Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Lawlessness begets lawlessness

As someone who is on record condemning lawlessness and sedition, I am appalled and horrified by what happened today in Washington, D.C.  It is indefensible and inexcusable, and the rioters and vandals ought to be prosecuted.  But then, the rioting and vandalism that occurred in Washington last summer – and in Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, and other major cities – was also appalling, horrifying, indefensible, and inexcusable, and its instigators should have been prosecuted.  Yet some of the people who are now talking tough about law and order were then blathering on about “mostly peaceful protests,” “defunding the police,” and other such lunacy.  We are reaping what they sowed.  If you are going to tolerate and excuse left-wing political violence, you are opening the door to right-wing political violence.  But if you rightly condemn the latter, then to be consistent, you must condemn the former.  You must insist that all citizens respect law and order – your political allies no less than your political enemies.

Then there is the cause in the name of which the Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, viz. a refusal to accept the results of the election.  Here too the left-wing hypocrisy is breathtaking.  After the 2016 election, some on the Left attempted, through recounts and intimidation of members of the Electoral College, to reverse the outcome.  Many more left-wingers spent the next three years trying to delegitimize the outcome by pushing a groundless conspiracy theory according to which the Russians had helped steal the election for Trump.  Some plotted impeaching Trump before he was even sworn in, and spent his entire administration looking for pretexts for doing so.  Some warned darkly of the possibility of future election fraud through hacked voting machines, just as some left-wingers had insisted that George W. Bush had stolen the 2004 election by such means.  When raising doubts might benefit left-wing candidates, some characterized the flaws in the voting system as “staggering,” indeed a “crisis for American democracy,” and questioned the agendas of the companies that manufacture voting machines.  Some insisted that the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election was “stolen” from Stacey Abrams.  Hillary Clinton said, before the recent presidential election, that Joe Biden “should not concede under any circumstances” if it is close.

And yet, in 2020, left-wingers nevertheless pushed through a mail-in voting system that was sure to increase the risk of fraud and open the door to endless litigation.  And they made arbitrary changes in the rules for accepting mail-in ballots in states like Pennsylvania.  Such moves guaranteed that the legitimacy of the outcome in any state where the vote was close would come to be widely doubted. 

In short, the Left spent four years making the questioning of an election’s legitimacy a routine political tactic, and then in 2020 produced conditions where such questioning would be a priori more plausible than usual.  Again, we are reaping what they sowed.

Not only has the Left itself inadvertently created this bear of a mob they now decry, they have insisted on poking it relentlessly.  They have imposed on the country open-ended lockdowns that have destroyed the livelihoods of working class people while enriching the Left’s corporate allies.  These same corporate allies have imposed, on the Left’s behalf, a regime of political censorship and information control.   Left-wingers shrilly and ceaselessly demonize their opponents as racists and bigots who cannot be compromised with but must be “cancelled” and driven into the cultural and political margins.  And they have talked of securing indefinite one-party rule by ending the filibuster, packing the Supreme Court, and admitting into the Union new states whose voters could guarantee perpetual left-wing control of the Senate.

In these ways, left-wingers have worked to make their political enemies feel boxed in and desperate.  They can hardly be surprised when those enemies start acting in the ways that desperate people tend to act.  Trump’s rise was in the first place a reaction against left-wing excess.  Yet while he is now leaving the stage (albeit kicking and screaming), that excess has in four years massively increased.  While liberals piously pretend to fret about extremism, they have tolerated left-wing extremism and created the conditions for a backlash of right-wing extremism.

If Joe Biden is anything remotely close to a statesman, or even just politically savvy, he will do what is in his power to arrest this spiral of lawlessness and mutual hatred.  He will enforce the law against both right-wing and left-wing rioters, and insist that every governor and mayor do the same.  He will act to rein in the lunacy of the wokesters now cancelling and indoctrinating their way through every institution of American society.  He will urge the lifting of lockdowns that have no proven efficacy in controlling the virus, but have produced widespread economic devastation, psychological stress, and social unrest.  He will put an immediate end to Democratic talk of court-packing and other power grab schemes that will only pour gasoline on the fire.  And he will, as Jonathan Turley recommends, set up a commission to investigate the integrity of the election, and work to reverse the lax election rules that opened the door to doubt.


  1. Carter-Baker blue ribbon electoral commission

    How much of this got implemented?

  2. Replies
    1. "We are reaping what they sowed. If you are going to tolerate and excuse left-wing political violence, you are opening the door to right-wing political violence."
      Nonsense. Seldom have I read such indefensible rationalization and unfounded blame shifting.

      No, we are reaping what YOU Trump voters sowed. We are reaping the results of the lies and the incitements to violence shouted by Trump, Giuliani, Wood, and all those who glorified violence and, as Bill Barr said, "orchestrating a mob".

      The rioting maga mob invaded congress, not because of the left or any other such pathetic rationalization, the rioting maga mob invaded congress because of who they are as despicable criminal human beings, the liar in chief, and all of his lying maga minions.

    2. Despicable criminal human beings burned and looted before the election.

    3. When Trump is gone, you'll have to find a new target for your hatred.

    4. In the face of link after link of calm and dispassionately delivered evidence, Stardustywhatever shouts:

      "No, we are reaping what YOU Trump voters sowed. We are reaping the results of the lies and the incitements to violence shouted by Trump, Giuliani, Wood, and all those who glorified violence and, as Bill Barr said, "orchestrating a mob".

      The rioting maga mob invaded congress, not because of the left or any other such pathetic rationalization, the rioting maga mob invaded congress because of who they are as despicable criminal human beings, the liar in chief, and all of his lying maga minions."

      It is rare that one gets to see so bold and outright a self-othering performance.

      Startling as it is, it's gratifying in a way, when all doubt as to what "it" is and where "it" dwells, i.e., beyond the pale of mutuality and reciprocity, is revealed.

      Explains something about the nature of its hellish track record and obsessions on Ed's blog.

    5. Dude January 12, 2021 at 10:06 AM
      "Despicable criminal human beings burned and looted before the election."
      Indeed, BLM, the organization, is a racist, heterophobic, anti family, anti male, anti law enforcement, radical hate group.

      I, on the other hand, am pro law enforcement and a devout humanist.

    6. DNW,
      "It is rare that one gets to see so bold and outright a self-othering performance."
      Not so rare, even the Republican Senate Majority Leader has put the blame for the maga mob on Trump, his allies in power, the lies they told, and the provocation of Donald John Trump.

      Listen for yourself if you do not believe me:

    7. "Despicable criminal human beings burned and looted before the election."
      Indeed, BLM, the organization, ...

      That's an odd connection to make, since only one BLM event had violence, and they kicked that organizer out afterwards.

      Indeed, BLM, the organization, is a racist, heterophobic, anti family, anti male, anti law enforcement, radical hate group.

      Hateful and inaccurate lies.

    8. Star,etcetera,
      says he is

      " a devout humanist"

      He's joking of course. Good joke though.

    9. NorthCharlton,
      Indeed, the word "devout", from devotion, is typically associated with a religious belief, whereas humanism is not a religion, rather, simply a viewpoint such that I personally value human life and am opposed to human suffering, in principle equally among humans irrespective of their particulars.

      Application of a term commonly associated with a religious connotation to a self identifying term was a bit of a joke, yes.

      In particular I am opposed to racism, of which critical race theory is a form. I have zero personal guilt about being a white male. Racism is holding the belief that people are superior or better or inferior or less deserving or less human or more human based on the individual's race. A racist action is an action based on a racist belief.

      The idea that black Americans cannot be racist due to power imbalances is just a rationalization for black Americans to be racist against white Americans but to not feel guilty about it on the absurd notion that is impossible for black Americans to be racist against white Americans.

      BLM, the organization, similarly, is by their own admission unabashedly black, not humanistic, and thus racist. BLM, the organization, tacitly approves of violence against law enforcement while avoiding explicitly calling for it in print, but repeatedly failing to condemn violence against law enforcement when it happens or urge their fellow protesters against it.

      BLM, the organization, repeatedly takes the side of violent criminals, lies about the actions of law enforcement, and seeks to punish law enforcement officers who were in fact doing their duty professionally.

      Add to this the absurd notion of defunding the police, which Biden rejects, and BLM, the organization, is deeply anti law enforcement.

      BLM, the organization, was founded by, and continues to be led by, lesbians who have an anti male, anti family, dystopian view expressly seeking to dissolve the family and replace it with child rearing by a community of mothers wherein mothers make the decisions and the word "father" is unmentionable. These simple facts have long been obvious merely by reading their web site. Denial of these facts is a Kellyannish call for alternative facts.

      Biden, in his inaugural address, called for an end to denial of facts and to begin from a common truth of factual reality. Hear hear. But I am a strongly convinced humanist so I am as opposed to the alternative facts of the SJW left as I am of the Trumpian right.

    10. In particular I am opposed to racism, of which critical race theory is a form. I have zero personal guilt about being a white male.

      Critical race theory is a discussion about the nature of racism. By the definitions you provide, it can not be racism in and of itself.

      As a one who accepts critical race theory, I also have zero personal guilt about being a white male. It takes an enormous ego to think yourself responsible for institutional racism, or to be above human nature.

      As for the rest of your diatribe, it rings hollow coming from a person who supports the killing of innocent people in a police raid when there was no evidence of their criminal involvement.

    11. "Critical race theory is a discussion about the nature of racism."

      A "discussion"?

    12. "StardustyPsycheJanuary 23, 2021 at 4:02 PM

      Indeed, the word "devout", from devotion, is typically associated with a religious belief, whereas humanism is not a religion, rather, simply a viewpoint such that I personally value human life and am opposed to human suffering, in principle equally among humans irrespective of their particulars.

      Application of a term commonly associated with a religious connotation to a self identifying term was a bit of a joke, yes...."

      So why are you a humanist? Is it some kind of emotion driven thing?

      Or, do you think it objectively wrong in some sense to shrug at the writhing death of some annoying person one needn't value and from whom one cannot possibly derive any unique benefit?

      Such entities, like existence itself are just dead ends and ultimately nothing anyway, according to all the humanist precursor materials I have waded through.

      Why, for example, should I care (much less sacrifice some interest) if you suffer, as long as your suffering can be kept at arm's length, and I have plenty more congenial associations ready to hand?

      I agree that some limited number of test cases might be useful in order to advance the medical sciences which might at some point benefit me or someone in my "circle of concern"; but seems rather silly to take the declamatory jibber-jabber of the Humanist Manifestos seriously. The first one couldn't even survive a couple of decades unscathed.

      Very few people enjoy looking at someone in pain, even if they are unpleasant people. But you can always just look away. What could you possibly owe them?

    13. DNW,
      A "discussion"?

      Yes, and nothing your article quoted from their source indicates otherwise.

  3. I agree with all the points made here. One aspect of the violence of the left versus that seen today bears no comparison however. The takeover of the Capitol was clearly intended to do more than let the legislators "hear" a point of view. Forcibly stopping the transfer of power to another President is nothing but a coup d'etat. Even if the "insurgents" had been armed with nothing but feather dusters it wouldn't have changed this.

  4. As soon as I saw the title of the OP, I predicted it would be mostly an attack on the Democratic party and the so-called "left."

  5. Sadly, Ed, I highly doubt Joe Biden is going to be that good of a statesman. What, for instance, would be the use of a commission to investigate the election? There isn't enough social trust for such a thing to work. If it did find that Biden's win was fraudulent, what would be done? Say oops and just end Biden's presidency? Not likely. Admit that the President is illegitimate but too bad, no take backs? That would be open tyranny and would only inflame things. More likely, the Commission would not be *allowed* to produce any result other than the politically advantageous one. Everyone knows that, and the fact that everyone knows that means that nobody will trust it. No matter what happens now, Pandora's Box has been opened. Americans no longer have any faith in the legitimacy of their political processes, and that mistrust and animus cannot simply be swept aside or ignored. The people who are angry now aren't just magically going to lie down and be happy on January 21st. They're going to treat the Biden Presidency as illegitimate, and that path can't end in anything good.

  6. Ed, I very much enjoy your philosophy writing and respect you as a metaphysician. Your writings have made me more open to ancient and Scholastic ideas and have strengthened my faith.
    All that being said, I worry that your usually thorough and even-handed treatment of philosophical issues is not extending to politics. I was worried when I saw that you were writing for American Mind, and many of your blog posts have teetered from solid defense of Catholicism into polemics that read like desperate attempts to explain why voting Republican is morally acceptable but voting for Democrats (or supporting them or their ideas in any form) is morally unacceptable. I don't mean to make an ad hominem attack here, I earnestly mean to express concern. I fear economic and financial concerns may be in play -- that a lot of your audience wants to hear this kind of exculpatory writing in favor of Republicans/demonizing writing against "the Left,"; that powerful political organizations pay you to write pieces for them (First Things and its funders, American Mind (yikes), Claremont Review of Books, the Heritage Foundation, etc). I think your efforts to engage readers in the intellectual merits of Catholicism are being damaged by your one-sided political writings.
    In this essay, the pattern typical of 2020's political posts presents again. There is a false equivocation between the storming of the nation's capitol and BLM protestors (in the former, people are acting overtly politically against the state -- true sedition; in the latter, where there was violence, it was opportunistic crimes, though often later "justified" with stupid political rhetoric about racism and so on). Then, you move to exculpating - if the Capitol riot really was worse or of a different character, then it is only because of the "excesses of the Left" which has made these people "desperate." Come on, Dr. Feser! You would never extend this kind of argument to leftists, and would ridicule them if they made it (and you have!). When the left says the only reason people loot and vandalize is because oppression and economic deprivation made them desperate, you rightly dismiss these arguments as insufficient. Perhaps these factors diminish culpability, but they do not erase it. Also, you glaze over the factors which are attributable to right-wing influences, which no doubt also drove the crowd's actions: Trump's encouragement, right-wing media's endless writings about left-wing takeovers that will, any day, rival Stalin and Mao (despite years-long dominance by Republicans of state and local legislatures, governorships, the senate, the presidency, the supreme court, and of many mega-corporations -- think finance and energy rather than big tech, which I am sure you are smart enough to do).
    tl;dr I think you are better than this partisan writing, and these kinds of posts are undercutting your superior writing on other important philosophical and theological topics.

