Saturday Night Card Game (John Lewis may have authority, but he’s also wrong)
There is a phenomenon in American politics which is not exclusive to either party, what sometimes is called the fallacy of the appeal to authority.
On the political level it involves finding a heroic figure, and then wrapping him or her around an otherwise odious political message in order to insulate the message from criticism.
In the age of Obama that fallacy has played out around those who legitimately and in many cases heroicly fought state-sanctioned racism in the 1950s and 1960s.
The message which is odious is that Republicans want to return to segregation and other forms of state-sanctioned racism such as denial of voting to blacks.
It is a false and utterly vile form of racial politics which is given voice day in and day out by almost every host and commentator at MSNBC, and many Democratic politicians. Joe Biden said Republicans want to put “y’all back in chains” and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has said that Republicans want to return to Jim Crow.
Yet the message needs more protection from scrutiny than the commentators at MSNBC, Wasserman-Schultz, or the Vice President can give it.
Enter John Lewis, a heroic figure from the civil rights struggles of the 1960s who increasingly has served as the authority to which Democrats fallaciously appeal to insulate their race card politics.
The speech at the DNC by Lewis recounted his history of being beaten, and then went into the political gutter by suggesting that Republicans wanted to go back to those days (h/t Gateway Pundit):
Sure enough, because Lewis made the suggestion that Republicans want to return to the early 1960s, writers like Charles Pierce at Esquire announced that Lewis’ heroics rendered others incapable of questioning Lewis’ authority:
And that is simply the way it is, and, if you don’t like the truth there, you’re welcome to get your brains nearly beaten out of you on the Edmund Pettus Bridge so you would begin to have the most basic qualifications to argue with John Lewis about it.
James Taranto correctly pegged this as “the most knuckleheaded appeal to authority….”
Lewis may have expertise and experience in the state-sanctioned racism of the 1960s, but he doesn’t know what he is talking about in 2012. If someone is to be the victim of state-sanctioned racism today or in the past couple of decades (if not further back than that), the victim almost certainly would not be African-American.
Today the state expressly sanctions, to the fullest level the Supreme Court will allow, racial preferences which favor African-Americans.
In 2012 the victim of state-sanctioned racism most likely will be of Asian descent, as the old quota systems applied to Ashkenazi Jews are applied in practice if not in theory, albeit in the name of diversity rather than exclusion.
The Party of state-sanctioned racism today is not the Republican Party, which is the party of judging people on their merits not on the color of their skin.
It’s a shame that John Lewis can’t see that, or doesn’t want to.
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One of the sad things that come with age is watching someone who was a leader become a craven tool.
I remember John Lewis before he became a lying, racist functionary for the very party of Jim Crow.
Like I can remember a Jesse Jackson who once carried a message of pride to Black kids, before he sold his soul to the Collective.
Sadly for them, some of us were there, and we remember who they used to be, and can bear witness…and mourn them.
I guess that’s what politics does to you. It’s a cesspool, and they have jumped in.
I guess….if you believe all politicians are corrupt of heart, evil in their intent.
As to John Lewis, and his ilk, I guess first you would have to assume they were pure of heart at the time they stood with Rev. King, as with Jackson, Sharpton, and the like.
I see too many adjoining themselves to worthy causes, Noble Causes, believing none of it, but see an avenue to gain power, fame , notoriety.
I cannot see in his heart, but his actions allow the legitimate right to question his intent. Some say that is beyond reproach.
No excuse. Politics didn’t do that to Ronald Reagan, it didn’t do that to Dick Armey, it didn’t do it to lots of good people.
You’re in great form tonight Rags. Here’s my .02!
Luv Ya: “QUESTIONS FOR CONGRESSMAN JACKSON”
We just heard you are back, after some kind of attack,
We rejoice with your family and friends.
Public service is rough, and we know it is tough,
To return and begin to amend,
All those things left behind, that unsettled your mind,
And required you to flee from the fight.
But with your return, there are things we must learn–
Only truth can now set you aright.
You campaigned for a post, so much harder than most!
You then said you were willing and fit.
There was “fire in your veins” and they sang your refrains,
Of your powers, your plans, and your wit.
“Jesse Jackson’s the man, with whom we will stand,”
Was the war-cry throughout your home state.
Then, your future was bright, and it looked like you might,
Be the hero to make Illinois great.
But some questions arose, and now nobody knows,
If you can do your job at this time.
We are just not at ease, that this “mental disease”,
Isn’t pretext for hiding a crime.
Private souls can decide, to disclose or to hide,
Every SPECK of their own private lives.
But if the public you’ll serve, then YOU MUST HAVE THE NERVE
TO MAKE ALL YOUR LIFE PUBLIC—you can’t hide!
