Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Furor, Frenzy, And The Law Of Diminishing Returns

     A competent engineer will accept as an inviolable and irrefutable principle that no design can be improved indefinitely. At some point any further tinkering will reduce the design’s desirability. We’ve been given enough examples of this to take it as written.

     Of course, this is really just a specific domain of application of a general law of the universe: the Law of Diminishing Returns. Like the other laws of the universe, this one is self-enforcing. Every field of human endeavor obeys it. We all resent it, of course, but that’s as pointless as protesting against the Second Law of Thermodynamics...which, come to think of it, is almost certainly the principle behind the Law of Diminishing Returns, but that’s a subject for another screed.

     As I’ve watched the wrangling over the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the Law of Diminishing Returns has moved to the top of my thoughts. The Democrats, being utterly without a substantial objection to the confirmation of this exemplary jurist, have resorted to character assassination through sexual innuendo. It’s worked for them in the past, and they figured it might serve them one more time. Anyway, it’s not like they had a lot of alternatives.

     But the Law of Diminishing Returns has been at work. It’s stepped forward a pace every time some left-wing shill has attacked a conservative with an “ism.” It’s slid toward them with each allegation of unsavory motives against a Republican in high office. It’s taken a bold stride with the sexual misbehavior assaults on Brett Kavanaugh. Recent developments indicate that the Democrats are now injuring themselves and their agenda by continuing to saw on the sexual-misconduct fiddle.

     There are several implications to this. One of them is that the Right should pray that the Democrats don’t wise up any time soon. (Cf. Napoleon’s “Courtesy toward the enemy” maxim.) Three others are important enough for the politically engaged to ponder at length.

     First, when a tactic crosses the zero point of diminishing returns – i.e., the point at which a previously profitable tactic begins to harm its user – normally all the parties complicit in the deployment of the tactic take damage. The Democrats have made heavy use of their media allies and the organs of the press to ply their defamation tactics. The media, until recently slavishly obedient to their Democrat masters, are suffering intense damage to their already tottering credibility. In consequence the media have begun to reduce their degree of allegiance to the Democrats and the Left generally. Signs of this have appeared in places as remarkable as the New York Times and the Washington Post.

     Second, when such a tactic is wielded by a group, crossing the zero point induces fragmentation within that group. Committee meetings become contentious. Coalitions are stressed and sometimes come apart. Leaders find that their positions are threatened, and must divert some of their time and energy to defending themselves against challenges from ambitious others. This, too, can be seen on the Left: the luminaries who’ve promoted the defamation of Kavanaugh can no longer expect absolute conformity from rank-and-file members and followers.

     Third and last for this essay, the tactic will become unprofitable in all venues of usage, not merely in the one where it’s most plainly crossed the zero point. The damage to the Democrats from their allegations against Brett Kavanaugh will be paralleled in any near-future use of the sexual-defamation tactic against a prominent conservative or Republican. “They’re trying that old trick again” will be heard in every chamber of public discourse. While the tactic might regain its potency at some future time, there will definitely be an interval during which the Left’s memory of its self-administered wounds will discourage the attempt.

     This is not unalloyed good news. The nation’s politics has suffered grievously from the use of unsupported allegations of sexual misbehavior against prominent men. Viciousness toward ideological opponents is rampant in both directions. Good men who might otherwise have stepped forward to become champions for their convictions have been given a strong reason to say “It’s not worth it” and restrict themselves to their private pursuits. And of course actual thought about what constitutes a res publica that could be Constitutionally and usefully addressed by government action has been severely diminished in favor of bare-knuckle combat against “the enemy.”

     Perhaps the saddest aspect of all is that the Left, knowing itself bereft of any other useful tactics, is simply hammering harder and harder at this one. This condition is called frenzy: the accelerating amplification of an ineffective or unprofitable behavior, as if “doing it harder” could somehow make it work. Misleading surface indications play into this: ever-louder street demonstrations; increasing rhetorical violence from prominent spokesmen; concentration of media attention on the allegations instead of on more worthwhile items of news. The most probable outcome is the Democrats’ wholesale loss of attention from decent Americans, who are growing tired of being dragged into tawdry sexual fantasies for the sake of political advantage.

     That’s not good news for the GOP, either. Too great a victory has caused other victors to become overconfident and flaccid. There’s nothing like a capable, energetic competitor to keep you at the top of your game. If the Democrats haven’t learned that – and they’ve had ample demonstrations – the Republicans might not learn it either.

2 comments:

Linda Fox said...

If Ford does show up, and an experienced interrogator is available, I'd love to hear the answers to these questions:
- have you ever accused another person of sexual assault or harassment?
- have you ever been charged with DUI?
- have you ever been in rehab?

I wouldn't bet against a "I'm not answering that" from Ford. If they don't have a good investigator looking for background, they're crazy. And, a hacker working on unearthing her social media.

Andrew Pryzant said...

Francis you are spot on about the 2nd law of thermodynamics 'principle of entropy.' The founders created an wonderfully ordered and just culture and the progressive scum is dis-ordering their work.