Clarity in the Obama Era (How Reasonable People Let It Happen)


One silver lining of living during the Obama Era is that we get to witness something that many of us found inexplicable when we learned about it in school: How a civilized country can be brought to the heel of ideologues and thugs.  It’s always seemed a bizarre mystery why a large majority of reasonable people would let things that are so patently wrong, so clearly corrosive of everything we value, go on… and expand.

Two stories on National Review Online provide some evidence.  When the people in power — backed by the President of the United States — decide the rules don’t apply to them, it must be quite a game for them to watch the reasonable, civilized people attempt to battle them using the rules.  Here’s Quin Hillyer checking in on the case of the IRS promising a leftist group that it would spy on churches:

So the IRS, acting with the whole power of government behind it, seems to be saying it can monitor and presumably punish churches for the content of their sermons, but the churches can’t know exactly if, how, and why they are being monitored….

The ADF, on behalf of threatened churches, merely demanded through FOIA that the IRS share that same “evidence” with it, including details about the new “procedures.” Pretty basic stuff. …

And the IRS now has violated even the latest deadline it set for itself, after its first illegal extension, without even bothering to give further notice that it is doing so.

Read the whole article for the full sense of how futile it seems to play by the rules with Obama’s IRS.  Hillyer’s plea for the courts to step in and attempt to enforce the law are almost quaint, given the long, slow roll tactic that the Obama administration has used so frequently with every scandal, to limited interest from the national news media.  (And then there’s former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s violation of Senate rules to sit friendly judges throughout the judiciary.)

Next, turn to David French’s story about the assault of Wisconsin’s union-Democrat machine on the rights of people who’ve supported Republican Governor Scott Walker, with legally sanctioned police home invasions of households on secret “John Doe” warrants:

For dozens of conservatives, the years since Scott Walker’s first election as governor of Wisconsin transformed the state — known for pro-football championships, good cheese, and a population with a reputation for being unfailingly polite — into a place where conservatives have faced early-morning raids, multi-year secretive criminal investigations, slanderous and selective leaks to sympathetic media, and intrusive electronic snooping.

Yes, Wisconsin, the cradle of the progressive movement and home of the “Wisconsin idea” — the marriage of state governments and state universities to govern through technocratic reform — was giving birth to a new progressive idea, the use of law enforcement as a political instrument, as a weapon to attempt to undo election results, shame opponents, and ruin lives.

If the party affiliation were reversed, journalists at every level across the country would be mentioning these stories in tweets and blog posts.  It would be “check out David French’s important report on abuse of power.”  Progressive astroturf protesters would be staging street dramas to give those journalists more excuses to turn passing mentions into full-blown stories.

Instead, reasonable people in Wisconsin are chasing the affront up the ladder of the judiciary, having to hope they can get around the activist judges who prove again and again that they have no problem rewriting the law to conform with their progressive beliefs.

This is how reasonable people let it happen.

The activist types (mostly impressionable kids and 1960s throwbacks) have been co-opted to one side by facile news and entertainment media narratives, and most people just want to live their lives.  At this point, when visible activism might have an effect, the threat doesn’t seem real enough for the masses to risk jail time and family disruption.  (After all, the nature of the affronts that they would protest give them reason to fear that they’ll have the book thrown at them, rather than benefit from leniency based on their law-abiding records.)

Meanwhile, reasonable Democrats and other progressives could have a similar effect simply by speaking up against their allies (particularly if the admonitions came from the news media), but they’re constrained by social pressure not to be associated with conservatives (which could mean exclusion from the in group, as attacks on Fox News have shown for years) or even taking seriously conservatives’ concerns, which are cast as kooky conspiracy theories.

They are until they aren’t, and then it’s too late.


(Thank you to Instapundit Glenn Reynolds for linking to this post.)

  • ShannonEntropy

    The Culture Wars are over … and The Left has won

    • Dorothea

      Don’t believe it.

    • richard40

      Before you conclude that the leftist takeover of all out cultural gatekeepers has no hope of being reversed, look at what the science nerd community has done to the leftist SJW types in gamergate and the Sad Puppies Hugo slate. All it takes is real will to take action, and good use of social media to organize. That is what the left did to take over in the first place, and we can use the same means to take things back. But you cant do it by just sitting on your duff complaining to yourself. You have to organize, and you have to read enough unbiased news (reading all the articles referenced by the instapundit blog would be a great start), to actually know what is happening.

