I’ll disclose this from the start, for anyone who may have stumbled on this post — I am a member of the nefarious left wing conspiracy, particularly now that the sides are drawn so clearly — autocracy vs. democracy, indulging and empowering unlimited mass hatreds (for the outsized benefit of the very, very few) vs. engaging with political opponents to hammer out solutions to real problems and extending the benefit of the doubt to people on the other side of the political divide. Party of obstruction, vituperation, pollution, tax breaks for the wealthiest vs. party of everything else a free people might need.
Regarding the benefit of the doubt, I’m certain that any two right wing and left wing people have much more in common than things that actually divide them. There are hundreds of things virtually everyone would immediately agree on. Both sides love their children and want the best for them. Both sides are revolted by crimes against children. Even the strictest “spare the rod spoil the child” parents do not believe it is ever right to beat your child to a bloody pulp or break their little bones. Liberals and conservatives want old people to live their final years in dignity, without fear or deprivation. Nobody, not one of us, likes these constant mass shootings everywhere in the land of the free. All Americans believe in fairness, in certain unalienable rights like the right to live with integrity and to pursue your dreams without being attacked by the government, or anybody else. There are countless things human beings everywhere, all over the world, agree on, across all political affiliations.
The science of fascism is how to mobilize grievances and galvanize the hatreds that makes humans willing to march in armies to exterminate inhuman enemies. It is only by creating artificial, black and white tribes that are not people of differing political or cultural leanings but deadly enemies, that totalitarian regimes come to and retain power.
Those who hate “majoritarian tyranny” (and this anti-democratic trope predates the John Birch Society, Libertarianism and Charles Koch, goes back to John C. Calhoun and friends of slavery decades before the Civil War) find ways to make enough voters hate the “other side” to defeat it. They help themselves stay in power by passing laws to restrict their enemies’ right to vote, by irreversibly purging 100,000 enemy voters on the eve of an election they’ll win by 40,000 (see, for example, candidate Brian Kemp, in 2016, using his power as Secretary of State to remove tens of thousands of likely Stacey Abrams voters from the voting rolls in Georgia right before eking out a victory in the Peach State’s most recent gubernatorial election. Republicans in Florida’s state government did the same for DeSantis before his narrow victory).
Their party’s members on the highest court in the land will provide crucial tactical support by ruling that the Voting Rights Act will not henceforth be enforced and that unlimited secret money to influence political outcomes is merely free speech, to which legally created eternal “persons” are entitled under the Fourteenth Amendment.
The mass influence tactic most often employed by fascistic types, it seems, is what psychologists call “projection” — projecting your problems and fears onto others. Projection 101: I am prone to outbursts of racist anger, but don’t like to think of myself as an angry person, or a racist, so I will accuse anyone who wants to dispute anything with me of being an enraged racist psychopath. The shoe might fit me much better better than it fits you, but I will angrily cram it on your foot and fuck you, now you have to defend yourself, you angry racist piece of shit! The simplicity of this technique, the old three year-old’s taunting “I know you are, but what am I?” makes it an irresistible tool for cutting off debate of any kind.
This textbook example, a statement issued by the House “Freedom Caucus” (the most rabidly aggressive right wing members of the House, the stars of MAGA world) in defense of Marjorie Taylor Greene’s right to incite whoever the hell she feels like inciting, based on whatever she feels is right, with no push back from anyone, jumped out at me, a real masterpiece of MAGA art, that, like the rest of the far right ouevre only stands as brilliant art if it goes unscrutinized. Lack of scrutiny is key for this entire playbook. The beauty, of course, is when you’re angry you can’t see nuance or scrutinize anything but doing somebody about what is making you so goddamned mad you can hardly see. The real facts cannot be allowed into the echo chamber or the alternative facts (Trump advisor Kelleyanne Conway’s brazen rebranding of the old judgmental word “lie”) can’t take hold. Let’s walk through this classic example of right wing projection:
The left’s attempts to politicize the courts:
Well, the left has created a well-funded and powerful legal fraternity and career ladder, active in virtually every American law school, where leftist law students can get internships with left wing federal judges, help them research and craft activist left wing rulings, audition for becoming judges themselves with their bold left wing activism and then, after auditioning as lower level judges and showing a fierce and unwavering fealty to the left wing orthodoxy and judicial philosophy of their legal fraternity, wind up as lifetime political appointees on the federal bench. A majority of these disciplined, proven zealots will eventually control the Supreme Court for a generation.
Wait, that’s the right. That partisan judicial career network is the Federalist Society, the outfit Ginny Thomas and the Council for National Policy (a secret membership by invitation nonprofit corporation of the highest echelons in “movement conservatism”) made then-candidate Trump swear to choose all federal court nominees from their carefully vetted lists of candidates most dedicated to the principles of their legal fraternity.
