Reading Eliana Johnson’s NRO article, “New Documents Suggest IRS’s Lerner Likely Broke the Law,” it occurs to me just how fragile our rights are. Ten years ago, I would have thought this sort of thing would be a cause of universal outrage, across the political spectrum. The American Left and news media haven’t proven to have as much integrity as I’d thought, back then:
It is likely the largest unauthorized disclosure of tax-return information in history: the transfer of some 1.25 million pages of confidential tax returns from the IRS to the Department of Justice in October of 2010. And it was almost certainly illegal.
The documents, which consisted chiefly of non-profit tax returns, were transferred to the DOJ’s criminal division from the IRS at the request of Lois Lerner, who wanted to get the information to the DOJ in advance of a meeting where she and several of the attorneys in the public integrity section of the department’s criminal division discussed their concerns about the increasing political activity of non-profit groups.
Speaking with people, in a social setting, who are likely to find their way to voting for Hillary Clinton, I’ve wondered if it’s all a function of long-term narrative propaganda and raw audacity. That is to say that the Left has spent decades making themselves the heroes and their opposition the villains in every story, such that a sufficient number of people would be inclined to interpret real transgressions as well-meaning indiscretions or overzealous errors.
With that sense established, an incentive begins to form to be audacious in the lies. Get people invested in the interpretation that Hillary Clinton and President Obama were working from faulty intelligence when they lied about the nature of the Benghazi attack and that Clinton’s private server was mainly used for sharing recipes with friends and the like. Purposefully slip the admission of illegal activity from the IRS into an obscure Q&A session.
The initial benefit of the doubt given on the basis of decades of propaganda then gains the general sense that the culprits wouldn’t have gotten away with it for so long if it were really bad. But the prerequisite is, again, that the American Left and its partisans in the media really don’t believe the things they claim to believe about rights.