Monday, June 01, 2009

Straw, stuffing and notation

A lively look at the use of strawman-based arguments is going on at Hot Air and it is interesting to go through, if you can weed through it to get to some of the views on the use of argumentation style.  This started with a citation of a recent NYT article that actually points out the flimsy use of strawmen by President Obama.  Over at Powerline John Hinderaker begins the analysis of the President's anti-terror speech, as part of an overall analysis of it, in Part II in the series of articles on the dueling speeches of President Obama and Vice President Dick Cheney.  In Part III he then starts to examine some of the views presented by the President and sees if they are honest positions taken in reference to some actual problem or a dishonest presentation of them (and continued in-depth at Part IV).  Scott Johnson, also at Powerline, continues the review in this post, and examines how dishonest presentation of actual history is used to try and bolster non-existent political cases for policy.

Between these two things we see the differences between 'strawmen', which is an assertion of a viewpoint with no attribution to it, and something that I call stuffing or 're-packaging', which is the taking of honest policy and its reason for being and saying that it has no basis for being or that events have somehow indicated policy failure when, by examining actual events, the policy is a demonstrated success.

There is a third type of argumentation style that falls into similar headings, and it is meta-analysis  or 'tagging' or notation: the attempt to identify a block of individuals and put them into a singular category that you create and then mock or otherwise admonish based on the category title you have put on.  This latter is frequently as a positional basis for arguing that can also include strawmen and stuffing: caricature presentations of positions, dishonest historical analysis and then deriving a 'theme' from those that is then used against a swath of people so as to remove individuality of argument from that entire group and demonize the entire group as supporting that caricature and stuffed ahistorical review.


Each of these types of argumentative bases have legitimate counter-parts.

Consider in the realm of military analysis the inter-war years and the examination of the use of airpower in future conflicts.  Gen. Curtis LeMay was a leading proponent in the utility and capability of airpower in future engagements and was following the works of Giulioi Douhet that examined the issues prior to WWI and would start the works on strategic bombing in 1921.  Strategic bombing as a military tactic differed from sieges and assaults by artillery or other long distance attacks in two main venues:  1) deliverable ordinance load deep into enemy territory, and 2) accuracy.  By reaching beyond where conventional artillery could go, as it is based on ground units, air mobile delivery platforms offered a means and methodology to remove the sustained ability of a Nation to field an army by attacking its infrastructure base.

This form of theory is that of total war theory, which had been seen in previous eras to one extent or another, but was first practiced by General Tecumseh Sherman during the campaigns of 1862-63 which recognized the logic of emerging modern warfare: the ability of a Nation to field an army is based on its ability to sustain it.  Attacking an infrastructure of communications, re-supply routes and actual supply sources led to chaos and collapse of the Confederate economy and caused a marked decrease in the ability of the Confederacy to support its soldiers or even protect the internal components of the Confederacy itself.  That has gone on, in one form or another, since the dawn of mass warfare either in the burning of cropland (scorched earth policy) that the Gauls used against the Romans, or in the somewhat misnamed 'Siege of Troy' by the Achaean Greeks which was a multi-year campaign to denude Troy of its outer allies and easy supply lines overland to the Hittites, thus reducing the ability of the city to sustain itself.  All later war theory would recognize this formulation of strategic warfare and even when Grotius was drafting his works on war, peace and the seas, the restrictions on attacking purely civilian holdings that had NO strategic value was seen... anything that did have strategic value was a legitimate target in warfare.

Douhet, LeMay and other theorists like Capt. Basil Liddell-Hart, would examine the use of airpower as a potent mix within the concepts of limited and total war based on analysis of the directions seen in WWI and where they were headed.  What was not known, however, was what the consequences would be on civilian morale of such targeted areas.   The predictions, however, were dire and would postulate casualties and loss of morale that could not be achieved by the weapons of that time nor by the examination of past conflicts as no one had the capability to so destroy the infrastructure of a city that was not in direct contact or within bombardment range, of a conflict.  Unless you look at Troy which is only coming to terms in modern views and the view of it then being a multi-year actual siege with the city taken by trickery was current (and still is in most quarters).  Even that should have given the theorists pause as no actual attacks on the infrastructure of city had taken place, but its entire contact with the outside world and trading partners had been removed.  Thus by the then current view, it was a city in desperate straights that fought on for YEARS while under siege.  Still one cannot blame the theorists as it was 'speculation', and post-WWII analysis would claim many things 'obvious' that weren't when the original work had gone on.