    1. Being politically disenfranchised is a whole other species of "desperation" than merely being in economic hardship. And where have you been the last few years? You can already lose your job and be heavily stigmatised for merely publicly stating that you believe the traditional Christian teaching on sex and marriage. Nuns are being forced by the state to violate their consciences and provide abortifacents. Are people supposed to just sit down and take it unless there are literal leftwing death squads murdering conservatives in the streets? How bad does it have to get before we're allowed to fight back?

    2. Besides, Feser is right - acceptance of leftwing violence is what caused this. The message that the Left's treatment of Antifa and the violent parts of BLM has sent to the right is that "political violence works". You can't expect them not to apply that "lesson".

    3. @Anonymous, I came here to say essentially the same thing, but you articulated it better than I would have. Thank you.

    4. Agree . Feel exactly the same way

    5. Personally, I would of liked him to point out more of Trumps inciting behavior (as it surely is a major cause), and maybe that is a good criticism to make, but I think that it is also fair to just duly note it and leave for a different article. I don't think the purpose of this blog post is to give an exhaustive analysis of the lead-up to what happened on Capital Hill. I'm sure 2 minutes of searching the MSM will show that Republicans and Trump are not just the main cause but the only cause of these riots. This is a corrective narrative. Perhaps you should take it for what it is and not be defensive about it.

    6. Anonymous, I would agree that Dr. Feser could have a little more rhetorical tact. (It's not necessary to hammer home *every single* Right-wing talking point.)

      But I think his analysis of the Capitol is spot on. Trump is merely a symptom of a deeper rot.
      The Left is quick to cogently point towards sociological factors which contributed to the rise of Islamisist Terrorists, Left-wing riotors, and even Nazi Germany.

      What happened in DC should be interpreted in the same way; i.e, largely angry but peaceful, with some opportunists who escalated the situation who should be punished harshly, to the fullest extent of the law.

    7. Kyle,
      I believe your correct that Trump is a symptom of a deeper problem. I identify it with nihilism and moral relativism which contributed a large amount to the rise of Nazism, Fascism and other totalitarian systems. I think this point needs to be pushed heavily today before we can make any real critiques or development in politics. If we don't then we run the risk of sliding into sophism. It is also good to point out that on nihilism the only real political outlook is the will to power, which is exactly what happened in the capital.

    8. Kyle,

      Trump can hold some responsibility for raising the temperature, but at no point has he condoned or called for violent action. No one in the GOP has.

      By contrast, multiple leaders in the Democratic party have explicitly condoned violent uprisings. Explicitly.

      There is no comparison. To speak as though there is, is simply ignorant or disingenuous. The GOP, with all their major flaws, is still vastly better than the Democratic party.

    9. Anonymous writes, "There is a false equivocation between the storming of the nation's capitol and BLM protestors (in the former, people are acting overtly politically against the state -- true sedition; in the latter, where there was violence, it was opportunistic crimes, though often later "justified" with stupid political rhetoric about racism and so on)." I live in the Twin Cities. The riots here were not just opportunistic crimes. Much of what happened in the Twin Cities was sedition in the proper sense of the term. Sedition is not merely an act against the government, it is also the inciting of one group in a state against another group in that state. If anyone listened the rhetoric of the protesters in the Twin Cities it was clearly seditious. Moreover, protesters here burned down a police station. That was clearly a seditious act.

    10. Billy I would agree with you. Perhaps my comment was just a little ambiguous.

    11. Cantus January 7, 2021 at 11:08 AM
      "Besides, Feser is right - acceptance of leftwing violence is what caused this."

      Where were the chants of "remember CHAZ/CHOP" among the maga mob?

      The OP is a baseless rationalization that infantilizes criminals.

      QAnon is a bizarre loose knit organization that thinks Trump has been working behind the scenes to eliminate a cabal of pedophile power brokers.

      The Proud Boys and the militia groups are racist/fascist/neo-Nazis who came armed with chemical spray, plastic ties, riot gear, helmets, body armor, guns, incendiary weapons, and bombs.

      The flags they carried were of the USA (one of which was used to severely beat a law enforcement officer), the confederate (traitor) battle flag, and the Trump flag.

      The maga mob even planted a Trump flag inside the capitol.

      Yet you and the OP have somehow made a link between the idiots in Seattle and the Trump criminals, as though the maga mob somehow would not have attempted the halting of the electoral college vote, somehow would not have chanted "hang Mike Pence", somehow would not have beaten and murdered law enforcement officers...all if only those terrible lefties had not done what they did.

      The OP is at the level of a criminal who blames everybody but himself for his own crimes.

      Trump whipped up this incitement to insurrection by calling on his followers to come to a "wild" time on 6 Jan 2021, and telling the violent Proud Boys to "stand by".

      Trump then conspired with Don Jr., Wood, and Giuliani to go "kick ass" in a "trial by combat".

      As Trump watched the assault he did nothing to stop it. These were his people who he easily could have contacted directly by tweet, youtube, and a national address with the words "this is president Trump, you must leave the capitol now, your violence is illegal and does not represent me and will be prosecuted".

      But Trump had put a lot of effort into conspiring and fomenting this insurrection, of course he would do nothing to stop it, the maga mob did exactly what he wanted at Trump's incitement.

      It was so obvious that Biden got on the national news and called on Trump to call off his supporters, but trump refused.

      Troops were delayed in arriving as Trump did nothing to act to stop the maga mob he had incited to violence.

      Finally, after national pressure to act had been screaming at Trump to call off his maga dogs he put out a couple half hearted mixed messages, including telling the rioters "we love you".

      And in all that, somehow the OP wants to shift the blame for the maga mob crimes to somebody else, baselessly rationalizing criminal behavior.

      America is against you, Dr. Feser. With this OP you have placed yourself in the radical fringe most of America has contempt for.

      The FBI is tracking down and arresting the maga mob nationwide, and the judges and juries are not going to be interested in some baseless rationalization that somehow the left made them do it.

  7. Does anybody else think that a civil war is inevitable? It looks like this cycle will just go on and on until something snaps.

    It definitely wouldn't be like our past civil war - probably more like the Spanish Civil War or The Troubles - but it's hard to see any way out. We are reaping the bitter harvest that has been sowed since the '50s, at least.

    1. I hope not, but I fear that it is.

    2. It would take a huge influx of grace and conversion on all sides.

      We're like the Jews of Christ's time...looking for a worldly savior (be it Biden, Trump or Bernie), when only Christ will ultimately suffice. Without that, a political or revolutionary solution will only be a temporary band-aid.

      An all around increase in intellectual humility and charity wouldn't hurt either. I'm afraid internet culture has completely wrecked our ability to communicate with each other.

    3. Unlikely, in my opinion. Look at the response to the unprecedented mayhem and destruction this past year: aside from a few Italians in South Philly defending a statue of Columbus with baseball bats and some Catholics manfully standing guard at statues of saints, conservatives have pretty much surrendered the field to the anarchists and savages because any sense of community among white Christian conservatives has already been destroyed. (Instead, conservatives beholden to the illusion that we actually choose who rules us, rioted over a mere democratic ritual, illustrating how unserious modern conservatives are). The entire corporate-media-government class is arrayed against us. Let us pray that things never come to civil war, because we'll be slaughtered.

  8. Whatabout, Whatabout, Whatabout......

    1. If Ed starts the post by completely condemning the riots/seditious behaviour on Capital Hill and then gets around to pointing out causes and hypocrisy how is that "whataboutism"?

  9. Ed, I'm grateful that you started this post by saying the rioting was "indefensible and inexcusable." You should know, if you don't already, that the rest of the post pretty much reads like a defense and and excuse of the rioting.

    Peaceful days.

    1. What is the proper way to cast the due amount of blame on the "Left" - however much that is? Personally, Ed could of said a bit more about Trump's throwing gasoline on the fire, but otherwise, I don't see how his points fail.

    2. Hi Kyle,

      I'd have to think a long time about that. My comment to Ed is that the opening lines are inconsistent with the rest of the post.

      To use Ed's analogy, if I created a bear (even inadvertently), and then I spent my time poking it with a stick, it is my fault if the bear mauls me. It'd be inconsistent at that point to say that the bear's actions are inexcusable and indefensible. The bear's actions are perfectly reasonable. I'm the one to blame in that case.

      Peaceful days.

    3. Hi Jordan,

      Ed was just using a common expression. Of course the bear isn't a moral agent and so there is no "sliding scale" of culpability like there is with humans. Regardless of who is incited by whom.

      Likewise, if I go around saying - in all seriousness - "let's kill all black people" and some disenfranchised person is led to commit murder, we both should go to jail. We both are a cause of the murder, just in different ways.

    4. To use Ed's analogy, if I created a bear (even inadvertently), and then I spent my time poking it with a stick, it is my fault if the bear mauls me. It'd be inconsistent at that point to say that the bear's actions are inexcusable and indefensible.

      Jordan, I am sympathetic to your basic concern, but I don't think you quite nailed it. First: moral responsibility isn't zero-sum. If X agent does something bad, he can be 100% guilty ALONG WITH guilt from Y who encouraged him, ALONG WITH minor guilt from Z who had the opportunity to dissuade him and didn't.

      It is clear that (a) the immediate leading actors in yesterday's excesses were guilty of appallingly bad actions (and I join with Feser in unqualifiedly denouncing them).

      It is also clear (b) that those who
      yesterday proximately goaded those in group (a) are also guilty - they would (arguably) be justly held criminally guilty of incitement to riot.

      It is (or should be) also fairly clear that those who (c) less proximately last week urged violence "if Congress won't listen to us and reject the credentials" are also morally guilty, even if they weren't present yesterday, but they would (probably) not be legally guilty of incitement to riot.

      It should also be clear that those who (d) generally and remotely espoused positions that said (explicitly, sometimes, and implicitly, many times) that violence would be OK in circumstances like to ... the circumstances the activists believed were present yesterday. Conditions that "we should accept lying down..."

      It is morally simple to see (though more difficult to pin down) that those who (e) formally and unjustly contributed to concrete conditions leading to people feeling like situations noted in (d) "are upon us right now" are also morally contributory to the civil disturbance, though less directly. Depending on how gravely unjust were the unjust actions that they engaged in which contributed to the conditions, and depending on how directly the unjust actions they engaged in contributed to the present perception of "this situation we must not accept lying down", the people in (e) may be, at one and the same time, REMOTE contributors to yesterday, and gravely responsible for contributing to yesterday.

      Feser is (effectively) noting that the Dems themselves are LEADING culprits in categories (d) and (e).

      They may not be the only culprits in those categories, sure. Which groups (and which subgroups of those groups) are more responsible than others - that's a much larger question (that cannot be fully solved - other than by God. I would suggest that more of the blame lies with those who don't have a due and proper understanding and respect for law, and I would generally argue that this lies (with a strong preponderance) more on the left than the right.

    5. Hi Kyle,

      I'm familiar with the expression, of course. It is always used to place blame for a bad outcome on the one doing the poking, not the bear. That is still the case when it is applied as an analogy to human interactions like this. Similarly, he indicates that the "Left" is reaping what they sowed. Again, that analogy is commonly understood to mean that the one doing the sowing is wholly or mostly to blame for the negative outcome. Ed chooses his words carefully, so I assume he chose those analogies with the same intent - to place most of the blame for the attack on Congress on liberals rather than the actual people who committed the attack. Obviously that's a way of defending and excusing those people. And that is obviously at odds with the statement that their actions are inexcusable and indefensible.

      Peaceful days

    6. Hi Tony,

      I largely agree with the schema you laid out. My claim is that Ed's analogies place the "Left" in position (b). I'm not trying to argue that the "Left" bares no moral responsibility for their actions in position (e).

      I don't want to overstate my claims here either. I'm largely making a point about rhetoric and perception - that this piece reads as a defense of the rioters, in spite of the beginning disclaimer. Had it proceeded more as you did, carefully laying out the various ways in which we might understand moral responsibility while still reminding us that the primary actors did something inexcusable, it would have been a much more valuable contribution to the larger cultural conversation we are all having right now.

      Peaceful days

    7. Hi Jordan,
      I just think that blame on the perpetrators of the riot is a given. Ed acknowledges that by first condemning their actions and saying they should be prosecuted. Then he gets to the interesting stuff. I just don't see a problem with that approach.

    8. Tony,

      They may not be the only culprits in those categories, sure.

      Nor the leading candidates. The relative Republican silence to Amon Bundy, to the ;oot to kidnap Michigan's governor, to armed citizens protesting legislative halls, etc., contributed much more to d) than actions by the Democrats, if for no other reason than the Republicans would be more likely to be listened to by the crowd. The continuing pushing of false narratives about voter fraud contribute much more to e).

  10. False equivalencies for the win!

    After the 2016 election, some on the Left attempted, through recounts and intimidation of members of the Electoral College, to reverse the outcome.

    The Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, conceded the day after the election. Obama invited Trump to the White House the next day.
    I'm not surprised a raging partisan made it through that essay without even mentioning that it was Trump himself who told his followers to go to the Capital to prevent the election from being stolen.

    Many more left-wingers spent the next three years trying to delegitimize the outcome by pushing a groundless conspiracy theory according to which the Russians had helped steal the election for Trump.

    While "steal" is groundless, "propagandize" and "influence" have been justified by multiple investigations.

    Some plotted impeaching Trump before he was even sworn in...

    None of the Democratic leadership.

    Some insisted that the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election was “stolen” from Stacey Abrams.

    Through voter suppression, a notion supporte3d by the change in how Georgia voted in 2020.

    If you are going to tolerate and excuse left-wing political violence, you are opening the door to right-wing political violence. But if you rightly condemn the latter, then to be consistent, you must condemn the former. You must insist that all citizens respect law and order – your political allies no less than your political enemies.

