The Feiler Faster Thesis posits that the pace of social change is accelerated by the increasing rapidity of the technology used by journalists to report the news, which whets the public’s appetite for more and even faster news, thus in effect creating even more news. By turns vicious and virtuous, it’s a cycle of news-and-response that keeps current events churning and temporarily sating the public’s appetite for the new—until something even newer comes along. It’s like the mad chariot race in Ben-Hur, with the only certainty being that at least one side is going to be destroyed in the delirium.
In the pre-2016 past, the engine was the Kardashians and their ilk, celebrities famous for being famous for reasons that either no one could remember or had something to with (given the mainstreaming of pornography) a sex tape. Not that any of it really mattered; journalism having long ago gotten into the gossip business, “news” was defined as anything the public wanted to know about, and so the race to the, er, bottom was on.
Today, the embodiment of this phenomenon is not the generously proportioned Kim K. but the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, in whose person the nation’s obsession with both the trivial (Stormy Daniels) and the crucial (peace with North Korea and the coming downfall of the Iranian mullahs) combine in one unique individual equally at home in both aspects of our public (and formerly private) lives. Seizing control of the principal Feilerian engine, Twitter, Trump has jacked up the pace of change to warp speed, and we are all now just along for the ride.
Consider the events of the past couple of days alone: major victories in the Supreme Court, including the upholding of his “Muslim ban,” and, in Janus v. AFSCME, what may prove to be a death blow to the Democrats’ stranglehold on the public-employee unions and their milking of them as electoral cash cows. On top of that, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his sudden retirement, leaving a vacancy on the Court that Trump announced he would fill immediately with a proven conservative in the mold of Neil Gorsuch.
The Left, which has been driven to madness by Trump’s victory and his subsequent relentless drive to overturn what’s left of the Obama “legacy” and restore something of the status quo ante of the country he (and we) knew and loved growing up, has now gone completely bonkers (pungent examples at the link.) As I wrote on Twitter yesterday: “This must be what the Platonic Form of schadenfreude feels like.” It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys.
All three of these events are of crucial importance in the rolling back of the Frankfurt School’s cultural-demolition project of “Critical Theory,” the eradication of Obamaism from our laws and its reduction to a footnote in the history books, the counter-offensive against the Long March Through the Institutions, and most of all in the restoration of traditional American values, including patriotism, self-defense, cultural confidence, and the old “don’t tread on me” spirit. No wonder the Left is losing it—in both senses.
The “Muslim ban” decision was to be expected, but the fact that it was 5-4 is disgraceful. The U.S. Code Section 1182 makes it clear that the president has plenary authority in matters of immigration, but the sappers on the Left sued and sued again to challenge Trump’s authority on the grounds that Trump had shown bias by singling out a religion—and found some stooge federal judges to agree with them on no legal grounds whatsoever. Justice Sotomayor’s thoroughly dishonest dissent was typical of leftist thinking:
The United States of America is a Nation built upon the promise of religious liberty. Our Founders honored that core promise by embedding the principle of religious neutrality in the First Amendment. The Court’s decision today fails to safeguard that fundamental principle. It leaves undisturbed a policy first advertised openly and unequivocally as a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” because the policy now masquerades behind a façade of national-security concerns. But this repackaging does little to cleanse Presidential Proclamation No. 9645 of the appearance of discrimination that the President’s words have created. Based on the evidence in the record, a reasonable observer would conclude that the Proclamation was motivated by anti-Muslim animus.
To which the proper response is: so what? Islam is not a faith native to these shores, and aside from launching attacks on Americans with distressing regularity, its adherents have no historical standing in the American project. To bolster her case, Sotomayor quoted from Trump’s campaign tweets. By casting the clear language of the law as an Establishment Clause case, the Left—which is usually so militantly atheist—tried its usual moral jiu-jitsu against us . . . and failed.
The Janus case will hit the Democrats right where the party of plutocrats lives—in the wallet; since President Kennedy unwisely permitted government employees to unionize, the Democrats have become, unsurprisingly, the party of government. By overturning a previous ruling, the court settled the issue of whether non-members of the union could be forced to pay “agency fees” into union coffers—which in turn fuel and fund Democrat candidates across the country. The unions argued that even nonmembers benefited from the “collective bargaining” rackets that government employees entered into with other government employees, with the taxpayer on the hook for their mutual generosity, but the court found that the plaintiff, Mark Janus, had his First Amendment rights violated and that forcing him to pay the fees was in effect political coercion.
This has set off a five-alarm fire on the Left, which sees its precious social-engineering decisions now in real danger of being overturned (as Dred Scott and Plessy were before them) and the issues being punted back to the states to decide, as they should have been all along. Because the dirty little secret of the anti-democratic Democrats is that they like oligarchical rule or, even better, rule by kings.
Kennedy’s retirement leaves the way clear to seat another conservative justice just in time for the November congressional elections. One of the salient issues in the past presidential election was control of the court, which was since the death of Antonin Scalia, precariously balanced between the four liberal justices and four conservative justices, with the whimsical Kennedy often in effect a one-man legal dictator on matters of public policy. Now the man who unconscionably saved the misbegotten Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, and gave us national gay marriage in Obergefell three years ago, will hang up his black robes at the end of July.
This has set off a five-alarm fire on the Left, which sees its precious social-engineering decisions now in real danger of being overturned (as Dred Scott and Plessy were before them) and the issues being punted back to the states to decide, as they should have been all along. Because the dirty little secret of the anti-democratic Democrats is that they like oligarchical rule or, even better, rule by kings. As long as Tony Kennedy gave them abortion and gay marriage, they could almost live with his decisions in Citizens United (upholding the First Amendment) and Bush v. Gore. Almost.
Now they’re going to have to live without him, cursing Mitch McConnell for never bringing Merrick Garland’s nomination to the floor and bemoaning how close they came to a solid majority on the court without having to worry about which side of the bed Kennedy woke up on. The next GOP justice is unlikely to “grow in office” the way Kennedy did, and others had before him. Now, the Democrats are looking at a generation or more in the rule-by-fiat wilderness, especially when Kennedy is replaced by a conservative as reliable as Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch.
If and when one of the four liberals is the next to retire or die (Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 85), the Feiler Faster quadriga will get a hell of a lot faster, with Trump laughing all the way to the finish line and wondering which enemies to drag behind his mighty steeds next.
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