Despite his disingenuous religious agenda—to retool Christianity for more effective statecraft—I’m becoming fond of this Jim guy’s blog on every other subject.
“The boomerang effect” was coined by Jazzhands McFeels to refer to his observation that every legal, political, and propaganda tactic the Democrats try to use on Trump ends with it being used on them more effectively. The ur-example is the Russian election tampering narrative, which resulted in exposing the attempts of high-level federal intelligence agents to prevent a populist candidate from obtaining power.
The deep state, the swamp, figured that they would illegally hound the Trump campaign, and something was bound to turn up that would retroactively justify the investigation, and they could jail Trump for some crime or other.
Because, hey if any of them were investigated, not that that could ever happen, something would turn up.
Well, they have been at it for two years, and nothing has turned up. What the press keeps announcing as another triumph is that in the course of casting the net wider and wider, they find some technicality or other with which to charge someone or other somehow connected to Trump, and hope to “turn him” – get him to rat on Trump, to reveal all these terrible Trump crimes that must surely exist. Every leftist assumes, sees as quite obvious, that if anyone connected to Trump is brought under pressure, he is likely to have some Trump crimes to report. Its inevitable and obvious – because everyone has some crimes, right?
The uniform and confident expectation that if you put the heat on some random Trump associate, he will have the goods on Trump, reveals that if you were to put the heat on some random swamp dweller, he would have the goods on some more senior swamp dweller.
The expectation that something would turn up is projection. They know nothing about Trump except what everyone knows, indeed they know less, because they close their eyes for fear of exposure to thought crime. That they think that something will turn up, that any close associate of Trump must know of Trump crimes, and therefore bringing a close associate of Trump under pressure will result in him ratting out Trump for some crime or other, implies that bringing any swamp dweller under pressure will result in him ratting out a more senior swamp dweller for some crime or other.
This is why insularity will get you killed in a fight: people with more worldly experience are very good at reading weaknesses from the way you react and attack. It scales up to the political realm as well. When you air a grievance that’s a “tell” that this grievance is a legitimate source of anxiety for you (e.g. the rent is too damn high), which can be pressed like a button to hurt you. And the solution you propose for your grievance reveals your political loyalties, your identity and values, which makes it easy to predict your future rationalizations because your enemy knows who you will argue should receive more resources, who you will argue should be enslaved, and who you think needs to just die already.
This is why Sun Tzu says “All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.” To do otherwise is called “telegraphing” your strike because you might as well be wiring your opponent two weeks’ notice about where you intend to punch. No one ever landed a punch without first tricking their opponent, maybe with a feint or a misrepresentation of their reach. Old age and treachery always overcome youth and skill because the old have received more punches from a more diverse range of enemies, and have by necessity generalized the indispensable skill of anticipating them. This is why idealists who declare themselves warriors of truth and purity and light are comedic relief characters who lose every war: if you aren’t willing to lie to your enemies, then you aren’t ready to kill them.
(I expect this idealism lies at the root of the Sukhomlinov Effect and cortical expansion in hypersocial/political primates. Semiotic pragmatism trumps aesthetic fetishism in sociopolitical conflicts between mutually fertile groups.)
Predictably, the deep state, and entire left, reacts to this problem not by conciliation and retreat, but by escalation.
A little illegality (of which they hoped that they would be able to say “Well, what does it matter now” after turning up some Trump crime that would retroactively justify the investigation) has been slowly turning into a big illegality with nothing to justify it.
And when an illegality gets big enough, it is civil war.
On lefty boards, I keep hearing the argument “Well the first FBI and DoJ actions could not have been illegal, because if they were then the later actions would be even more illegal”.
There is a flaw in that argument.
The real meaning of that argument is “Anything we do is legal because we do it, and anything you do is illegal because you do it, because we can and will escalate further than you dare to escalate.” Wanna bet about what Trump will not dare? Duterte escalated all the way, and is as a result hugely popular.
Conservatism may be defined as the fear of losing civil society to escalating reprisals (i.e. the fear of lawlessness). Conservatives’ endless projection of this fear was how the left knew it could march through the institutions without reprisal. But it seems we’ve taken enough punches to get the lesson beaten into our heads, and it’s the left who have gotten too comfortable for their own good.