How does this play out with 'strawmen'?  Well, WWII actually did put the the postulations to the test, and found theory wanting in many areas but not completely so.  If bombing of major cities and factory complexes in Germany did not create a situation of sudden German collapse (just as the Germans had been unable to do with Britain), what it did see is an incremental reduction in the ability to supply modern forces.  The equation that arrived of delivering massive destructive capability at low aggressor cost in manpower would play out successfully in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  There the collapse of the government was a very near thing as the ruling military elite were very close to staging a coup if the Emperor surrendered, and that was a deal of minutes and hours and an extremely close call.  Using conventional weapons and forces, the US was planning a huge invasion of the Japanese main islands and expecting Okinawa and Iwo Jima proportional losses.  The Purple Hearts minted for that invasion have still, to this day, not been handed out even with conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East and Afghanistan between 1945 and now. 

Thus if later historians deride the proponents of strategic air bombardment in the concept of total war, the originators can point to Hiroshima and Nagasaki as actual proof of their concepts.  Their hypothetical conclusions were backed, yes, but by scanty evidence: they had firm basis on the technical and military side, but little to none on the social side.  The effects of those hypothetical conclusions playing out and have been used in 'strawman' attacks against those who put forward their views.  Yet they had little actual evidence in any venue to help demonstrate the effects on larger populations of what they were talking about, and so you get projections that had assumptions built-into them of the ability of the general population in a city or Nation to hold up to such bombardment.  In a sense they were straw-propositions, not descriptions, as there was no hard and fast theory of strategic bombing and what its impact was.  Working from knowns they moved into unknowns, and if some postulations proved wrong (collapse of morale amongst the target population in conventional raids) they also proved very correct in their overall assessment of strategic airpower.  In looking towards the best possible outcomes, the analysis, itself, was faulty and the straw proposition, it was hoped, would never be put to the test.

Thus while the rose-colored expectations of airpower of the original theorists was misplaced, it had a basis in fact and within theory: they lacked the understanding of civilian population resilience while under attack in the modern era, indeed, all heads of State and governments had no good guiding light on that.  The horrific calculus of reduction in morale and ability to fight was one that required a shift in deliverable capability outside of normal expectations, but that, in turn, would have a large influence on governments.  For modern critics to miss the salient points of strategic airpower is disingenuous: the theory behind it was sound, as far as it could go on the knowns, and only failed in extrapolation into the unknowns as the social sciences then, as now, cannot tell how large, national populations will react to strategic use of airpower.  We now have markers to understand it: the Battle of Britain, the Battle for Stalingrad, the bombing of Dresden, the attack on ball bearing plants in Germany, the attacks on the dams of the Rhine, the bombing of the Ploesti oil fields, the firebombing of Tokyo and other cities, and the use of nuclear devices on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Only at the last was more than large scale air assault, where a single aircraft could destroy entire cities, did the internal domestic understanding fall into line with strategic airpower theory.  And that part was also a hypothetical before WWII.

Before the war only a few physicists understood that this was possible not only as a matter of physics theory, but as engineering, and they were at the highest point in the physics establishment and worried that the German technical and scientific communities would hit upon a successful combination just as they did in WWI with poison gas.  No one could know, with any certainty, that these postulation would prove correct.  Both were extrapolations with backing, neither had high predictive value, however, but had high descriptive value in examining past work and understanding the underlying social trends behind them.  Physics is a different realm from strategic airpower theory, since it is a description of the physical universe and based on experimental confirmation of hypotheses to put together an understood framework of how the universe manifests itself.  There are, by the way mathematics works, isolated pockets of information and facts that will be unattached to the greater framework, as was demonstrated by Kurt Gödel, but extensions to what we would come to call 'the standard model' of physics as a body of interlocking work examining the known parts that can be easily observed and understood are things that anyone can find out via experimentation. 

