Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I myself am confused over whether to pronounce that, "forty-one equals zero," or "forty-one equals oh."

Those who still recall the election campaign of Senator Scott Brown as the forty-first vote against ObamaCare may find themselves disappointed by the following recent comments:

"It takes a guy who drives a truck with 216,000 miles and is from Wrentham and has a barn jacket to tell everybody that 'Hey, we have to get together and say cut the crap with the lettering and the name calling and the twisting of words and the fact that we're not doing what we’re expected to do to move our state and our country forward,'" Brown said.

Brown -- who was elected to the late U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's seat on Jan. 19 last year -- said his election as the 41st senator forced the two parties to have a conversation.

"What's happening in the House and in the Senate with people not talking, well I have to tell you that's changed since I got there. People are forced to talk. Some of my best friends are Democrats. We go out and try to work things through and try to move our country forward," Brown said. "I think Dr. King would appreciate the bipartisanship that I have shown that others have shown."
Wasn't Brown elected for a reason? If so, didn't it have something to do with the fact that he wasn't a "D?" And has he forgotten already the underhanded way the Democrats passed ObamaCare even after he took office? How could there even be grounds for a productive conversation with a party that showed so much contempt for both rational give-and-take and the will of the people?

There's no such thing as "forcing" someone to "talk," to suddenly become receptive to genuine debate. However, any bully will certainly pretend to be reasonable once someone stands up to him, so long as he feels he is being watched. This is the actual posture of the Democratic Party after the 2010 elections.

Color me outraged, but not so much surprised. In a way, Brown is right: There is really little substantive difference between the Party of Big Government Now and the Party of Big Government, But Not Just Yet. In one sense, the labels are silly.

But even many of the staunchest conservative partisans do, wrongly, "cut the crap" with labeling very time they unknowingly dismiss the American cause as non-ideological, commonsensical, or simply more "adult" than that of the left. I once saw the estimable Thomas Sowell make such an error.
His error is a common one, in which he treats an implicitly rational, reality-oriented philosophical outlook as a given, rather than as an implicit example of just another possible ideology. My last would doubtless strike many, probably including Sowell himself, as moral relativism at first blush, but it is not. For if the rational, "adult" ideology that Sowell implicitly favors can be judged as an ideology, so must all other ideologies be examined under the cold light of reason, and compared against the facts of reality, which include the requirements for man's survival.
To fail to identify what one stands for can have many causes, including cowardice or befuddlement. Does Scott, so far removed from the Revolution his ads invoked, really understand why he was elected? And, coming from a state whose people are anything but Jeffersonian Democrats, could such a confused man really be expected to stand for anything but the "wisdom" of the crowd, or to seek anything but the safety of numbers? Scott's dismissal of labels isn't because he sees neither party as respecting freedom, but because he doesn't really see such an issue.

Until the common man Scott evokes with his vehicle of choice and his manner of dress once again also possesses the same love for freedom he did a couple of centuries ago, it will be men like Scott, whose heart is in the right place, but who can't tell enemies from friends, whom they will choose as leaders.

-- CAV


Vigilis said...

Gus, I have to force myself to stop considering party labels and ferret out what lays beneath. Some of Brown's best friends indeed!

Gus Van Horn said...


I'm with you on suspicion of both parties, but I don't accept the notion of a "military-industrial complex" or that membership in a profession is tantamount to participating in a nefarious conspiracy. Indeed, some lawyers are actually activists in favor of individual rights, whereas others continue to destroy government protection of same.


Vigilis said...

Gus, "I don't accept the notion of a "military-industrial complex" or that membership in a profession is tantamount to participating in a nefarious conspiracy."

Nor do I. The professionals are not acting collusively, but innocently.

The growing size and widespread influence of the profession has reached a level that precludes adequate public attention. A natural coziness (libel, slander, plagerism, leaks) with the media discourages criticism, as well.

Name one journalist with a weekly column or a single influential blogger who regularly follows the profession - I cannot.

Here is a recent example of how easily lawyers (defendant, judge, prosecutor) were able to separate themselves from societal oversight
D.C. Appeals Court

Lawyers are necessary to our society. All we need do is a better job of holding them accountable.

Gus Van Horn said...

Thanks for clarifying your position. Insofar as lawyers seeming to act collusively, I'd call that a symptom of over-regulation and other governmental interference in the economy. Both entangle simple daily transactions in unnecessary laws, making lawyers more necessary than they should be. And things like that do self-perpetuate, but lawyers are not the primary cause of the problem.

Anonymous said...


Although he doesn't follow lawyers per se, Radly Balko at the Agitator does a good job of highlighting prosecutors who abuse the justice system.

He just did a top 10 list on the worst prosecutors of 2010.

c. andrew

(the site is presently down or I'd provide a link to that poll)

Gus Van Horn said...

Here's the link.