No rights reserved. It’s ”public”—you can critique the poem; copy it; amend it; augment it; or just disregard it!
lewis’s remarkes are as heroitic as McRino’s post POW career.
There is nothing to admire about this hateful RACIST liar. He is a good reason to immediately disband the CBC, Affirmative Action & let bosses hire & fire freely again.
Time to “…let him go”.
I’m sad to say this man is a representative from my state. I’m happy to say he’s not mine (although he is closer to my district than I’d like).
His constituents will continue to elect him as long as he lives or wants to run. The sad thing is they think like he says he does and believes this garbage. I say “like he says he does” because I don’t think he really believes this stuff. After all, he did blatantly lie about the spitting session. He’s a democrat tool and if he ever becomes a liability to the party he will be gone.
He’s drunk the water and scooped up the goodies. He knows which side his bread is buttered on to keep those goodies coming. Become a congressman and become a millionaire. Why not? They get insider information all the time and are able to act on it and screw us poor peons.
1. The Left has played this game before. Maureen Dowd on Cindy Sheehan:
2. Too bad about Lewis. Power corrupts. (As BarbaraS noted, if he becomes a liability, the Left will dump him just like they dumped Sheehan.)
3. In 2012 the victim of state-sanctioned racism most likely will be of Asian descent, as the old quota systems applied to Ashkenazi Jews are applied in practice and in spirit if not in theory, albeit in the name of diversity rather than exclusion.
Completely agree, with a boldface interpolation. I suspect that the Gods of the Copybook Headings are not amused.
Great minds think alike. I just posted about Cindy Sheehan a minute ago.
As you say, we’ve been down this despicable road before. Lewis was one of the liars who tried to smear the Tea Party during the healthcare vote, a calumny supported by the MSM which Andrew Breitbart famously exposed and turned into a humiliation.
And now I’ll bet, as then, the establishment GOP will be silent.
I’m beginning to realize that if we lose this election the difference will be the death of Breitbart. As much as many public figures claimed to have learned from him, they simply haven’t. This election could and should be the battle royale of liberty vs. tyranny and unsparingly expose the lies, depredations intentions of the Left. But our side has simply declined, opted out. As Stanley Kurtz and Andrew McCarthy have observed recently, the Romney/Ryan plan appears deliberately inoffensive, strategically unwilling to take on the Left’s agenda for fear of offending alienated Obama voters, which it sees as the margin for victory and doesn’t want to shame.
Lewis is like Brett Favre. He is in the game long after he should gracefully have bowed out and let others lead. Like Favre, he’s also addicted to the fame and regular paydays, having lost sight of that which brought him along, thus far.
When it comes right down to it, Lewis simply is not all that bright. He has made a career out of being black. Were it not for a form of guilt driven affirmative action voting and racial gerrymandering, he would be sitting on his front porch collecting social security and watching his grandchildren and not being an embarrassing public figure.
Someone needs to ask John Lewis, why there isn’t a white member in the Congressional Black Caucus. Segregation, perhaps?
You fought for equality Lewis, remember?
Can you imagine the uproar, if there were to exist the White Congressional Caucus?
Every single photo of the KKK that ever existed, would be front page in print and online with the Lefty media that exists.
Lewis has been at this sort of thing for a long time.
Remember when he said of the Republican Contract for America , “They’re comin’ for our chill-drun! They’re comin’ for the old people…”
Or how about the time he claimed from the floor of the House that sharks have an ancestral memory of the days when slaves were tossed overboard during their transport to the Americas, and still cruise with anticipation the old slave routes?
Face it: he’s been dining out on this “hero” thing for years, just as McCain has, and the corrupt Sen. Inouye has.
I never knew he said that but I am not surprised.
wonder if the black slave traders and slave owners (like the first slave owner in USA) have that same ancestral memory…
Lewis has made many stupid comments, but the sharks eating slaves idiocy came from Rep. Donald M. Payne, another democrat idiot.
a hero does not make his living based of his past good deeds.
so “color” me unimpressed at this loser.
For once I am going to get angry. Really angry. Not at you, Professor, but at the evil men and women who are frantically trying to start a racial conflict for political gain.
Lewis does not have any authority. Not one particle. Lewis is someone who once fought street fights against the KKK but has since switched sides, and adopted the KKK’s racialist philosophy and tactics. Like any typical KKKer, Lewis is now calling for a race war, and all he lacks (so far) is a white sheet and a burning cross to complete the transformation. But his heart already belongs to those whom he allegedly opposes.
Lewis has exposed the civil rights movement for what it really was. It was not “good vs. evil”, as historians and the media want you to believe. Rather, it was a scuffle between two gangs of fascists seeking to liquidate those who did not look or think like them. The country would be in terrible danger, no matter which side won.
