Recently I was talking with a dear friend about how the gift that our particular collegiate experience gave us could be summarized this way: It made it possible for us to disentangle “Christianity” from “stupid American evangelical crap.”
After Evangelicalism - Mere Orthodoxy This is a bracing article for those who so despair over “stupid American evangelical crap” that they’re thinking of abandoning the faith in toto.
Here they were, a coalition of the willing: deadbeat dads, YouPorn enthusiasts, slow students, and MMA fans. They had heard the rebel yell, packed up their Confederate flags and Trump banners, and GPS-ed their way to Washington. After a few wrong turns, they had pulled into the swamp with bellies full of beer and Sausage McMuffins, maybe a little high on Adderall, ready to get it done. Like Rush Limbaugh before them, they were in search of their own Presidential Medals of Freedom, and like Donald Trump himself, they were ready to relieve themselves on the withering soul of the nation and the marble floors of the Capitol building. Out of darkness we were born and into darkness we were returning.
The Viking guy was frightening, until it turned out that he’s a notorious ham who shows up at lots of Trump events and loves publicity. Last May, in Phoenix, he was pounding his drum and yelling, “Thank you, President Trump!” and “Thank you, Q!” until a reporter approached him to ask for an interview, and in an instant he turned into Beto O’Rourke. “My name is Jake Angeli,” he said smoothly. “That’s J-A-K-E and A-N-G-E-L-I. Angel with an i.”
The comedian Norm MacDonald has observed that the second-worst job in the world is Crack Whore and that the worst job in the world is Assistant Crack Whore. So let us cast our lonely eyes on the specter of Assistant Viking, Aaron Mostofsky, who was dressed in pelts and carried a police riot shield and who—in a rare Viking flourish—was bespectacled. Can you tell us what you’re doing here today? a reporter asked him. “What I’m doing here today is,” he began, but here the words began to fail him. He looked around and then said he was there to “express my opinion as a free American, my beliefs that this election was stolen. Um—we were cheated.” He adjusted one of his pelts and said that certain blue states—“like New York”—had once been red, and “were stolen.”
Why had she come to Washington? “We’re storming the Capitol!” she whined. “It’s a revolution!” Patty Hearst was more up to speed on the philosophy and goals of the Symbionese Liberation Army before she got out of the trunk. These people were dressed like cartoon characters, they believe that the country is under attack from pedophiles and “globalists,” and they are certain that Donald Trump won the election. In other words, the Founders’ worst fear—that a bunch of dumbasses would elect a tyrant—had come to pass.
All things are born, live, and then die. We can remember who we are, and keep going—maybe even moving forward. Or we can make a mockery of ourselves and die in filth.
Caitlyn Flanagan, Worst Revolution Ever - The Atlantic]
Thanks, Caitlyn. That (especially the first paragraph) was cathartic in a guilty pleasure sort of way.
- Ronna McDaniel and Tommy Hicks were reelected chair and co-chair of the Republican National Committee, respectively. The pair—who are both close allies of President Trump—will serve through the 2022 midterm elections.
- Alt-right activist Ali Alexander claimed in a video posted before the protest that he was working with three House Republicans—Reps. Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs and Mo Brooks—to organize the event. Alexander said he consulted the lawmakers as he “schemed up putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting…”
- Alex Jones, the InfoWars conspiracy theorist who claimed the Sandy Hook shootings were faked and has been publicly praised by President Trump, claimed in a video that the White House asked him three days before the event to lead the march to the Capitol.
- And sources familiar with the investigation tell The Dispatch that there are indications some of the militia groups involved had plans that included harming lawmakers and harming or capturing Vice President Mike Pence.
- Who should be held accountable for Wednesday’s siege on the Capitol? According to conservative columnist George Will, President Trump, Sen. Josh Hawley, and Sen. Ted Cruz. “The three repulsive architects of Wednesday’s heartbreaking spectacle—mobs desecrating the Republic’s noblest building and preventing the completion of a constitutional process—must be named and forevermore shunned,” he writes in his latest column. Even though Trump “lit the fuse for the riot in the weeks before the election,” the president’s conspiratorial antics were enabled by Hawley and Cruz and their refusal to certify the Electoral College vote on Wednesday, Will writes. While Trump is gone in just over a week, it will take longer to “scrub” Hawley and Cruz from public life. “Until that hygienic outcome is accomplished, from this day forward, everything they say or do or advocate should be disregarded as patent attempts to distract attention from the lurid fact of what they have become. Each will wear a scarlet ‘S’ as a seditionist.”