  • Terenc Blakely

    I feel kinda sorry for today’s crop of SJWs, born at the wrong time and wrong place. Just think of the joy and fulfillment they would have felt if they had been part of Mao’s Cultural Revolution.

  • tobytylersf

    Sounds like the author had too much to think last night.

  • Lee Bandy

    Been here, done this…. and then came reagan

    • I_Callahan

      I wish I could be this optimistic. The media were taken by surprise by Reagan. There is NO WAY another Reagan type would get elected. The media would spend all it had to block it.

      Think the Sarah Palin treatment times ten.

      • Dorothea

        Let Allah sort them out.

      • midasrex

        … and Ted Cruz, imo.

  • ELC

    Justin, I can’t help but think things would be different if we actually had journalism in this country. I read Shirer’s “Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” last year. The only similarity between 1930s Germany and 2010s USA that I will state with certainty is this: one-party mass media.

    • richard40

      Decent chart, except I dont like the Mock Religion, praise Skepticism part. The problem is in many cases Skepticism is good, for example skepticism of space alien abductions, astrology, global warming, Karl Marx, and anything said by your typical leftist is quite good. If you changed it to “mock religion and promote atheism” I would agree completely, because your typical radical atheist, at least the leftist ones, are far more intolerant and dogmatic that the worst religious evangelical ever was.

      • ELC

        Thanks for your comments. In context, it’s skepticism of religion. Of course, skepticism has a wider meaning, but I had to be brief.

        • richard40

          I would just change skepticism to atheism (which is basically extreme skepticism of religion), then it would make perfect sense to me. Exact same number of words, but much clearer.

  • KenH

    Progs make good little fascists, don’t they?

    • 5JimBob

      People generally like it. Guaranteed employment, housing, “education” even cut-rate holidays. Just enough capitalism to keep the “capitalists” happy by guaranteeing them a profit in exchange for going – and getting – along with the government. We forget the Mussolini was a popular guy in the 1920s and early ’30’s. His big discovery as a former socialist was: the State doesn’t need to own the means of production – just control it! Much simpler all around.

      Obamacare is a classic fascist solution to the general provision of healthcare to a population as a whole.

  • sdharms

    what the hell makes you think reasonable people let this happen? Not true. Short of getting a gun and shooting everyone in government, there is nothing we can do about it. It is fools and knaves who made this happen. The Harry Reids of the country — totally depraved (not reasonable by a long shot), Not the reasonable people buddy. Don’t even go there.

    • The Olde Man

      Really? What if we changed our voting attitudes. Currently we try to vote somebody in and if successful, he turns out to be a RINO or if unsuccessful we lose anyway. So we give up and don’t vote at all. Which is just what is desired by TPTB.

      Lets change the formula. Start voting out. Don’t matter if the opponent is a 3-toed Gekko, we want the incumbent out. Imagine the shock if 40% of the new Congress were strangers to each other and the lobbyists. As for the Gekko, if things stay bad, he goes in the next election And we don’t care if he is replaced by 9-lined ground squirrel.

      Do that two elections and I guarantee change. There is nobody more desperate than an incumbent trying to keep that good gov job he has. And if he gets the impression that the general attitude is to throw him out if things are not going well, he will come to heel, I guarantee it.

      • werewife

        The 9-banded ground squirrel would indeed be a positive step up from the 3-toed gecko. At least we’d have a fellow mammal in office. (While we’re at it, most Democrats fall under the category of “invertebrates”…)

    • Justin Katz

      I guess it’s a question of definition. Obviously, by a certain definition, only fools and knaves would allow this to happen to the Land of Opportunity. But that means that, ultimately, large majorities of people are either fools or knaves. That’s not a very helpful definition of “reasonable people.”
      Ultimately, it’s a ratchet. Each stage of reasonableness that falls into the fascist abyss makes it that much more difficult for the next level of reasonableness to hold on.

    • richard40

      Dont let everybody off the hook. The knaves made it happen, but the many fools who voted for those knaves, or did not vote at all, let it happen. Basically if you are not voting repub in the general, and voting for non rhino repubs in the primaries, you are part of the problem.

  • Phillyrich1

    The problem is the media. Without an honest and functioning media keeping watchdog on the other 3 branches, this is bound to happen. If you fix the media, you fix the problem.

