Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The family and impeachment: Nothing is true, everything is plausible

We are an intensely political family, made more so by the psychotic who currently resides in the White House. What is my current fear? Of course, I fear war, famine, accident, disaster, but in the political sense it is a retreat from objective reality.

The liberal mind says that there is a democracy of ideas, and after a thorough, rational debate, the best ideas will win out, the truth will triumph. That idea has been firmly put to bed. In this new age, no jack-booted thugs (not yet at least) will break down our door for our political beliefs. Rather our views, objective reality, any opposing view to Trump’s, will be shouted down, drown out by individuals or bots with a different message. These actors may, or may not, be in the service of a political party or government.

The liberal also believes in the right of the individual to freely express opinions. But consider that on the internet there is no fact checking – all views are equal, even if they are hateful and untrue.

The world Trump ushers in is one where the powerful create the reality. The GOP is spending tens of millions of dollars to convince people that the impeachment process is a fraud, that all who accuse the president of wrongdoing are the actual culprits. Already at town hall meetings the incurious are demanding that impeachment stop until there is a complete investigation of the Bidens.

The antidote is to say that all views are not valid. There is a place where one needs to stand firm. Hateful people espousing supremacy are not “fine people.” Asking a foreign government to investigate your political rivals is criminal.

I get heartened by the Rachel Maddow Show, as she puts the criminality and arrogance of Trump’s GOP into stark contrast. In the morning I realize it is far from certain that those who read the documents or understand foreign affairs will have the upper hand.

The kids are steadfast on their respective issues, having already internalized this message -- endless equivalence of ideas is a recipe for well-meaning liberals to be consumed by those who have no principles and respect only power.

The impeachment process will be pivotal in the kids’ lives as its conclusion will either be the day reason and the rule of law returned, or the moment where extreme unction for America becomes lit in neon.

Timothy Snyder writes in his book On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, “To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle.” 

Stephen Colbert once joked, “reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

When reason fails, the devil helps. —Fyodor Dostoevsky

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