extent, a function of character. In other words, of virtue. What he meant was that those who lack virtue, who are of weak character, tend to lack true insight into reality, and thus to misjudge things on a regular basis.

This morning American Greatness ran a number of articles that all seemed to hit on variations of that theme. Central to all of them was the idea that the Prog movement, including Dems, seeks to control people through fear.

Now, one of the classical virtues is fortitude, or courage. Courage is what makes the practice of the other virtues possible. A people dominated by fear will have great difficulty in practicing the virtues in their lives. As so often, Trump was getting at something rather profound when he urged his fellow citizens not to be dominated by Covid. Not to be paralyzed by fear. To be dominated by fear makes a truly human life almost impossible.

One of the articles that touches on much of this is this one by Jay Whig:

The Biden Death Star: A Star Wars Story

The Biden Death Star is a mask, strapped to a human face, forever.

Clearly Whig had Trump's brush with Covid in mind, as well as his call to courage. Many of us, before the true nature and risks of Covid were known, accepted the idea of voluntarily wearing a mask in certain situations. While that was initially pooh-poohed as unscientific, we all know what soon happened. The Left--realizing the potential for domination of others by instilling fear and distrust-- did a quick about face (hah!) and embraced mandatory masking up and distancing of humans from one another. 

Whig does a nice job of illustrating how this works and what the Prog plans for our future are. Note how it all dovetails smoothly into that central feature of the Prog vision, the antithesis of our constitutional order--the administrative state, rule by unelected "experts". This vision explains the fear of Progs at the notion of judges committed to the constitution, rather than to legislating through judicial lawmaking whatever the current Prog obsession is. Whig:

The Biden Death Star is a liberty-killing weapon based on the idea of perpetual pandemic. Its basic structure has four major parts:

  • Progressive control over the economy – “an immediate set of ambitious and progressive economic measures …”;
  • Profligacy – “We must spend whatever it takes, without delay…”;
  • Expertise over self-government – “ [l]eadership grounded in science.”
  • Forever – “…even as we respond to this crisis, we must prepare for the next one.”
  • To paraphrase Orwell—or Darth Vader (take your pick)—the Biden Death Star is a mask, strapped to a human face, forever.

Oh, and I forgot, globally. It’s always global.

The Biden Death Star has many other details. But these are ancillary to its central purpose, which is fear.

Fear is an instrument of control in a struggle to cede deliberative government to an administrative state. The English philosopher Thomas Hobbes [author of Leviathan] recognized this. Hobbes built an entire political theory—a depraved one—around fear.

Never let a crisis--or a pandemic--go to waste. Make it permanent. That is the Dem watchword. And the way to accomplish this is through fear--perpetrated on the populace through a never ending succession of hoaxes, both scientific and political, and propagated through an educational establishment that has become a system of indoctrination. This is the story of the Dem party for much of our history since the Civil War. Originally embracing a naively optimistic view in the Progressive era, the recalcitrance of the American people has led Progs to look to fear as a means of coercion and control. 

This tendency has intensified greatly in the period since World War II, to such a degree that, in a very real sense, this is what this Election 2020 is about. We see it in the contrast between the Dem fear mongering and appeals to seemingly irreconcilable differences and, on the other hand, Trump's appeals to hope, to courage, to an optimism that we can overcome the challenges we face and can unite as a people.

What progress have the Dems made? Gallup recently did a survey that serves to measure the degree of fear that has been instilled in the population, using Covid as the focal point. The contrast between the Party of Fear and the Party of Hope and, dare I say, Courage is quite stark:

It's our choice.

UPDATE: I can't believe I failed to cite the founding fathers in the original version of the post. Their views on the relationship between virtue and freedom--bearing in mind the relationship of courage to the other virtues--go a long way toward explaining the Prog war on all virtue, of all sense of right and wrong, on any definition of a human nature that we don't create for ourselves. John Adams, of course, is the most often quoted, but his views are representative of all:

"The only foundation of a free Constitution, is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People, in a great Measure, than they have it now. They may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty.

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our constitution as a whale goes through a net."

"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

"Liberty can no more exist without virtue and independence than the body can live and move without a soul."

"Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private, and public virtue is the only foundation of republics."

"[I]t is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue."

"The laws of man may bind him in chains or may put him to death, but they never can make him wise, virtuous, or happy."

- John Adams




    On the other hand, Biden has to SWEEP almost all of the remaining states. And Trump is more than competitive in everyone one of them, and likely leading in more than a few.

    This is evidence of how powerful the MSM remains. In truth, Biden is a distant longshot electorally, and may need a miracle. (This is why the media is so angered by Trump’s rapid recovery from the virus – they were praying that would be their black swan event). But the MSM is still able to paint the picture of Biden leading the race by flooding the discussion with rigged polls showing Biden +16.

