DANIEL GREENFIELD: FRIDAY AFTERNOON ROUNDUP PART ONE
The media is angry. It gets angry whenever it encounters resistance to its narrative. That’s what happened with the Trayvon Martin case and Obamacare.When the media encounters resistance, it runs through its stages
1. Denial – No one but a few loons reject the narrative
2. Anger – How dare they reject the narrative
3. Bargaining – The media starts looking for moderates who will accept some element of the narrative
4. Depression – The media glumly pontificates on a broken America where racism and poor health care will always be issues. Where their narrative remains marginalized among the NPR/New York Times enlightened.
But the fifth stage, Acceptance, never kicks in. The process just repeats itself.
The Trayvon Martin case is still locked into Anger mode. ObamaCare is starting to tip slowly toward Bargaining, but is also in Anger mode.
Anger mode happens when the media realizes that the resistance isn’t a few people they can ignore, that the resistance is organized, literate, competent and is advancing towards its goal. It takes the media a while to reach this point, but once it does, it jumps into action, plugging its narrative non-stop, searching for any evidence, real or manufactured, to back up its case, and pushing that evidence non-stop.
The facts don’t matter, only the survival of the narrative does, because the narrative is a vehicle for policy.
Trayvon Martin isn’t about a dead 17 year old, it’s about reestablishing racism as the dominant issue in American life, helping to pave the way for Obama’s reelection campaign and finding a wedge issue to use against the NRA in order to bring down the Second Amendment.
The media’s problem is that it launched the narrative prematurely based on sloppy information, without taking into account minor issues such as Zimmerman’s own racial appearance or Martin’s problematic backstory. It assumed that the public would uncritically eat up the narrative, the right would be sidelined or made to feel guilty for supporting individual self-defense and the Second Amendment and the narrative would steamroll its way to the 2012 election.
At first they didn’t know how to deal with the blowback, now they’re stuck having to fight to defend their narrative to the death.
The ObamaCare Mandate is even more problematic, because it’s unpopular with the general public and not that popular even on the left. Administration authoritarianism made it seem acceptable, but that was an illusion and now that illusion is suffering a severe attack.
The left had counted on Scalia’s authoritarian side, or what they thought was his authoritarian side, to pull this off for them. When they realized it wasn’t going to happen, he became their first target. In Anger mode, when the left realizes that it is losing, it begins lashing out at those it blames for its defeat, whether it’s Verrilli or Scalia. It’s rarely capable of understanding why it lost, instead it reaches for personal attacks.
THE MEANING OF FREEDOM
The left does not really care about the Mandate, except as a vehicle for their policies. The media defends the Mandate, because it’s defending national health care. This kind of cynicism leads to intellectual laziness and senseless arguments.
Instead of thinking through the objections from the other side, the left has wasted its energies on ridiculing the opposition. It can’t rationally defend the Mandate from a Constitutional standpoint, for one thing it doesn’t believe in the Constitution, it hardly speaks a common language with the more conservative Justices who do.
And that is the real problem with Verrilli, who could have done an excellent job explaining the social utility of the Mandate, but like his boss, is not very good at fitting the whole thing into an existing legal framework that prioritizes freedom over government power. Verrilli was a poor choice, but he was an inevitable choice by an administration that thought the Mandate was a good idea to begin with.
It’s hard to make legal arguments when you don’t share a legal framework or a cultural one. Kennedy uncomfortably dangles between the new court of liberals who no longer care about the law, only about making law, and the conservatives pushing back to the original document. He is out of step with Kagan and the Wise Latina who see the argument in terms of what is socially beneficial, not in relation to the limits of the law.
Slate’s legal analyst Dalia Lithwick demonstrates the basic incomprehension when she writes that it’s a choice between freedom from being forced to buy health insurance or freedom from free medical treatment.
Even people who support President Obama’s signature legislative achievement would agree that this debate is all about freedom—the freedom to never be one medical emergency away from economic ruin. What we have been waiting to hear is how members of the Supreme Court—especially the conservative majority—define that freedom. This morning as the justices pondered whether the individual mandate—that part of the Affordable Care Act that requires most Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty—is constitutional, we got a window into the freedom some of the justices long for.
Freedom is to be free from the telephone. Verrilli explains that “telephone rates in this country for a century were set via the exercise of the commerce power in a way in which some people paid rates that were much higher than their costs in order to subsidize.” To which Justice Scalia is again ready with a quick retort: “Only if you make phone calls.” Verrilli tries to point out that “to live in the modern world, everybody needs a telephone,”
And that’s really where the gap kicks in, isn’t it.
Lithwick uses the word “freedom” without having any idea of its meaning. To her, free health care is a form of freedom because it liberates you from a dangerous situation. On the other hand the freedom not to buy health insurance is a dumb kind of freedom because it only frees you to be in danger of not having health care.
It’s a wonder the ACLU still exists because most on the left no longer understand the meaning of freedom, they can’t separate it from government intervention or view it as a thing apart from government intervention, except during brief periods when Republicans are in office and then everything is an attack on their ‘freedom’.
The gap here is cultural. Generations of the left view the government as the fundamental core of modern life. Any limitation on its power to dispense social benefits is dangerous to what they define as freedom, which is really subsidized personal autonomy… which is limited by the same government mechanisms that enable it.
So too the religious freedom vs subsidized birth control products runs into the same wall. But their idea of collectively distributed products and services that make personal autonomy possible is not freedom, it’s feudalism. And that’s what the Mandate debate is really about.
The Constitution was there to provide freedom from authority, to place limits on the power of central government. That is the “dark time” that Lithwick fears we will be dragged back to. For those who define freedom in terms of government mandated benefits, who believe in a subsidized autonomy, that is indeed a terrifying thing.
ObamaCare opponents and Lithwick both fear losing their freedom. But the opponents define freedom as restraint of government power. Lithwick defines freedom as government power to impose such obligations on society that will provide the appropriate social welfare benefits for those who need it.
That gap is unbridgeable and mutually incomprehensible. When you can’t agree on what freedom is, then there is nothing at all to talk about.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said French Muslims were clearly not responsible for the acts of a madman… He ridiculed Le Pen’s parallel between the killer and immigration, pointing out that Merah was born and raised in France.
Clearly immigration has nothing to do with this.
Sure daddy dearest, Benalen Merah, lives in Algeria, and is suing France for the crime of shooting a proud Muslim Jihadist. And sonny was a second-generation immigrant, which clearly means that immigration has nothing to do with this.
One might ask how did France fill up with Muslims if not through immigration, but hasn’t Sarkozy already assured us that Islam has nothing to do with this?
Mohamed Merah isn’t Muslim or an immigrant. He’s just one of those ordinary French youth who are angry over things. Nothing to see here. Everyone move along.
Sarkozy is busy pandering, promising anti-terrorism and anti-Imam measures that will go nowhere when he is reelected, just as they went nowhere last time. The architects of tolerance are organizing Jewish-Muslim marches and the media is worrying that there might be another backlash against Muslims.
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