The physics was known before WWII, but the engineering was not understood, especially on nuclear fission.  Simple questions of types of atoms that can undergo fission and release decay particles to cause other unstable atoms to divide, the mass of material, its necessary density and even such things as timing of the reaction were all in the realm of engineering which is applied physics.  FDR could not ignore the hard physics as explained to him by Einstein and others, and recognized that pre-war Germany was a pre-eminent scientific and engineering power in the world and had the skills (even after driving Jewish scientists away or killing them), manpower and engineering skills to commence such a project.  There was no 'genie' to put back in the bottle as the necessary scientific understanding was one that could be checked out by any competent lab and all that was required was time, money, effort and understanding the physics of the problem.  The engineering necessary for this pointed to a very high state of work, however, which would be limited to a very few highly industrialized nations.  One could not say in 1939 that Germany would not have produced and tested a nuclear device: their industry and scientific establishment was well capable of that, and by then the 'genie' had already escaped as fission had already been demonstrated by Enrico Fermi.  Nuclear scientists soon found themselves at the forefront of nuclear engineering, however, which was a major change for them as they had to move from theory to application and understand the rest of the engineering work around the nuclear part to create such a device.  The predictions were clear due to understanding of wartime needs, the German scientific establishment and the industrial capacity of Germany.

That latter part, however, could not be observed due to the war that had started, and no one could imagine that Germany would inefficiently use its industrial power.  Yet that is exactly what happened, as multiple design bureaus would compete with different designs (post-1941) in aircraft once they understood the suite of aircraft made before the war was going to be supplanted and surpassed during it.  Taking a very few years off on jet aircraft design would prove disastrous, as would concentration on heavier tanks instead of more mobile ones.  Running industry from Government is highly inefficient, and that was demonstrated by Germany having come very, very close to many revolutionary designs only by post-war analysis.  There the societal changes due to National Socialism were not understood nor were the basics of government inefficiency taken into account: both were areas of very low research in the social sciences then and now, and only economics having started to peek into the latter in a serious way post-war.  If the physics cohort that lobbied FDR was wrong in their understanding of German use of industrial capacity, then so were all the leaders of the Allied powers.  What was presented was a 'worst case scenario' that was within the realm of the believable... just like the strategic airpower theorists did.  Little did these two disparate communities come to realize that, together, they had formulated a new area of strategic nuclear weapons theory, which has its own untested conclusions and theories.

In the final analysis the extreme predictions of both strategic airpower theorists AND a handful of leading physicists proved correct.  Their postulations on future conditions were into an unknown but highly reasonable extrapolation of the known, and pure speculation when there was no data to back any conclusion.  As there is no absolute predictive capability in detail or even gross overview of the future, we are left with those who can demonstrate a firm basis of understanding of the present and then look to those trends in the future for understanding what the threats are in the modern world.  Such extrapolations run the gamut from the fantastical (as seen in cinematic presentations) all the way down to the extremely and chillingly indicative like War Plan Orange created before WWII and describing a possible future conflict with Japan.  There are differences in strawmen and postulations, then, between those of caricature of opponents or opposition arguments, and those of postulating future events based on past ones and our understanding of them.  Ones based on known facts and how they work together become hypothetical forecasts, and those used to describe past activities to partisan gain with no backing are an attempt to seek a demonization of those who are getting a strawman put in front of them.  Both can be blown away with factual review: not all strawmen put forward in hypotheses prove correct, in fact most don't, but they serve as points of clarification; and those trying to describe past action and impute impure or poorly based motives when those were clearly stated at the time and accepted are attacking an unsupported figure with no backing at all.  The strawman hypothesis ('If X is true then does Y follow it based on how we understand X and Y?') runs many of the same risks of the caricature strawman used against political opponents: they can support unsustainable work, as Lysenkoism did in the USSR,  leading to ill-based, ill-conceived and un-backed experimentation.  In science even a basically right hypothesis, such as that of plate tectonics, can be deemed wrong when it is not backed by sufficient data or examination of the effects of the postulation.  That is no help to the scientist who loses his scientific reputation, but points to the need for well considered and reasoned points backed by data.