The last century’s famous “activist” Supreme Court, the Warren Court, was an outlier in American history (most Supreme Courts are conservative, by nature and by design — only change the constitutional status quo if there is a pressing national need to do so). Chief Justice Earl Warren, appointed by Eisenhower, was a Republican and a conservative. He had the desirable judicial quirk of having strong beliefs but also being biased toward giving the cases before him a fair hearing before rendering a decision. He and his colleagues were amenable to being convinced by a superior legal argument. Warren, and his often unanimous court, ruled on the merits, the relative strengths and weaknesses, of the case presented, with an eye toward increasing, rather than restricting, the rights of citizens whenever possible.
This is a much different judicial philosophy than the one animating today’s Federalist Society Six, the 6-3 Trump/McConnell majority on our current Supreme Court, who select cases and render decisions in order to restrict rights for partisan advantage. Many of these cases are handled secretly on the “shadow docket” (where no legal argument need be noted in an unsigned majority decision) on a straight party line basis to advance their political beliefs and enhance the power of their party. John Roberts and a 5-4 Federalist Society majority invalidated enforcement of the Voting Rights Act the Senate reauthorized 98-0 and conservative president George W. Bush praised in a signing ceremony. Whose compelling liberty interest was Roberts’ activism vindicating?
On the other hand, we have Earl Warren’s most famous bit of “radical left” “judicial activism” that scandalized racists in every strata of American Society, 1954’s unanimous Brown v. Board of Education, which struck down the racist practice of segregation in public schools. After seeing vivid proof that “separate but equal” was a cruel farce, that there was nothing remotely equal in the racial separation at law, that it was a ruse to keep Blacks “in their place” by making them accept second class status and disproportionate poverty, the Warren court struck down segregation in public schools. If the proposition that segregation was racist and in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment needed proving, nine justices were convinced by the proof presented by Thurgood Marshall and the plaintiff opponents of the practice.
You need only look at photos from the Jim Crow era to see the brutal in-your-face mockery of this hoary “legal doctrine” of Separate but Equal. The modern refrigerated water fountain was for whites only, the hose marked “colored” was the equal facility for Blacks to refresh themselves on brutally hot summer days. Restaurant bathroom, whites only, the outhouse in the back, or the bushes, separate but equal. And so it was in schools, stated the Supreme Court after massive proof had been presented. Which enraged generations of a certain kind of angry white asshole, funded by white assholes of immense hereditary wealth. A group, once the lunatic fringe of the Republican party, now its highly energized base.
to achieve what they cannot at the ballot box
Leftists famously lawyered up and ran to the courts, their national committee footing the immense legal bills, before and after the last presidential election, to limit voting, contest pandemic voting rules, to have judges declare them right and their enemies shit out of luck. Leftists contested the results of the presidential election in courts everywhere their candidate lost. Leftist elected officials told left wing groups, on video, that if they didn’t stop their right wing enemies from voting en masse they’d never hold national office again. They passed laws in state after state to prevent perceived voter fraud they never proved exists (though they swear it does) and putting final electoral decisions in the hands of proven partisans ready to overturn fraudulent elections to ensure the “integrity” of those elections.
Oh, wait, that was the right doing all of those things, plus forming a well-funded dark money group, The American Accountability Foundation, to contest every single nomination by the new, illegitimate administration , the one who millions had been convinced had stolen the election with those eight million highly suspicious Black votes.
America is on a dangerous path
True dat, no question about that one. Sometimes all it takes is a drop of truth, to make the rest of the bullshit medicine slide right on down the old gullet.
 from one of America’s finest investigative journalists, Jane Mayer:
But the fierce campaign against (Ketanji Brown Jackson) was concerning, in part because it was spearheaded by a new conservative dark-money group that was created in 2020: the American Accountability Foundation. An explicit purpose of the A.A.F.—a politically active, tax-exempt nonprofit charity that doesn’t disclose its backers—is to prevent the approval of all Biden Administration nominees. . .
. . . Rather than attack a single candidate or nominee, the A.A.F. aims to thwart the entire Biden slate. The obstructionism, like the Republican blockade of Biden’s legislative agenda in Congress, is the end in itself. The group hosts a Web site, bidennoms.com, that displays the photographs of Administration nominees it has targeted, as though they were hunting trophies. And the A.A.F. hasn’t just undermined nominees for Cabinet and Court seats—the kinds of prominent people whose records are usually well known and well defended. It’s also gone after relatively obscure, sub-Cabinet-level political appointees, whose public profiles can be easily distorted and who have little entrenched support. The A.A.F., which is run by conservative white men, has particularly focused on blocking women and people of color. As of last month, more than a third of the twenty-nine candidates it had publicly attacked were people of color, and nearly sixty per cent were women.source