The Daily Gut is starting a Hillary fan club. Via Pajamas Media, Hillary Clamps Down. She’s going to need all the fan clubs she can get; Gerard Baker sure isn’t a fan: The vaulting ambition of America’s Lady Macbeth
There are many reasons people think Mrs Clinton will not be elected president. She lacks warmth; she is too polarising a figure; the American people don’t want to relive the psychodrama of the eight years of the Clinton presidency.
But they all miss this essential counterpoint. As you consider her career this past 15 years or so in the public spotlight, it is impossible not to be struck, and even impressed, by the sheer ruthless, unapologetic, unshameable way in which she has pursued this ambition, and confirmed that there is literally nothing she will not do, say, think or feel to achieve it. Here, finally, is someone who has taken the black arts of the politician’s trade, the dissembling, the trimming, the pandering, all the way to their logical conclusion.
If Mr. Baker ever comes to Princeton I’ll buy him a beer.
Which brings me to Francis Porretto’s excellent essay, Broken Premises Part 3: Is It The Words Or The Tune That Matters?
Rare is the politician, on either side of the divide between the parties, who can be relied upon speak clearly and to the point, and always to call things by their right names. Porfessional pols and their staffs might not believe Sapir and Whorf’s conjecture that words have the power to shape reality, but their confidence in the power of words to shape popular convictions appears boundless.
George Orwell’s landmark essay “Politics and the English Language” is replete with piercing observations about the insidiousness of such rhetoric. Among its many powerful points is that we must know what a thing is to argue for or against it:
Stuart Chase and others have come near to claiming that all abstract words are meaningless, and have used this as a pretext for advocating a kind of political quietism. Since you don’t know what Fascism is, how can you struggle against Fascism? One need not swallow such absurdities as this, but one ought to recognize that the present political chaos is connected with the decay of language, and that one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end. If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy. You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself. Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
Orwell’s essay should be required reading for every American who thinks himself qualified to vote, or to hold a political opinion. Much of the damage that has been done to freedom these past eighty years has passed into law under the cover of “terms of art,” periphrases and circumlocutions of the sort it describes.
All the events of last spring are only a foretaste of something much bigger, something still unnamed. And when it ends, those who have managed to escape will ask themselves: Why didn’t we see the handwriting on the wall when there was still time? If Muslim protests against a few harmless cartoons can cause the free world to capitulate in the face of violence, how will this free world react to something that is truly relevant? It is already difficult enough to see that Israel is not merely battling a few militants, but is facing a serious threat to its very existence from Iran. All too often it is ignored that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has already taken the first step by calling for “a world without Zionism” — a call that pro-Israel Europeans only managed to condemn with a mild, “unacceptable.” How would they react if Iran were in a position to back up its threats with nuclear weapons?
Kenneth Stein’s My Problem with Jimmy Carter’s Book (Stein was a Fellow at the Carter Center; h/t Not Exactly Rocket Science) ties in well with Jimmy Carter: Too many Jews on Holocaust council. As Stephen Pollard said,
The problem is that Carter does not provide an alternative view but the view from an alternative universe, with facts which are non-facts, events which are ignored and clear justifications for suicide terrorism.
What a disgrace Jimmy is.
There are three serious things we can do now: Tax gas. Drill in the Arctic. Go nuclear
If Cuban prisoner of conscience Prospero Gainza can sew his mouth shut as a defiant and symbolic gesture of protest, we can all show solidarity by fasting every Friday for our incarcerated brothers and sisters on the island.
I signed up for Twitter, where you can post updates on what you are doing during your day. Since I live a pedestrian and totally uninteresting life, I’m posting short quotes from poems I’ve read over the years.
Today’s verse is the first line from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Frost at Midnight, in keeping with this morning’s cold weather.
Look at the pink box in the sidebar for each day’s verse.