Politically, describing a caricature position without then backing it up to demonstrate a wider venue of thought, is dishonest as it attempts to conjoin separate ideas that the backers of such would not conjoin due to rationale and reason for coming to such conclusions in the first place.  To create a one sentence straw argument, and then bash it down is dishonest in the extreme: later war historians and those wishing to distort history (like that of strategic airpower and total war) utilize emotional content and glib, biased verbiage to portray something that is reasonable and rational and comes at the end of a long chain of understood and accepted reasoning as something that starts out as a disingenuous idea when those that were doing such work had no actual spite or mean-spirit in their work.  Doing such in a biased way and offering no positives to such policies nor their reasoning and rationale behind them is a debasement of human argumentative capability and the ability to demonstrate that you can actually reason through an opponents argument and find problems with the way it is argued so as to come to such conclusions WITHOUT imputing poor moral character, dishonest presentation or other reasons outside of the argument itself.  Machiavelli is often misunderstood in his reasoning and rationale for coming to conclusions, and yet they fit fully within the basis of society of his era and show a deeper understanding of human psychological motivations than can be demonstrated today by political scientists: that is why reading his works as 'classics' still compel readers to this day as he offers insight into human nature and how that drives individuals and Nations.  Any Prince, any leader of a Nation, has certain duties and objectives that they must carry out, and Machiavelli applied reason to those and sought the best way possible for a Prince or any other leader to understand why they must carry those out and what was the best way to do so.  The nature of man and the nature of what we can create in this realm has not changed, thus Machiavelli retains a timeless quality about what those natures are, while those putting up strawman seek purely temporal and temporary advantage.


If one is to examine an opponent or their line and methodology of reasoning and its backing, then it is incumbent upon the presenter to do a formal standing up of the case and not put up a glib strawman.  In looking at the works of Oswald Spengler, I examined just how he did that and why his reasoning is deeply moving: he identified larger basis for political and social movements and how those play out over time.  By describing how the human condition drives forms of political and social thought, Mr. Spengler comes to examine outcomes based on such movements and how they use their interior rationale for being to get to such ends.  He does take a clearly biased position, he makes no bones about it, but one arrived at by his own analyses and he does not stint on trying to flesh out political and social movements that he finds abhorrent or misguided.  One can disagree with his rationale and reasoning based on those argumentative points, but no one can say that he is dishonestly presenting a case.  One may not like the tenor or tone of his presentations, they are forceful in the extreme, but he gives a foundation of his understanding, demonstrates it and then looks at those who do not use that set of ideas and sees where they end up due to those differences.

A taste of how that looks from Spengler in Readings from: The Decline of the West and The Hour of Decision (Source: Radical Nationalism in Australia) and I will boldface interesting passages:

Man is a beast of prey. [5] I shall say it again and again. All the would-be moralists and social-ethics people who claim or hope to be "beyond all that" are only beasts of prey with their teeth broken, who hate others on account of the attacks which they themselves are wise enough to avoid. Only look at them. They are too weak to read a book on war, but they herd together in the street to see an accident, letting the blood and the screams play on their nerves. And if even that is too much for them, they enjoy it on the film and in the illustrated papers. If I call man a beast of prey, which do I insult: man or beast? For remember, the larger beasts of prey are noble creatures, perfect of their kind, and without the hypocrisy of human moral due to weakness.

