Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fighting Fire With Fire

ScottDS and I had an interesting discussion yesterday, related to the Andrew Breitbart’s Bigs. Later in the day, Rufus at Threedonia, posted some similar thoughts. So this is probably worth discussing. Right now, the Bigs are kind of annoying. . . BUT here’s why they are actually doing a good thing.

The reason the Bigs are annoying is because they are jumping on minutia and mercilessly pounding it into the ground. Game Change had some inaccuracies, but is it worth 500 articles calling Tom Hanks everything from a truth rapist to the last American communist? Tom Hanks also appears in a video with someone in blackface. Is that worth pounding away? Bill Maher says much worse things than Rush ever said, but do we need to hear about it 10,000 times? Etc. All of this seems petty and it’s somewhat hypocritical in the sense that the Bigs are judging these people under politically correct standards which conservatives don’t accept. And frankly, I don’t personally like it. I don’t find this interesting and I would rather they were more constructive.

So it’s bad, right? Well. . . no.

Here’s the thing. For at least two decades now, the left has worked to isolate conservatives from the culture and make them pariahs. Every time a conservative spoke their mind, the left attacked them using some faked-sleight invented by the left. They would feign offense at some non-offensive word or act and then smear the conservative as racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. It didn’t matter that leftists routinely said the same things, they still attacked. In fact, they would hound these conservatives until the conservatives either left the public sphere or surrendered to the mercy of their persecutors. In this way, they made it impossible for conservatives to have their voices heard because every time a conservative got noticed, they were destroyed personally and professionally. The idea literally was to make sure conservatives were afraid to speak.

And how did conservatives respond? Most cringed and did nothing. And when they saw leftists saying or doing the exact same things the left had attacked conservatives for doing, they remained silent. Why? Because they decided to take the high road. They reasoned that if it wasn’t fair to attack conservatives because of X, then it wouldn’t be fair to attack liberals for X either, so they refused to attack. This was stupid.

For twenty-plus years now, conservatives have let the left destroy conservative after conservative with hypocritical attacks without a peep of challenge except to whine about the hypocrisy. Public life became intolerable for conservatives (look at what they did to Palin for example), while liberals got to skate through saying and doing anything they wanted, secure in the knowledge that conservatives were unwilling to attack them.

No more. The Bigs have declared war. They have taken the same pathetic, petty attacks the left has used to smear conservatives for years and they are now applying those same attacks to leftists. They are fighting fire with fire, because that's the only way to stop what the left is doing. When someone has a weapon they can use with impunity, they will. But when they suddenly realize that others will use it against them, they will stop. Think of it as the cultural version of Mutually Assured Destruction: if you want to try to destroy a conservative as racist/sexist for using a particular word, then we will destroy every liberal who uses that word. This may not make for a pleasant world in the short term, but it is the only way to put an end to these attacks.

Indeed, fighting fire with fire is the only technique which works against the left because they win through incremental progress. In other words, they can win by getting a little bit at a time each time they come to power unless conservatives roll back their gains. For example, for decades, the left concentrated power in the executive branch and the courts. They used that power to force leftist ideas onto businesses, schools, state governments, charities, churches and individuals. When conservatives came to power, they would stupidly declare that they would take the high ground and not use the powers created by the left. The left laughed. And once the conservatives lost power again, the left picked right up where they were before and kept right on pushing -- secure in the knowledge that conservatives lacked the will to use these instruments of power against them.

All of that changed under Bush, particularly in education where Bush used the levers of power liberals created to push liberalism onto schools as a means to impose conservatism instead. Suddenly, the left started howling about state’s rights and attacks on personal freedom and they did their best to strip away the powers they had created. Ditto in the courts, where the left now squeals about legal principles like stare decisis, binding precedent and judicial restraint. . . things they ignored for fifty years while the courts were pushing the country to the left.

It’s the same thing here. Taking the high ground equals surrendering. Conservatives must learn to make the left pay for creating these weapons. This means using the government to bring lawsuits against liberal businesses that violate the laws, sending the IRS after liberal churches, unions and charities which engage in politics, going after race hustler groups and black racist organizations under the civil rights laws, targeting Obama-crony companies like GE with the environmental laws they demanded. . . and making life hell for liberal celebrities who step into the traps liberals have set for conservatives.

That’s what the Bigs are doing. And while I don’t personally enjoy it, I absolutely recognize the value of what they are doing. They are firing back the same nuclear weapons the left has been lobbing at us, and they’ve been rather successful at it. And when the left starts to realize that they are living under an unfair microscope of their own making, they will surrender. . . just as they have every other time conservatives have fought back.