    Compared to the protests back in June, the police presence yesterday was pitifully small. If you condoned a massive police presence in the face of left-wing protests, will you also condone a massive police presence in the face of right-wing protests?

    And yet, in 2020, left-wingers nevertheless pushed through a mail-in voting system that was sure to increase the risk of fraud and open the door to endless litigation. And they made arbitrary changes in the rules for accepting mail-in ballots in states like Pennsylvania.

    Georgia has a Republican governor, a Republican Secretary of State, and a Republican legislature, yet has made many similar decisions. I'm sure you liked the cherry-picked factoids of your Newsweek article, but stacking up anecdotes does not make for data.

    Are left-wingers cries of racism more shrill than right-wingers cries of socialism? Perhaps the shrillness is in the listener.

    1. So Pennsylvania did not in fact make arbitrary changes to the voting rules in a way that was sure to cause confusion and invite the potential for fraud, because Georgia isn't 100% Blue? Where's the logic here?

    2. Cantus,

      Perhaps you missed the significance of "... made many similar decisions". State executive branches were making these decisions for non-partisan reasons.

    3. The question is, in those states, did the state constitution reserve the decisions to the legislature? If so, then all of those governors were out of line. If not, then we ought to regard different governors' actions differently.

    4. Tony,

      IIRC, those questions have been answered by the courts of those respective states.

      However, my objection was to "left-wingers nevertheless pushed through", the notion that the motive was partisan, as opposed to epidemiological.

  11. Nothing of what you said in your last paragraph will happen.

  12. This is a pretty good article that's eminently reasonable. I one hundred percent concur.

    I await the usual personalities coming in and filling the comment sections with their grievances, not even addressing the arguments you made here.

    1. Indeed. All of a sudden the usual suspects find that political violence is bad. Huh, funny how it took them so long to figure that out.

  13. Biden was quite reasonable in the past. Atleast he seemed to care about middle ground. Now he's in power, let's hope he does what most political leaders do - fail to implement most of the promises he pledged before the election.

    1. Biden is a weathervane politician in the classical mold - he has no beliefs or positions except what he thinks people want to hear. He "believes" whatever he thinks will be most politically advantageous for him at the present moment. Witness his position on homosexual "marriage". He spent the majority of his career opposing it and supporting traditional marriage, assured voters in 2008 that neither he nor Obama had any intention of implementing gay marriage, then "evolved" several years later when it was politically convenient. Then this year he tries to retcon reality by spinning a cock-and-bull story about how his (blue-collar, working-class) father was totally down with it in the Sixties. Either he was lying for forty years or he's lying now.

  14. Dr. Feser, Thank you for posting this succinct but perspicacious analysis of recent events.

  15. Few people in politics have any values or consistent principles of any kind, other than pushing for their side and attacking the opposing side. If it was the right that took over the Seattle autonomous zone last summer and it was the left that stormed the capital, the coverage would be completely flipped.

    I think the polarization of the media is also to blame, since outside of c-span and perhaps some international networks, most networks are firmly committed to praising their side and attacking the other, regardless of how much twisting is required in doing so.

  16. Everything the American Left has done over the past 4 years is playing to their favor (for now perhaps). There is utterly no reason for them, including Joe Biden, to change course. I've long told friends and family that if you put an animal (American conservatives) in a corner and poke it and scare it enough, it will eventually lash out. This lashing out by the American Right only plays into the hands of the Left. It delegitimizes the Right in the eyes of many Americans. The Left and its allies in the media and on social media can now relentlessly push their narrative that the Right should be feared as a bunch of violent extremists. I’ve already seen the most bombastic and hyperbolic headlines imaginable regarding yesterday’s violence. The Left is now going to bring the hammer down on what they hope is the final nail in the coffin of the American Right. We are entering the Left’s end game.

    1. It doesn't matter, Matthew. They call all of the Right Nazi Terrorists no matter *what* they do. They could be saints healing the sick and the Left wouldn't change their portrayal of them a single inch.

    2. I sure hope so. It's past time we got rid of hypocritical scumbags like Graham. With a bit of luck, the Dems will save America from its white manifest destiny delusion.

  17. I find it interesting that Ed and many other right-wing commentators blame the incident at the Capitol on leftists, while absolving Trump. This is despite the fact that Trump himself specifically urged his supporters earlier yesterday to march to the Capitol [while falsely claiming he would march with them; he returned to the White House to enjoy the show].

    Thankfully, some right-wing commentators [Rod Dreher, Ross Douthat] have shown more balance.

    1. He didn't absolve Trump.

      But also, Trump said "Let's walk to the capitol building", he also mentioned doing it "peacefully", "legally and patriotically".

      As you write, he urged them to march to the Capitol. He didn't urge them to break in to it. You know marches to the Capitol are called for all the time.

      You simply can't blame Trump for inciting it. For increasing tensions maybe, but that's about it.

  18. Mr. Fesor
    You cite Matt Taibbi, a washed up journalist, as proof that Russia didn't interfere in the 2016 election. I will take accept the findings of the Senate Intelligece Committee that Russia did so:

    As for the Dems badgering the electors in 2016, remember Clinton DID CONCEDE. And the pressure on electors from the Dems cannot be compared to Trump himself using the weight of his office to PERSONALLY intimidate not just electors but legislators and governors and his OWN Vice Prez to swing the election for him. And then the desperate, disgraceful, and intimidating call he made to the GA Sect of State to "find" him 11,780 votes! Are you ignorant of that, professor?

    As for mail ballot fraud, his lawyers were smacked down in some 60 cases by judges, courts of appeal and twice by the US Supreme Court. Stick to philosophy. You embarrass yourself when your right wing political agenda blinds you to reality.

    1. Now you're going to 60? The 40 number not enough for you? Leave aside the fact that the overwhelming majority of cases were dismissed on technicalities, not on the merits of the case. But somehow, I highly doubt that either of us is ever going to change our minds.

    2. Just do a Google search "Why were Trump's lawsuits dismissed?" and you will learn they were dismissed because they were worthless.

    3. Anon,

      Russia, just like China, Iran, and various other foreign nations were trying to interfere with the election. Russia is not special here.

      However, the conspiracy theory that was pushed for 3 straight years was that Trump collided with Russia. This was seriously believed by large swathes of Dem voters, thanks to the Democratic party who pushed this loony theory.

      Heck, the reason the Dems decided to invent an article of impeachment entirely out of thin-air without any judicial support was because, as Adam Schiff stated, they couldn't let Trump "cheat in another election". Yes, even in to 2020, even after the Mueller probe was done, they still pushed their loony theory that Trump cheated.


    Bill Barr, Trump's former Atty
    gen, had the courage to say Trump betrayed his office.

    My hope is that Trump's melt down and lawlessness will break the Republican Party.

    1. Oh, the Republican Party is finished alright, because they stabbed their most popular candidate in history, and the majority of their own voters, in the back. Can you imagine if the Democrats pulling this sort of thing on Obama? That's the only thing that could possibly be compared to what's happening now.

    2. Na. Nothing is gonna break the two party system, not even this.

      The GOP has money and influence. All they need is a candidate who has all the good things about Trump, and has the good things about a more traditional GOP politician. There are already a few options on the table.

      Also remember, all the Dems had to do to easily win the election was not be crazy, and they damn near almost blew it. Now they have control of everything, I wouldn't be surprised if they alienate their more moderate voters.

    3. Billy, I agree that this (alone) is unlikely to break the two party system. (Setting aside the possibility of Dems attempting to defeat the party system by nefarious laws, now that they have the White House and both houses of Congress.)

      But that doesn't mean one of the two parties will remain the GOP. It could fold and be taken over by a new party.

      The GOP has money and influence.

      Correction: there are people in the GOP that have money and influence. The party itself doesn't own that money. There are people with money and influence in the Dem party, and any person in the GOP with money and influence can take his money and influence and walk. It is difficult to start a new party and make it go, but the people who established the GOP did just that in 1854, fed up with the poor alternatives.

  20. Out of curiosity, why do we condemn this but praise the American Revolution?

    I do have mixed feelings about the riot, but the obvious election fraud and the dereliction of duty by every level of government to investigate it, is equivalent to the sorts of charges made against Britain in the Declaration of Independence. Of course, the Declaration of Independence lists many grievances. But what is the threshold for revolution? And is there a lesser threshold to justify what happened on Wednesday? Should the Boston Tea Party be condemned as lawless rioting? What about the events preceding the Boston Massacre?

    1. Because the revolution succeeded. If it had not, it would have been considered just as another Gunpowder Plot.

    2. ... but the obvious election fraud and the dereliction of duty by every level of government to investigate it, ...

      The government have been and continue to investigate, and so far there is no good evidence of fraud. What is a specific suggestion you have for an investigation that has not been done?

    3. I don't consider the American revoluntion to be obviously good. But I don't know enough of the matter. It may just be like that child conceived out of wedlock. God drawing something good out of something bad. Except now the child is spoiled and hates itself.

    4. @One Brow:

      The statistical evidence is so overwhelming that, I would argue, it moves beyond the realm of circumstantial evidence. There really are two choices: either massive election fraud (concentrated in 6-10 counties across 6 battleground states) or a statistical miracle. Call me an atheist on this one. I will never accept that this election was legitimate so long as people want me to accept, without critical thought or explanation, that Joe Biden received 81 million votes. (If you question the cumulative statistical impossibility that I'm inferring, I can post a handful of links detailing some of the things that, taken together, have lead me to draw this conclusion).

      Also, the Supreme Court refusing to here the case on the basis of "standing" (if POTUS and over 10 states do not have standing on issues involving a Federal election, then I have no idea what "standing" even means) was really the moment that I lost all faith that there would be any sincere efforts to investigate this election. To refuse to even hear the evidence is appalling. Justice is not so blind in the Banana Republic of America.

      My inference on this is that there was never any interest in assuring election integrity (just like there have never been any good arguments against voter ID laws). And when postmodernism is your working philosophy, as I believe it is for the Left, then truth and justice are concepts to be used and abused in the pursuit of power (namely, to remove Trump and silence the Right). The Right's problem, is that they are still trying to play by a rule book that the Left has long since abandoned (like when you have senators decrying challenges to election certification because of a dangerous precedent, ignoring that elections won by systematic election fraud is also a dangerous precedent).

    5. Hi, Anonymous,
      As someone else baffled at how Biden apparently won only 17% of counties, the overnight "jumps" in battleground states, among other things, I'm always game for hearing about new evidence on the matter.

      Best regards,

    6. Here are some of the better articles I have collected over the past couple of months... not really looking for these articles, but just coming across them over the past couple months. As such, a few of the points made might be dated:

      This article is just kind of fun, and goes with an argument based on "trust those who have money on the line":

      This one just shows the pure number of things that we are expected to believe are just coincidences (also links to the above article at the end):

      This article highlights how multiple strong election correlations didn't happen:

      This article takes a deep statistical dive into the vote updates the night of the election, highlighting very suspicious activity in Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin:

      This article doesn't go into great depth, but it touches on voting machine software vulnerabilities and various problems with voter registries, turnout, etc.:

    7. Out of curiosity, why do we condemn this but praise the American Revolution?

      It does not follow that if one revolution is justified, any revolution is justified.

      The circumstances of the American Revolution were VASTLY different than those of last week. For one thing, the colony legislatures THEMSELVES approved the revolt, i.e. duly sitting governments. (Still doesn't mean they were justified, but it does mean the circumstances were extremely different.)

      Someone who doesn't understand election night forecasts, and apparently never noticed how they work in prior years.

      When the first "coincidence"/"fact", an easily checked notion in either case, turns out to be false, I don't feel the need to even try to rebut the rest.

      While Biden underperformed Hillary Clinton’s 2016 totals in every urban county in the United States, he outperformed her in the metropolitan areas of Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Even more surprising, the former VP put up a record haul of votes, despite Democrats’ general failures in local House and state legislative seats across the nation.
      Both of these items argue against fraud rather than in favor of it.
      No statistician worth their salt will think there should be the same vote count patterns in different states. A good study might have compared 2016 to 2020 for one or two states.
      I read the affidavit that was linked. I laughed this part.

      Reports show that DVS is comprised of several companies which obfuscate its true organizational and ownership structures. The DVS companies include: 1) Dominion Voting Systems International Corporation, a Barbados corporation; 2) Dominion Voting Systems, Inc., a Delaware corporation; and 3) Dominion Voting Systems Corporation, a Canadian corporation. Similarly, Smartmatic is comprised of: 1) Smartmatic International Corporation, a Barbados corporation; 2) Smartmatic USA Corporation, a Delaware corporation; 3) Smartmatic International Holding B.V, a Netherlands corporation; and 4) Smartmatic TIM Corporation, a Philippines corporation. Based on my counterintelligence experience in USIC, I conclude that corporate structures were partially designed to obfuscate their complex relationships, especially with Venezuela, China and Cuba; and impede discovery by investigators.

      It takes a special kind of blindness to say that a company "XYZ" is trying to hide its relationship with multiple subsidiaries that use "XYZ" in their name.

      Of course, you can believe whtever you want, and call any sort of nonsense "evidence" for that it you like. With lead-offs like this, you don't have a credible case.

    9. The American Revolution involved a formal declaration of independence. They made their grievances formally known and, although things didn't go to plan, there was a clear attempt to let the British respond formally to their grievances.

      They didn't just decide one day to blindside everyone.

  21. Of course all of this (the O.P.) would just be common sense except the left is so infected with groupthink they are no longer coherent.

  22. I concur with the other posters who recommend you stick to philosophy. A wise man once said, be careful you do not become what you hate and fight against. You're imitating the very worst aspects of the left.

    When right-wingers break the law and engage in political violence it's mainly the left's fault for marginalizing them. Got it. So much for "personal responsibility" and decrying the "culture of victimhood". Let's flip this around. When blacks commit crimes it's mainly the fault of whites for marginalizing and oppressing them. Ditto for poor people committing crimes and the fault of the rich. (Couldn't be, right? There is no structural racism and if people are poor it's their own fault.)

