Monday, August 31, 2020

The Radical Right Accusing the "Radical Left"

“If American civilization fails it will probably be the result of the obliteration of objective truth.”
Kay Coles James
Kay Coles James, president of the Heritage Foundation, is an intellectually dishonest Trump cheerleader.
via YouTube
It has been my observation that Kay Coles James, president of Heritage Foundation, is not an especially intelligent individual. James' latest polemic is titled: Fight for America: Voters must do this to stop socialism and anarchy. It reads like something crafted by the Trump campaign.

The simple fact is that our country is not in peril of becoming socialist. Even Bernie Sanders is not really a socialist which requires government control of the sources of supply; nationalizing our our major industries and replacing markets with central planning.

As Paul Krugman explains:
Republicans have a long, disreputable history of conflating any attempt to improve American lives with the evils of “socialism.” When Medicare was first proposed, Ronald Reagan called it “socialized medicine,” and he declared that it would destroy our freedom.
Furthermore, former VP Joseph R. Biden is certainly not a socialist. That is one of the reasons that Democrats selected him over Bernie Sanders to be their presidential candidate.

According to Kay Coles James:
Rioting. Vandalism. Bullying opponents into silence. Calls to defund the police, abolish the Electoral College and remake America as a socialist country. It’s hard to believe what we’re now seeing.
We are going to hell in a handbasket. The simple fact is that effective, vigorous protests have brought change to America. My generation stopped a war.

We are not defunding police and Mr. Biden does not advocate doing so. The Electoral College will probably remain in place. As I said, we are in no peril of becoming a socialist country.
For months, the forces of Marxism, socialism and anarchy have terrorized our streets and threatened the values that make America the greatest nation in the world. They have shown no signs of stopping and many left-leaning politicians, members of the media and celebrities either tacitly accept their behavior or openly cheer it on.
There are legitimate protesters with a legitimate grievance. Ms. James is a Black woman and knows better. No politician, member of the mainstream media or celebrity — no one — has accepted or encouraged violence. Ms. James does not want us to separate the overwhelming majority of non-violent protesters from the violent fringe.

I can do the same thing. Kay Coles James is anti-choice. There are right wing religious zealots who have murdered and maimed abortion providers. I could imply that James is part of the violent fringe.
Today, America has a choice of two paths. We can embrace the foundational principles that created this nation of limited government and individual liberty. Or we can veer down the path of those who trash those principles, who teach our children that America was illegitimate from the start, and who want to make the vast majority of Americans subservient to an all-powerful government.
False choices are intellectually dishonest. For example “foundational principles” of America included slavery and the marginalization of women who did not even have the right to vote until 1920.

Change is essential for a society to prosper and even survive. On the other side of James' equation I do not know what she means or who she is referring to regarding individuals “who teach our children that America was illegitimate from the start.” Overall, most Americans are in favor of teaching children about our unfairness to Native Americans. Ignoring that is to pretend that it did not happen.

I do not know anyone who wants “to make the vast majority of Americans subservient to an all-powerful government.” That is just more dishonest hyperbole.
The time has come to fight for America and against the poisonous ideology of the radical left.

But this is not the typical fight between liberals and conservatives over whose vision for America should prevail. This is a much bigger fight.

This is a fight over whether America as we know it continues to exist at all.

This is a fight over whether we have freedom, peace and prosperity, or speech codes, cancel culture and enforced ideological conformity.
The above is malodorous bovine exhaust. James is a bigot. The “speech codes” that she is likely referring to are the expressions of decency to not misgender transgender persons. The government cannot force people to be polite.

“Cancel culture” is the right wing grievance that other people will not tolerate their racism, homophobia, transphobia, islamophobia or other lies. Heritage Foundation has, in their employ, Ryan T. Anderson who is a walking anti-LGBTQ hate group. His voice is widely distributed and he has no problem airing his bigotry.

Calling due criticism “cancel culture” is a way of discrediting critics without attempting to discredit their criticism. It is a form of argument ad hominem.

I do not know what “ideological conformity” means. Even people whom James would label as leftists or liberals have a range of vastly different views.

Overall, the above-quoted text offers another, intellectually dishonest false choice.
On that note
This is a fight where conservatives, moderates and even more traditional liberals should be working together on one side to stop the radical Marxists on the other.
Exactly who are these “radical Marxists?” The founders of Black Lives Matter admit to having Marxist training. However, their protests have been entirely peaceful (at the insistence of those same founders). Marxists pose no threat to our democracy.

No candidate for the presidency or Congress is a Marxist. There is nothing and no one to oppose. On the other hand Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene is headed to Congress. Ms. Greene is a conspiracy theorist and supporter of QAnon. Greene presents a real threat to our democracy.

Donald Trump poses a serious threat to our democracy which includes diminished voting rights. Trump is also a threat to our core beliefs as Americans. James called those “foundational principles.”

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” has given way to stopping immigrants from “shithole countries,” child separation, useless walls (that Mexico hasn't paid for), coarseness, brutality and, internationally, the depiction of American culture as indifferent to the plight of those less fortunate.

I am frankly embarrassed by what our government has done in my name.

James quotes the source of her senseless rhetoric:
Vice President Mike Pence recently summed up this historic point in our history:

“We stand at a crossroads of freedom. Before us lie two paths: One based on the dignity and worth of every individual, and the other on the growing control of the state. One road leads to greater freedom and opportunity, and the other road leads to socialism and decline.”

Or even more succinctly, “The choice we face is whether America remains America.”
Mr. Pence is equally dishonest and offers false choices for political advantage. Doing so is cynical.
The radical left’s ideas could destroy America for generations. The only bulwark that can stop them is an informed and energized citizenry.
The so-called radical left is a meaningless term. Employees of James' organization frequently refers to LGBTQ people as radical for wanting equal protection. Transgender people are radical for wanting some kindness and civility.

In any event Ms. James has failed to identify a candidate for public office who is part of the so-called radical left. Perhaps that is because they do not exist.

It is Donald Trump who has damaged America for generations. Trump has had an effect on our culture. Things like QAnon are now a cultural reality. Furthermore McConnell engineered things so that Trump had reign over judicial appointments by intentionally ignoring Obama nominees. We now have a large number of unqualified demagogues with lifetime appointments to the federal bench.

Kay Coles James is not an advocate for an informed citizenry. James is part of an enterprise that thrives on disinformation. “Fake news” means media reports that refute Trump's many lies. When did Ms. James ever admonish Trump for his dishonesty? A citizen informed by Trump is not informed at all.

If American civilization fails it will probably be the result of the obliteration of objective truth. Mr. Trump has introduced us to “alternate facts” which aren't facts at all.
Kay Coles James and I agree on one thing
Register to vote and make it your project to get 10 relatives and neighbors who aren’t registered to do the same. Then show up for your local, state and federal elections – and bring them with you. The best way to fight for America is to vote for America.
If young people would vote en masse we could take back our country from the likes of a sociopath like Trump and an opportunist like Mitch McConnell. We could be a fairer, more prosperous nation while still encouraging economic development.

But first things first. The “American exceptionalism™” that the Right is so fond of citing should be based foremost on American decency. We have become indecent as a nation because our president is indecent.

Trump is not going to change. We need to seize the moment and change Trump for someone who is better suited for the presidency.

As a consultant I often said that creating a quality culture is dependent upon considering the best interests of customers, first, last and always.

I feel similarly about our president. He or she must consider the best interests of the nation first, last and always. It is a selfless pursuit. One thing is certain. Trump only considers his personal interests first, last and always.

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