66 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

I am not one of those who has a problem with what the new Big's are reporting. The whole "vetting" campaign is a great idea, and this is one of the few sites with the size and clout to get noticed. Fox News has had them on quite a bit, and the way Soledad O'Brian was made into a joke was masterful.

My problem with the Bigs is twofold. 1) I'm an old man who doesn't deal well with technology. Make it hard for me to sign up and I don't. 2) The size of the bigs seemed to attract a class of commenters who were merely right wing versions of media matters etc. I'll read an article and comment on it if I can add something intelligent. That is a little different than my approach here. Sometimes I comment even if I don't have anything to add merely because you guys are actual friends (in a virtual sort of way.) So, I comment just to lend support to the author and let them know I read the article and appreciate their taking the time to do so.

Joel Farnham said...

I have no problem with the Bigs going National Enquirer on me. I had stopped going to them for the longest time. The articles and the comments were getting repetitious.

The "Usual Suspects" (commenters) would always, either say the same thing, or attack the same types of people with out really assessing the comment. The only time I would go there is when Ben Shapiro was reviewing movies and that was to laugh at him.

Now, it still is repetitious. The articles are shorter. Most important, Ben Shapiro finally is writing about things he knows and now is making sense. So, I go there for a bit, but it isn't my main go-to site. :-)

Also, this technique that you are calling fighting fire with fire? It really is how you stand up to a bully. Liberals have been bullying everyone for a while now. It is nice to see that they get what they have dished out for so long.

Nice article.

T-Rav said...

Like Jed, the only major problem I have with the Bigs right now is their layout and use of technology. I haven't yet been around enough to see for myself if they're running everything into the ground the way their previous versions were. It kind of depends on whether the people posting there now are the ones posting there before. Some are and some aren't.

Incidentally, I think the Tom Hanks thing is worth pounding away at, or at least it was before he quasi-apologized. I think it crossed a line between inappropriate and flat-out racist; moreover, it just goes to show how being a liberal enables you to be as racist/sexist/homophobic as you want, as long as you say all the right things in front of the camera.

StanH said...

Some say redundancy is the hobgoblin of the simple mind, in the case of the Bigs, and Andrew Breitbart RIP, is to permeate the veil of protection that the MSM shields all liberals. This is no easy feat, and probably cost AB his life, burning his candle 24/7, building a business, while forcing the left to eat some of their own crap sandwich. Many say it’s infantile to stoop to the level of a child, and in most cases I agree, however…these are, I say again, ‘60s radicals and their spawn, and have zero regard for comity. When some snitty conservative, stands up, by sitting down, observing Marquis of Queensbury rules, he takes a swift kick the nads, a hardy laugh from the left, and as far as the mind-numb public is concerned, he or she is guilty, to whatever harebrained allegation has been proffered. Sure, they’ll many times allow their minions in the MSM, to do their dirty work, so the protected politician (democrats) can say, “well I didn’t have anything to do with it.” So in summation, there are many things to not like about the new Bigs, in their newest amalgamation (Discus) …but their mission is a vital imperative for the conservative side of issues, and sometimes this will require redundancy. The left’s narrative has been cracked, “hallelujah!” …but not broken, and it is vital to the survival of our Republic that we support and encourage these pioneers, knowing that they’ll take the arrows from the left, the last thing they need is fire from their flanks, or rear.

Tam said...

I'm with Joel...deal with a bully properly and he goes away. With the whole nonsensical "stop bullying; speak up" campaign going on and signs posted around my kid's school that say "we report mean words to the police" I told my kid the best way to stop a bully is to punch him in the face.

Will it be ugly and unpleasant? Yes. Consequences? Yes. Will the bully stop? Yes.

tryanmax said...

Do they really report "mean words" to the police? It doesn't matter what the answer is, the signs are stupid! If they actually do, then they are draining police resources--not to mention cultivating an unhealthy acceptance of Stasi-like surveillance--and if they don't, then they are encouraging bullies with idle threats.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I agree with you 100%.

I think the switch over has been rather poorly handled. There should have been more announcements as well as explanations of how to get the account stuff to work. It took me three tries to figure it out.

I also agree about the class of commenters. I'm amazed how many right-wing trolls end up over there spewing stuff that is just as stupid as anything you see at Huffpo. I'm particularly amazed at how many go to BH only to post comments like: "I ain't nevr seen no movie and I ain't gonta now cause theyr all commies." Why does someone like that even bother posting... or even venture onto the web?

I also think there is a lot of "playing to the crowd" at sites like that and RedState which bring in those kinds of people. I personally don't do that in my articles because I'm more interested in getting at the truth than just trying to excite people to make them comment. But other people don't think that way and so you'll see them post a series of nasty diatribes against things conservatives supposedly hate in the hopes of agitating the crowd. That tends to bring out the crazies.

