David Brat in La-La Land

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Republican Party

The Wall Street Journal (???!!!) has dug up some snips from David Brat’s writings that might cause one to question his, shall we say, cognitive coherence. This bit is typical:

Can Christians force others to follow their ethical teachings on social issues? Note that consistency is lacking on all sides of this issue. The political Right likes to champion individual rights and individual liberty, but it has also worked to enforce morality in relation to abortion, gambling, and homosexuality. The Left likes to think of itself as the bulwark of progressive liberal individualism, and yet it seeks to progressively coerce others to fund every social program under the sun via majority rule. Houston, we have a problem. Coercion is on the rise. What is the root word for liberalism? (Answer: Liberty)

Like many Ayn Randbots, Brat ultimately has no use for representative democracy (“coerce others to fund every social program under the sun via majority rule”). And he goes on and on about how the state has a monopoly on violence –

It does not mean that the State alone uses violence, but it does mean that when push comes to shove, the State will win in a battle of wills. If you refuse to pay your taxes, you will lose. You will go to jail, and if you fight, you will lose. The government holds a monopoly on violence. Any law that we vote for is ultimately backed by the full force of our government and military. Do we trust institutions of the government to ensure justice? Is that what history teaches us about the State?

Is he saying that we should not make criminal justice a function of government? Who else should be doing it, then?

But is he also saying the Right is wrong to enforce its views on morality? Certainly I think it is, but what the Brat think? And why is he making “pro-life” noises on his issue page? Although they aren’t very clear noises –

Uphold Human Life
Human life is sacred, as proclaimed by our founding documents, and I will always support laws that protect life. Our fundamental rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness precede the existence of government and come from God, the Author of Nature. These core constitutional rights have been usurped by the Judicial and Executive Branches and must be returned to the people and their representatives.

You can parse that a lot of different ways, but I think he may be calling for returning abortion law to the states, where women are more likely to be coerced to continue unwanted pregnancy by majority rule.

Brat’s campaign manager is a real peach. Among other things, he wants to protect boys from the poisonous influence of women by banning them from teaching except in all-girl classrooms. One suspects this guy will be replaced for the general election.

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26 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Swami  •  Jun 12, 2014 @1:53 am

    Far be it from me to question a brother in the Lord, but I think somebody should put a butterfly net over Brat’s head. He does make me wonder. I mean with his Master’s degree in theology I would expect better wording from him for expressing the acceptance of the Great Commission than to say…”If we all did the right thing and had the guts to spread the word.”
    I realize the need to not bog down your Christian message with scriptural jargon when you address a potentially secular audience, but Brat conveys his message at level of a street thug.

  2. c u n d gulag  •  Jun 12, 2014 @6:45 am

    Apparently, Brat’s a “Conservative Economist,” which is an oxymoron – and also means that he is a “MORAN!”

    And the new Brat, like the old brat, Cantor, is AGAINST government forcing people to pay taxes, but is FOR government enforcing that women go through “Forced Labor,” if they should get pregnant.

    Ya gotto love these conservatives who want government out of their wallet’s, but inside women’s vagina’s – NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And so, yet another Christian conservative loony-tune enters the fray!

    Oy.

  3. c u n d gulag  •  Jun 12, 2014 @7:11 am

    I hope Trammel’s folks are contacting “The Ramones” heirs about using their GREAT song:
    Beat on the brat, beat on the brat
    Beat on the brat with a baseball bat
    Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh-ho

    Beat on the brat, beat on the brat
    Beat on the brat with a baseball bat
    Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh-ho
    Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh-ho

    What can you do? What can you do?
    With a brat like that always on your back, what can you lose?

    What can you do? What can you do?
    With a brat like that always on your back what can you lose, lose?

    Beat on the brat, beat on the brat
    Beat on the brat with a baseball bat
    Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh-ho

    Beat on the brat, beat on the brat
    Beat on the brat with a baseball bat
    Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh-ho
    Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh-ho

    What can you do? What can you do?
    With a brat like that always on your back, what can you lose?

    What can you do? What can you do?
    With a brat like that always on your back what can you lose, lose?

  4. joanr16  •  Jun 12, 2014 @8:50 am

    “Liberty” for everyone except females! Just gotta love the inconsistency of those “liber”tarians.

    Beat on the brat, beat on the brat
    Beat on the brat with a baseball bat
    Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh-ho
    Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh-ho

    I’m not usually a fan of earworms, but that one is so worth it! Thank you, Gulag!

  5. maha  •  Jun 12, 2014 @11:17 am

    I just went to the Jack Trammel Facebook page and recommended Beat on the Brat for a theme song.

  6. c u n d gulag  •  Jun 12, 2014 @12:10 pm

    Thanks, maha!
    It would be a perfect song for the campaign.

