Sunday, January 14, 2018

Discourse, Force, And The Use Of The Coarse

     Sorry, Gentle Reader. I simply couldn’t resist.

     For half a century, each and every quadrennial election year has been billed as momentous, a decision point, a fork in the road, a choice between visions, or something equally freighted with portent. Most such emissions have come from highly placed figures in the Main Stream Media. They’ve usually been coupled to a subtle encouragement to vote for the Democrat.

     That was certainly the media’s rhetoric in 2016. However, they were other than subtle that time around. The election of Donald Trump would constitute a lowering of our standards, a descent into vulgarity, even a disaster for the nation. The election of Hillary Clinton, by contrast, would assure smooth sailing, continuity in policy, and the healing of our many social and political breaches. Why? That part was usually left to the viewer’s imagination.

     The nation chose...and the media immediately went completely BLEEP!ing nuts.

     As Trump’s first year has progressed – note the use of progress in its original and proper meaning – they’ve gotten nuttier and nuttier. And now, with the Shithole Affair in full swing, they appear ready to endorse a coup. A chief executive who uses common vulgarisms? Unthinkable! Get him out of there before he tiles the White House with gold!

     Strangely, the public isn’t all that concerned. Ordinary people, talking about ordinary things, use such vulgarisms all the time. Their preteens use them too, both in school and at home. They’re no longer shocked by them. And the president of the United States is from Queens, you know: a borough whose unofficial motto is “Not as shitty as the Bronx.”

     Of course, it helps that the countries President Trump characterized as “shitholes” – assuming that he actually did so – are shitholes in truth. Truth is an absolute defense against a libel or slander suit, so it should serve the president equally well, don’t you think?

     But that’s the Left’s dirty little secret, you see; truth is the one thing they cannot stand to hear.

     Consider the prevalent use of actual physical force by Leftist activists these past few years. Consider the rampages in cities that have dared to host a Republican convention, a conservative conference, or a G20 gathering. Consider the street “demonstrations” that have featured assaults on anyone right-of-center. Consider the open campaigns by various Leftist figures against allowing conservatives and libertarians a “platform.” Consider especially that while openly indulging in actual violence against people and property, the Left’s mouthpieces have repeatedly characterized the expression of conservative sentiments as “hate speech” equivalent to “violence,” and have called for it to be punished as such.

     I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, of course. Any Gentle Reader of Liberty’s Torch is surely as well informed about all that as your humble Curmudgeon. Neither is the question I must ask at this juncture one I haven’t posed before, if in somewhat subtler language:

How much longer are you going to take it?

     Is it even thinkable that we in the Right should continue to accept such abuse indefinitely? To allow the ongoing libels against us without defending ourselves? To allow ourselves to be styled oppressors, slavers, Nazis without rearing up and giving as good as we get? To allow ourselves to be assaulted in the streets without responding in kind? To allow the open espousers of evil to claim the banner of morality while they do all that?

     The Left has organized battalions of street fighters and has sent them forth to silence us, using tactics up to and including potentially lethal assaults on peaceable individuals, and there’s been essentially no response...but our president uses a vulgarism and suddenly the Republic is about to collapse.

     What’s wrong with this picture?

     “Shit” and “bullshit” can be easily overworked, but frequently they are indispensable. [Arthur Herzog, The B.S. Factor]

     The word shit is an Anglo-Saxonism that, strictly speaking, refers to excrement. Coprophages excepted, excrement is something we strive to be rid of. So the word shit came to be regarded as unpleasant and vulgar because it referred, undisguisedly, to something unpleasant we’d rather not have around. (Why isn’t excrement regarded as equally unpleasant and vulgar? Probably because fewer people understand it...and fewer can spell it.)

     My father was a Navy veteran. As is common among sailors, his lexicon was heavy with vulgarisms. (As a friend once observed, “A sailor doesn’t call a spade a spade. He calls it a fucking shovel.” No one’s ever provided an adequate explanation for why that should be, but it most definitely is.) The tendency bred true. I’ve exerted quite a lot of effort in the attempt to keep that trait from coloring my own diction...and though I blush to say it, I fail rather often.

     I’m indecently pleased that we have a president who isn’t inhibited that way. I’m even more pleased to note that if he used a vulgarism as has been alleged, it was entirely appropriate: a rendering of an unpleasant but important truth in terms that cannot be “reinterpreted.”

     Please don’t mistake this as a call for more vulgarity in public discourse. I mean it in an entirely different way: as a call for candor about the state of the nation, the world, and ourselves. To wit:

  • There are some awfully shitty people among us – and they seek to silence the rest of us.
  • There are some awfully shitty places in the nation and the world – and the shitty people among us seek to avert any recognition that:
    1. Those places are shitholes, beyond all question or lexical quibbling;
    2. The policies the shitty people among us espouse are the reasons for it.
  • The good people among us have been tolerating this shit for far too long.

     It’s time to strike back by whatever means are appropriate. If vulgarity of speech is required, so be it. If contemptuous denunciations of those who slander us are required, so be it. If violence is required in response to violence, so be it. Let no word nor deed be regarded as beyond consideration.

     One final quote from Arthur Herzog:

     When you call a spade a spade, you don’t need a club. [Ibid]

     Verbum sat sapienti.

     [No Anglo-Saxons were harmed in the composition of this essay.]

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