Also, one of the things we have worked hard at here is making sure that everyone has a right to speak their mind without being attacked and without you all having to come and face either left or rightwing trolls who just come to spoil the discussion. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. That is a problem at the bigger sites.

LawHawkRFD said...

As a former radical left wing agitator I can tell you that the right is finally learning that politics isn't played by Marquess of Queensberry rules--at least if you want to win. I'd love to have reasoned, civil debates, but reality doesn't allow for that. Liberals know the rule of Frederick the Great--attack, attack, attack. Conservatives are finally learning the same lesson. I don't need the Bigs to convince me, but that doesn't mean there aren't still a lot of people who do. So, hammer the bastards.

My problems with the Bigs have been mentioned above by others. Too many comments by people who are just saying the same thing they or others have said before, over and over. As for the authors, I don't need to be told the same thing six different ways over a twenty-four hour period to get it. And their new format stinks when it comes to user-friendliness. But when it comes to bare-knuckled fighting, I don't have a problem in the world with that. I'm sure we all know the old rule that you don't bring a knife to a gun fight.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: I think there is a place for the current blogs like the Bigs, and I also agree that what we are trying to do here is somewhat different. I have great respect for the people who comment on our site, and I think we have a following that is a cut above many other blogs. For followers of some of the "get down and dirty" blogs, we probably seem a little tame.

By the way, have I ever mentioned that I hate Obama?

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Joel! I kept meaning to use the word "bully" and somehow just never managed to slip it in there, but that is how you handle a bully.

When you tell a bully that you aren't willing to fight back, they don't suddenly respect you, they step up their efforts because they know that means they are winning. Fighting fire with fire is the only way to put an end to that. Let them know that you will make their world as bad or worse than anything they can do to you and they will leave you alone. Conservatives understood this when fighting communism and Nazism, but seemed to forget this completely when it came to the liberals fighting us in the culture. For years it frustrated me that every time I turned around some conservative was saying, "we need to take the high ground." NO!! That's backward! That's not how you put an end to this!

On the Bigs, I agree with your points! You're right about the usual suspects, by the way. There are people over there who I swear are using templates for their comments. I'm glad that doesn't happen here.

The one thing I wish (and Scott and I were discussing this) would be that there would be a second BH which left the tabloid stuff to this one and then was a more proactive, positive film site with a lot of depth. I think that would be very helpful for conservatives.

ScottDS said...

One quick note: I actually like Disqus - I can finally complain about one of Shapiro's idiotic reviews without the trolls giving me a thumbs down! :-)

Having said that, while I don't pay much attention to the other Bigs, if I listed everything wrong with BH, Blogger would start charging us for bandwidth. I can't disagree with what's been said above re: fighting fire with fire... BUT...

I've been following Nolte now for half a decade through a few different websites and each one is worse than the last one. I miss his old place.

When Andrew and I talk about this stuff, the one phrase I keep throwing out there is "lack of discernment." Every slight against conservatives (whether real or perceived) is treated as if it's the end of the world, and the commenters are all too eager to throw certain people to the wolves. The media might have its "targets" but the Bigs do as well.

When BH did almost 10 (!) articles on Clint Eastwood's Superbowl ad, that just took the f---ing cake. You mean a right-friendly guy who's earned your goodwill for literally decades could be tossed under the bus just as easily as a Bill Maher or a Rosie O.? Why should any conservative get involved with the entertainment industry when all they have to do is make one false move and it's "Off with his head!" (To be fair, one writer published a great defense of Clint amidst all the nonsense.)

And while this may not be BH's wheelhouse at the moment, they're missing a golden opportunity. Okay, so they want an equal number of seats at the table... then what? There is so much they can be doing to educate conservative types: movie-making, writing, promotion, etc. But nope. Better to do a story about Chris Tucker's taxes. Because that's important!

And I miss all the cool writers: Leo Grin, Carl Koslowski, Michael Wilson, Russ Dvonch, Cam Cannon, and yes, the holy trinity: Baldwin, Graham, and Davi. Today, we're stuck with Shapiro, Schilchter, and a bunch of soccer moms (no offense!).

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, In a more reasonable world, I don't think the Tom Hanks stuff deserves attention. But in a world where liberals attack the use of words like "black holes" and "picnic," then it's time to hold them to the same standard. And you know that if Romney had been seen somewhere with someone in blackface -- no matter what the circumstances, the left would be OUTRAGED even though they don't really car! So, frankly, we need to do the same to them and make life as unbearable for their supporters as they've made it for our side.

In terms of repetition, it's gotten a bit worse actually. But the repetition is all part of this. If you only post one article, then people don't get very exicted about it. But when you make a big deal about it and everyone talks about it, then you create buzz. That's what the left has learned -- if you talk about something enough, people will eventually see it as important even if they didn't originally.