They shout: "No more war" - but they desire class war. They are indignant when a murderer is executed for a crime of passion, but they feel a secret pleasure in hearing of the murder of a political opponent. What objection have they ever raised to the Bolshevist slaughters? There is no getting away from it: conflict is the original fact of life, is life itself, and not the most pitiful pacifist is able entirely to uproot the pleasure it gives his inmost soul. Theoretically, at least, he would like to fight and destroy all opponents of pacifism.

The further we advance into the Caesarism of the Faustian world, the more clearly will it emerge who is destined ethically to be the subject and who the object of historical events. The dreary train of world-improvers has now come to an end of its amble through these centuries, leaving behind it, as sole monument of its existence, mountains of printed paper. The Caesars will now take its place. High policy, the art of the possible, will again enter upon its eternal heritage, free from all systems and theories, itself the judge of the facts by which it rules, and gripping the world between its knees like a good horseman.

This being so, I have only to show here the historical position in which Germany and the world now stand and how this position is the inevitable outcome of the history of past centuries, and will just as inevitably pass on to certain forms and solutions. That is Destiny. We may deny it, but in so doing we deny ourselves.

Even though this is an examination of the political atmosphere of Germany heading into WWII, the reasoning works as well with any movement that tries to deny that man comes from Nature and what the nature of man actually is. 

This view of Spengler's is not one that sits outside the mainstream of thought on political movements or, indeed, Nations, and was actually seen as something so contrary to survival of Nations that in the Law of Nations (1758) by Emmerich de Vattel in Book III about such movements:

§ 3. Right of making war.(136)

In treating of the right to security (Book II. Chap. IV.), we have shown that nature gives men a right to employ force, when it is necessary for their defence, and for the preservation of their rights. This principle is generally acknowledged: reason demonstrates it; and nature herself has engraved it on the heart of man. Some fanatics indeed, taking in a literal sense the moderation recommended in the gospel, have adopted the strange fancy of suffering themselves to be massacred or plundered, rather than oppose force to violence. But we need not fear that this error will make any great progress. The generality of mankind will, of themselves, guard against its contagion — happy, if they as well knew how to keep within the just bounds which nature has set to a right that is granted only through necessity! To mark those just bounds, — and, by the rules of justice, equity, and humanity, to moderate the exercise of that harsh, though too often necessary right — is the intention of this third book.

Oswald Spengler goes further than de Vattel does, due to differences in the nature of their work, but warning that not only is this view of pacifism (or any other system denying the nature of man) fanatical, but that it is on the move against society and his Nation.  Socialism, like all 'perfect' forms of society only gets to that 'perfection' once it extinguishes all other forms of social interaction and becomes monolithic.  It does not matter if that is National Socialism, which is Fascism, or International Socialism, which is Communism: both are fanatical forms of socialism a political theory that, itself, sees only socialism at the end of all discoveries when we can know no more, have no boundaries to expand and, indeed, must divvy up the universe into guided portions to survive as there is no way to make more of the universe.  To that end all pacifist theorems come to a similar end so that any action taken by any Nation to assert the freedom and liberty of the Nation, that highest of organizing powers we create, is eroded and must become subservient to the elitist, perfect view of the world and mankind.  The greatest 'pacifist' will kill to make their 'perfect world' and leave a bloody trail behind them no matter how much they disavow war, they will kill to get it put in place over their fellow man because that is the 'greatest good'.  Just don't mind the corpses of those who disagree.

You may not agree with the basis of the argument, but it is a coherent one using reason and association of valuations and then applying it to those who seek fanatical, perfect world ends.  No matter who chants they are trying to make 'a more perfect Union' under this guise, they are pushing for full, perfect authority to dictate a new moral and social order without respect to society as a whole.  The guidance of perfecting our Union is to make ourselves, as individuals, more in harmony with each other and not to falsely misrepresent other individuals and then dehumanize them by applying a broad-based political tag or notation to them.  That view is divisive and asserts that people are just the sum of their tags, and if you could only properly tag everything they do then you would have the definition of who they are.


