It is hard to separate signal from noise in our current phase of [insert the word that escapes me] and perhaps that is the point, maybe it is intentional. There are so many separate things, and each and every one of them seems centrally critical in and of themselves. Social media has made squirrels of most of us, bouncing from issue to issue, sometimes over the course of an hour.
But having said that, social media does show us something of the collective mind at work. Kieth Olbermann posted something ranting about shutting down the Supreme Court by having states simply ignore the 2nd Amendment ruling today (New York State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. New York State Police). I will come back to this in a moment, hold the thought. This all sounds very Calhounian….
I see post after post of folks that label themselves conservative celebrating all of these recent ‘wins’. I would not be so quick in hitting the send button on all that celebration, some people need to pull back and think this through. You see I am just young enough and just old enough, perhaps the goldilocks age, to remember that my entire life has been me witnessing one major setback after another in the courts, legislation, and the culture to everything that was central to traditionalism and conservatism. Sure, there were moments of hope here and there, it was those moments that kept many engaged with politics. But anyone that is honest knows that everything all of that support, loyalty, and hope promised, since 1984 at least, was a lie and loss after loss. Even when all the favorite politicians were in office and the GOP controlled things, nothing of fundamental significance was ever done….
I remember when some of our wisest constitutional traditionalist thinkers wrote that it was a very bad thing to incorporate the first ten amendments into the 14th. There are not very many people that believe they are truly conservative that even understand that old argument and why it really matters. The decision today by SCOTUS further incorporated the 2nd into the 14th. Long term, that is a very bad thing just as all previous incorporations have been. We celebrate a tactical and perhaps short-term victory in the face of another strategic defeat.
None of that matters. The law is now incoherent and has been for many decades. To make it coherent again one would have to excise entire libraries of case law, you would have to strike at the source of incorporation. I do not even believe Thomas is willing to go that far.
I suspect that not a single lawdawg pontificating on this will even touch on what I just said. They cannot, we do not have any Forrest MacDonalds with us anymore. When and or if SCOTUS overturns Roe tomorrow you will hear arguments from the left about the incoherence, and most will come from pragmatists and not seriously honest people, but they will be drawing from a true well to spin deception.
(hint, they will be lying because there is nothing really in the Bill of Rights to incorporate into the 14th, concerning abortion, nonsensical 4th amendment arguments aside. That will be SCOTUS’ argument)
The incoherence creates division. The thing that wing-nut Olbermann posted is almost of the same nature as everything else I have ever seen him say. The words are not entirely wrong, on principle. The problem is not with the words, it is with the man. He is hypocritical, inconsistent, dishonest, and biased to the point of blindness. In the 1990s and 2000s, when traditionalist writers said the same thing that ole Kieth just posted, he would have called them all manner of derogative names; “SCUM” he would scream like some weirdo with a mental disorder. But, he is like a broken clock. He is right…something is wrong, because our current system is incoherent, things make no sense because over time we templated centralization over the framework of something that was supposed to be less centralized federalism. It is incoherent because we still have the words written down in law that speak of that decentralization – it makes no sense and every time one side is on the losing side, they are reminded that it all makes no sense.
It would be a happy world if more people could just admit that. If more could be more consistent in how they approach things, to approach them from principle and not bias. But those that feel they lost today and perhaps will lose more tomorrow, I do not believe they are capable of a principled-based approach to this. They will call for and act out the violence and hate of insurrectionist acts and call for nullification, regionalism, and states’ rights and do so unironically – because they are the good people.
We ought not celebrate too hard and perhaps because while this seems a tactical victory it was based upon a principle that stands opposed to an orthodox traditional conservative view. We ought to consider what this means in practical future terms.
There are now, two separate and opposed cultures in the West/US, matter and antimatter. It is impossible for the old to live beside the new once the new is dominant. One or the other must dominate and kill the other, and only one (the one born in the 1950s) is capable or willing.
It does not matter that Olbermann is a crazed hypocrite, it does not matter that he personally does not matter. He represents a feeling of hatred and anger, emotions that are not centered on principles but rather something more primal. All of the small victories we may now celebrate serve only to work people such as this up into a frenzy, and our world has changed, or perhaps stated better, parts of our present rhyme with history.
I believe I would have preferred more losing, perhaps some profound losses, the sort that might have woken all those still filled with hope in false heroes. While I appreciate the efforts of the court at striking at some of the historical reality I fear it is too little too late and will only solidify the feeling of impending doom and destruction on the side that has been winning for decades. It was never enough for them, none of it…we are an existential threat to them, they fear and hate the traditionalist.
There is a lot of noise, and a lot of chatter with people that believe they have the answer to it all but I suggest that the alien worldview that surrounds us, hates us, and would happily ship us off to Siberia if they could, that is the center of gravity. This is the thing that provides fuel for all else and makes all the other things we often worry so much about possible.