Look at slutgate as the perfect example. They just kept pounding away at it -- even today they keep trying, yet they do their best to never mention Maher or Lewis or any of the rest of their side because they know that the more you talk about something the more people will think it's important. It's using the herd instinct to generate a "truth".

AndrewPrice said...

p.s. Speaking of Fluke, she is now running around claiming that there should be a "pro-woman litmus test" candidate should need to pass before they can be elected. What a little Nazi!

Well, that's what you find at Georgetown Law School... fools and closet Nazis.

JG said...

Love this, and I agree 100%. I understand part of the strategy is flooding. The more articles you have on a subject, statistically that should mean more exposure. (Although I totally agree, the Eastwood thing was beyond me....) Right now it does seem a little too uncoordinated, but that's to be expected with any new beginning I suppose. And I would love to see Disqus die a quick, painful death. But they didn't ask me :)

T-Rav said...

Scott, to be honest, I was never very impressed by Koslowski. I read a lot of his film reviews, and I can count on one hand the ones that were unremittingly negative. The guy seemed utterly incapable of saying anything bad about a movie, and it turned me off.

But yeah, I would like to see more articles from Baldwin, Davi, Moriarty, etc.

ScottDS said...

T-Rav -

I can't disagree. He even praised movies that every other BH writer condemned. But I do miss his optimism. That's what I love about Davi's articles: friendly and optimistic but without overlooking the seriousness of the issue(s).

Truthfully, I thought Michael Moriarty's articles were a bizarre form of performance art and once it was clear Sarah Palin wouldn't be running for president, he pretty much lost his inspiration. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I agree entirely.

In this case, the repetition serves a purpose: the more you talk about something, the more attention it gets and the more important people believe it to be. And the only way to get under the skin of a guy like Hanks is to keep pushing him over and over on these issues and getting more and more conservatives to talk about it until he's forced to respond. That's how the left has turned non-controversies into controversies for years.

And I agree entirely about the conservatives who have always said, "take the high road." To refuse to fight back is a recipe for being oppressed, and to try to "fight fair" when the other side won't fight fair is the surest way to lose. And it always drove me nuts that conservatives played this game. There is no nobility in losing.

What the Bigs are doing is vital to conservatism because they are fighting back in a way which conservatives have been unwilling to do and they will slowly but surely make political correctness a weapon the left stops using. In fact, you're already seeing with leftist comedians whining about people suddenly being intolerant.

This is necessary.

AndrewPrice said...

Tam, Good for you! And absolutely right. Yes, liberal authorities will get all bent out of shape, but you can bet the bully will stop. That's how human nature works.

It just stuns me that so many conservatives for so long thought they could beat the left at this whole bullying game by just taking the high road. When has that ever worked?

I'm glad the Bigs are finally changing the way conservatives think about these things.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax and Tam, Those posters sound very 1984ish to me. Big Brother is watching...

Sadly, it's to be expected. When a system has lost control, they always start enforcing laws against the most harmless "crimes" and against the most law-abiding members of society. Why? Because those are soft targets and they can make an example of those people, which they can't do against the genuine outlaws. And the reason they do this is because it creates a false sense of control and it hides the problem that they are letting others get away with more serious things. It's an abuse of power designed to create the appearance that all is well.

And in terms of whether or not people do this, consider what just happened in England. Every day, they are letting people who rioted, burned down buildings, attacked cops, robbed, raped, tortured, and murdered go. BUT the one guy who sent a "racist hate text" about an athlete who had a heart attack is suddenly finding himself in jail with the prospect of facing actual hard time. How ridiculous is that?

What it tells us is that the British system has collapsed. They've given up on trying to stop real crime and they instead want to impose a false sense of order by going after bad manners and dealing incredibly harshly with those people so that the "good people" don't give up on the system and join the bad people who already know the system is a joke.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I agree. I don't need anyone to tell me to fight back either... but sadly, many conservative too. Conservatives as a group seem to want a nice peaceful existence. They don't want to make waves. They don't believe in making unfair attacks. And they don't get bent out of shape over minutia. And that attitude has for decades been reflected in the way conservatives didn't fight back.

I really do credit the Bigs with changing that. The Bigs have decided to take the gloves off go after the left in the same way the left has gone after us. And that's talking root finally as more and more conservatives are joining the fight.

This, unfortunately, is something conservatives have had to be taught. Fortunately, the Bigs are teaching it.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I love our audience. I think they're great. Everyone here is thoughtful and interesting and is more than willing to speak their minds. I think we've had some great debates. And what we do is very different than what the Bigs do, but it's all part of the same thing in a way. They are street fighting, we're more in the explaining and forward-thinking business. They go hand in hand.