We need a new media channel, the press version of a third party, where those financial pressures to maintain audience are absent. Ideally, it would:
- not be aligned with either Democrats or Republicans;
- employ a Fairness Doctrine-inspired approach that discourages groupthink and requires at least occasional explorations of alternative points of view;
- embrace a utilitarian mission stressing credibility over ratings, including by;
- operating on a distribution model that as much as possible doesn’t depend upon the indulgence of Apple, Google, and Amazon.
Innovations like Substack are great for opinionated individual voices like me, but what’s desperately needed is an institutional reporting mechanism that has credibility with the whole population. That means a channel that sees its mission as something separate from politics, or at least as separate from politics as possible.
Buttons are out among students, but yard signs are in among hipsters. This one has been sprouting like mushrooms:
IN THIS HOUSE, WE BELIEVE:
BLACK LIVES MATTER
WOMEN’S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS
NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL
SCIENCE IS REAL
LOVE IS LOVE
KINDNESS IS EVERYTHING
Having matriculated, as I said, in the Newspeak world, I humbly attempt to translate these sentiments into English.
Black lives matter. What this doesn’t mean: That black lives matter. Of course they do. What it does mean: That if you don’t think rioting is a good way to protect black lives, you’re a racist who thinks they don’t matter.
Women’s rights are human rights. What this doesn’t mean: That women are human. Of course they are. What it does mean: That unborn children aren’t, and if you think they are, you must think women aren’t.
No human is illegal. What this doesn’t mean: That it should never be illegal to exist. Of course it shouldn’t. What it does mean: That if you think any form of border control is allowable, your view is tantamount to genocide.
Science is real. What this doesn’t mean: That well-conducted science can discover some things about the real world. Of course it can. What it does mean: That ideologically influenced science should be accepted without question, so if you ask for better evidence, you’re opposing science itself.
Love is love. What this doesn’t mean: That love should be respected. Of course it should. What it does mean: Everything motivated by sex is good, and if you have any reservations about that, you’re against love.
Kindness is everything. What this doesn’t mean: That we ought to practice the virtue of kindness. What it does mean: That if you don’t agree with all of the preceding slogans, you must be full of hate.
I’ll never be able to view J. Budziszewski as well as I used to, because he has become a real full-mooner about the election - and just as bereft of evidence as all the others. But it’s nice to see him returning, if only a little and only temporarily, to sound critical thinking.
In the past few days, some of the nation’s most powerful corporations have engaged in a concerted effort, at the behest of a major political party, to limit the speech of millions of Americans who engaged in wrongthink. First, Twitter permanently banned the sitting president. As is its right. And when millions of his fans left and bolstered Parler, a different platform, Apple, Google, and Amazon went ahead and shut it down as well.
But if you say that targeted deplatforming, though not Stalinist, is troubling, the same people who want to compel everyone to buy state-mandated health insurance, who want to dictate how corporations compensate their employees, who want to force nuns to buy abortifacients, and who want to destroy the lives of bakers and florists who run businesses according to long-held religious beliefs will vigorously defend the value of free-association rights that allow corporations to act this way. So I’m pretty skeptical that most of these people are genuine champions of individual market choices, and aren’t just super excited about silencing people.
Twitter claims that it is merely banning “incitement,” by which it means conspiratorial contentions about the 2020 election being stolen. This, of course, is a new standard, since well-known personalities across Twitter have spread similar conspiracies about the 2016 election — not to mention downplaying the murder, arson, and billions of dollars of damage caused by leftist rioters last summer.
Perhaps we could take Twitter’s claim that it is upholding the sanctity of democracy more seriously if it didn’t host Chinese Communist officials who treat slave ownership as a social good, or anti-Semitic Iranian officials who regularly use exterminationist rhetoric. I’d rather we just hear everyone, and mock, stigmatize, debunk, and undermine bad actors.
David Harsanyi, Free Speech Is a Value, Not Just a Right