Patterico's Pontifications


Be a Human First, a Political Animal Second

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 pm

Wisdom from some dude called Andrew WK:

Hi Andrew,

I’m writing because I just can’t deal with my father anymore. He’s a 65-year-old super right-wing conservative who has basically turned into a total asshole intent on ruining our relationship and our planet with his politics. I’m more or less a liberal democrat with very progressive values and I know that people like my dad are going to destroy us all. I don’t have any good times with him anymore. All we do is argue. When I try to spend time with him without talking politics or discussing any current events, there’s still an underlying tension that makes it really uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong, I love him no matter what, but how do I explain to him that his politics are turning him into a monster, destroying the environment, and pushing away the people who care about him?

Thanks for your help,
Son of A Right-Winger

Dear Son of A Right-Winger,

Go back and read the opening sentences of your letter. Read them again. Then read the rest of your letter. Then read it again. Try to find a single instance where you referred to your dad as a human being, a person, or a man. There isn’t one. You’ve reduced your father — the person who created you — to a set of beliefs and political views and how it relates to you. And you don’t consider your dad a person of his own standing — he’s just “your dad.” You’ve also reduced yourself to a set of opposing views, and reduced your relationship with him to a fight between the two. The humanity has been reduced to nothingness and all that’s left in its place is an argument that can never really be won. And even if one side did win, it probably wouldn’t satisfy the deeper desire to be in a state of inflamed passionate conflict.

The world isn’t being destroyed by democrats or republicans, red or blue, liberal or conservative, religious or atheist — the world is being destroyed by one side believing the other side is destroying the world. The world is being hurt and damaged by one group of people believing they’re truly better people than the others who think differently. The world officially ends when we let our beliefs conquer love. We must not let this happen.

It goes on like that. I don’t agree with all of it, but it makes some good points. The essay was sent to me by a friend, and I saw it again on Hot Air, linked by Mary Katharine Ham, whose take on it was, I thought, wonderful:

Many of you will likely disagree with Andrew WK and my lauding of his philosophy, but I loathe the idea of a world where my every relationship and every decision is governed by adherence to my political ideology. I want to be friends with people of all stripes and see whatever movie and eat whatever pasta I feel like without running each of them through a political rubric. Not everything that is not of my political sensibility must deeply offend my sensibilities. One of the reasons I’m conservative is because if you increase without end the number of areas in which the federal government meddles from afar, the more politics infects every corner of our lives. And, frankly, that’s a drab life.

I agree. This happens, unfortunately, on both sides. We criticize people on the left for believing conservatives EEEEVIL (instead of just wrong), then some of us turn around and insist that people on the left who disagree with us are themselves evil. I find it annoying.

As Mary Katharine notes, this is an unpopular position with many hardcore conservatives. No righty blogger ever went broke by being too harsh to the left. If I measured my worth by the number of virtual slaps on the back I got from my commenters, I guess I could do a lot better at gaining kudos by screaming my head off about the intrinsic evil of leftists every day.

But in the end, that’s not really the kind of person I want to be. And even though many of the policies the left engages in have terrible results — and even though some of the people on the left are, objectively, evil — most people in the country who hold lefty viewpoints just have a different point of view. It’s wrong, of course. But that doesn’t make them evil.

I say: leave the self-righteous name-calling to the left. They’re great at it; it’s about the only thing they do really well. We conservatives should be the people who are right, and are gracious about it.

P.S. With any luck, some Real Conservative can use this post as a way to scream about my naivete, and thereby gain himself or herself some more virtual slaps on the back. To them, I say: go nuts. But honestly? I’d rather be me than be you.

James Brady Death Ruled a Homicide

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:41 pm

The first thing you were probably asking yourself is: so can they now try him for murder? I thought about blogging this earlier, but then I thought about having lunch. And then I did some other stuff. At some point in there, Eugene Volokh came along and said about the same thing I would have said. (See? Sometimes if you procrastinate, someone else will come along and do the job for you!)