DUQ said...

Well said Andrew! I am annoyed by the repetition, but I love the fact they're keeping the pressure on the left. You can already see the cracks forming as people like HBO need to explain themselves and Bill Maher gets dumped from a fund raiser.

rlaWTX said...

yeah, not as fond of the new site at Breitbart - but I see their purpose...

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I agree with you in part.

This really is a war and so while it would be fair in normal circumstances to say "why are the Bigs doing the same thing the left does if they don't like what the left does," that question is actually the answer to the question: because they don't like what the left does and this is the only way to stop that -- to use the same lousy weapons of mass cultural destruction against the left that the left has used against us. If the Bigs decided to only mention something once or to not pick on minor discretions, then they would still not be fighting fire with fire. Conservatives have played that game for 20+ years and lost every single battle. It's time for a change.

That said, you are correct about the discernment issue. Attacking Eastwood was stupid. One thing the left has learned is to only fire on people who aren't on their side. That's why Biden and Maher can be racists and sexists and yet get celebrated by the left rather than chastised. The right (and the Bigs) still need to learn to only attack leftists until this war is over.

On the other issue you raise, I would very much like to see a more pro-film site, but I don't think BH is that. I think BH is a Hollywood-politics site, and film is secondary. Let's hope someone comes along to create the kind of site you and I have discussed on many occasions because it would be great if conservative filmmakers and creative-types had somewhere they could meet and share their knowledge.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks JG! :)

I agree. The more they flood a topic, the more urgency it seems to get and the more other people pick it up and run with it, which builds momentum. Soon lots of people are talking about it. At that point, people like Hanks and HBO start paying attention because they know that all those people represent dollars.

I do agree about the lack of coordination. It would be better if they could find a way to coordinate what they write to reduce the obvious repetition and to get different people hitting the various "scandals" from different angles. But that may still come.

I agree about Disqus -- awful system. But I think we're stuck with it.

Yeah, the Eastwood thing was a mistake. Conservatives should not be attacking a man who has earned the goodwill of conservatives year after year.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, The reviews I thought were worthless were Hanlon and Lauren Vsomething. Their stuff is as vacant as what you find in Entertainment Weekly and often completely missed the point of the film. In one instance, Lauren even misidentified the genre of the film.

What amazes me though is how often contributors couldn't spot the difference between conservative and liberal films? Twilight is conservative? Huh? On what planet?

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I like Gary Graham and Leigh Scott a lot. Their articles were always fun. I never read many of Moriarty's.

Personally, I think the one guy who truly does understand film over there is John Nolte. I actually rarely agree with him about particular films, but he knows his stuff.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, They've had several notable successes. Start with the whole ACORN thing, exposing Pigford, getting Obama propaganda films moved away from elections, making Maher a focus of the slutgate incident, getting HBO to explain themselves several times, getting Tom Hanks to have to explain himself. It all adds up.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, It's not my taste either, but I think it does serve an important purpose.

JG said...

Yes, I talked to my "contact" who works on the backsite and she said that they switched to Disqus because it allows for more moderation over the trolls, and that outweighs the other functional issues. I get it, but I don't like it.

AndrewPrice said...

by the way, Jeb Bush endorses Mitt Romney... the first of many now that Illinois has made the future unmistakable.

AND

Tim Tebow got traded to the Jets. Arg. I don't want to root for the Jets.

AndrewPrice said...

JG, Ah. I figured there was a purpose. I really don't like Disqus, but as they say -- it is what it is.

And at least Disqus doesn't lose comments, like Intense Debate used to do. So that is a plus.

darski said...

Thank you for posting this article. it helps me to tolerate the new BIGs. I don't like how it operates and I am so tired of the filthy language that is now everywhere and not just in the BH site.

I agree that they are pounding the left in a way the left hates because they are getting hoist on their own petards. Love it when conservatives take to the battlements.

I use to visit BG and BJ at least once a day... now I go to BIG about twice a week. <>

AndrewPrice said...

darski, You're welcome! I thought it was worth pointing out. Like many others, I'm not thrilled with the focus personally as I don't find these kinds of attacks very interesting. BUT, I think it is a valuable service and I think they are doing a great job of leveling the playing field. So I'm happy they are doing it and that it's proving to be effective.

I generally get over there about once a day, though I haven't been commenting as much.

Joel Farnham said...

One of the features of Disqus is that you have to log-in for each and every comment. This has a tendency to slow down trolls, but more importantly, it gives the site more and more information about each user.