    In reality, Trump is the real frontrunner, and it could get ugly for the dems downballot. That may explain some of the recent odd activities — like dancing around court-packing, and the 25th amendment. The Dems in the know see the real landscape, and are desperate to drive the youth vote and the hard left to the polls. They desperately need a 2008-type turnout. But the sad truth for them is that Biden is a dud, and Harris is an actual liability. They can see what is coming, and it is not pretty.

    1. More:

      A polarized nation is more of a problem for the Democrats because so much of their strength is in large urban centers in states that are going to go Democrat anyway. The big X factor in 2016 was how much of the Republican vote would walk away from Trump. A minuscule amount was the answer, the Never Trumpers having lots of chiefs and few Indians. With his cross over appeal to blue collar Democrats, those who rarely vote and Hispanics, Trump is a candidate who the pollsters are finding it increasingly difficult to poll, and that is why many Democrat party higher-ups are alarmed despite the polls.

    2. > This is evidence of how powerful the MSM remains

      I'm not so sure it's just the MSM. They suffered greatly from their loss of monopoly power over the news, but they gained another with social media. Any conservative voices can be pulled if necessary, with little to no explanation given. And the way they combined their control of the fact-checkers to loose a one-sided rampage, built right into the structure of facebook and other social media, means that happy days are here again, and opponents can be safely muffled.

    3. Interesting analysis of "The Left’s Strategy and Tactics To Transform America" tweet thread by Larry Schweikart.

      “Political correctness is the enforcement mechanism of the multicultural narrative that implements Neo-Marxist objectives.”

      "Trump succeeded because his rhetoric intuitively rubs up against the very attack narratives the Left uses to co-opt establishment Republicans. The unanticipated success of his brute force attacks positions him as an EXISTENTIAL THREAT that forces the Left into an openly aggressive posture prematurely."

      "The political warfare strategy of the Left is dependent upon the successful execution and exploitation of narratives that Republicans conform to that TRUMP, WHEN ON MISSION, INTUITIVELY ATTACKS."


    4. Thank you, Mark, for countering the Conservative Pundit Doom Parade. We all want to feel optimistic that Trump will win, possibly win big as Surber believes, based on what we see around us and the fundamentals that typically presage the outcome of elections. But this recent spate of conservative pundits buying the Left's narrative of a Biden landslide is puzzling and even infuriating. I keep hope alive that 15 to 20% of black voters will go Trump and start the preference cascade for the GOP in future elections. That changes everything.

    5. Frank, I think that's correct--Trump won not IN SPITE of his style but ultimately BECAUSE OF his style. Another GOP appeaser is not what this country needed.

  2. As the master says: "Fear is the absence of Love; Love is the absence of Fear!"

  3. Trump is representative of a counter-revolutionary movement to the unrelenting social changes starting in the '60s and the oligarchic led economic restructuring globally. Those are the individuals terrified of him, and those who put him in office.

    1. Almost paradoxically, given his past personal life, yes.

  4. "fear--perpetrated on the populace through a never ending succession of *hoaxes*...."
    It's easy to miss the key hoax aspect of fear-campaigns.

    Do the Gallup results cited here owe more, to tendencies to be or not be fearful, more than they owe to tendencies to be or not be trustful of the MSM etc.?
    I'll guess, that good polls show similar breakdowns, on GOP vs. Dem stances on all issues related to MSM hyping (and hiding of contrary evidence), incl. those not relating to fear-qua-fear.

    I'll bet that the poll numbers, for those aware of Cuomo's nursing home policies, are quite different from the
    numbers, for those unaware of those policies.

    Just as the numbers, for those aware of the real words in the Horowitz Rept., will be quite different from the
    numbers, for those aware only of Comey's spin on those words.
    That's why guys like Comey puke out such spin; it often works.

  5. Thought of you

    Sorry to be off topic

    1. I'm quite sure they seriously explored that angle.

    2. What is alleged in And Magazine, if true, is mind blowing.

      Deliberately seeing if they could delay or stop the inauguration - wow.

      And use of Intel from 5 eyes, especially UK.

      And leaving a paper trail!

      This would explain why Durham delayed.

    3. I've been saying this all along. They were playing for keeps. But Barr is a very serious guy.

  6. Attacks against Trump supporters in my area:

    - Las Vegas -
    - Yorba Linda Ca - car ramming (Orange County - Home of the nixon library).
    - Woodland Hills - somebody took pot shots
    - Vietnamese area Orange County - parade of Vietnamese trump supports

    My guess is when everyone that supports Trump is a Nazi per leftist propaganda, even Vietnamese, it makes for a dangerous situation...