Unfortunately the tags never seem to run out, and those seeking to divide society against itself to enforce a perfect order upon society soon find themselves falling into categories that they don't like.  And when the shift becomes Orwellian, to actually move the meaning of words around to their opposites or obverse meanings, then the categories, themselves, become a means to so attack those who were once mere politically opposed as becoming a moral danger to the ones doing the tagging and changing of meanings.  As the attempt is to squeeze more and more people into categories they don't have agreement with, the fanatics find more resistance internally and become more open to attack externally.  By trying to 'protect the Earth' or the 'environment' and shutting down productive means to utilize both and ensure the common good, we are to disarm in front of Nature to become 'more in tune' with Nature... and the Law of Nature, red of tooth and claw becomes the new social order because that is how Nature is under the Law of Nature and Nature's God.  We must live with that.  We must not believe as did King Canute that we can REPEAL them.

Tagging is a form of notation, of course, and so is all of language as we need the representational ability to talk about things that have far deeper meaning than we can ever say.  A tree is not just a plant, or one that makes wood, or that grows in a forest, although all of those are possible.  Trees grow roots in the soil and thus have symbology of greater actions for individuals, and yet that is not fully the description of a tree, itself.  Nor is the shade that it offers in summer a full notation or tagging of it.  Nor its steadfastness in winter and against storms.  Nor is the roughness or smoothness of its bark added in fully a description of a tree.  It is all those things to us and so much more and is not, still, fully, any individual tree.  Our use of the notations we apply to a tree to denote these things is near infinite in expanse, and limited only by our Earthly selves and our perceptions. 

Yet a tree is a part of Nature and the Law of Nature, and while a tree not that red of tooth and claw, it does render us many things and we can appreciate it in many ways, both when alive and when cut down and dead.  That tree has value beyond price, and yet we can value it in just that way for its utility to us beyond those things that is part of its make-up, yet it also has a price valuation as trees have such high utility value to us as individuals and as a society for building and doing other liberty enhancing activities.  Because we can think and we can put a valuation, both price and non-price, and balance them, we can make decisions that cannot be made in Nature.  If we breed trees to serve a particular purpose, to grow faster and harder, say, for the express purpose of building materials, then the innate valuation, while no less different, becomes one put to purpose and use.  And if we worry about how we will impact other species on the planet, we can also recognize that the planet, itself, plays no favorites in what species live and die over time: it is even handed in what it administers and survival is based on factors not immediately apparent before it does so.  Nature is unthinking, and we are at its mercy as beings of Nature and only by rational examination of our actions and utilizing our liberty can we seek to create more from Nature than is provided by her.  To worship a tree as a tree is fanatical, to recognize its many characteristics, weigh them, balance them and see how any single tree fits within a wider context is to use reason and rational thought that in no way diminishes the stature of the tree, itself, but puts it into the context of multiple competing needs and seeks to find a sufficient outcome to those needs that still preserves the larger valuation of all trees while allowing society to still make use of them for purposes of liberty and social need.

When notation is added to individuals to try and separate them by class, by religion, by ethnicity, we are then assumed to have the characteristics placed upon those categories by those doing the categorizing.  Thus the rich are always snobs, say, or those in the Roman Catholic Church are Papists, or all Polacks are dumb (thus Dumb Polska), but those assumptions are, themselves, extremely broad-based and not distinguishing of the differences amongst individuals within a category.  Thus to be authoritarian is to put a descriptive tag or notation on a broad group of individuals that can have a wide variation within that group.  Roman Catholics follow the Pope for their religious views but may not actually believe the Pope is best set up to govern the planet.  In fact, quite a large percentage of people in Europe died fighting over just that qualification: that one individual was endowed to decide who was and was not a legitimate ruler of their lands in Christendom.  Although the Roman Catholic Church did not sign up to the Treaty of Westphalia, the Treaty covered those that had been in the 30 Years War that was fought over the point of religious freedom within Nations.  It is interesting that when a Pope from Poland or Germany is put in charge of the Church those individuals are STILL under the proscriptions of Westphalia... the once active renunciation of the Church would need to be re-iterated for each Pope put in power who comes from lands provided for under Westphalia as it is an eternal treaty between the warring factions and their faiths.

