Monthly Archives: September 2018
We all claim to at least acknowledge the profundity of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” But who really follows the Golden Rule? I’ve seen one example of the Golden Rule being applied in my lifetime, and that was from a close friend who shocked me by offering a gift to someone who had just been mean and ungenerous to him. He was hardly religious, and may not even have realized what he was doing. But it moved me deeply and left a huge impact on me.
Most of us have difficulty getting along well with our loved ones. Dysfunction is normal in American families. It’s even expected, and promoted relentlessly by the culture. So imagine how hard it is to be kind to those who have not been kind to us. Jesus told us to love our enemies, as well as our neighbors. Most Americans feel fortunate if they’re not feuding with their neighbors. I really have never met anyone who is magnanimous enough to love those who despise them.
As a civil libertarian dinosaur, I’m prone to speak up for those who are being figuratively lynched by the mob. I was inspired by Patrick Henry’s bold “I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to my dying day your right to say it” as a young child. They used to teach that kind of antiquated stuff in grade school. Henry was saying essentially the same thing that Voltaire said. Great minds- classic liberals- realized how important the right to free expression is.
As recently as the 1970s, many on the left truly were able to “walk a mile in the moccasins” of others. Liberals used to be concerned about prison reform, the rights of those behind bars, and unilaterally opposed capital punishment. Could Elton John’s song Have Mercy on the Criminal even be recorded today? Once Bill Clinton transformed the Democrats into social justice warriors, who were nevertheless just as enamored with war, the intelligence agencies, police power and corporate corruption as their Republican peers, civil libertarians were kicked to the curb.
Jesus said that the commandment to “love thy neighbor as thyself” was one of the two precepts upon which the entire religion stood. Despite this, most devout Christians I’ve met are remarkably lax in following it. This is especially true of the most pious, “born-again” fundamentalist types. Born-againers are also notably averse to the crucial “judge not lest ye be judged” thing. They judge constantly.
Perhaps you’re thinking that the women who unfathomably forgave their migrant rapists in other countries were, in fact, practicing the Golden Rule. On the surface, that might seem to be so, but if you study those reports, and the way the establishment left presented the issue of migration into European countries, you’ll understand that this was purely driven by political correctness, in one of the most extreme cases of Stockholm syndrome imaginable.
This is a complex issue. The absence of Civics is apparent everywhere. Civics used to be a staple of every high school’s curriculum, but it stopped being taught around 1970. Our leaders want obedient, unquestioning proles, not good citizens. Civics wasn’t just about producing good citizens. It was about transmitting values. As Aristotle recognized a very long time ago, a civilization must have a shared set of values. Clearly, in today’s America, there are almost no shared values.
The Golden Rule is the basis of human decency. Even without following it strictly, most people in the past had some kind of empathy for others. In present-day America, there is almost a complete absence of empathy. As just one example, a man dropped dead in a Target store a few years ago, during one of the yearly Black Friday displays of collective madness. No one stopped to check on him, or even appeared to notice him other than to step over his body in their quest to save a few dollars. Considering how fast America is deteriorating, today we might see youngsters posing for selfies next to his lifeless body, or perhaps stepping on or even jumping up and down on it.
America is fractured; almost completely broken around bogus, politically correct lines. Few on either the left or right would hesitate to lock someone away for life, despite any concrete evidence, simply because they “offended” them and fit their particular definition of a villain. They hate their political opposites with a venom and a passion that would appall Jesus. There is nothing about America’s present political discourse that bears the slightest resemblance to the Golden Rule.
Those associated with Donald Trump in some way have been thrown out of restaurants, or heckled until they leave them. This is pretty similar to how black people were once not permitted to dine in restaurants, but no one seems to sense the irony. All decent people found the protests of funerals by the Westboro Baptist Church to be repugnant. Considering the hypocrisy of today’s left, I think it’s a certainty that they would support identical protests of the funerals of “racists” or “Nazis” or “white supremacists.”
Donald Trump’s abrasive, divisive personality is perfect for present-day America. Certainly, it is impossible to imagine Trump forgiving others or treating them the way he would wish to be treated. He can’t even refrain from getting down in the gutter with the lowest common denominator entertainers, and exchanging juvenile poisonous barbs with them. The civil disobedience that began with Thoreau, and was utilized to great effect by Ghandi and Martin Luther King, has been supplanted by profane shouting and physical attacks on others.
We are so far removed from any “do unto others” concept that many, especially on the left, proudly advocate violent attacks on those who “offend” them. I’ve heard many people declare, “free speech doesn’t include hate speech.” Just what constitutes “hate speech,” of course, is something only they can define. Like “obscenity,” a ridiculous notion like “hate speech” is entirely in the eye of the beholder. So, if those you disagree with have no right to eat in public establishments, or to exercise their right to free speech, what rights do they have?
Obviously, if you can’t tolerate views that “offend” you, to the point of demanding that those expressing them be fired, jailed, or physically assaulted, then you certainly aren’t about to follow the Golden Rule in any way, shape, or form. I can’t count the number of parents and adult children who don’t speak to each other. Ever. Those are the closest human relationships possible. And too many people nowadays can’t even follow the Golden Rule with their own parents, or children.
Someone commented here recently that this blog was “Grumpy Old Man Central,” and questioned what century I was living in. It’s hard not to sound like a curmudgeon when looking at America’s blossoming Idiocracy. For those of us who grew up forty or fifty years ago, this is not only a different country, but an entirely different world. A different reality. A different dimension.
No, things weren’t always great back then, but there was a lot more empathy for others in general. It was a more polite world, even if “politeness,” as defined by Ambrose Bierce, is just “the most acceptable form of hypocrisy.” We need shared values. We need the Golden Rule.