The short answer is: no, they can’t — mainly because the jury already found him not guilty by reason of insanity, and that finding would translate to any murder prosecution. So, while it is theoretically possible to prosecute someone for murder after they are prosecuted for attempted murder — even if they have been acquitted, depending on the defense they used! — it’s not in this case.

P.S. If you’re interested, I previously discussed the way these rules played out in the movie “Fracture” in this post from 2007. That post, like this one, used a Eugene Volokh post as its springboard.

P.P.S. Eugene also discusses something called the “year and a day rule” pursuant to which, in many jurisdictions, there can be no murder prosecution unless the death occurred within a year and a day of the act that caused it. In California, if memory serves, there is a different rule: after three years there is a presumption that the defendant’s act did not cause the death — but that presumption can be rebutted by evidence.

Friday Amusement, Pt. 2

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:36 pm

[guest post by Dana]

A man walks into a Burger King and gets in line, a long line. In walks a mom and her son, and they stand behind the man. In the long line. The child was behaving badly:

“This kid was out of control, screaming, punching his mother throwing around a gameboy whenever something didn’t go right in the game. The mother didn’t seem to pay any attention to him and his continued yelling of ‘I want a f***ing PIE’. After about 5 minutes of the line with these people behind me, I had gone from a headache to a full on migraine…”

The man with the headache migraine politely asked the mom to control her child:

“I calmly turn and ask her nicely if she can please calm or quiet her child down. Immediately she gets up in my face telling me I can’t tell her nothing about raising her child and to mind my own business. I nod and turn around, she’s still yelling at the back of my head when the child cries out again how he wants a pie, the mother consoles him, calling him sweety and ensuring they’ll get pies for lunch because she loves him so much.”

Don’t mess with a man whose head is throbbing and needs peace and quiet while waiting for his burger order because he just might take matters into his own hands:

“All I can think of is how the people behind me ruined my splurge and gave me this headache. I then decide to ruin their day. I order every pie they have left in addition to my burgers. Turned out to be 23 pies in total, I take my order and walk towards the exit. Moments later I hear the woman yelling, what do you mean you don’t have any pies left, who bought them all? I turn around and see the cashier pointing me out with the woman shooting me a death glare. I stand there and pull out a pie and slowly start eating eat as I stare back at her. She starts running towards me but can’t get to me because of other lineups in the food court. I turn and slowly walk away.”


Friday Amusement

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:03 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This happened a week ago, but it made me laugh…before repeatedly hitting my head against the wall. Will this woman never retire?

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says the United States must look to Qatar, an ally of the terrorist group Hamas, for advice in resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

“And we have to confer with the Qataris, who have told me over and over again that Hamas is a humanitarian organization,” she told CNN’s “State of the Union” with Candy Crowley.


Airstrikes Begin

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:01 am

[guest post by Dana]

Targeting militants in northern Iraq, the U.S. military launched airstrikes early this morning:

The strike took place near the city of Irbil, after IS used the artillery to shell Kurdish forces defending the city where U.S. personnel are located, the Pentagon said.

The airstrikes began just hours after the president gave his authorization.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said Friday that two F/A-18 jets dropped 500-pound bombs on a piece of artillery and the truck towing it. The Pentagon said the military conducted the strike at 6:45 a.m. ET, against terrorists with the Islamic State (IS), the group formerly known as ISIS.

“As the president made clear, the United States military will continue to take direct action against [IS] when they threaten our personnel and facilities,” Kirby said.

Yesterday, the White House outlined the conditions for airstrikes:

A senior administration official described the airstrike authorization Thursday as “narrow” but outlined a number of broad contingencies in which they could be launched, including a possible threat to U.S. personnel in Baghdad from possible breaches in a major dam Islamist forces seized Thursday that could flood the Iraqi capital.

U.S. aircraft also are authorized to launch airstrikes if the military determines that Iraqi government and Kurdish forces are unable to break the siege that has stranded tens of thousands of civilians belonging to the minority Yazidi sect atop a barren mountain outside the northern town of Sinjar.

(Humanitarian aid flights yesterday dropped 72 bundles of supplies, including thousands of gallons of water.)


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