Thursday, June 21, 2018

Outrage, Inc.

     It should come as no surprise that the illegal-alien detention policies that have the Democrats’ glands in a lather (along with those of miscellaneous washed-up Hollywood has-beens) were signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1996. Equally unsurprising is that those policies were enforced by the Clinton, Bush II, and Obama Administrations. Still more of a yawn is that the photos of “kids in cages” are uniformly either fakes or shots taken during the Obama years.

     Yet reasonable people continue to puzzle over the wherefores. That’s because reasonable people don’t feel a need to feign outrage for political purposes. As we don’t feel that need, we have difficulty imagining why anyone else would.

     But feigning and fomenting outrage is now the principal strategy of the American Left. That such campaigns are centrally orchestrated and conducted can no longer be plausibly denied. The onset is too discrete; the shrieks of outrage are too well tuned. The unanimity displayed by the participants – elected officials, media allies, and various activists – cannot be a spontaneous phenomenon.

     As with all the other strategies and tactics Leftists have deployed and perpetuated since the Sixties, they use it because it gets them what they want, at least in the near term. What it gets them is the key to the phenomenon.

     Leftist mouthpieces, including elected officials, lie, distort, conceal, misattribute, and generally manipulate information to get private citizens’ attention. In their awareness that ordinary men can’t focus on many things at once, leftists strive to keep us occupied with whatever they can feign outrage about. At minimum it serves the purpose of disrupting anyone else’s contributions to the discourse “By drowning their speaking / With shrieking and squeaking / In fifty different sharps and flats.”

     (Apologies to Robert Browning for that last. Is anyone up for a rousing chorus of “Four legs good, two legs bad” -- ?)

     The Left cannot permit the roaring economy, the prospects for a solution on the Korean Peninsula, the overall improvement in international trade policy, and the general return of citizen confidence in the United States to receive public attention. Their media megaphones and celebrity foils will shout until their throats burst to prevent it. The question before us is what we in the Right can do to counter this stratagem.


     It’s pretty BLEEP!ing difficult to conduct a reasonable and orderly discussion of public policy when someone is shouting into your ear through a bullhorn. When mated to personal harassment tactics the Left uses with neither inhibition nor fear of untoward consequences, such disruption can discourage just about anyone from remaining in the game. The recent doxxing of Stephen Miller and public harassment of Kirstjen Nielsen should be viewed as integral parts of the overall strategy.

     What countermeasures are available? There’s no hope of getting Democrats on Capitol Hill to moderate themselves. The media are inherently unfriendly toward the Right and cannot be reasoned out of their stances. The Left’s activists are essentially cultists incapable of reason.

     Kurt Schlichter and others have advocated turning the Left’s tactics against them: forcing them “to play by the new rules.” If we could do so, that would have a chance of working...but how many conservatives and libertarians would be willing to harass individuals, to foment hatred toward political opponents, and to organize and participate in campaigns of disruption against public events that feature Leftist luminaries? My estimate, based in part on my own distaste for such activities, is “not bloody many.” Besides, most of us have other demands on our time.

     Counter-campaigns through media acceptably disposed toward us, with some assistance from sympathetic public figures, have less of a chance of working. The de facto partitioning of information sources that virtually everyone practices today renders such campaigns largely a means of “preaching to the choir.” Leftists listen only to other Leftists; they cannot be swayed by anything in a Right-inclined channel of distribution.

     The “default” response is to keep doing what we do and pay no mind to the shriekings and squeakings. The logic behind that has some appeal; as social and economic conditions improve, private persons will be ever less inclined to invest attention and credence in the Left’s synthesized “crises.” The joker in this deck is the Left’s use of moral outrage. The proclamation that some phenomenon is an inherent offense to the morals and sensibilities of decent persons is inherently attention-getting. Moreover, as Eric Hoffer has told us, “a grievance is most poignant when almost redressed:” the better things become for the many, the more energizing become the sufferings of the few...even if the few are vanishingly few and their sufferings are faked.

     Of one thing we may be sure: the Left will continue to use the outrage stratagem as long as it continues to pay dividends. And with that, I yield the floor to my Gentle Readers.

1 comment:

Andrew Pryzant said...

There is always the Pinochet option if they don't shut up.