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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Gandersauce

One of the problems with Trump Derangement Syndrome is the difficulty of consistency.

A1. Recently, a website calling itself The Daily Kos announced that Trump had revealed his antisemitism in a speech in which he criticized his enemies as being entangled with "globalization and international bankers." These terms, we are assured, are markers for Jews.
Donald Trump lashed out at global elites who undermine American sovereignty through “international banks” — and many observers couldn’t help but notice the underlying anti-Semitic message.

A2. But where then is the Daily Kos' denunciation of the Occupy movement of a few years ago, which likewise denounced "international banks" and "globalization"?

B1. During the primaries, the morning news show ran a clip in which Trump asked his rally to make a pledge, raising his right hand in the right angle pose used in taking the Court Oath. A commenter pointed out that it was similar to the Nazi salute. No one replied that the comment was stupid and no clip was run showing people taking an oath in court.

B2. Immediately after the aforesaid clip, on the same news show, a story ran on a Bernie Sanders' speech. At the conclusion, he swept his right arm out, straight-arm, in a dramatic and rhetorical gesture. No one pointed out that this resembled far more closely the Nazi salute.

C1. On news show after news show, a parade of women claiming to have been sexually assaulted by Donald Trump some years ago has been heralded as proving him unfit to be president.

C2. On news show after news show, a parade of women claiming to have been sexually assaulted by Bill Clinton some years previously was dismissed as the ravings of trailer trash and had in any case no relevance to Clinton's fitness to be president.

A certain respect for consistency would demand that the same judgement be reached in both cases or at least cogent arguments be advanced as to why the cases are different. W.F.Buckley once commented that one man pushed an old lady in front of a bus and a second man pushed her out of the way of the bus. But what's the difference? They both push old ladies around!

The reason for the inconsistency might simply be cold, calculated propaganda or deliberate hypocrisy. But it might also be short attention span or profound cultural blindness. Many, especially among the young, for example, may not remember the "bimbo eruptions" (as the violated women were called during the run-up to the 1992 election) or remember the role that Hilary played in slut-shaming them.  Many today were not then born or were too young to be paying attention to grown-up stuff.

The Ladder of Inference guarantees that the self-same events will be seen in entirely different lights by devotees of different ideologies because prior beliefs always color observations, in politics no less than in science. (Duhem gave the example of two physicists who interpret the results of an experiment as resp. proving or disproving the same hypothesis because they followed different concepts of what pressure is.) 
BTW, a second error is often made. To point out that attacks on X are overwrought, hysterical, and apparently hypocritical does not assert that X is in fact worthy of support. So don't suppose that this is the case. It only means that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
All of this applies in similar measure to the Other Side. Those making excuses for Trump today who brooked no excuse for Clinton in 1992 are hypocrites as big as those who made excuses for Clinton in 1992 but will brook no excuses for Trump today. The major difference is that in 1992, no Democrat broke ranks because of Clinton's sexual assaults while today the Regular Republicans have been reacting with disgust and disavowal.

5 comments:

  1. Of course, Trump also never signed sweeping sexual harassment legislation into law, either.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, come on. We're talking about progressives here. Inconsistency is never a difficulty. In fact, you couldn't be a progressive if you had to be consistent in thought and word.

    ReplyDelete
  3. But when you've *got* to "win" an election, all bets are off!

    ReplyDelete
  4. " Those making excuses for Trump today who brooked no excuse for Clinton in 1992 are hypocrites as big as those who made excuses for Clinton in 1992"

    How so? There were no excuses then, because such behaviour wasn't allowed. Pres. Clinton and his progressive enablers changed the rules: now it's excusable.

    (Although illegal, so once again the Clintons get away with what, if hee did it now, Mr. Trump would be prosecuted for committing.)

    It doesn't change the fact that both men are pigs.

    Just the rules of political engagement.

    ReplyDelete
  5. " Those making excuses for Trump today who brooked no excuse for Clinton in 1992 are hypocrites as big as those who made excuses for Clinton in 1992"

    How so? There were no excuses then, because such behaviour wasn't allowed. Pres. Clinton and his progressive enablers changed the rules: now it's excusable.

    (Although illegal, so once again the Clintons get away with what, if hee did it now, Mr. Trump would be prosecuted for committing.)

    It doesn't change the fact that both men are pigs.

    Just the rules of political engagement.

    ReplyDelete