    You just never thought you'd be on the bottom looking up. Things look just a little different from that vantage point. But you are going to continue to be marginalized until and unless you admit the validity of the construct and that it applies to others besides yourselves.

    You decry "censorship" by Big Tech and cry for the government to come to your rescue. (But it's your own fault for not having developed your own platforms. And for having gutted anti-trust enforcement.) But heaven forbid the government come to the rescue of people who can't afford health insurance during a pandemic. Now THAT's SOCIALISM!!! Can't have THAT. (OTOH mega$$$ for Big Business is AOK. No problem with socialism for the rich.)

    Yeah, some on the left condoned looting during the BLM protests. And that was wrong. Very wrong. But most on the right refused to grant ANY legitimacy to the merits of the protests. Moreover many on the right also condoned gratuitous violence by the police against completely non-violent protestors, even including Federal agents just whisking people off the street in Portland. And note: "finding bogus excuses" is the equivalent of "condoning". If you don't want these police prosecuted for THEIR crimes, then you have no standing to criticize anyone else for "condoning political violence".

    And no, it is not hypocritical for someone to have questioned election integrity in the past and yet condemn right-wingers storming the Capitol because their guy lost and claimed (but fell way short of proving) massive election fraud. These are two completely different things. Moreover, the rule of law that you claim to esteem so highly means that claims of election fraud need to be adjudicated in the courts. And it's also apples and oranges to attempt removing a President via impeachment (which is legal and Constitutional) and to attempt to overthrow the results of an election. So there's no moral equivalence here. And BTW get the facts straight here: no real evidence of collusion with the Trump campaign by Russia was found, but there was plenty of evidence of Russian interference.

    1. “When right-wingers break the law and engage in political violence it's mainly the left's fault for marginalizing them.”

      That’s not what he said. He said that if you disregard the concerns of a given group, you are compressing a spring that will eventually explode, which is a legitimate principle. For example: after 9/11, the left told us that when Islamic terrorists engage in political violence it's mainly America’s fault for marginalizing them; all last summer we were told that when peaceful protesters engage in political violence it’s mainly the white patriarchy’s fault for marginalizing them; and so on. So surely the principle isn’t lost on you.

    2. Of course the principle's not lost on me. I made the exact same point in my post. And habitually "disregarding the concerns of a given group" is exactly what "marginalizing" is. But you don't get to say left-wing political violence by BLM protestors is absolutely and unequivocally to be condemned, and yet violence by the Trumpists is wrong, but well, ya gotta understand.

    3. You claimed that Feser blamed the left as if the right-wing rioters had no culpability. That is false. Feser never said that, and never even implied that.

      Feser condemned political violence across the board saying that the attack on the capital was "indefensible and inexcusable" and that those involved should be prosecuted. Then he made the common sense observation (one that you state you agree with), that putting your thumb on people tends to produce bad results, but he never claimed they were not responsible for their actions.

      As is your practice on this forum, you are inventing fiction to suit your fancy.

    4. Gone Fishing,

      I've been reading through Dr Fesers old posts and yeah, political commentary isn't his strong suit, but this seems to be the case even in his atheist days. However, it's not just Ed who slides into rhetoric so I give him a little leeway for being human. Your correct that many people on the right haven't given serious thought to the concerns that many of the BLM protesters have or why people are warry of capitalism. This is a real shame since we desperately need clear and cogent thinking these days.

      With the exception of some kangaroo courts being unfair to religious business owners, the MAGA right doesn't face nearly as much marginalization as they claim. And there is no evidence that the amount of voter fraud that was present even comes close to justifying the claim that the election was stolen. That being said, it's still obviously valuable to point out the false philosophies present in modern politics, whether on "the left" or "the right". I would like to see more exploration of political philosophy from a metaphysical point of view and an even handed treatment of issues. Especially when it comes to capitalism, socialism, justice, and ethics.

    5. T N,

      I never claimed Feser said that the right-wing rioters had no culpability whatsoever. What I did claim is that he half-excused it by blaming it mainly on the left. After one sentence about how the rioting was inexcusable and indefensible, the rest of the essay was devoted to how the left was responsible.

      It is the mirror equivalent of saying, BLMers rioting and destroying stores is indefensible and inexcusable, but what do you expect to happen when you fail to fix a racist police force and criminal justice system? You keep poking the bear, so don't be surprised when it reacts.

    6. We can see the left "poking the bear" everyday in the "news". Where do we see the "systemic racism" that BLM burns down black neighborhoods over? Well, ya just gotta pretend.

    7. It seems even Ted Wheeler has now failed the auto de fe:

      Doesn't he understand? Can't he see the righteousness of the revolution against . . . er . . . racism(?) . . . or something?

  23. Greetings, Mr. Feser! I've been reading your blog for a while now and I thank you for your posts, as they have helped me understand some concepts a whole lot better, especially concerning thomism.

    As someone not born or living in the USA, it seems a bit strange to me that people would call what the protesters did yesterday "lawlessness" when the country itself was founded on a much less justifiable event; one where the protesters also caused a much greater financial damage. The people yesterday, misguided as they were, still somewhat hoped that those in power had an ounce of shame in them. When the very vice-president showed that was not the case, I would say the reaction was actually quite controlled and cool-headed, although with rather tragic results.

    Still, I think comparing what happened to the Boston Tea Party would be insulting; that even was actually done over much more frivolous issues and had a far greater damage done by those protesting. Comparing it then to the BLM protests then seems far more insulting to what those people did.

    At any rate, I apologise if this comment somehow comes off as insulting to your country. I am not from the USA, so it is always possible I don't understand certain distinctions that should be made. Nor am I anywhere near your understanding of moral theology, I believe. But it still seems, to me, a bit unfair to condemn what happened yesterday as somehow as proportionally bad as anything done by the left.

  24. The conservative Wall Street Journal,which Dr Feser likes to quote, blames Trump for inciciting the riot calls for him to resign.

  25. Uncle Bad Touch the Usurper is not all there in the head. So I think he is going to be more of a Figurehead or puppet then a statesmen......

    So yeh....

  26. A sickening deflection of responsibility.

    Not only parroting the ridiculous false equivalency between BLM protests and what happened yesterday, as if vandalizing a shoe store is as bad as breaking into the seat of our government, but somehow managing to assign blame.


    1. Vandalizing a shoe store? Protests?

      More like causing BILLIONS of dollars of uninsurable damage, particularly to small businesses, killing over 30 people, torching a police precinct to the ground, setting fire to a federal courthouse almost every weekend for 3 straight months, burning numerous other buildings to the ground, setting up an autonomous zone that caused the area to go from one of the lowest for crime in Seattle to numerous people murdered in only a few weeks. That isn't protesting.

      That is equatable as breaking in to the capital building, taking a few pictures and snapchats for a few hours then leaving. It would be pretty mild if the location was different. The location is what balances out the level of destruction, misery and death the BLM riots produced.

      Quit the gaslighting.

    2. That is equatable as breaking in to the capital building, taking a few pictures and snapchats for a few hours then leaving.

      Well, there is the stealing of classified materials to consider, as well as the cost of making sure there weren't any foreign agents to plant bugs, keyloggers, etc. It will probably be billions just to clean up the Capital.

    3. It will not cost billions. Even the overpaid defense contractors won't be able to bill the cleanup into the billions.

    4. One Brow

      I have news for ya buddy. The Socialist lunatics running the Country & the Dem Party are not the normal Liberals of 20 years ago. They hate free speech. They hate bad think and they will turn on you.

      You don't have to love or hate Trump or Conservativism to see that.

    5. Onebrow, as I said, the location is what made the act equivalent.

      These same issues around classified materials and bugs apply to police precincts and courthouses also.

    6. Yeah, the idea the events on Wednesday were somehow much worse than burning down private businesses, assaulting anyone who you don't like, besieging federal buildings, and trying to secede from the US, is just bizarre to me. These events of Wednesday would be on mild side of a BLM riot if it wasn't for the location.

    7. Son of Ya'Kov,
      I have news for ya buddy.

      You have fever-dreamt fantasies.

      The Socialist lunatics running the Country & the Dem Party are not the normal Liberals of 20 years ago.

      Please. The Biden administration team is corporate-owned and paid for, wants to increase police funding, and has no interest in socialism.

      They hate free speech. They hate bad think and they will turn on you.

      The only people who hate free speech are those who demonize their critics and demand access to private platforms.

      You don't have to love or hate Trump or Conservativism to see that.

      I agree. You have to be detached from the truth to see this.

    8. Billy,

      These same issues around classified materials and bugs apply to police precincts and courthouses also.

      None of which were taken over by protestors in the summer, allowing the infiltration of foreign agents. Taking over government property is a right-wing past-time.

    9. One Brow,

      Multiple police precincts were infiltrated last summer, set on fire from inside, and, in one particular case in Minneapolis, literally burned to the ground. Heck, people were arrested and charged for firing shots off from within the police station.

      In Portland, Antifa and BLM activists broke in to the Multnomah County Justice Center on May 29. This houses the sheriffs office, the police station and jail. They broke in and attempted to free prisoners, but after that failed, they ransacked the place and set fires inside as city and county staff fled for their lives.

      But sure, this stuff never happened...

    10. Billy,

      You are correct that left-wingers have broken into buildings and caused damage.

      According to this link, the break-in you mention lasted all of 8 minutes, and the protestors seem to have left before the police arrived. There is no description of an attempt to free prisoners. There is no attempt to take control of the building. I haven't found any reference to shots being fired, but you probably meant another location.

      This story mentioned shooting at a police stations, but it was done by a far-right "Bugaloo Boy". Perhaps you had some other shooting of a police station in mind?

    11. I'd say that a shoe store does more good for the people than the government. :^)

  27. There are more people saying the U.S. should be divided into two countries. As tempting as that might be, it is a false hope. The anointed elite are building a utopia that allows no escapees. The society of the new and perfected technological man—radically egalitarian, individualistic, and who holds the approved opinions and expresses the correct views—and the tyranny of the ever-present now divorced from all context or knowledge of the past, can allow no exceptions.

    I think it was C.S. Lewis who said something about the most terrible tyrant being the one that tortures you for your own good because he does so with the approval of his conscience.

  28. So well-put. Thank you for a voice of sanity!

  29. "At any rate, I apologise if this comment somehow comes off as insulting to your country."

    No offense taken. In fact it is refreshing to hear someone criticize the founding. Usually when we get someone who wants to takes us down a peg, they compare us to countries that are socialist quadriplegics or whose response to muslim rape gangs is the "No-no square"

    So my patriotism is basically "I live here and am grateful and will act accordingly." Anything else is from the Devil.

  30. Haha, oh man.

    Long time reader, first time commentor.

    The past few months, I've watched you try to pin our problems with lawlessness on one party, while ignoring the many instances of right-wing lawlessness, not the least of which includes the embrace of a lawless President, the armed occupation of official government buildings (even before 2016), and the attempted kidnapping of a Democratic governor.

    Now that it's incontrovertible that Trump's baseless claims and anti-Constitutional behavior has led to 5 people dead, and the Capitol vandalized sand ransacked -- acknowledged by members of his own cabinet who are resigning in disgust -- the point you'd like to make is that this is really the Democrats fault.

    I've been a reader of yours (your books and blogs) ever since Andrew Sullivan quoted you on The Dish years ago. You political leanings have never been a secret. I've given you the benefit of many doubts because I am ignorant of philosophy and I never would have guessed that your biases have this level of control over you. But the loss of trust here is total.

    1. We get it. You're a left winger ergo Feser's credibility is completely gone forever. Shall we presume you're now an atheist then? Makes sense: Demoncrats definitely cannot be Christians.

    2. Yeah, I've lost a lot of respect for Feser over his political posts. Also, the comment section went down the drain. A few years ago, there were a lot of highly intelligent commenters here.

    3. Anon,

      Please provide any instance whatsoever where Trump, or anyone in the GOP, has publicly called for violent action.

      You won't find it because it doesn't exist. Meanwhile, numerous instances of the Dems explicitly calling for and promoting violent action exists.

      "If you see anybody from [Trump's] cabinet in a restaurant, a department, a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd, and you push back on them, and you tell them they are not welcome anymore anywhere" - Maxine Waters

      "There needs to be unrest in the streets as long as there is unrest in our lives" - Ayanna Pressley

      "Once you have a group that is marginalized...they have no choice but to riot" - AOC

      "I don't know why there aren't uprising all over the country, and maybe there will be" - Nancy Pelosi.

      I could carry on. Tell me where you can find this sort of rhetoric from Trump or anyone at all in the GOP. I bet you can't. You will only find explicit condemnation of violence.

      You have to push crazy theories about vague "dogwhistles" (that only you guys can hear it seems) in order to push any idea that right-wing violence is somehow promoted or condoned by right-wing officials.

      Neither Trump, nor the GOP, are trying to normalize political violence at all. To act like this is two sides of the same coin is just irrational, no matter what else you might think of Trump.

    4. Feser didn't make that claim. Maybe reread his post. I think I speak for most here when I say I'm not impressed by leftist commenters pearly clutching at Feser not supporting leftist narratives.

  31. (Sorry if this appears more than once)
    I do not condemn those who entered the capitol with the intent of having their grievances redressed. Here is my reasoning, and please help me understand where I am wrong. The capitol was meant to be the place where representatives elected by the people meet to conduct government business on behalf of those who elected them. For about half the population, those representatives have neglected those duties, and done worse - actively colluded, lied, misrepresented, harmed their constituents, and lined their own pockets along the way (exempting themselves from laws and taxes, giving themselves raises and bonuses, etc).
    The present constituents decided such abuse was no longer to be tolerated, and entered the capitol with the intention of cleaning out the building, even if only symbolically, to reinstate its proper use— since no other legal means of redress has been allowed to them (I do not buy the “there is no evidence here” — the allegations need to be truly investigated, not simply dismissed on political and legal technicalities). Technically and in fact, the building actually belongs to the constituents, which only further supports their right to be there.
    It is similar to when Jesus overturned the tables of the money changers in the temple (I am not imparting holiness to those who entered the capitol here, only stating that Christ supports the principle of using a show of force to reveal injustice). Surely there were broken instruments and tables in that episode, but that would seem to matter less than the fact that the temple was being misused. Even if the money changers promptly reset up shop, which they probably did and Christ knew they would, He still shows us that they action has symbolic value and rectitude.