  7. John Doman  •  Jun 12, 2014 @9:48 pm

    Professor Bratt writes that Government has a monopoly on violence. You write:
    “Is he saying that we should not make criminal justice a function of government? Who else should be doing it, then?”
    Well, hmm, I dunno. Maybe he’s saying that Government has a monopoly on violence.

  8. maha  •  Jun 12, 2014 @10:48 pm

    Mr. Doman: Here is an expanded quote:

    The government holds a monopoly on violence. Any law that we vote for is ultimately backed by the full force of our government and military. Do we trust institutions of the government to ensure justice? Is that what history teaches us about the State?

    I case you missed it, here is the pertinent part of the quote:

    “Do we trust institutions of the government to ensure justice?”

    I realize it’s common for knee-jerk ideologues to simply ignore anything you might have to (dare I say it?) think about, since thinking is hard. It’s so much easier to just repeat talking points that appeal to your libertarian/adolescent sensibilities. But those of us who did grow up entertain the notion that words mean things, or are supposed to. Beyond the fact that “government has a monopoly on violence” is nonsensical on its face — as is Brat’s explanation, which seems to assume either that without government there would be no violence, or that if we could just set violence free from government regulation things would be so much better — I find the phrase

    “Do we trust institutions of the government to ensure justice?”

    troublesome, because it suggests we should privatize the criminal justice system. In other words, we should place it in the hands of people who are not answerable to We, the People. And if you don’t see how that could turn out badly, then do just re-read Atlas Shrugged and don’t bother trying to understand the real world. You would just find it distressing, I’m sure.

    In brief, comment here at your own peril. If you are going to comment on a post, you’d damn well better read the post first. Questions?

  9. unominous  •  Jun 13, 2014 @12:21 am

    As you quote him, Brat wrote that the State is not alone in using violence, but violence is a prerogative the State holds to itself. If the individual commits violence, the State will demand he justify it. You can’t use a gun to get money from the little old lady down the street, but the State can. Behind every law is the gun. Not just laws against rape and murder, but laws requiring cheese to be pasteurized and what kinds of handles you can put on your doors.

    It’s a non-controversial statement to those who bother to think about it.

    As to the institutions of government ensuring justice: the way you limit discussion to the criminal justice system, you sound like a good libertarian. We demand more “justice” than just protection from and punishment of criminals. I point you to the Occupy movement and the aforementioned cheese and doorknob regulations. Is government really the best instrument to enrich the poor and protect the eaters of cheese? And if we want government to devote attention to that, how good can it be at protecting us from rape and murder?

  10. unominous  •  Jun 13, 2014 @12:23 am

    [Deleted. Comment rules violation. See especially rules #1 and #2.]

  11. Swami  •  Jun 13, 2014 @2:24 am

    My thought on Brat’s comment is that seeing how he is writing for a Christian audience and he appears pretty even handed in pointing out short comings in both conservatives and liberals. That maybe he’s off on a God tangent where he alludes to the Christian understanding that man is born into sin and corrupted by nature and therefore any government formed by man is incapable of insuring justice. Meaning that true justice can only be understood and dispensed by God (Jesus) when he returns and sets up his own government.
    I know it get confusing when Brat jumps from one dimension to the other by citing examples from reality while leading the un- attuned reader to think that both they and Brat are in the same dimension when in actuality Brat is toggling between different dimensions. It’s not an uncommon practice in devoted Christian communications.. The secret to avoid confusion in understanding is making sure you are on the same wave length.

  12. c u n d gulag  •  Jun 13, 2014 @6:50 am

    “The secret to avoid confusion in understanding is making sure you are on the same wave length.”
    Swami,
    OY!
    My anuliminininum hat must block out those wave lengths – ’cause I’m always confoosed…

  13. maha  •  Jun 13, 2014 @8:32 am

    violence is a prerogative the State holds to itself. If the individual commits violence, the State will demand he justify it.

    This has been true of human community living going back to the dawn of civilization, however. It’s the most basic function of government, including familial and tribal governments. Where anyone can assault or kill anyone else without compunction human community cannot exist. We’d still all be living in caves guarding our flint arrowheads from the guy in the next cave. Human communities have conceded violence regulation to some kind of “governmental” authority, whether the clan or tribal elder or a king or a constitutionally appointed criminal justice system, since, like, always. I know of no exceptions.

    One of the most central concerns of any representative democracy is to ensure that criminal justice, including the forcible apprehension of lawbreakers and use of force to protect citizens from violent offenders, is done according to laws crafted by the people’s representatives and in a way that insures civil liberties are respected, which is a big improvement over earlier approaches. Granted, criminal justice systems often fall short of the ideal. Making the system work the way it’s supposed to is an ongoing struggle and probably always will be, given human nature.