    • PBM

      We’ve known about journ-o-list coordination with the Democrats for years. The proper response is the arrest of “journalists” and editors for consumer fraud (selling as “news” what is in fact carefully coordinated propaganda), wire fraud and the arrest of the same and Democrat politicians for campaign contribution violations because of the massive, unregistered in-kind contributions made to the Dems by the press. Who knows? After throwing most of the left-wing cheer-leading squad masquerading as journalists in jail, we might have a free press again.

      • Phillyrich1

        They won’t be thrown in jail.

        I think its up to us, the American citizen, to expose them for who they are. If we report on them, maybe they’ll take their responsibilities more seriously.

        But maybe not. Jonathan Gruber is out there again selling the ACA as if #Grubergate never happened. Have you seen any coverage of that? Probably not.

  • theBuckWheat

    Socialism is the fraudulent and specious ideology that society will be better off (social and economic “equality”) when we each live at the expense of each other.

  • theBuckWheat

    Václav Havel was a playwright, essayist and a poet. He was also the last President of Czechoslovakia before it was broken up into the Czeck Republic and Slovaka.

    He lived under suffocating socialism. Socialism depends upon a fundamental lie: that society will be better when everyone lives at the expense of everyone else. This required institutionalized lies that had a horribly corrosive effect on humanity. In his famous essay, Power of the Powerless, he wrote:

    “…[socialism] touches people at every step, but it does so with its ideological gloves on. This is why life in the system is so thoroughly permeated with hypocrisy and lies: government by bureaucracy is called popular government; the working class is enslaved in the name of the work ing class; the complete degradation of the individual is presented as his ultimate liberation; depriving people of information is called making it available; the use of power to manipulate is called the public control of power, and the arbitrary abuse of power is called observing the legal code; the repression of culture is called its development; the expansion of imperial influence is presented as support for the oppressed; the lack of free expression becomes the highest form of freedom; farcical elections become the highest form of democracy; banning independent thought becomes the most scientific of world views; military occupation becomes fraternal assistance. Because the regime is captive to its own lies, it must falsify everything.It falsifies the past. It falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future. It falsifies statistics. It pretends not to possess an omnipotent and unprincipled police apparatus. It pretends to respect human rights. It pretends to persecute no one. It pretends to fear nothing. It pretends to pretend nothing.

    “Individuals need not believe all these mystifications, but they must behave as though they did, or they must at least tolerate them in silence, or get along well with those who work with them. For this reason, however, they must live within a lie. They need not accept the lie. It is enough for them to have accepted their life with it and in it. For by this very fact, individuals confirm the system, fulfill the system, make the system, are the system.”


    • PBM

      It’s frightening to see how far down that path we’ve already trod.

  • strawberrysboy

    When does violence become a rational option? SCOTUS must step into the Wisconsin mess, otherwise I fear a number of people will begin not simply to ask that question, but to answer it.

  • AL G.

    Have you ever seen a respectable black neighborhood in America… NO!Blacks ruin good neighborhoods like Obama ruined this country!
    He hires more blacks (& Muslims) to work for him plus let’s 5 million Illegals stay here… He wants to remove the white race by mixing it with scum &Then…He wants America to be Socialist country!
    He is evil & should be removed from this country!

    • Justin Katz

      Why, yes, I have seen such neighborhoods, and more importantly, I’ve known many respectable individuals who are black. You need to change your focus from race to ideology. Don’t let the racism of progressives lure you into a contrary racism. It just makes you dumb.

  • AL G.

    You say you’ve “Known” many good people that are Black, so have I, but
    since the 50’s there has been a huge change! Ask your parents about how nice & friendly South Providence used to be, it was a Jewish neighborhood then. As soon as the Blacks moved in it turned around 180 degrees! Come to Florida and walk the streets of Miami at night… You’ll be lucky if the Police find your body in the morning… It also used to be a Nice Jewish area! I could go on, but my fingers would fall off writing for hours.

    I’m a lot older & more experienced (In life) then you and I do feel sorry for the ( 25%) good Blacks, a few even told me that they are ashamed of their own kind!

    These days when anyone (White) wants to relocate they research 3 criteria’s on the computer, this helps them decide where to live…

    1- The neighborhood is most likely good:

    If there are a few Jewish Temples in that area

    2- The neighborhood is most likely in good:

    If there’s a golf course in that area

    3-The neighborhood is most likely in good:

    And most importantly…If you see an ethnicity of a low percentage of
    Blacks living in that area!