  32. It's really remarkable the lengths people will go to argue that the responsibility for a mob, inciting by the false notion infecting the Republican party than an American election was being stolen, really belongs to the left.

    Makes a lot more sense when you realize the author of this article also penned one designed to give plausibility to the lies stolen election.

  33. I feel sorry for the leftists/Postmodernists. When they say there is nothing objectively true and everything is, at root, merely a political struggle, what they are really doing is admitting they have no principles; they're just to hypocritical to admit it openly.

    1. Some do admit it while at the same time not holding that everything is a political struggle. Take Zizek for example, who argues that the Real (as
      I understand it, a series of connected concepts taken to match reality) is composed of systems that represent and reproduce symbols in order to support virtual authorities, while resisting fully ordering of things in its terms, resulting in only perceived prevalence of political struggle. Of course he then goes to praise atheism, uses the "being good because you fear God is no virtue" argument, and praises all sorts of communist violence. In fact it seems that these people openly mock the notion of "principles".

    2. Could be, but I'm afraid the average useful idiot does not possess introspection to that degree.

  34. Just to get some clarity from the folks here whining about what I wrote: So, you're OK with political violence as long as it's left-wing? You're OK with questioning the legitimacy of an election as long as the victor was right-wing? You're OK with a party threatening to impose one-party rule?

    Because unless you're OK with such things, I don't know what your complaint is.

    1. Aren't you a Thomist? You should brush up on your just war theory. Defensive violence is sometimes appropriate in defensive good things, especially after all other avenues have been exhausted. But violence for evil is never justified. Hence the difference between a riot by a consistently and historically oppressed minority group, as compared to a fascist coup to seize power after you lose an election.

      Likewise, it is fine to question the legitimacy of an election, when you have good grounds too. But these claims have been investigated, and Trump's own team found this was the most secure election in US history. Do you think extreme actions are justified on shoddy evidence? And again, we can contrast that to African American civil rights, which we have been fighting for over the course of 400 years and is well documented and not seriously disputed.

      And again, there's a difference between one-party rule being imposed, and people voting for that party in a fair election.

      What you wrote strikes as a dawning realization that you are on the wrong side of history. That the Trump administration is, and always has been, the violent fascist mob that the left has always declared it was.

      But hey, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the Democratic party really is controlled by the Illuminati Jews who are kidnapping babies to drink their adrenochrome to maintain their eternal youth. I will admit, if that were the case, maybe attacking the capital was justified!

    2. Are you insane? Can you read? I explicitly condemned the breach of the Capitol as "appalling," "horrifying," "indefensible," and "inexcusable." Try responding to what someone actually writes instead of these fantasy targets.

      As to the QAnon lunacy that inspired some of the rioters, I'll be commenting on that in a follow-up post.

    3. Did you read mine? My responses were direct answers to your questions about the appropriateness of political violence, questioning election results, and one-party rule. I did not say you approved of the insurrection, only answered your questions about the imagined hypocrisy you set as your target.

      As for QAnon, the most direct cause of the insurrection the other day, it's interesting that you leave a post about that for a follow up, while your immediate reaction is too change the subject to BLM. Clearly you have your priorities set.

    4. @Colin:

      You gave me a good laugh, Colin... trying to draw an explanation of a Thomist's argument by appealing to "the wrong side of history," is like trying to explain an atheist's argument through the lens of Divine Command theory. Have fun with that!

    5. If you look closely, I actually have a lot of argumentation between those parts. But hey, if you think God is against civil rights, I guess you do you, buddy.


    6. Colin you are so void of the ravages of intelligence.

    7. Ah so yer a bottom then? Take off the lipstick son it's nor dignified. What would yer father say?;-)

    8. Colin, if you're going to bring up just war theory, then it's very simple: war waged by the left is, simply put, not just. BLM may claim it was against racism, but by mere virtue of being leftist it actually has no principles, and a non-principled war can't possibly be just. We can see their lack of principles by the way they rioted and looted non-discriminately, and how leftists could simultaneously praise the lootings and claim that the lootings were being caused by right-wing infiltrators.

      Of course, you'll see much of the same duplicitous behavior out of rightists towards the riot at the capitol. But all this would mean is that this specific right-wing action wasn't just. If anything, however, I'd say that protesting leftist rule no matter how much democratically elected it may be is perfectly fair by itself, because leftism is contrary to sound morality and therefore contrary to justice. Sedition against unjust rulers is perfectly justifiable according to Aquinas in the Summa Theologiae, at least as long as it doesn't cause greater damage to the common good (as happened in both the capitol riot and in the BLM protests).

  35. Yes, the mob at the Capitol was appalling. But unless there is some courageous, outside-the-box leadership willing to truly reach out across the chasm, our Republic is dead. And I regret to say that our enlightened, forward-looking liberals have blown the opportunity.

    All summer and autumn, VP-elect Harris encouraged the Antifa and BLM mobs to continue their trashing of cities. Hence, when Mr. Biden condemns those who went in and then out of the Capitol as "thugs" and an "insurrection", he sounded like the proverbial dweller in a glass house who wants to throw a few stones in order to look "law and order". For sixty years, our country has been in compulsory political school run by the Left which has celebrated insurrection after insurrection. Now, we see that two can play any game proposed.

    The day before the insurrection, Madame Speaker outlawed "binary" language to please <1% who don't know their own sex. But, whether they are right or wrong, 39% of our body politic believes the 2016 election was stolen. They are there, and, worse yet, they and 70+ millions who sympathize, are that swathe of the US public whose basic political instinct has hitherto been to trust and honor legitimate authority. Without popular confidence, the state cannot stand (Analects, 12:7). This is as true of 21st century America as Spring-and-Autumn Era China in the fifth century B.C. I truly fear that January 6, 2021 will go down as the day Middle America gave up on a Constitution it so long revered.

    I pray I am wrong, but what I see coming from the party coming into power is just more arrogant deigning of the self-appointed "enlightened" 50.2% to lecture the 49.8% whom they have hitherto scorned as unwashed.

    1. @Kepha: Kamala Harris did not encourage any "trashing of cities." She encouraged peaceful protest against wrongful police actions.

    2. Ah, the PolitiFact opinion check. Harris said the “protests” would continue until they achieved their goal. She made no distinction as to what type of protest ought to continue.

      Remember when Madonna said we should “blow up the Whitehouse”?

      Or when Johnny Depp said “we need another John Wilks Booth”?

      Or Kathy Griffith holding Trump’s decapitated head?

      Or Joe Biden saying he’d like to talk Trump behind the barn and beat him?

      Or Corey Booker saying “I dream of punching Trump in the face”?

      Or surely the Maxine Waters video of her telling the leftist robots to harass wrongthinkers in restaurants and gas stations?

      Or when Snoop Dog made the music video of shooting Trump?

      How many more do you want?

      Maybe recheck PolitiFact and see what your instructions are.

    3. Trump never told the crowd to invade the Capital Building either and he told them to leave and he did so in a way to try to calm them down.

      The left OTOH has called for violence and many hard leftist in Congress have called for violence.

      One standard for me but not for thee. The moral difference between Republicans and Dems at this point is no Republican Rep is gonna bail out Right Wing Violent "protestors". The left can't make that claim.

      Sorry Ficino but this is not the Party of Clinton or Kennedy but the Party of Mao. They will turn on you to because yer nor woke enough.

      Jim The Scott aka Son of Yachov

    4. Ficino,

      Kamala Harris promoted the Minnesota Freedom Fund which was used to pay for the bail out of the rioters:

      It wasn't just rioters either, there were people charged with second-degree murder, sexual assault, kidnapping and more who were bailed out by this fund.

      People who were literally shooting at police during the riots were bailed out by this fund.

      Now, are you saying she is just really really ridiculously dumb?

  36. Good post, Professor Feser. I like you applying your considered principles to politics. Please don't appease the genteel moderates and lefties. It's their own fault that the moral clarity of these entries offends their sanctimonious sensibilities. The hand wringing, frothing inanities, and drive-by critiques have become as banal as they are feeble.

  37. Dr. Feser---you really don't know what is going down do you? America is a failed state. All democracies devolve. The Greeks used another term for democracy, Ochlocracy. All democracies devolve into ochlocracy and then Plato says, all democracies transition into Tyranny.

    We are facing a Communist takeover of this country. Communists HAVE NO morals, no scruples whatsoever. They are not going to listen to rational speech or dialectics---Never. you are not going to talk them out.

    America is the Weimar Redux. It is the Law of the Jungle now. The Election was stolen. Violence is inevitable because that is the ONLY way communism can be beaten back. You don't know what is going on. You are not a military man. But it is amazing that you, as a philosopher, missed the real thing ---that they certified a fraudulent election; vandalizing a building is NOT comparable to the violence committed by all of those who took oaths and """certified""", Certifying means it is honest and true, a fraudulent election---That was the True Violence. Violence begets violence. It is called Karma--and it has to come around. You missed the the real violence--the violence against The Logos.

  38. "Snowflakery for me, but not for thee"

    Jonah Goldberg today:

    1. Wait, did he seriously retweet Brian Stelter in a positive light? At this stage all Biden will do is have to start a few wars and the likes of Goldberg will officially become Democrats.

  39. I’d like to address those people who say that the 2020 US Presidential Election was ‘stolen’.
    Let’s review evidence against the 2020 Presidential Election being stolen. Actually, it’s overwhelming.
    It’s good that the Senate Majority leader, the Republican Mitch McConnell, on 6 January finally went on the record to make clear that he certainly didn’t believe that the election was stolen.
    Before that we had Bill Barr, the US Attorney-General up until his resignation took effect at Christmas, also saying that he didn’t believe the election was stolen. Barr, a Trump appointee, had previously ordered a Justice Department investigation into possible election fraud and had the findings on that to draw on.
    Prior to that Chris Krebs, the US Government’s top cybersecurity official who oversaw the security of the 2018 and 2020 elections, reassured American voters that as far as he could see the elections had been conducted accurately and fairly. He too was a Trump appointee also (and Trump sacked him, of course, because he didn’t like what he said).
    Those politicians in the various states, many of them Republicans, who were charged with overseeing the elections in their states have all said that they believed the elections in their state were conducted accurately and fairly. The most high profile of those was Georgia’s Secretary of State) saying that numerous recounts had taken place and allegations of impropriety addressed and he believed the election had been conducted accurately and fairly (and it was good to see that he and others stood up to Trump’s bullying).
    There have been dozens of court cases in the various states brought by people supporting the president trying to overturn the results and they all failed (there was just one case brought in Pennsylvania that didn’t fail – it successfully prevented postal votes received after election day from being counted – that involved a relatively small number of votes and didn’t alter the total number of votes that already had been counted). The judges in these cases were a mixture in terms of who appointed them but they included Republicans and among them there were Trump appointees. There was abundant opportunity to bring forward evidence to the courts and, frankly, the evidence that was presented was laughable.
    The Supreme Court, with the majority being Republican appointees and three of them Trump appointees, declined jurisdiction, but I bet they wouldn’t have done so if they thought there was anything substantive to see.
    There were literally tens of thousands of poll workers across the country and only a very tiny handful have alleged any irregularities at all (and I have to say that those who came forward and that I'm aware of didn't seem particularly convincing).
    And as Mitch McConnell pointed out in his speech to the Senate, the election wasn’t even particularly close. Several states would have to flip for Trump to win. And each state conducts its elections separately.
    In order to steal the election election fraud would have had to take place in at least three of the swing states. And it would have had to be conducted on a massive scale. It’s very hard to see how fraud on that scale could have been conducted without leaving fingerprints all over the place. Either that or you’re talking about a conspiracy ‘so vast’ (to channel Jack Ruby) and so stretching across parties that it simply defies belief.
    It’s against this background that these baseless claims of election fraud are being made, and then repeated uncritically online. And nor can one pretend that this is just a game – no one can pretend that these baseless claims which are now apparently believed by millions aren’t corrosive of America’s democracy. They clearly are corrosive.
    Is it any wonder that people find it hard to take these allegations seriously and get angry with those who propagate them?
    But I suspect most of you propagating these allegations don’t really care much for America’s democracy anyway. Do you?

    1. So pretty much your overwhelming evidence boils down to (1) a bunch of statements made by politicians and related figures, (2) the courts refusing to hear the cases, and (3) not a lot of poll workers who alleged irregularities.

      On the other hand, my main argument that election fraud occurred is based on the cumulative statistical improbabilities that pushes statistical evidence outside the realm of "circumstantial evidence" precisely because the only two options left are (1) massive voter fraud or (2) a statistical miracle. Here are a few links detailing the sorts of things that I have issues with, and which have largely not been responded to by anyone:
      1. A good summary of the coincidences expected to be believed:
      2. Strong election correlations that didn't happen:
      3. A deep statistical dive that shows incredibly suspicious behavior in Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin:

      Also, there was no need for widespread voter fraud to change the results of the election. As I understand the data and from what I've read, there are really only 6-10 key counties where election issues were particularly problematic. Addressing the issues in these counties alone would flip several of the states back to Trump (or so goes the argument).

      I'm also still waiting for an explanation to how Joe Biden received 81 million votes. And I'm confused why this has not been the story for the past 2 months, since it was such an historic win. And, quite frankly, until I receive a plausible explanation as to how Joe Biden received that many votes, I will never accept the legitimacy of this election or of his presidency.