When Donald Trump selected mainstream conservative Brett Kavanaugh as his Supreme Court nominee, those truly anxious to “drain the swamp” were disappointed once again. Even CNBC acknowledged that he was an “establishment favorite.” Kavanaugh has never been anyone’s kind of maverick. He has long been tied to former President George W. Bush.
The most troubling thing about Kavanaugh, to those of us who have bothered to investigate such things, is Kavanaugh’s role in covering up the death of Clinton White House counsel Vince Foster. Kavanaugh, as White House counsel under Bush, also sought to limit compensation under the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund.
With the anti-Trump fervor now at a fever pitch for half the country, it was inevitable that his nominee would be criticized. Predictably, none of the criticism leveled at Kavanaugh is based on his neocon fueled legal career. Instead, an alleged incident from thirty six years ago has now taken over all mainstream public discourse.
Christine Blasey Ford, a mainstream liberal professor with a background suitable for a political opponent of Donald Trump, has claimed that Kavanaugh attempted to sexually assault her while both were in high school. Not only are these allegations decades old, Ford evidently can’t remember anything specific about the incident; not the house, its location, how she arrived there, who was giving the party, etc. Only in our thoroughly divided country could such vague accusations from so long ago be taken seriously by anyone.
But this isn’t all. Ford has the most logical motive in the world to lodge a false accusation against Kavanaugh. In 1996, her parents were involved in foreclosure litigation, and Kavanaugh’s mother just happened to be the judge in the case, who ruled against them. An honest legal system would call that a conflict of interest. A mitigating factor. But as should be obvious to all living Americans at this point, we don’t have an honest legal system.
For those biased in favor of what I call the Evil Party, or the Democrats, Ford, like Anita Hill and anyone accusing Donald Trump of anything, has all the credibility in the world. They didn’t feel the same way about Juanita Broderick, Paula Jones, or any of the countless women who accused Bill Clinton of harassing and even raping them. The Stupid Party, or the Republicans, found them entirely credible, or course. This is the nature of our two-party system. Pick a side, and stick with them always. Contradictions and hypocrisy be damned. Our side is better!
In reality, of course, the political “debate” in this country is ludicrously restricted, and those participating must adhere to laughably narrow guidelines. Battle over gay marriage and transgender bathrooms all you want. But don’t talk about the perpetual wars, bombings and occupations, or the top secret intelligence agency budgets. And never, ever mention anything about the Federal Reserve, or the counterfeit nature of our fractional banking system.
So this “debate” is perfect for America 2.0. Screams, profanities, and threats of violence over a claim alleged thirty six years after it happened. And even if it is true, why wasn’t the underage Kavanaugh (who was seventeen at the time) a “victim” here, too? I’ve never understood how a minor, who is not legally able to consent to sex, can be charged with forcing someone else who cannot legally consent. But it’s impossible for anyone perceived to be associated with Trump to be considered a victim of anything, under any circumstances. As the establishment “liberals” love to say now: “punch a Nazi in the face” and all that.
I thought the selection of Brett Kavanaugh was stupid, much like all of Trump’s appointments have been stupid. It was clearly yet another capitulation on his part to a conservative, neocon establishment that opposed his candidacy and continues to oppose any real reforms he may attempt. But the phony debate taking center stage now is beyond stupid; it is state-sponsored theater for the dumbed-down masses. It’s hard to imagine a more fitting example of “bread and circuses.”
If a guy whose political mentor was George W. Bush can’t get approved to the Supreme Court, just who could Trump nominate that would be approved? John McCainiac’s daughter? Lindsay Graham’s child, if he had any? Barack Obama? Now that would be a nominee to make those with Trump Derangement Syndrome’s heads explode. Their ultimate object of scorn selecting their ultimate object of worship.
Those opposing Kavanaugh with all the fury they’ve opposed Trump simply have no idea why they oppose him. Sure, the usual fear mongering about overturning Roe vs. Wade has been trotted out there, but nothing else really associated with any issue. It’s just that Kavanaugh is Trump’s choice, and anyone Trump chooses has to be bad. It’s the triumph of personality over politics, and it’s Trump’s personality they hate, because his politics, at least thus far, has been little different than Dubya’s.
I’ve tried to divert the Kavanaugh-haters’ attention away from this foaming at the mouth, this unclear pussy hat rage, into productive areas. Like the fact he led the Starr “investigation” into the death of Vince Foster, and concluded against all logic and all the evidence that he killed himself in Fort Marcy Park. You have to be quite a “judge” to support these kinds of impossible official narratives. By anyone’s standards, Kavanaugh proved his establishment mantle in that “investigation” alone.
The majority of still asleep Americans will be glued to their television sets, breathlessly awaiting the showdown between the dastardly attempted teen rapist Kavanaugh, and his honorable accusers like Charles Schumer. Those of us who are awake will try to change the subject, or get them to actually think, but that’s never been an easy thing for people to do. Poet E.E. Cummings reacted to Ezra Pound’s Cantos by exclaiming, “You bastard! You’re trying to get them to think.”
Whether Brett Kavanaugh is approved or not will matter little to the average citizen. Good Supreme Court decisions are about as rare as obese Victoria’s Secret models. The last decent Supreme Court justice, in my view, was William O. Douglas, and I’m not entirely certain about him.
Instead of fretting over whether the Court will go “conservative” as opposed to “liberal,” Americans should worry about the impact they can have on our civil liberties, and the kind of world our children and grandchildren will live in. Regardless of their alleged political persuasions, Supreme Court justices, like judges at every level of the system, have proven utterly unworthy of such power.