Our heritage provides for a different and, indeed, radical way of doing things as compared to the ancient uses of biased views depending on religion, ethnicity and politics:  judging people solely on their actions.

If one is looking to be 'fair' and utilize biases in culture, religion, ethnicity and such, then 'fairness' is an ever changing set of winds as guided by an elite group determining who one must be 'fair' to and who you can actively castigate via category.  It is an unhinged system that leads to ongoing warfare, factionalism and a slow degrading of civil society to one of harsh tribalism as 'fairness' becomes something that is only associated with given labels and utilized to break up society into those 'preferred' by the elite and those who are not.  To do this strawmen, stuffing and notation are used to put false representations of actions by individuals forward as what is actually happening.  Ad hoc or catch-all reasoning that puts a series of arguments down without connecting them those are pushed into the strawman and then those imputed to having supported those things is done in an attempt to then utilize negative connotations against them so as to silence them.  The disingenuous strawman serves as the basis for demonization via that methodology of placing negative connotations to the strawman that have no basis in fact.

At no point is judgment on the actual actions and rationale behind them examined because to do so requires an honest commitment to examining just what the actions were, their context and their basis for being, both in how they were done and why they were done via the means they were done. Applying a caricature, then, is an attempt to unmoor happenings from history and from the succession of events over time: to try and make a happening to be something done for just one cause when all of history points the opposite direction of multiple causation.  That level of dishonesty is horrific as it is not only destructive to our understanding of history, and attempts to make individual acts as not proceeding from previous ones, but it then puts fanatical application of ideology to single events and attempts to demean those using historical reasoning as being the ones that are a problem.


That is what we see, today, as those who opposed one politician running for office were deemed 'racist' even when race was not brought up by them as a set of reasons they opposed that politician.  Indeed, it was that politician who appealed via 'the race card' time and again to deflect legitimate criticism of his lack of experience, lack of character (his own great defining point during the campaign!), lack of political comprehension and a number of ties to crooked and criminal individuals who have gotten gain from politics due to such political corruption as seen in his environment.  To bring up those salient points was to be categorized as racist, even when none of those views has any connection to any race: anyone who has such political problems would have similar problems answering them, save for 'the race card'.  Once in place the deficits in character, lack of understanding of the greater culture, lack of contacts outside the small coterie of friends from a limited political environment, and general lack of ability to even reason through the Constitution in good faith have become apparent.

Yet to point those out is, somehow, 'trying to tear down the Nation' or based purely on political grounds, while NONE OF THOSE are based on political grounds, save for the lack of understanding OF politics by that politician.  Living in a hothouse of ideas means that when you go outside and are exposed to the general environment, the first ill-wind is likely to topple you.  Not great for a young tree, but a small loss.  For a Nation to have such a leader in the highest executive office means that the entire Nation is at peril due to the problems of that individual coming to the forefront as brought out by those who are not affected by any 'card'.  The 'race card' doesn't work against tyrants, dictators and despots: they despise all who are not in their ruling class without exception.  Nor does the 'compelling story card' mean something to those who are leaders of Nations as you are expected to be a leader from the moment you ENTER office.  Nor does the 'peace through disarmament card' do anything but encourage those that hate us to test us and seek out our weaknesses to strike at us as unbacked peace is a weakness and a supreme one.

And to continue playing 'cards' inside the Nation builds a house of cards.  Soon you find that one or two 'cards' divide the house and it will not stand.  As politics leaves unchecked power roaming in the capitol, it is grabbed by more and more 'Czars' who have no backing, no support, no check, no balance, only personal fealty to the President.  That is not how a Republic is run.  As the days pile up, so do the 'cards'.  The rumbling that is heard is not just the debt load of a misguided President trying to make government the supreme benefactor to all.

It is the foundation of Liberty shifting.

Soon one card will shift just slightly.

Then we will be back to Thomas Paine, and in need of Common Sense.

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