According to a recent Washington Post op-ed, conservative judges—especially those on the Supreme Court—should not exist. But they do. And they continue to issue rulings based on judicial philosophies of natural law, due process, and judicial review rather than on left-wing activism.
Columnist Perry Bacon sees this as a big problem. But since it’s not possible to pack the Supreme Court just yet or to get rid of all of the conservative judges, he offers an “informal” solution: Shame them all. Relentlessly. Keep telling them and the public that their rulings are “bigoted.” The goal is “to make Republican judges less conservative in their rulings,” by appealing to their concern for their reputations and desire for respect.
The reasoning is not hard to unpack. The op-ed promotes an age-old tactic to force people to comply with agendas against their better judgment: the threat of ostracism. However, this strategy certainly does not reflect a positive use of shame in a civil society when, for example, a parent might scold a child for bullying. Or, on a greater scale, when we might denounce those who have clearly committed crimes against humanity.
Rather, this use of the term “shame” is a euphemism for a full-fledged demonization campaign. The essay openly calls for “a sustained campaign of condemnation” of conservative judges through heavy-duty mobbing:
Democratic politicians, left-leaning activist groups, newspaper editorial boards and other influential people and institutions need to start relentlessly blasting Republican-appointed judges. A sustained campaign of condemnation isn’t going to push these judges to write liberal opinions, but it could chasten them toward more moderate ones.
Why is this necessary? After all, left-wing leaders in America probably have at their disposal well over 90 percent of all media outlets. They have also captured virtually every institution, the corporate world, Big Tech, medicine, academia, and billionaires galore. They also have the White House and Senate. And even though they’re a minority in the House, they can use their defamation tactics to pick off chosen “Republicans” whenever they deem it necessary.
But that’s not enough for them. They insist on 100 percent compliance from every single corner of society. This is why any conservative in the judiciary, particularly on the Supreme Court, irritates them to no end. Any independent voice is a source of never-ending angst for them. Those who do not prop up their narratives—a physician offering a second opinion on COVID treatment or a teacher who isn’t all in with pronoun protocols—must be canceled and defamed as sources of “disinformation” and/or “hate.”
Demonization is the primary tool of tyrants because they generally cannot win real arguments, or, increasingly, real elections. So the goal is to socially isolate a person—or a group of people—and to build public opinion hostility against those targets so that they either comply or are canceled. This defamation also sends a strong message to all witnesses: if you want to be “respected,” you must cave and obey. Or you’re next.
The natural fear of ostracism is easily exploited because human beings have an innate need to connect with other people. At the same time, we have a primal fear of being ostracized. So demonizing labels—like “bigot,” “hater,” “fascist,” “white supremacist,” “conspiracy theorist,” and so on—tend to cause a lot of people to shut up or even lie about what they believe.
This emotional extortion seems to have worked with former Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy who wrote up a fluffy nonsensical decision in Obergefell, crowning himself a hero in the eyes of the rainbow brigade. Chief Justice John Roberts also made nice with the Left in 2012 when he saved Obamacare by inexplicably calling its individual mandate a “tax.” The same dynamic seems to have affected Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Bacon notes that Kavanaugh has responded to the harassment by writing opinions that “seem almost intentionally written to minimize public blowback.”
There are two great ironies here. First, those who go on the attack do not really care about those they claim to be protecting. The evidence is overwhelming. They don’t care about any “transgender” person who wants to de-transition. Their cavalier response to the environmental disaster in East Palestine, Ohio shows how little they care about the environment or the people who suffer in such crises.
They also tend to be pro-violence whenever violence supports their agendas. They consistently promote the mobbing and demonization tactics promoted by Saul Alinsky: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it,” and “rub resentments raw” in order to “agitate to the point of conflict.” Such incitement seems to be exactly what was behind the assassination attempt on Brett Kavanaugh. If the roles were reversed, the Left would label it “stochastic terrorism,” and conservatives would join in condemning such violence. But when violence is used to advance leftist agendas, the Left tends to either ignore or celebrate such incidents.
The second irony is that those who cave to the pressures, falsely believing they will get relief and “respect” by doing so, are actually digging themselves deeper into isolation. They are also cultivating political correctness, which results in more self-censorship and the further atomization of society. Because if we can’t have simple, open, honest conversations with others or with a public audience, we are in a state of isolation.
Everybody, especially conservative justices, must understand and resist this demonization game. You will get less respect—not more—by kowtowing in any way to protect your “reputation” or “legacy.” Worse, we will all end up harassed if conservative judges compromise the constitutional principles that stand between tyranny and freedom.