There’s nothing the Left hates more than seeing people they personally despise get a fair shake.
By now the evidence that Michael Flynn is the victim of a grievous and disturbing crime is undeniable. Yet not everyone is celebrating his apparent vindication. The Left sees Flynn’s exoneration as a crime in itself. Barack Obama summarized the feeling on the Left by declaring that the “rule of law is at risk,” a variation on tired Leftoid griping about Trump’s threats to our precious “norms.” It’s extraordinary! Unprecedented!
Far from proving that the rule of law is under siege, the conclusion of the Flynn case is a rare exception that proves the rule: in America, there really is no rule of law anymore. A case like Flynn’s indeed is unusual, but only because it ended by running afoul of the childish caprice of the powerful.
Spoiled With Power
Just about everything the Left says about justice in America is the opposite of what is true. In their fantasy world, they’re the beleaguered, helpless underdogs, witnessing with alarm the takeover of America by an Orange fascist. Nothing could be further from the truth.
They are the ones who have been spoiled with power. They’re so accustomed to having it their way that they define as the rule of law the state of affairs in which their wishes are granted without interruption. When things don’t go their way, they scream and terrorize until they get what they want. They’re entitled children.
A case like Flynn’s is an annoying reminder of what they don’t control, which is not very much. Despite the Trump presidency, America is still very much theirs: they have a stranglehold on culture and the most powerful institutions, from the media to the education system. It’s quite possible that in just a few decades, they will solidify a permanent hold on political power if immigration is not reduced. In the grand scheme of things, there isn’t much for them to be upset about.
What happened to Flynn is a testament to their power. They ruined an innocent man on the basis of an outrageous lie, and though it has been established beyond doubt that he was set up, they’re disappointed that they won’t be able to unjustly and gratuitously punish him further.
What more could they possibly want? They already sent America on a hugely destructive wild goose chase—a massive, historic fraud that hurt the country deeply and distracted the president for the better part of his first term. They have not been held accountable for any of it and, even now, it seems unlikely that they will be. Evidence continues to surface that the Russia investigation was baseless, but they haven’t suffered and they haven’t admitted fault. Why should they apologize? When you’re powerful, you don’t need to make arguments; you can just shout at people until they shut up. If they act like they’re unaccountable, it’s because they are.
Playing the Underdog
One of the key features of narcissists is their insecurity. Although the Left is powerful, they nevertheless indulge fantasies of persecution. Any incursions on their power, however negligible, they interpret as evidence of America’s slide into dictatorship. Inconvenience becomes tyranny.
The Left has been having a collective grand mal seizure ever since Trump was elected, obviously, but there have also been episodic peaks of fury. Whenever there is a hint that immigration levels might be reduced, or that a pointless war might start to wind down, or that corrupt spies might be held accountable, there is the same uniform lashing out from the media, professional “experts,” and establishment politicians, all chanting the same cliches about how some decision which runs counter to their interests is dangerous and unprecedented and not who we are. Indeed, all such developments are somehow fascism and destroying our norms.
Usually, the threat passes and they get what they want anyway. The case with Flynn is likely to be no different. The past leaves little reason to expect that this episode is some prelude to a grand reckoning for the deep state.
But that momentary dissatisfaction is still there, and they don’t like it, so an event like this becomes the newest installment in a melodramatic and cosmically important tale of persecution, recast as national tragedy. Leading newspapers end up publishing screeching editorials that read more like the Twitter rantings of an angry college student than the considered opinion of a respectable paper, like this:
“Bill Barr’s America is the one we’re now living in. The Justice Department, in the midst of a presidential campaign, has become a political weapon,” mused the New York Times.
When does Voldemort come into the picture? Do they hear themselves? How many times have we heard these stupid, infantile platitudes about “the evil henchman Bill Barr” since the Mueller probe ended?
For the Left, it’s a travesty that an innocent person with the wrong politics isn’t going to jail. They call this outcome, amazingly, “politicizing” the Justice Department.
No Rights for Scummy Conservatives
What’s in play here is that the Left believes it has a right to destroy any person or group of people who, by their lights, do not deserve the equal protection of the law. If you’re not a member of a “protected class,” or if you don’t pledge loyalty to their political program or if you happen to work for a president they hate, then you’re scum, and you deserve no quarter.
This is their take on justice, and it is the essence of their argument in the Flynn outrage: Flynn worked for Donald Trump, so he’s a bad man and he must suffer.
It’s not really about Flynn, just like the Brett Kavanaugh affair wasn’t really about Kavanaugh himself, but rather what he stood for, to the Left, as a conservative white man. Kavanaugh was, to them, a monster who represented the accumulated injustice of patriarchy through the ages. He was therefore not entitled to due process. Of course, exceptions can be made for prominent Democrats. In a just world, Kavanaugh would have been given the same presumption of innocence that Joe Biden has been given—and ought to have received—but fairness is a privilege that neither Kavanaugh nor random college students can be afforded.
Being children, the Left can’t tolerate that their power is not total, that the gratification of watching Flynn suffer was called off. It frustrates them.
Flynn getting off “scot-free,” in Obama’s phrasing, just wasn’t supposed to happen. It would be like if the immigration laws were enforced. In the Left’s America, that simply isn’t done.