I have suspected that some of these people are actually sock-puppets, like one user, utilizing more than one account. It gives the troll two or three people chiming in, or three really rotten "users" and one "reasonable one" getting the other three to quiet down. Or to go the opposite extreme with liberal characterization of conservatives. That of southern inbred toothless drinking lightening and dragging former slaves behind with their trucks. With Disqus, they are stymied.

Every computer has a unique address on the internet and without very expensive equipment, most people can't hide it for long. In other words, it really doesn't matter what handle you go under, the computer program will be able to identify you. I suspect that Disqus does this for the Bigs.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, For most people, I think that's true. But Disqus is fairly easy to fool if you know what you're doing. I have two accounts because I have a non-political account I use at some film sites and I have my regular account I use at BH. I only needed two different e-mails to open those, which are ridiculously easy to come by.

At the same time, I've seen a dramatic increase in the number of anonymous proxy servers in the past six months, where people show up with literally no traceable information. So I suspect a dedicated troll could use those tools to get around it (or someone working for Media Matters).

But your average troll will probably be stymied.

In terms of the sockpuppets, I've seen several of those myself where I'm sure that certain people are the same person. The problem with hiding sockpuppets is that people still follow patterns and when you comment a lot, they get easy to spot.

I've actually enjoyed watching some of these people have whole discussions with themselves. LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, Where the sockpuppetting really gets back is at Amazon's reviews. I've been watching various books for a while now and it's amazing how obvious some of these authors are (or their agents or publishers) at planting fake reviews whenever someone comes along and gives them a negative review.

At least there I understand the motive is economic. With bloggers it just seems to be narcissism.

LawHawkRFD said...

OFF-TOPIC (Sorry): I am delighted to report that the EPA has just suffered a major defeat at the Supreme Court. I covered the plight of the Sackett family in Priest Lake, Idaho in a couple of articles. They were in the process of building their dream home, complete with all local and regional permits obtained, when the EPA found a puddle on their property and declared it a protected wetland. The EPA got an injunction to stop any further development, required the Sacketts to return the property to its original state, and assessed nearly a million dollars in fines when the Sacketts refused. The Sacketts have finally won their long legal battle. Justice Scalia added some humor by pointing out that "the Sacketts were amazed to find they owned wetlands, even though they had never seen a vessel of any sort passing by."

Tam said...

Tryanmax and Andrew, I just got back from a tour of a summer program for my kid...yes, the posters are real. The first part includes the phrase "words that threaten are illegal" but the last part says "we report mean words to the police." It's a good school with good teachers and good kids in a nice neighborhood, but kids are kids and they will say "mean" words. It's inevitable. I teach my kid to never start a fight, but to always finish. And if it comes to punches, follow through.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, That's good to hear. I like this court a lot and they as they seem very willing to strike down government overreach -- more evidence they will probably strike down Obamacare.

AndrewPrice said...

Tam, On the one hand, it's good to point out that there are limits, but this still reeks of 1984 to me. Especially as I can't imagine anything kids would say which should lead a rational adult to call the cops? "I just bought a gun and I will kill you tomorrow" is about it. Anything less than that is the kind of thing they used to send you to the principal for and maybe told your parents. But the cops?

I guess the kids should demand to see their lawyer then the moment they get questioned by their teachers?

Good motto -- never start a fight, but always finish it. Words to live by!

Tam said...

I agree...very 1984. I don't think there is much follow through with the threat of calling the police, most of the teachers can tell the difference between an actual threat (i.e. I just bought a gun and I will kill you tomorrow) and innocent-ish playground banter.

AndrewPrice said...

I would hope so. But in this day and age where you hear about kids being suspended for bringing a GI Joe with a gun to school or giving each other aspirin... things seem to have gone wrong in our school system.

rlaWTX said...

yay for the Sacketts
(every time I read about them I think of Louis L'Amour)

(GI Joe etc) My brother wouldn't make it through the modern school system. Actually, he didn't make it through the system of the mid-90s either, mom pulled and home-schooled/Christian-schooled him and wouldn't medicate him... (hyper)

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Medicating kids is a huge thing now and it's way overdone. Yes, there are some kids who truly need it, but 90% of the rest don't. For those 90%, it's just an excuse by bad parents to avoid the responsibilities of parenting.

I also think too many schools today lack the ability to teach males. There are even some studies that are suggesting that now. And rather than fix the problem with the system, they just try medicating the kids.

This is an issue that annoys me greatly.

ScottDS said...

I also forgot to mention BH's extreme case of bipolar disorder:

"I love X. Wait, X said what about Sarah Palin?! I hate X!!" :-)

BTW, I also believe medication is used way too often. I may be a product of the public school system but I imagine things are worse now than they were when I graduated just 11 years ago.

Joel Farnham said...