      But anyway, in response to politicians and related figures who have stated there is no evidence: I do not trust them precisely because they never address the alleged evidence in their statements. You can't have one side argue in detail a bunch of different reasons they think the election was stolen, the other side say "there's no evidence," and then expect the first side to be satisfied. That's like making a detailed argument to someone, that person simply saying, "I disagree," and then expecting the first person to accept that they are wrong. Good luck with that.

      Regarding courts refusing to hear cases: I think this is an incredible display of dereliction of duty. Most of these cases were thrown out for procedural reasons. I think they mostly refused to hear the cases because (1) they want to get rid of Trump, or (2) they do not want the courts to decide the election. That second point is especially true of the Supreme Court's failure to take the Texas case. And if the evidence was so weak, why not hear the case, get everything out in the open, and then rule 9-0 against them, since the evidence would have been so easy to disprove. Instead, because they just wanted to sweep it under the rug, millions of people now feel disenfranchised.

      And regarding the proportionally small number of poll watchers reporting irregularities: My understanding is that there were at least hundreds of affidavits submitted by poll watchers across the various legal challenges. I'll be honest, I didn't follow the affidavits that closely, but I'd imagine that, considering these only represented poll watchers from the 6 battleground states, and considering that most of them probably came from the 6-10 counties that were especially problematic, that the proportions are not quite as small as you'd like to think.

    2. I don’t know if it was “stolen” or not. I just agree with Nancy Pelosi who, after the 2005 election, said the following:

      The Senators objecting to the 2005 election results were “Speaking Up For Their Aggrieved Constituents” During “Their Only Opportunity To Have This Debate While The Country Is Listening"

      “We Are Witnessing Democracy At Work” And “This Debate Is Fundamental To Our Democracy." "Today we are witnessing democracy at work. This is not, as some of our Republican colleagues have referred to it, sadly, frivolous. This debate is fundamental to our democracy." (C-SPAN, 1/6/05, 32:49-33:08)

      Pelosi Said Democrats Were “Speaking Up For Their Aggrieved Constituents, Many Of Whom May Have Been Disenfranchised In This Process." "The Members of Congress who have brought this challenge are speaking up for their aggrieved constituents, many of whom may have been disenfranchised in this process. This is their only opportunity to have this debate while the country is listening, and it is appropriate to do so. If there were other venues of this caliber, we would have taken that opportunity. But this is the opportunity. We have a responsibility to take advantage of it." (C-SPAN, 1/6/05, 34:14-34:45)

      Pelosi Said “This Is Their Only Opportunity To Have This Debate While The Country Is Listening” And “We Have A Responsibility To Take Advantage Of It." (C-SPAN, 1/6/05, 34:14-34:45)

      Pelosi Said “Do Not Talk About This As A ‘Conspiracy Theory.'" "[P]lease do not talk about this as a ‘conspiracy theory.’ It is not about that. It is not about conspiracy; it is about the Constitution of the United States." (C-SPAN, 1/6/05, 39:50-40:03)

      Many other high-ranking Democrats said similar things as cited here:

    3. That second point is especially true of the Supreme Court's failure to take the Texas case. And if the evidence was so weak, why not hear the case, get everything out in the open, and then rule 9-0 against them, since the evidence would have been so easy to disprove. Instead, because they just wanted to sweep it under the rug,

      With 6 justices appointed by Republican presidents, 3 by Trump, it seems unlikely that they were eager to sweep it under a rug. What is more likely is that, being mostly conservative in their leanings, these justices were unwilling to break out of the box of good procedural form (i.e. make a whole boatload of exceptions to proper (and prudent) procedure) to hear a case that likely would be lost on the merits anyway. Conservatives, being upholders of traditions that protect important goods, usually DON'T like breaking with those traditions. My understanding is that the Texas claim was (procedurally) dead-on-arrival. It doesn't require these 6 justices wanting to "brush the problem under the rug" to have denied cert.

      That isn't to say anything against your other points.

  40. It's now gone way beyond the objective facts of the election, whatever they were. A sizeable proportion of US people now believe the election was "stolen" and that the new government lacks legitimacy. On the other side: a hegemonic narrative that the Trump camp is fascistic and supportive of "terrorism" (if one believes Biden's words, which most on his side apparently will). The business in Washington the other day has massively degraded the legitimacy of the whole system in the eyes of all.

    Technically, to interfere with the transfer of power to a new government is a coup d'etat (and many of those participating thought they were going achieve that result). On the other hand, with only 7,000 present for Trump's rally, (the Ellipse is 200 metres across and people didn't fill it or stand close together) only a couple of hundred of whom got inside the Capitol, the notion that it could ever have succeeded as a coup d'etat had to be far from the mind of any sane planner.

    By "burning down the neighborhood", the Trump camp got to show fight and prove forever that the election was under a cloud. Trump can leave office now. His status will probably be confirmed even more in his camp because serious contenders like Pence and his Senate numbers man can be dismissed as "traitors". If this has not been planned, it makes enough sense to explain outcomes.

    However, the new-style Trump camp is more radicalised and regionalised ethnically. It's hard to say now how many Blacks and others will identify with the Capitol Hill lot... As a result, the belief is setting in in the Trump camp that they will never win another federal election. Its strong showing at local and state level will probably lead to centrifugal tendencies given the mutually confirming contempt of the liberals in power.

  41. It is true that culture wars precede shooting wars; it is also true that the media’s relaxed attitude to some political violence was hazardous. However, it seems abundantly clear that these were necessary and not sufficient conditions for the attack on Congress.

    I admit I was a little concerned that Professor Feser’s first response was apparently to blame the left for right wing violence. However, I then noticed that he intends to write a subsequent post on Q-Anon. I hope he also takes the opportunity to address President Trump’s sincere, thorough-going commitment to relativism. If it seems true, it is true to Trump. To him, election seems rigged - therefore it was.

    So rather than rushing to judge Professor Feser on one post, it would be better to let him develop his thoughts. Relativism rules the left and the right; therefore tribal identity has replaced political philosophy as a unifying political force; and now violence displaces reason.

    I believe Professor Feser is well placed and well equipped to respond - if we can allow him a little time. After all, this crisis isn’t going anywhere soon.

    Graham Veale

    1. But Feser didn't blame the left in the sense he excused those involved.

      I actually think the dangers that will follow from the Capitol riot come mostly from the Democrats and their media, establishment and corporate allies. It will be used to try to silence conservatives socially and perhaps even politically. To take one example, CNN tried to get cable carriers to dump Fox News. And Democrats cheered. It therefore makes sense to properly contextual what took place.

  42. Pelosi attempts military coup. Brush it all off lefties; keep living in Unicornia.

  43. I honestly cannot believe this article. "Right-wing violence"? Really, Mr. Feser? Were you there? I was. We were on the steps of the Capitol chanting, "USA! USA". That is not violence. Some people entered the building, which I would not have done and would have tried to prevent anyone I knew there from doing. But they were not thereby violent. A woman was shot, but neither you nor I know exactly what she was doing that led to her being shot.

    You have bought the narrative that's being presented not just but by "left wingers" but by people who are clearly enemies of God. Maybe you'd like to get your information elsewhere. And since when does wanting integrity in our elections make someone a right winger? Do you not care about election integrity, or are you a "right winger" too? Pretty sad when the people I thought of as conservative Catholics, and wise because Catholicism seemed to influence their lives, writes something like this. Really sad.

    1. Anon,

      There is enough video footage to know they were violent.

      Sure, you might say its pretty mild by comparison to what has happened at BLM riots, and there were clearly people trying to stop it, but you can't deny that it was violent. Numerous police were injured.

    2. @Billy the fact is we know very little about the storming of the capital. Exhibit A:

      At this point, all we know is the identities of those who died, a BLM activist was part of the crowd, and several people who attended the rally left shortly afterwards. Let's not pretend this was a monolithic group who attacked the Capitol.

  44. "and admitting into the Union new states whose voters could guarantee perpetual left-wing control of the Senate" => there are only two new states being talked about, Puerto Rico and DC. Puerto Rico statehood was in the 2016 Republican Party platform, and it is a myth that Puerto Rico is an automatic lock for the Democratic Party – its current Congressional Delegate is a pro-statehood Republican. Senator Marco Rubio is one of a number of GOP politicians who have endorsed Puerto Rico statehood in the past. So I think it is wrong to paint Puerto Rico statehood as some kind of Democrat plot.

    Now, unlike Puerto Rico, DC statehood would be far more favourable to the Democrats, but it is far less likely to happen. Unlike Puerto Rico statehood, I'm not aware of any Republicans who support it. DC has a very strong Democratic slant which Puerto Rico lacks. And it poses constitutional issues which Puerto Rico statehood does not. Given the constitution mentions DC, it is open for the Supreme Court (if it wanted) to rule against DC statehood and find that it requires a constitutional amendment. By contrast, there is no good constitutional law argument against PR statehood.

  45. Feser rightly condemns the siege on the Capital. But this condemnation rings completely hollow as he goes on to perpetuate the 'whataboutism' litany of false equivalents of comparing the riots at BLM protests across the country: "But then, the rioting and vandalism that occurred in Washington last summer – and in Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, and other major cities – was also appalling, horrifying, indefensible, and inexcusable, and its instigators should have been prosecuted", with that of the invasion of the Houses of Congress.

    Despite being a philosopher with all the supposed skills of intellect, reading nuance, and 'getting to the truth', he sees no difference between the riots against the extrajudicial killing of African Americans by the police with impunity, which at its heart is an existential threat to the lives of African Americans in the country today. Every time a black American or any people of colour are pulled up by the police for whatever reason, they are in fear for their safety and their lives.

    Not one white insurrectionist felt that fear at the Capitol, not one. Indeed we saw police usher in the insurrectionists, moved barriers to facilitate entry, washed tear gas from their eyes, took selfies with the treasonous right-wing rioters, who defiled the Houses of Congress with flying the Confederate flag in the very halls that are a testament to the victory against the treasonous South.

    To take an example, at the BLM protest in Lafayette Park which turned into a brutal riot perpetrated by the police on June 1 2020, 316 people were arrested in very short order. The raid on the Capitol on June 6 2021, saw only 61 arrests. Equal justice under the law in the US is a figment of the imagination. Feser and his enablers are so far to the right that they are incapable of envisioning the sensible centre. So extreme to the right are the conservatives that anything, anything towards the sensible centre is seen as a left-wing, socialist takeover.

    It is a sad indictment that I can only describe in the words of Pulitzer Prize journalist of the New York Times Magazine, and creator of the 1619 Project and American patriot, Ida Bae Wells, as she writes: "What's always appalled me about this country is how we have so much more empathy for powerful people who commit crimes out of greed than to poor people who commit crimes out of desperation."

    It is a most disappointing OP indeed.

    1. You are deluded Papalinton.

      "the riots against the extrajudicial killing of African Americans by the police with impunity, which at its heart is an existential threat to the lives of African Americans in the country today."

      A white person is more likely to be killed by police in a police interaction than a black person. However, not by much and the likelihood is ridiculously low for both.

      You do realize that what happened to George Floyd had already happened to a white man, right? Its all on video too, but he had multiple cops on him and they were actively mocking him as he screamed that he couldn't breath and begged for his life before going unconscious. The officers didn't even get charged. Notice how no one cared. Most people don't even know his name. The media couldn't create a racial narrative out of it to spur people like you in to a frenzy, so it didn't matter.

      Also, if you actually think that is what the riots were about, you are seriously deluded. There were more unarmed black men killed in these riots than were killed by police all of 2019.

      As for Ida Bae Wells, you mean Nikole Hannah-Jones? The expert historians that were brought in to help with the 1619 project admitted they found several factual issues with the history the project presented, especially with the most key claim of the project, which they tried to explain was just completely wrong, but they were ignored. The NY Times and Hannah-Jones herself eventually came out and admit they got it wrong.

      This was all another stunt to stoke racial animosity and you obviously took the bait. Her receiving a Pulitzer says less about how impressive she is, and more about how unimpressive it is to receive one.

    2. Billy,
      A white person is more likely to be killed by police in a police interaction than a black person. However, not by much and the likelihood is ridiculously low for both.

      Given that there are more than twice as many poor white people as poor black people, "not by much" is about half what it should be, were the races treated equally.

      Also, you if you could present a study support your "not by much" that does not rely on police interviews, I'd really like to read it.

      If you think the protests after Floyd's death were just about Floyd, you are quite naive. Floyd's death tapped into the frustration experienced by a population which are continually over-policed. The reason the white guy's death didn't trigger protests is that white don't get the same police treatment on a continual basis.

    3. Papalinton,

      I suggest when it comes to "whatboutism," you learn what a tu quoque fallacy is and the difference between formal and informal logical fallacies. Spoiler: Professor Feser doesn't commit one here, especially when he does explicitly condemn the MAGA/Capitol riot as immoral.

      Ironically enough, between the hundreds of affidavits, various statistical anomalies in the data, and the explicit relaxing of election security, there is more of evidence for significant election fraud in 2020 than for the claim that law enforcement unjustly kills blacks with impunity that inspired the lawlessness of the summer.

      I might also add that Nikole Hannah-Jones (Ida Bae Wells) and her 1619 Project start from the explicit premise that our country was deliberately founded to perpetuate and protect the institution of slavery, a claim not just false but so calumnious that renown historians felt obligated to publicly correct her for the sake of truth and posterity. It's unusual to call someone a patriot who openly defames their country, Papalinton. (It's also weird for a so-called journalist to traffic in unverifiable truth because journalism's epistemology is broadly empiricist as a "discipline of verification".) Furthermore, on Twitter, Hannah-Jones expressed pride that last summer's riots were critically denounced as the "1619 Riots" by conservative Charles Kesler.

      If Trump is morally and legally culpable for the assault on the Capitol, for "inciting" the riot with knowingly false rhetoric, then so is Hannah-Jones who by the same loose standard can be associated with "inciting" the unrest of the previous year. The infuriating difference is that Trump and anyone who expresses concern that the 2020 was not above board are being ostracized from polite society while Hannah-Jones is feted within it and awarded a Pulitzer.