  7. I’m astonished at the difference per Gallup, wow!

    And as the State Covid 19 regulations get stranger and more ridiculous, I wonder if more people migrate to the GOP Column...

    I’m in CA, and the regulations are getting more and more ridiculous.

  8. Mark, thanks for this whole post. Just got back from visiting grandchildren 7 and 10 and want them to have the opportunity to grow up in a country at least roughly approximating what we got to experience but did not appreciate at the time. It is foremost in our minds these days and getting away from the details we focus a little too much on to the bigger picture you explored here is very welcome.

  9. Great read Mark. I've felt this "fear mongering" style since the primaries. It does work for those weak in virtue, philosophy, and attitude.

    Speaking of virtue, i see CNN has a counter article out courtesy of flappable Marshall Cohen and one eyed Darcy. Unbelievable denial and one sided portrait. Shaming Fox News too whom have been the least engaged in sharing this sort of news.

    My guess is these two CNN nit wits got the gig because the true (don't make me gag) professionals there turned it down.

  10. I'm constantly told I need a mask when entering stores. My camo Trump/Pence/2020 mask makes these massholes second guess the fear tactic!!

  11. Mark, this is a easy read explaining Binden's Ukrainian dealings... shady characters need a roof!

    1. Thanks Mike. Hopefully we'll be learning a lot more--because there IS a lot more--in a 2nd Trump term.

  12. From the outset, I've referred to media "reporting" on C-19 as panic porn. And you'll notice how easily they transitioned from deaths and hospitalizations to "cases" as a way to keep fear and hysteria alive.

    1. Duly noted, and I should have seen this bit of Left audacity coming.

    2. @Forbes

      re 'panic porn'

      In the small Red State county (pop 43,000) where I am, there have been 1,159 cases reported since March and 59 hospitalizations, resulting in one (1) death of an elderly early July, three and a half months ago.

      However, (as you say) since August it is being reported that positive 'cases' have been trending up. A friend of mine's college age daughter recently became a 'case'. She tested positive. Had no symptoms. Left school and quarantined for 10 days. Then went back.

      As a result of the uptick in 'cases', the County Health Commissioner has proclaimed, “We’re absolutely, 100% in another surge, and it’s the one that has me the most concerned.”

      So, the County is still on 'Public Health Emergency' alert. Children are attending school remotely. Restaurants and bars have shut down. Everyone is still wearing a mask and people drive around with their car windows rolled up wearing a mask.

      Who knows what the economic damage has been and is still to come.

    3. "cases"

      It's a lie of course, since "positive test result" does NOT fit the official definition of "case".

      I'd call this insanity, if I didn't know better--that it's utterly cynical and malevolent gaslighting.

    4. @ Cassander

      I really wonder if we shouldn't show these small time tyrants that we can play their game, too. For example, in your county, bars and restaurants are being shut down. Fine. Then the bars and resturants should start organizing "social justice protests" where the bars and resturants supply food and drink trucks or curbside and large numbers gather with bands and speakers etc... Dare the tyrants to live up to their own hypocrisy a la Alinsky.

    5. When I & my girlfriend caught the virus in January, we weren't "cases" because the hospital refused to test. They probably had no way to test. And the test volume and quality have grown dramatically the last 9 months.

      A "spike" in cases would be expected from performing tests that actually work. If there weren't a "spike" I would conclude the new tests don't work. (I have the feeling I'm wasting my time typing this because it's common sense and obvious)

    6. @dfp

      I suspect nobody knows how many 'cases' there have been, let alone how many 'fatalities'.

      Just no way to tell.

  13. Perhaps O/T, but what's really O/T at this juncture?

    I post this article, not because I agree with most or even many of the author's conclusions, but because I agree specifically with one conclusion he reaches.

    In the power game unfolding to see who really runs this country, there has been a huge behind the scenes battle between Obama and Mrs Clinton. It has been conducted on stage by various actors (ventriloquists' dummies): Sanders, Warren, Biden, Bloomberg, Harris, etc., but the real adversaries have been Obama and Mrs Clinton. The author suggests that Obama has won this battle (for the time being) as Biden is his guy and spinning Spygate as a Hillary dirty trick distances Obama from culpability. Interesting...

    FWIW, I would think this will all come to naught when Trump wins the election and both Obama and Mrs Clinton go down. (Who knows where this leaves George Soros and the Far Left...)

    PS I have to also take this opportunity to urge all readers to watch The Plot Against the President ( Yes, it merely confirms what interested persons (as in here) have known for a long time, but it does so in a way which I think ordinary, low information Americans might just understand...

    1. Cass, those two monsters may have their spats, but the two are likely united by a very powerful force:
      to paraphrase V. Lombardi, "Hating Deplorables isn't everything, it's The Only Thing."