LawHawk,

What I am loving about this is Alito chastising Congress. Also, part of the EPA's argument was that the offenders(victims) of their vacuous, vindictive and arbitrary dicta should not have quick access to courts. Observance of decorum precludes what I want to say about that.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, The medication thing annoys me on many levels. For one thing, it distracts from the kids who actually need help. For another, it perpetuates the problem, and it keeps people from addressing the real issues.

On the bipolar disorder, that is a problem. They need to be more careful about attacking their friends and supporting their enemies just because the enemies say something that isn't horrible.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, These are the kinds of decisions which just add a lot of confidence to my belief that the Supremes are going to strike down Obamacare. This is not a court which gives the government a lot of leeway.

tryanmax said...

The clunkiness of Disqus is what really drives me away from the Bigs. I really hope they reconsider it and either move back to Intense Debate or develop their own commenting system.

All I can add at this point is that the expression "take the high ground" is a phrase that has lost meaning. It is borrowed from military speech where it is not jargon but a literal--and very basic--tactic. The analogy is ripe for deep exploration, but in simplest terms, taking the high ground is to take the tactical advantage. Any student of Sun Tzu can tell you that, because the high ground offers both defensive and offensive advantage, taking the high ground during battle is both difficult and costly. Therefore, “taking the high ground” implies, not walking away from battle, but rather preparing to go into battle. In the political arena, most who admonish their side to “take the high ground” more likely mean, “let’s wash our hands.”

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, You're thinking of taking the moral high ground, which is synonymous with achieving a tactical victory by appearing to be more mature than the other side.

In this case, it's take the high road. And my understanding of that phrase is that it's Scottish and it is meant to be compared to taking the low road, which is supposed to mean dying. At this point, however, it has a pretty clear meaning, which is basically "turn the other cheek." It's more of a defeatist thing than a tactical thing however, though both phrases are somewhat similar in meaning.

tryanmax said...

It's not uncommon for similar expressions to get muddled together over time. The full phrase "moral high ground" didn't come into appreciable usage before 1980 and is likely the culmination of the Scottish phrase and the military allusion completing their confusion, not that those have fallen out of usage as a result.

The point is, "moral high ground" is an inherently ambiguous phrase because it blends almost opposing idioms. One can know what an individual using it means, but the phrase itself is nearly an oxymoron. But yes, I would have better completed my last comment by stating, "In the political arena, most who admonish their side to 'take the high ground' more likely mean, 'take the high road.'"

tryanmax said...

Also, it is doubtful that one can acheive victory by merely appearing more mature. Walloping an opponent while appearing mature at the same time is a much better stratagem. It looks downright parental to observers.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, It's interesting how these things do evolve over time and do end up being combined. I'm particularly amazed how often you get phrases that are completely the opposite like "I could care less." Shouldn't that be "I couldN'T care less?"

In any event, for decades, conservatives used this idea to avoid fighting back... and they kept getting slaughtered. So I'm glad to see that the Bigs and others have decided to start fighting back. It's about time.

P.S. I also am not a fan of winning through passivity. I understand how in rare circumstances that's the only viable way -- in particular when you want to be seen as the victim. But more often than not, he who attacks wins and he who defends is at the mercy of the other.

tryanmax said...

Winning through passivity is really just winning through reliance on someone else's aggression. Posing as the victim--whether real or feigned--is simply to draw for the intervention of one stronger than the aggressor. Even in religious doctrines, passivity is justified because the persecuted believes that God or Karma or whatever will be the agent of vengeance against the persecutor.

Liberals mangle this because, on one hand, they exploit victimhood to dupe well-intentioned agents to do their dirty work; meanwhile, they equate defeat with victimhood, so they rush to defend of aggressors who are being rightly put down.

We've discussed at the film site how the best villains are the ones who do not see themselves as villains. When faced with such an adversary, fire-with-fire is the only way to go. They feel righteous in their own cause, and are difficult to persuade to the contrary.

Besides, people seem to forget this is merely a war of words. Isn't it infinitely better to expose an opponent's hypocrisy through sharp remarks than their innards with sharp objects? Honestly, people get far too hung up on decorum.

darski said...

@ Andrew re medicating kids. In many cases the parents don't get a choice. The schools demand the meds and threaten with DCS if they don't get what they want. Med your kids or lose your kids - it's called choice.

In Ontario it is said that 60% of all foster children are on Ritalin. However that is likely done to keep the 65% of kids who are molested from testifying. ;D

AndrewPrice said...

darski, I understand there's some of that here too, but the last I read, the biggest users were parents who were told that their kids' misbehavior had to be the result of a chemical imbalance. In college, many kids are claiming it now because they get extra time on tests for having a disability.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Well said. But to add something, don't forget that many conservatives are now learning to play victim as well because they've learned it intensifies the support they get from their followers. I find that a disgusting trend, but you see more and more of it.

tryanmax said...