      Brazen double standards and hypocrisy such as what's outlined above are one of the reasons why one half of the country is seething, some of which was unfortunately and terribly expressed last week.

  46. "Not one white insurrectionist felt that fear at the Capitol, not one."

    No, Ashli Babbitt was dead before she realized she had cause to be afraid.

    1. Seamus,
      No, Ashli Babbitt was dead before she realized she had cause to be afraid.

      Which shooting you no doubt approved of, with her being a criminal and all.

    2. Ashli Babbitt did not realize she had cause to be afraid? Really"

      “Nothing will stop us,” she tweeted Jan. 5. “They can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon DC in less than 24 hours....dark to light!”

      She was a QAnon nut who traveled to DC to actively participate in "the storm".

      She was in the front of a mob that broke into the capitol. What, is that just another version of a tour? No reason to be afraid?

      The mob threatened the safety of a few officers on the mob's side of the door, so they moved, allowing the maga mob to break down the glass of the barricaded door where officers had their guns drawn and obviously visible.

      As the maga mob proceeded to smash through the door Ashli Babbitt was the first to try to lung through that broken window.

      No way to realize cause to be afraid? Really? So, you are in the front of a mob committing multiple felonies smashing glass of a barricaded door with armed officers pointing guns at you as you lung through the glass on your way to attack congress in session and in all that you can't realize you have cause to be afraid?

      She was shot by an officer in the line of duty protecting congress from an angry mob as she tried to lung through the broken glass.

      And now you want to turn her into some sort of innocent victim?

  47. Out of the tens of thousands gathered at the nation's capitol for a rally, 99% sat on the grass, heard speeches, cheered, and left.

    Of those who entered the Capitol building, there were two groups. The larger stood on one set of stairs and chanted slogans until they were explicitly let in, and allowed to march through the building (but between the velvet ropes) by the Capitol Hill police, whose spokesman stated to those at the front of the line, "I disagree with what you are saying but I support your right to say it." After they entered, some were literally calling out to the group in general, "Let your voice be heard, but don't damage anything! Don't break anything!"

    The smaller group, numbering under a hundred, shouted at another set of stairs until some of them started breaking in through a pair of windows. This group split in two; some went to the House Chamber, others towards the offices. These latter were blocked at another door; Ashli Babbitt was shot as they pushed through it. Among other slogans they were shouting "Hang Pence!" (I cannot know, of course, whether Ashli Babbitt was one of those shouting THAT.) This group left nasty notes on Post-Its on the desks of officeholders. The group that split off from them were now joined in the House Chamber by the larger group who'd been let in. This set now featured the Doofus-Carrying-The-Lectern-Wearing-A-Jayne-Cobb-Hat, as well as the Doofus-With-The-Viking-Horns-Hat. It's not clear whether those folks were originally among the break-ins or the let-ins.

    There was some mocking pounding of the Speaker's Gavel, some dancing on desks. After ten minutes of this the cops entered and asked them politely to leave, and they did.

    All of this happened, incidentally, in the minutes WHILE Donald Trump was starting to speak at the rally. Let me say that again: None of these people had a chance to hear Donald Trump's remarks; they were already inside the building. By the time Donald Trump was saying "be peaceful, depart with love and peace," these folks were elsewhere.

    Consequently the tens of thousands of folks on the lawn never knew anyone had entered the Capitol building; and those inside the building didn't stay long enough to hear what Trump said.

    Everybody clear on that?

    1. No, not clear. And Trump is finished and he took the GOP down with him So, some good came from this after all.

    2. All of this happened, incidentally, in the minutes WHILE Donald Trump was starting to speak at the rally. Let me say that again: None of these people had a chance to hear Donald Trump's remarks; they were already inside the building. By the time Donald Trump was saying "be peaceful, depart with love and peace," these folks were elsewhere.

      Consequently the tens of thousands of folks on the lawn never knew anyone had entered the Capitol building; and those inside the building didn't stay long enough to hear what Trump said.

      Everybody clear on that?

      I'm clear it's a completely false statement, one so obviously false and easily checkable that it put pretty much every other sentence in your comment into question. The rioters first appeared on the Capital grounds about 20 minutes after Trump's speech.

  48. Okay, let's discuss "insurrection."

    I, of course, also don't approve of coups or insurrections against my government, even when my government is sucking, beyond the telling of it, at being the government, or is about to.

    But I also don't like it when people use words to mean things other than what they mean.

    Out of this entire group, the larger group who were let in, and later politely left, simply cannot count as insurrectionists, let alone people attempting a coup. That guy started mock-banging the Speaker's Gavel? Not sure how to characterize doing that, but if he was one of those let in, it's something closer to a Panty Raid than to an Insurrection. That doesn't mean nobody should be jailed; they should! ...but, they should spend a year in lockup, maybe a little more.

    But this is not gallows stuff. Terrorists? Give me a break. A coup? Ridiculous. Given how they were let inside as cops stood aside, making comments about supporting their "rights to say what they wanted even if we disagree," it's unlikely they perceived themselves as tresspassing.

    But the smaller group around the corner?

    When they broke windows, they were vandals. When they entered through them, they were trespassers. When they left the nasty Post-It notes on the desks, I dunno, I guess they were jerks.

    When they got into a scuffle with the police and beat one up, though? That's rioting. They should get some years in prison for that stuff.

    And when they tried to bust through a police-defended door shouting "Hang Pence?"

    Ooooohkaaaay. That's violent riotous seditious or insurrectionist behavior. I'm sorry Ashli Babbitt was slain. But if I were a Capitol Hill cop and didn't shoot the first person through the door under such circumstances I might be quite negligent, depending on what (who) I was guarding. If you invade a building saying you're going to hang someone (VP or not), and it's a building you have good reason to believe he's in, and you defeat his security guards as you're doing so? Yeah. That might be terrorism. It's certainly a nasty riot, and a plausible terroristic threat. Many years in prison is fitting.

    And all of these same principles ought to be applied to Antifa's rioting, arson, looting, raping, murdering, and freshly-declared micro-nations, naturally.

    I'm waiting with 'bated breath for the actual insurrectionists in Seattle, Portland, Kenosha, etc. to receive the kind of condemnation that people sitting peacefully at the rally, oblivious to the break-in at the capitol, have been getting.

    Some have lost jobs for having been present. Some were put on the no-fly list within hours.

    One other detail: Has anybody grasped that Nancy Pelosi publicly attempted an actual insurrection, by...

    #1: ...trying to convince Mike Pence to invoke the 25th amendment (against the intent of that law) to illegitimately remove a lawfully-elected president prior to the expiration of his term? and,

    #2: ...calling up the heads of the armed forces and insisting that they no longer accept orders from the current Commander in Chief?

    Gentlemen, by the law, that is an actual insurrection.

    About that, I've heard crickets.

    1. Your figures are out of the question. 99% of those who listened to Trump went home after the speech? There was a crowd of several thousand on the lawn, over which they were spread none too thickly. As everybody knows, barring the small picket which had stood in front of Congress all morning, the rest marched down. When the building was "stormed", there were several thousand in front of it i.e. 90% of the crowd that had listened to the speeches. An event is an event, and breaking it up into sections does not alter that. The building was entered by force and the important government business going on was stopped. This isn't terrorism or insurrection by a long shot, but not a storm in a teacup either.

  49. RC Suppose both houses of Congress were Republican, Trump had been re-elected, and a mostly black crowd had invaded the Capitol. You know damn well Trump would have authorized the use of deadly force.

    But it's becoming clear now that some of the Capitol police were with the mob.

    1. I have no information to suggest any of the Capitol police were with "the mob"; i.e., the under 100 who broke windows, beat a cop, tried to push past the guarded doorway where Pence was, and generally initiated the violence.

      Why do you say "it is now becoming clear...?" On the basis of what?

      One could interpret the police as being "with" the second group that entered the Capitol building; i.e., the ones that were let in, precisely because they were let in. (But you'd have to avoid the implications of their statements to "the others" along the lines of "I don't agree with what you're saying but I agree you have a right to say it.")

      Now if the former crowd ("the mob") and had been either all-black or all-white, and had been a few offices away from Pence, and chanting about hanging him, and had there been time to request authorization from Trump, then, YES, I agree that they would have asked for and received authorization to use deadly force to protect Pence. Correctly, in my view.

      There wasn't time, in this case, because when it happened, Trump was still speaking. And, it was a mixed-race group. And, deadly force was used (appropriately, I think, given the circumstances, although I'm very sorry that woman died). Had it been either all-black or all-white, the same would have happened (again, appropriately, I think). Why think otherwise?

      On the other hand, if Trump had had the information we have now about the other group, which was let in, acted non-violently, shouted some, and left when requested? Would he, knowing that, have authorized deadly force against that group? Of course not. And I can't imagine why anyone would suppose that he would. Certainly, had that crowd been all-black, they'd have been even safer from a threat of deadly force, for obvious reasons. But as it was, that crowd was safe from harm, because their behavior was rowdy but non-destructive.

      And as for the third, vastly-larger, crowd on the lawn? Are you suggesting Trump would authorize deadly force against his listeners? Deadly force against what? Against people who hung out, ate sandwiches, cheered, and left? His own supporters? Heck, if they'd been all-black instead of the mixed-race crowd they were, I imagine he'd have been pleased as punch. After all, he's been a historically pro-black president.

      But I continue to see that many folks are unaware what actually happened. Please go check out the eyewitness testimonies from folk like Karlyn Borysenko.

      Some of you haven't yet learned the lesson of the last five years: There is no news organization in this country; no such entity exists. But, you can piece together a reasonable understanding of events by gathering admissions-against-interest from the various propaganda agencies whose biases you know, and also from independent sources, especially people whose primary interest is apolitically nerding-out about the details.

  50. As I read through the responses to my post I am deeply saddened by the apologists and defenders of what actually occurred at the Capitol. This was no ordinary protest. This was an insurrection as clear as the light of day. Trump incited these people to commit the treasonous acts they did. To slice and dice the narrative to suggest the vast majority were only there to 'peacefully' protest and that only about a 100 people were the nasties is simply an incredulous revisionist rewriting of history. The vast majority at that travesty were there on a lie; that the election was rigged. The question I ask is: Is this the truth or did Fox or Newsmax tell you that? Not one of the 60+ court cases at Federal or Supreme Court level, not one, supports that claim. Not one Republican held state, not one, who properly declared Biden the winner have come out to denounce their election as fraudelent.
    Each person that was involved in the storming of the capital has a moral and ethical duty to accept responsbility for their contribution to enabling such a trajedy. They all now have a legal responsibility to come forward and help the intelligence and police authorities to identify, name and report on the perpetrators and to own up to their own complicity.
    So please spare us the nonsense about there being any truth to the claim that the elections were rigged. Please spare us the apologetical revisionist rubbish about this event being justified. It was insurrection aided and abetted by wantonly gnorant participants who were completely duped by Trump and his conspirators. Those who sucked in the shit from Trump, Navarro, Pence, wolf, Pompeo et al, are total chumps. Trump is now about to abuse the symbolic significance of the Alamo, San Antonio, Texas as his last gesture of sticking up his middle finger to the American people. You Trump supporters have been completely emasculated and are truly chumps.

    1. Papalinton,

      "This was an insurrection as clear as the light of day."

      No, it wasn't. Insurrectionists usually have have immediate political objectives and taking selfies in Pelosi's office seems rather nihilistic and myopic for those whose alleged intent was staging a coup. With that said, those with the pipe bombs need to apprehended and locked away for a very long time. All those there responsible for criminal acts should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

      In regard to Trump, though, demagoguery isn't the same as incitement toward insurrection. He bears much responsibility for demagoguing for two months, not taking this all on the chin and regrouping perhaps for a run in 2024.

      Trump's demagoguery about the election and a fraudulent election aren't mutually exclusive. It's obvious as time went on that Trump and his allies didn't have the bombshell to move stubborn judges to overturn the results of the election. However, there were many reports of election impropriety as detailed in hundreds affidavits and statistical anomalies that cast doubt on the security of the election.

      Given your anonymous grandstanding to strangers and jabs about my emasculation and stupidity instead of a good faith attempt at dialectic, even if I did recant of my support for Trump, would leftists like you forgive and welcome me back into the fold? (You know, the halcyon status quo where I'm still treated as hostis humani generis for being a Christian conservative and not as a fellow rational citizen to be entreated with, where Bush was "literally Hitler," and the GOP base was despised for "clinging to their guns and religion"). I doubt it.

      And with the plotting, spying, impeaching against a Constitutionally-elected president, plus the rioting, dereliction of duty to protect law-abiding citizens from being brutalized by those rioters, the left has no room to sermonize.

  51. Mitch McConnell has seen the light. He's in favor of impeaching Trump to save his his party. I hope Trump is hounded by state and federal authorities for the rest of his life.

    1. To Anon @ 5.28pm
      Yes. I just viewed McConnell say he believes Trump has committed an impeachable offence.
      But to the Trumpists, including those here, it was never about 'finding the truth. It was about protecting their 'man', no different to the Mafioso knucklehead soldiers defending the capo.

    2. Yes, it is shameful. And shame on Dr Feser,one the world's best Thomistic philosophers,for this particular blog,in which he placed no blame at all on Trump and his followers for the riot. Rather,he tries to lay the blame on Democrats, the media, mail in ballots, Hillary Clinton, the lockdown,etc. Pathetic. His right wing political agenda has warped his brilliant philosophical mind.

    3. he placed no blame at all on Trump and his followers for the riot.

      That is false. I explicitly said that what the rioters did was horrific, appalling, indefensible, inexcusable, and should be prosecuted. That is the opposite of holding them blameless. And in another post, I explicitly acknowledged the role that right-wing brands of lunacy like QAnon played in the riot. Furthermore, Trump is most certainly to be blamed for foolish rhetoric to the effect that he won the election in a landslide, that Pence had the authority to reject electors, etc. All of that lit the match. But what this post was about is the pile of gasoline-soaked rags that have been accumulating for four years, waiting for a match to be struck.

