Things are getting weirder. Apparently there as a big dustup on “The View” yesterday, between Whoopi Goldberg and Jeanine Pirro. I did not watch it, but have seen the clips on YouTube. It seems an indication of how broken political discourse has become. People are no longer talking to one another.
Ben Shapiro opines that the left have come to view the right as purely evil, and this is the problem.
Trying to reconstruct what happened and why Goldberg blew her stack. To begin with, the title of Pirro's book was not going to be conciliatory: “Liars, Leakers, and Liberals.” But I think she deserves a bye on that, because it is in an established tradition, and the tradition was started, I think, by the left. The first such title I recall is Democratic former senator Al Franken's “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot.” 1999. Then there was his “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell them.” 2003. Turnabout is fair play; she did not make the rules; and Pirro's title is a lot milder.
Pirro is no shrinking violet, but she did seem to behave on the show with great politeness, in the face of what seemed like provocation: Goldberg calling out “You have to answer the question,” for example.
Goldberg seemed to go right off the rails when Pirro accused her—not directly, but in a comment to another guest which actually seemed meant to be conciliatory towards that guest—of “Trump derangement syndrome.” She immediately insisted that Trump was utterly beyond the pale: “I've never, ever seen anybody whip up such hate...” And then she would not allow Pirro to say anything in response to this charge, but shouted her down as soon as she tried. The premise that Trump is intolerable had to be accepted before she would allow Pirro to say anything further.
This is not sensible. It actually proves Pirro's assertion: Trump derangement syndrome was clearly demonstrated.
Trump was fairly recently elected president. Political discourse cannot continue on the premise that nobody is allowed to agree openly with the bulk of the US population.
In the shouting, it was possible to make out a few of Goldberg's charges against Trump: that he “called Mexicans murderers and rapists”; that he told people to beat them (or someone) up. It surely matters that neither of these charges are true. Certainly not the first; he was referring to some illegal immigrants, and made that clear in the initial statement. The second is debatable, and ignores the fact that Trump was responding directly to violence from the left.
But then, if they were true, Goldberg would have felt no need to shout down Pirro's response.
To do so is an admission of a sort. And that is, I think, the real nub of the problem. It is not, as Shapiro supposes, a matter of the left having come to believe that the right is pure evil. It is a matter of the left coming to the realization that the right has better arguments on some vital issue, so that they must not be allowed to be heard. That explains everything most straightforwardly, surely.
Wouldn't the mature, normal, sensible and healthy course simply be to concede the argument, and move on to other matters? Isn't that what political discourse is for? If not at once, for the sake of saving face, then fairly promptly and without admitting it? Yet this has been going on, and getting worse, for some time. What could be so important as to insist on a falsehood?
It has to mean, I think, the opposite of what Shapiro opines. It has to mean that the left believes they are evil, and the right is good. But they don't want to give something up that they know is wrong.
There are not that many possibilities. One is perhaps that the left represents an elite holding power illegitimately, as in “the deep state,” and they are afraid of losing their cushy, well-paid jobs, power, and social status. That seems plausible. That seems to have been what Trump's election was about, and would explain why he is to them intolerable. His election was a revolt against them. It must not be allowed to stand.
But another possibility, I think, is abortion. Trump has not made that his central theme, but he did make his ability to appoint Supreme Court justices central in his pitch to his base. His Supreme Court picks do matter on this score, and the left has clearly signaled that to them, this is what the Supreme Court is all about.
I read that 40% of US children are now aborted. That leaves a huge proportion of women complicit in an act that another huge proportion of the population considers murder—a hanging crime.
Hard to come to any civil agreement on that.
It was a tragic mistake ever to make abortion legal—conceivably a civilization-ending mistake.