    But unless you have a workable alternative in mind — and I’ve yet to hear one — speaking of this system as if it’s some kind of outrage against humanity makes you all sound like little boys who are angry because your mommy and daddy make you do your homework and won’t let you stay up playing video games on a school night. Brat’s little speech is typical libertarian empty rhetoric — sound and fury signifying nothing.

  14. alanstorm  •  Jun 13, 2014 @9:48 am

    ” If you refuse to pay your taxes, you will lose. You will go to jail, and if you fight, you will lose. The government holds a monopoly on violence. Any law that we vote for is ultimately backed by the full force of our government and military.”

    Please elaborate on any untruths contained in that statement.

    Please, try. Your squirming will be very entertaining.

  15. maha  •  Jun 13, 2014 @10:36 am

    alanstorm — I generally don’t respond to questions I have already answered. Please see my comment here. The real issue here is what the hell Brat (and you) are IMPLYING with your “government holds a monopoly on violence” comment. Why is this an issue (read the comment linked first)? Do you have a better idea (not that I’ve heard so far). Complaining about the criminal justice functions of government is like making a big stink about having to wear shoes. You are making an issue out of something that’s been a cornerstone of civilization since there has been civilization without articulating why you think this is a bad thing or what you would put in its place.

  16. c u n d gulag  •  Jun 13, 2014 @10:54 am

    Alan -SturmUndDrangUndVrong,
    Please understand that “Hammurabi’s Code,” back in 1700+ BC, wasn’t to HIDE things, but to establish laws!
    For society.
    REALLY!
    No Libertarian, he!!!!!

    Ya gotta beef wid dat?
    Buy an old DeLorean, “MORAN!”, and give Cristopher Lloyd a call!

  17. c u n d gulag  •  Jun 13, 2014 @10:54 am

    OY!
    Christopher…

  18. maha  •  Jun 13, 2014 @11:11 am

    True fact: In Hammurabi’s day one could be executed for selling watered-down beer. I’d hate to think what he’d do with the Budweiser corporation.

  19. Annie  •  Jun 13, 2014 @11:25 am

    Well, he’s farther right than the guy he beat, so I didn’t expect him to be too brith.

    That aside, I am reading your book and I think I’m going to give it to several people I know. It is great! I love it and I love your writing. You explain things so well that I’ve tried for years to put into words and failed. Thanks for writing it!

  20. Annie  •  Jun 13, 2014 @11:26 am

    *bright

  21. maha  •  Jun 13, 2014 @11:47 am

    Annie — thank you so much! If it’s not too much trouble, I hope you could give it a positive rating at Amazon. Every little bit helps.

  22. unominous  •  Jun 13, 2014 @12:34 pm

    Saying that the state has a monopoly on violence is not a complaint. It’s a warning. It means that any function you want to give to the state is going to be have as its ultimate enforcement the edge of a sword or the barrel of a gun. As PJ O’rourke humorously put it, would you put your grandmother in jail to pave I-95? There’s a difference between entrusting the state with the power to make laws against violence and theft, and entrusting those same armed people with the power to make laws against what kind of plants you can grow on your property.

    When you give the state the power to ensure justice, including social and, heck even cosmic justice (confiscatory taxation, non-discrimination laws, ghetto-ized voting districts, land use regs) it all becomes criminal justice, because the only power the state has is to make something criminal, which justifies the state’s use of force to stop it. If you’re not willing to put a bullet in someone because they refuse to stop shooting wolves on their property, then you shouldn’t make a law against it.

  23. maha  •  Jun 13, 2014 @12:58 pm

    It’s a warning. It means that any function you want to give to the state is going to be have as its ultimate enforcement the edge of a sword or the barrel of a gun.

    One more time: What alternative do you propose that would not have as its ultimate enforcement the edge of a sword or the barrel of a gun? You state a painfully obvious thing that has been true of human civilization since the dawn of time and declare this thing to be bad, yet you propose no alternative. And trust me, dude, if government doesn’t exercise this function someone else will, and that someone else probably won’t answer to voters or be constrained by courts. You obviously live in the same la-la land as David Bart.

    Like most libertarians you hate representative democracy and prefer to pretend it doesn’t exist, speaking of “government” as an entity with its own evil self-essence. For more on this see Michael Lind, “Why libertarians apologize for autocracy” and also Erik Kain, “The Case for Democracy.” And don’t bother further arguing with me until you’ve read Lind and Kain — specifically addressing their comments — because if you do I will delete your comment and ban you from the site. I don’t have time to argue with ideological zombies who offer the same paint-by-numbers arguments to everything.

  24. Swami  •  Jun 13, 2014 @9:08 pm

    I don’t have time to argue with ideological zombies who offer the same paint-by-numbers arguments to everything.

    :)

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