      And I submit that anyone who can't bring himself to say: "Yes, fair enough, political violence is also bad when it comes from the Left, and yes, lots of overheated talk of fraudulent elections was coming from the Left too, etc." is not well placed to make accusations about warped minds!

    4. What is this blame of the 'left' that you keep harping on about? If BLM is a 'leftist' plot which you appear to be arguing then you are badly misguided. If you say universal health care is the product of the 'left' then you are truly misguided. If you tout the nonsense there is no global warming and that climate change is simply an abberation in normal seasonal weather patterns then one is as deranged as Trump. Who in their right mind winds back all those environmental protections because it hinders economic progress and hurts business, all of which Trump and his acolytes have succeeded in doing over the last four years. No, Dr Feser, these aren't the actions of good people. To a person at the political centre these are all good moral and mindful actions of people who care about where they live and care about the community in which they contribute to a shared responsibility.
      Every civilised Western country has universal health care because access to it is a human right and not a radical leftist socialist takeover of medical care. Clearly the US has some way to go to realise the incalculable benefits to society that comes with knowing you will be cared for. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
      And no, Trump's rhetoric in not only foolish, stupid, it also carries with it a treasonous incitement to violence.
      You would do well to desist from any further comparison of this man or his administration as a 'foil' against the 'left'.
      You have been duped by the great conman in the sky,Trump. Remember, he said he was the chosen one.
      To repudiate unequivocally the actions of this man will do your soul, whatever that is, good.

    5. I appreciate ur reply Dr.Feser and I re-r8ead ur blog. NOW u mention Trump's "foolish rhetoric." Since the election he riled up his supporters telling them the election was stolen from them. Even you imsuated it had been stolen in ur Nov 12 blog "Means, Motives and Opportunity." Before Dec 6, Trump told his followers the march was going to be "wild." On Dec 6 he told the crowd to "be strong." "You can't be weak." Then his personal lawyer Giuliani calls for "trial by combat." Rep. Mo Brooks said "kick ass." Trump's son said "We're coming after you."

      It was Pence who had to call for help. The best Trump could manage to say to the crowd was,"Go home. We love you." The first gasoline soaked rag was placed by Trump in.2016 when he said that election was "rigged" against him.He has always been an angry, mendacious, vindictive man. He started the Birther Conspiracy against Obama to bring out the fringe elements in America and he stoked their resentment. Read the article in The Atlantic. where the insurrectionists and Trump loyalists think they are victims. The victims are the American people. Republicans and intellectuals knew that Trump was a snake but they thought they could handle him to accomplish their ends. But the snake has bit the GOP and Mitch McConnell is scrambling to save it

    6. Some random ranting is in order.

      Still peddling bs I see Paps? Dude aren't you an Australian? Don't you live down under? What do you know about riots in America? Nothing! I OTOH am in NYC and I watched my city for weeks get destroyed! Not by Proud Boys or "Q on on" (or whatever the feck it is called...Scientology without Xenu) but by BLM and ANTIFA! Who where rewarded for their violence!

      Yer double standards are sickening! The left's rhetoric is ten time worst and espoused by the mainstream left. Nutters on the right are underground thanks to leftist Censorship & not mainstream.
      Trump told people to be peaceful and the other side can't make the same boast. Uncle Bad Touch biden took weeks even months to condemn the riots and he only did so when he slipped in the polls. He doesn't care. He could have cooled down the country by quelling impeachment and look like a hero but instead he choose to be a coward. AOC must make him nervous?
      He could have spoken out against censorship but now, wither or not he is allowed to speak lies not in the Constitution or the Rule of law but the whims of BigTech Barons. His running mate and Sidekick Camel Toe Harris condemned him for being guilty of sexual assault. Till he offered her power then she changed her mind and BTW bailed out leftist rioters. Just saying....

      Anyway back to the Q weirdness When you censor something it doesn't end it rather it goes to ground to fester. Which is what happened to Q. Youtube not only took down and censored Q video they took down and censored videos that tried to debunk. That is the fault of the left who has embraced censorship. Censorship promotes violence and the left is the biggest promoter of violence. If peaceful dissent becomes impossible then violent dissent become inevitable.

      I am the Grandson of an NYPD officer of happy memory. I watched for weeks seeing the names of NY cops dragged in the mud by a leftist Mayor & Mob who hated them who could not fight back without the leftist DA charging Cops but letting rioters go who hurt cops. But now they care about cops and riots? BS!

      The left contains no good men or women. At one time they did when Classic Liberals lived on the left but they where all driven out.

      Which brings me back to censorship. All the cool Atheists and Classic Liberals are on my side! Sargon of Akad and David Ruben. All hailed in their day till they questioned the left's hatred of free speech and free thought. Now they are unpersons thanks too yer new friends.

      Wasn't it Christopher Hitchens who said if you give into rage boy's demands on restricting speech you will speak at the pleasure of rage boy.

      Well the left is now rage boy & they run the American government and I for once agree with that Mother Theresa Hating old dead drunk. It is sad that you don't anymore.

      What happened to you buddy? When was the day you had yer come to Jesus Moment and stopped being a classic liberal?


    7. Not a single Leftist will denounce the political violence or talk of fraudulent elections that comes from the Left. This is because they think they're better than you.

    8. Mister Geocon,

      I'll denounce it. The violence that occurred at the 7% of the BLM protests which were not peaceful was completely improper and criminal, and those criminals should be prosecuted.

      I'm not familiar with the claims of fraudulent elections, but I will say the elections of 2016 and 2020 were not fraudulent, and anyone who thinks so is engaging in conspiracy instead of reality.

  52. I explicitly condemn the actions of any BLM rioters guilty of property destruction and/or personal assault and call on them to be prosecuted. And I also blame others who egged them on with irresponsible rhetoric. However the BLM riots are about the match struck (George Floyd) on a pile of gasoline-soaked rags accumulating for years via the Right's refusal to hold police officers accountable and their policy of backing the blue, no matter who.

    And I submit that anyone who can't bring himself to say: "Yes, fair enough, lawbreaking/political violence is also bad (in fact, especially so) when cops do it, and yes, lots of overheated talk came from the Right when they had a President they didn't like too (e.g. Obama birtherism, "Barack Hussein Obama", etc.)" is not well placed to make accusations about warped minds.

  53. This comment has been removed by the author.

  54. Dr.Feser
    Thank you for publishing my reply. I disagree with your political views but I greatly respect you as a philosopher,as do your peers. Anon.

  55. The pretext for the BLM is the unfair treatment of African Americans in the legal system. Whereas the pretext for the capitol riot was two months of a deeply disturbed narcissistic man claiming election fraud when no election fraud could be proven. This was well established in over 60 litigations and many republican officials and even appointees of trump said explicitly "there was no fraud". What more of a bar do people need in order to believe this election was legitimate? Conversely Trump has been unable to provide any legitimate evidence for his claims, yet demands absolute obedience and loyalty to his claims. This is a dictator if there ever was one. Still there has been little to no repudiation by Dr. Feser for nearly any of Trumps actions, ever. Rather carefully timed defense articles often pop up with topics akin to whatever trump is on about that week. In my opinion this is below Dr. Feser. It is incredibly sad to see people of principle and intellect be taken in by this fraud, snake oil salesman that Trump is. He has torn the republican party apart. The most prudent thing anyone can do is denounce and repudiate him ASAP and try to salvage the right from the deluded and fanatical extremism that has taken over the party under this reprehensible man.

    1. Trump lives eternally in your head and that of countless other people, but not in mine. I have said very little about him over the last four years for the simple reason that too many people are utterly incapable of thinking or speaking rationally about him. Either they want to hear nothing else than that Trump is the Antichrist and will tolerate not the slightest deviation from that line; or, overreacting to this mentality, they insist that he is the great hero of the age and refuse to hear the slightest criticism of him. And both sides feed off the another's lunacy, each continually trying to one-up the other in spittle-flecked outrage.

      It manages to be insane, depressing, and boring at the same time. Hence I've avoided the topic. All to no avail, since when you don't talk about Trump, all certain people can say is: "Why aren't you talking about Trump??!!"

    2. Dr. Feser,

      That was a very sage perspective. Well said.

    3. I am a very big Trump Fanboyz Dr. Feser but if you criticized him I would listen intently and either agree or disagree with you respectfully. Because you sir(at risk of me sounding like a total brown noise since I am also known as a Feser Fanboyz) have this little thing we call credibility. Few critics of President Trump can claim that mantle. The same goes for yer criticism of the Holy Father. Credibility is all and if Prof Feser suggests Trump (or Pope Francis) is doing XYZ wrong I will give a fair hearing to it.

      OTOH Trump haters who spent the last couple of months doing XYZ who want to complain to me about Trump can bugger off!!! They have no credibility.

      So you keep on keeping on boss. I got yer back.

      God bless America!

      Save us O Lord from the coming tyranny of Uncle Bad Touch.

    4. Not a single Leftist will denounce the political violence or talk of fraudulent elections that comes from the Left. This is because they think they're better than you. And the pretexts of the Left would make Qanon fanatics blush with their insanity.

    5. Mister Geocon,

      That is simply a lie. One of many, many right-wing talking points that are likewise simple lies.

      First, you had me denouncing the political violence just a little ways upthread.

      Second, it took me all of five seconds to find out that Joe Biden has, indeed, condemned violence at the BLM protests numerous times.

      Son of Ya'Kov,

      Evidently who is saying something is much more important to you than the truth or falsity of what is actually being said. That is the very definition of tribalism.

      Neither of you, apparently, really care about the TRUTH. Worse yet, you do not see that as a problem.

    6. Sorry but Biden DID NOT condemn the riots until months later. I note the article you cite is from this month. What you couldn't find an article in real time? Because there is none. These are the same people who suppressed the news about Hunter Biden's lab top & stop by silently while twatter censored the NYPost.

      Also Nutty Pelosi and Kamel Toe where encouraging the violence as well as bailing out violent protestors. Including persons with assault and rape charges on their rap sheets.


      Leftist lie. Now clear off.

    7. Son of Ya'Kov,

      Another lie. If you read the article you will see that Biden DID condemn the riots as far back as May and June with plenty of links to articles "in real time".

      But even if that were not the case it would still be a lie that "not a single Leftist will denounce political violence... from the left."

      But I won't wait with baited breath for you to have the intellectual honesty to admit you were wrong. Again, you simply don't care because tribalist loyalty and promotion of tribalist talking points is much more important than the actual TRUTH.

    8. I don't believe the article. Show me one positive article from USA Today on Trump in the past four years. They are bias. Also I note you have no sources to cite concurrent with the events.

      OTOH taken at face value this Jan 2021 article just shows statements from the Biden's champagne. Uncle Bad Touch spend all that time hiding in his basement. He didn't come out get on TV and loudly condemn the violence. Tepid responses from third party spokesmen are not speaking out.

      Getting on a Mike and calling for the riots to be put down would have worked. But he didn't do that. Trump at least called out the national guard on the capital rioters like he did when yer boyz attacked the Whitehouse. Kamel Toe his sidekick still bailed out leftist rioters including criminals.

      >But even if that were not the case it would still be a lie that "not a single Leftist will denounce political violence... from the left."

      No it is the truth as Classical Liberals are not really leftists anymore than ordinary Germans where all Nazis back in the day.

      Leftist lie and that is the Truth. Classic Liberals aren't leftists. They are being driven out of the party by the AOC's and her ilk.

      Now clear off. We have nothing to say to each other liar. As for tribes I prefer clans as I am Scottish. I belong to the Clan/Tribe of free speech and free debate. The hates free speech.

      Assuming the left doesn't keep stealing elections I look forward to 2022 when a new Republican Congress can impeach Uncle Bad Touch the Usurper.

      Smell ya later enemy tribesmen.

    9. The USA Today article did in fact link to sources concurrent with the events, and by Joe Biden himself, not third party spokesmen. But again, you discount all that because who is saying something is much more important to you than what is being said.

      Obviously your worldview is entirely tribalist.
      You'd impeach Joe Biden even with no justification e.g. "high crimes and misdemeanors" just because you want him gone and maybe you can get enough votes. So much for the "rule of law" and "law and order". For you it's all about power.

      I leave you to the lunacy of twits like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz. I prefer to live in the real world. Good luck fighting reality.


    10. Yer still here hypocrite? Sorry but the article mostly quoted his Champaign spokesmen and he didn't get on the Mike and condemn the protests till he started slipping in the poles. It was a muted response to say the least. If he was serious he would have been more vocal. Those are just the facts. He didn't call on President Trump to call out the National Guard even once to suppress the riots. His VP and half a dozen leftist Congress persons set up funds to bail rioters out of jail!!! Rioters who burned down people lively hoods & neighborhoods and killed cops including minority ones. I notice you ignored that bit? Not to mention yer hypocritical side has be pushing Russian Collusion delusion since forever. So spare me yer double standards.

      >Obviously your worldview is entirely tribalist.

      What part of "Scottish" do ye nor understand ya bleeding Sassenach? I am of a tribe. The Tribe of Free Speech. Yer from the Tribe of suppression of Free Speech so you can clear off.

      >You'd impeach Joe Biden even with no justification..

      Wow yer a sociopath here with the hypocrisy. If you can impeach Trump twice without justification then Biden should get it three times or more. Why not?

      I leave you to the lunacy of yer sick double standards and total lack of self awareness. Not to mention to Swalwell who is still pushing Russian conspiracy theories he can't back up with evidence in between bonking his Chinese spy girlfriend whom he helped escape justice.

      Go away now hypocrite.

    11. Son of Yakov Are you Wullie off The Simpsons?

    12. Dina kiss up laddie it is nor dignified. I dina kent why you think that would get ye on me good side? OTOH I don't have a good side so there ye have it.

      Cheers mate.

  56. Replies
    1. Where did Ya'Kov go wrong? Or did the father do all a man can do to educate his son, yet the son stubbornly rejected wisdom for ignorance?

      Child of Ya'Kov
      "The Left hates free speech."

      “If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.”
      ― Noam Chomsky