Cognitive dissonance in Texas
[T]he gun rights movement is changing. In many quarters of America, respect for firearms has turned into a form of reverence. As I wrote in 2022, there is now widespread gun idolatry. “Guns” have joined “God” and “Trump” in the hierarchy of right-wing values.
Texas has one of the strongest ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws of self-defense that cannot be nullified by a jury or a progressive District Attorney.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Tweeting in effect that he knows better than the jury who heard the evidence, and that he knows that this white man was merely “standing his ground,” not looking for trouble and finding it.
It took an Atlantic Ocean of distance to let the Economist spot this juicy bit of weirdness:
The convergence of broad “stand your ground” laws and more permissive gun laws is a toxic combination, says Kami Chavis, a professor at William and Mary Law School. Messrs Perry and Foster were both armed when they encountered each other, thanks to Texas’s lax gun laws. But there is an inconsistency in the logic of Mr Perry’s supporters, who say that he justifiably felt threatened and needed to act in self-defence because his victim was carrying an assault rifle.
If openly carrying a gun constitutes such a threat that someone can shoot you dead for it, why in the hell is it legal to openly carry?
I’m sick of the culture of vigilanteism created by these damned “stand your ground” laws, and open carry only makes it worse. Open carry and stand your ground are perversely lethal laws in the performative name of “safety.”
While there is a good case to be made for great flexibility in the hiring and firing of federal officials, the wholesale replacement of thousands of public servants with political cronies would take the nation back to the spoils system of the 19th century. Republicans think that they will be undermining the deep state, but they will simply be politicizing functions that should be carried out in an impartial way, and will destroy the ethic of neutral public service that animates much of the government. When they lose power, as they necessarily will, the other party will simply get rid of their partisans and replace them with Democratic loyalists in a way that undermines any continuity in government. Who will want a career in public service under these conditions? Only political hacks, opportunists, and those who see openings for personal enrichment in the bureaucracy.
Damon Linker, on the virtual abolition of merit-based civil service positions in the Federal Government that Trump began shortly before the 2020 Election.
Was Tucker a money-maker?
I can’t help but notice that commentators on Tucker Carlson’s firing from Fox News can’t agree on whether his show was (1) hugely profitable or whether instead (2) boycotts of his advertisers had “intimidated woke capitalists, who declined to advertise on his show” (Rod Dreher) and thus made it marginal or even a money-loser.
I have no idea which, if either, is true.
I do know that my long Dreher fandom has greatly cooled. I suspect it’s because he and I have both changed during the Trump era: he increasingly supportive of illiberal democracy; I, after flirtation with illiberal democracy, returning uneasily to center-right classical liberalism. “Better the devil you know,” y’know.
Constraints on Single-Payer healthcare
“Health” is an extraordinarily difficult concept to pin down, and if unchecked, it will expand to encompass anything and everything as Leviathan’s vanguard and advance scout.
A conservative “healthcare system” is one that protects life and prevents disability. Modern medicine is good at resuscitation, reducing the risk of severe yet preventable incidents such as heart attacks and strokes, catching cancers when they can still be treated, and managing chronic illnesses such as asthma and depression. Caring for illnesses both catastrophic and chronic is what a healthcare system is for, and only when there is a strong focus on applying the technical power of medicine to prevent or treat disease, rather than an all-encompassing quest for health, can we speak coherently of a healthcare system worth funding.
Matthew Loftus, The Conservative Christian Case for Single-Payer Healthcare
Bobo power and powerlessness
As the bobos achieved a sort of stranglehold on the economy, the culture, and even our understanding of what a good life is, no wonder society has begun to array itself against them, with the old three-part class structure breaking apart into a confusing welter of micro-groups competing for status and standing in any way they can. So, for instance, the bobos have abundant cultural, political, and economic power; the red one-percenters have economic power, but scant cultural power; the young, educated elites have tons of cultural power and growing political power, but still not much economic power; and the caring class and rural working class, unheard and unseen, have almost no power of any kind at all. Our politics, meanwhile, has become sharper-edged, more identity-based, and more reactionary, in part because politics is the one arena in which the bobos cannot dominate—there aren’t enough of us.
David Brooks, How the Bobos Broke America
The last straw
[M]ost right-wing institutions that depend on a large customer or donor base have embraced a strategy of monetizing the constant stoking of crisis and paranoia as the new True Faith. If the real-world facts prove inconvenient to the narrative, invent new facts to fit.
And Tucker [Carlson] was the high priest of that faith.
I quit Fox after more than a decade as a contributor when Carlson released a “documentary” for Fox Nation, a streaming service for Fox-addicts who can’t get sufficiently high off the basic cable junk anymore. His Patriot Purge, a farrago of deceptions, fearmongering and “just asking questions” conspiracy theories, was put together to leave the viewer with the distinct impression that the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol was some kind of false flag operation or Deep State operation. It was the last straw for me.
Jonah Goldberg at the Dispatch
Vikings and Ninjas
The right wing are censorship vikings and the left wing are censorship ninjas.
Sherman Alexie. (H/T Alan Jacobs)
For all its piety and fervor, today’s United States needs to be recognized for what it really is: not a Christian country, but a nation of heretics.
Ross Douthat, Bad Religion
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