Aye. Now there is where the high road ought to be taken.

AndrewPrice said...

Yep. It's one to use liberal weapons against liberals, it's quite another to start acting like liberals.

Joel Farnham said...

On drugging kids, from what I know, it is used by lazy teachers unable to control their classrooms or fettered teachers by liberal policies.

In short, drugging kids is the liberal solution to a problem caused by liberal policies. This drug, which should be used only in extreme situations and certainly not in a classroom, is also used to effeminate the boys.

In general, boys are boisterous, loud and wiggly. It is natural. Girls are quieter, calmer and don't jump around as much. Also natural. Because of these NATURAL behaviors, in the liberal's world, Girls are GOOD. Boys are BAD.

Ritalin and other similar drugs, "calm" the boys down making boys good.

Oh, and once, in the school systems, children, designated to use Ritalin, will have to have it most of their "school life."

People are also finding out that long term use of Ritalin causes other personality problems later on in life.

Individualist said...

Well

I must say that I caqnnot speak much to this as I rarely ever read anything on the Bigs anymore. Since I lost my account there I have really lost interest in you tube and other more widely open comments.

The problem is that I am really looking for more intelligent and honest debate but the more national and public the site the harder it is to to ever get that.

So what hapopens to me is that when I start seeing troll after troll of dedicated comments eat up the space on the blog and the few normal commenters get lost in it I get perturbed enough eventually to want to do something about it.

I found a way to disarm those trolls that made them eventually really angry with me. It was based off a book regarding countering electronic listening devices. If you think you are bugged then drown them out in noise.

So since these same dedicated trolls were using multiple accounts to fill the blog with multiple insulting comments I started to reply several times to each comment with nonsense. In some cases I would post a response to a thread in multiple posts letter by letter.

This ended up being effective in this way. It literally shut down their thread the way they were trying to shut down the blog. Once I did that the response to any of it from anyone would dwindle off as people had trouble even finding the trolls commments and answers.

Well I took it a little to far but I was honestly trying to make life as difficult for the troll as it was making it for me. When I read Moriarity's work I wanted to read it and see what other people of like mind thoguht of what was said.

When I had to wade through three pages of Moriarity is a drunk it was just to annoying. Personnally I think this strategy of meaningless attacks will not help us nor the left. It tends to dumb down the discussion and we end up with idocracy. "Bondo's got electrolytes, it's what plants need"

Ultimately I believe an increase in stupidity favors the left more than the right so while I agree with you Andrew I am somewhat trepidatious regarding it.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I agree with you. And in fact, the studies I've seen lately about gender and education have pointed out that the reason boys don't do as well in school as girls is because education is predominantly set up by women to cater to the way females learn, and that they have little ability to adjust their methods to teach boys in the manner which works best for boys. So instead, they use things like Ritalin to try to drug the boys to make them fit the system. There are a lot of researchers who are beginning to suggest that it would be a good idea to separate boys and girls in school and to apply different teaching methods.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, The idea isn't to dumb things down, but to make them intolerable. The idea is that so long as the left will try to make public life impossible for conservatives, we will make it just as hard for liberals. Eventually, they will cry uncle -- they always have. Moreover, if we do nothing, then we are basically letting them continue to make life intolerable for us but with no fear of consequences to them.

So even if this does dumb things down, it will happen either way -- the question is do we make life painful for them and hope they stop or do we just stand there and let them crush us?


On the trolls, I agree with you and that's why we don't tolerate them here because we want to have a discussion, not an argument. Unfortunately, too many of the national sites can't take the time to read all the comments and cut out the people who are just trying to disrupt things -- and there are a lot of them. We've been lucky that we only had a couple and they went away very quickly when they didn't get the response they wanted.

Individualist said...

Andrew

I don't disagree that we have to hit back with the same tactic. But I think the tactics will lower the level of sophistication in the con versation and since I believe to takes work to truly understand the conservative message it will cause harm over time.

I guess the only analogy that comes to mind is how successful would your calculus II class be if the professor screamed the concepts and proofs at you at the top of his lungs making sure to interlace it with profanities. It would make it hard to communicate and learn and effective conservative strategies require a good deal of thought.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, That is definitely a danger. But liberals are making that happen whether conservatives fight back or not. So the better plan, IMO, is to fight back and make them stop. Otherwise, we are just putting ourselves at the mercy of the left -- and that hasn't worked for two decades now.

It would also be helpful if conservatives stepped up their game in the intellectual department simultaneously and tried to explain to people why they should be conservatives. Unfortunately, we're doing a very poor job of that at the moment.

Post a Comment