I spent many years living and teaching in Africa, and this is an old song. What we saw in Lewis’s speech is the same paranoid, anti-colonial whites-are-out-to-get-us hate that drove the genocide in Rwanda and tribal violence elsewhere in Africa. In America millions of blacks have died under the abortionists’ knives, murdered each other in senseless crimes, and poisoned themselves with alcohol and drugs. John Lewis knows the truth: his failures and those of the civil rights movement are a major contributing factor to those deaths. But like any other typical African strongman (Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, Kenya’s Danial arap-Moi, Liberia’s Charles Taylor, Uganda’s Milton Obote and Idi Amin, etc.) he makes appeals to racial and ethnic hatred to cover those failures.
My wife is a beautiful African woman whom I met while I lived there, and our son is mixed race. In Lewis’s murderous dream they would be regarded as “traitors” and held in contempt by both sides. In the Rwandan genocide Hutus who were married to Tutsis, friendly with them, or even just suspected of being friendly were targeted by the interahamwe for especially gruesome torture and murder. Make no mistake about it: what happened in Rwanda and elsewhere in Africa is Lewis’s vision and dream.
I recommend all LI readers read this twice.
Once, to understand the text, the second to understand it’s meaning.
Yes but also read of the British Empire general who retired to morning tea during a battle with 600 whites vs 10,000 Africans .
“Looks like we gave them a good dusting off “. He pondered if he needed to return to the battle field to see it end & would it be before lunch?
15 minutes later it was won.
That is not racism -it is history. And there are reasons things happen .
I get the feeling you’re British.
I get the feeling you loathe your history.
I get the feeling I don’t give a $hit.
Deal with it.
I think of John Lewis the way I think of our Russian Communist allies in WWII fighting Hitler. They were noble soldiers fighting valiantly in the great cause to destroy Nazism. John Lewis was also a noble soldier in the great cause to destroy legal segregation in the South. Nazism was destroyed, and legal segregation was destroyed. But these folks who did genuinely contribute to that just cause, … well … they’re still communists. Their own views also represent an evil that should be vigorously challenged, and on the same freedom-loving grounds that were used to challenge the earlier evils that they helped to defeat.
Peter -Russians fought for survival. There is a difference. They did not care about Nazism-in fact several of their Tsars were all or half German.
American black slaves did not die by the millions during the civil war. Nobody came to take their land & throw them into the snow.
Does Reginald Denny also have absolute moral authority bestowed on him by racist ass kickers?
Well, that’s different. In the mind of today’s race pimps it would be racist of Mr. Denny to use what happened to him as a springboard to political office or hero status. A white man nearly beat to death by rioting black men is inconsequential.
“The Party of state-sanctioned racism today is not the Republican Party, which is the party of judging people on their merits not on the color of their skin.”
Hate to remind the author, but the party of state-sanctioned racism in the past was not the Republican party either. The Democrats were and still are the ones with the race issue, regardless of how they and their supporters would like History to be rewritten.
This is just like Maureen Dowd declaring that Cindy Sheehan had “absolute moral authority” because of the loss of her son.
It just doesn’t work that way. It’s a fallacious appeal to authority, despite the price she has paid.
LukeHandCool (who feels Cindy Sheehan is a loon, but who simultaneously feels sad for her loss).
Race hatred is evil. So is its counterfeit reparation known as affirmative action. The former causes suffering and oppression. The latter awards incompetence, and has now compromised the highest office in the land. Neither Obama nor Liz Warren earned their positions. Then neither did the likes of Ted Kennedy, but that’s no reason to excuse equal-opportunity corruption.
Wealthy elites came up with the “amateur/professional” difference to lessen Olympic competition by keeping out poor athletes who made money with their athleticism. In the same way wealthy Whites in this country have generously, through Affirmative Action, restricted competitive but middle and lower class Whites. The seats given up for Affirmative Action didn’t come from the legacy admissions. Thus George W. Bush is probably the first President to benefit, albeit indirectly, from Affirmative Action, not Barack Husein 0bama whose benefit was direct.
Just think, as it is, 0bama’s daughters would get preferential treatment because they are Black, not just because who their daddy is.
You made an astute observation. There’s a reason certain demographics superficially appear to vote against their own interests, are vehemently AA and liberal. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
I’ve been chewing on your reply. There’s merit to it, but I’d frame it another way. There are three kinds of politicians who support affirmative action, 1) vote chasers, 2) those who believe that blacks can’t compete without gov’t help, and 3) power grubbers who are maintaining the plantation by keeping blacks from being successful. Contrary to the Lewis types who cry about systemic racism, the real racists are the type 2 and 3 politicians, including the Congressional Black Caucus. Yes, there are plenty of whites, too, like Chains Biden.
“3. In 2012 the victim of state-sanctioned racism most likely will be of Asian descent, as the old quota systems applied to Ashkenazi Jews are applied in practice and in spirit if not in theory, albeit in the name of diversity rather than exclusion.”
This is so true. Those who are hurt the most are those of Asian descent who have shown themselves to be good, but not necessarily great, students.
I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard my wife’s Asian friends and acquaintances bitch and moan about the unfairness of it all. And I agree with them; their children are not being treated as individuals.
There’s an inverse relationship between being successful and the campus diversity grievance crowd’s acceptance of your minority status.
The Civil Rights movement involved thousands of white and black Americans. Many white Americans also suffered and some gave their life for this cause. One of the great ironies is that blacks eventually resented the whites’ involvement because they felt they were too paternalistic. The irony of course is that in the early 1960’s, the time and service of whites was voluntary, and they paid their own way, while beginning in the mid 1960’s the service became a government check and food stamps. Three and four generations later some of these same families are still receiving those “services”. How can supposedly intelligent people like Lewis not understand that this new paternalism has not worked? Why does it not bother them as much as the white paternalism from the civil rights days? How can they claim the GOP wants to keep these people suppressed when they have been effectively enslaved by their own party for the past 50 years?
You don’t win love by inducing dependency and giving without expecting something back. You create shame and resentment.
He should be beaten again.
At the ballot box, that is.
Lewis, McCain & Inouye have voluntarily forfeited the title “Hero”. Their past good deeds & principles don’t even begin to balance their current depravity, no matter how many times they use them as a “Get Out of Jail Free” card.
And they are most definitely depraved. What a stark contrast with a true Hero, Neil Armstrong.
Lewis has turned his beating into a tool to hammer not the party responsible for his beating on the bridge, but the party which sent the first post-slavery blacks to Congress. Worse yet, as Alberto Memmi argued in Dominated Man, Lewis internalized and copied the despicable behavior of his oppressors and applied it to the party he deemed weaker. That is not heroic. It is despicable and self-serving.
Hey Professor Jacobson. Just noticed that at the bottom of your article, a thing says “You’ve already voted”.
Strangely, though I liked the article and agree with what you’re saying, I never voted for the article.
Seems some glitch with the Thumbs up/Thumbs down widget?
Not a big deal, just thought I’d mention it.
(did a Democrat design that widget? 🙂 )
Oh, just a thought.
The liberals love to set up alternate “absolute moral authorities”. It helps them hide the actual moral authorities they are denying have any basis in fact or reason to obey.
They do it with global warming, with atheism and myriad other instances of their disdain for previous claims of moral authority over anything because they don’t want to be held account for their failure to be able to live by them.
He has teeth?
Lewis deserves his footnote in history but his record since then is close to negating any heroics he performed. Remember this is the guy that claimed evil Tea Partiers spit on him when there has never been any evidence this happened, despite the plethora of cameras rolling and a hefty bounty for such proof. He continues to beclown himself with these idiotic statements again without any proof or indication the GOP has these plans. How the heck can these people—the DNC in general—continue to make these outlandish claims and not get called on it? Oh wait…I know. First…it’s all they can do. They have no record and no leader to run on so the only thing they can do is wage a war with molotov cocktail verbage supported fully by a media more than happy to be the echo chamber. Disgusting…and anyone who can’t see through this should never be allowed to vote until they can prove they have the ability to reason.
Maybe 1 in 500 people could survive the undiluted admiration of so many people, for a span of decades, with his moral character intact. John Lewis is one of the 499.
“And that is simply the way it is, and, if you don’t like the truth there, you’re welcome to get your brains nearly beaten out of you”
Paging Kenneth Gladney who was beat up by SEIU thugs in St. Louis during the healthcare debates, Reginald Denny, Korean shop owners in LA, all the various victims in many US cities of the new “knockout king/polar bear hunting” attacks and many other victims of so called hate crimes that don’t get reported because well, it doesn’t fit the media’s mantras.
Voter intimidation is back and it’s against whites as the New Black Panthers showed on Obama’s election day in 2008 at the entrance to a Philadelphia polling place. One Panther brandished a deadly weapon, a billy club, and both were dressed as security guards. No one was ultimately charged with a crime, Obama wouldn’t allow it. Eric Holder said it demeaned “his people” for anyone to claim this was voter intimidation.
The WaPo gave it some coverage, though their Sept. 2010 and Oct. 2010 articles on the topic were relegated to Saturday editions as the great Breitbart pointed out at the time. It also sanitized one of the thugs, both of whom had criminal records, by using his birth name Heath rather than his Panther name of King Samir Shabazz. The WaPo allowed a summary of the events to be published in Jan. 2011 in the “Right Turn” column (on a Thurs.) I watched the John Lewis tape and the democrats bought every word, some had tears streaming down their faces. In June 2008 in Philadelphia, Obama himself famously said, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.”