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Reblogged:Use Cheerleading Journalists to Vet Candidates

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A conservative's praise for DeSantis amounts to 'Nothing sticks to him,' and 'He's taking on the evil corporations, man!'

Over at the Federalist, Eddie Scarry is busy enjoying a chance to poke fun at the lefties working for the New York Times while pretending Ron DeSantis is the best thing since sliced bread.

Cool, nothing sticks to him, but are we cooked if we go with Governor Happy Pan? (Image by trozzolo, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.)
To be fair, he does have a point: Modern journalists are mostly lazy leftists who look for something they can easily use as a plausible basis for labeling a political opponent as racist, transphobic, or whatever else the smear of the day happens to be.

That is true, and it is easier to do than making a cogent argument about issues that matter to any reasonable, persuadable adult who might want to weigh the pros and cons of a given contender for office.

That said, most such adults already know to watch out for this from establishment journalists, and probably have an easy time spotting it. So the piece sounds a little self-congratulatory, alongside prematurely celebrating the coronation of Don Without the Baggage.

That out of the way, this independent voter would have appreciated a more substantive, critical look at Ron DeSantis than what he got. Dude! This guy is made of Teflon! might be fun to say about someone you admire for fighting the good fight and sticking it to a corrupt establishment, but I am far from being convinced DeSantis merits such admiration.

In fact this is true for one of the very reasons Scarry is so excited about the Floridian:
The DeSantis book might be best used as a re-gift for your least favorite in-law. On the other hand, the governor has a strong record of opposing Democrat-favored societal lockdowns, banning corporate vaccine coercion, and steering public institutions away from "social justice" and gender "queer" ideologies (hobbies for ugly people) that are all the rage. [bold added]
Corporate ... coercion?

I recall some time ago hearing one of those good news/bad news type historical assessments of William F. Buckley: He did the right thing by driving Bircher-type nuts out of the mainstream right, but more than made up for it by also unjustly attempting to marginalize Ayn Rand.

That's too bad, because the very phrase corporate coercion evidences a failure to distinguish between government and other organizations in society that would make a Marxist blush -- or beam with pride, depending on which side of "the revolution" he thought we were on.

But back to Rand, whose word economy and precision of thought would have easily spared me the pain of seeing a publication I might have once deemed sympathetic to capitalism put out populist swill:
The fundamental difference between private action and governmental action -- a difference thoroughly ignored and evaded today -- lies in the fact that a government holds a monopoly on the legal use of physical force. It has to hold such a monopoly, since it is the agent of restraining and combating the use of force; and for that very same reason, its actions have to be rigidly defined, delimited and circumscribed; no touch of whim or caprice should be permitted in its performance; it should be an impersonal robot, with the laws as its only motive power. If a society is to be free, its government has to be controlled.

Under a proper social system, a private individual is legally free to take any action he pleases (so long as he does not violate the rights of others), while a government official is bound by law in his every official act. A private individual may do anything except that which is legally forbidden; a government official may do nothing except that which is legally permitted.

This is the means of subordinating "might" to "right." This is the American concept of "a government of laws and not of men." [bold added] (From "The Nature of Government" in The Virtue of Selfishness)
If you don't want to be vaccinated, but your employer wants to make getting vaccinated a condition of employment, that is his right, and DeSantis was wrong to forbid it. You can work for another employer who doesn't have that requirement.

(Of course, today we have the government pulling strings everywhere, via regulation and support for ESG, so oftentimes, what looks like a company that just happens to fall in line with a government policy isn't. In such cases, being clear about what is going on is paramount, and it is worse than wrong to blame the companies in an effort to pander. Those cases are examples of abuse of government.)

I should not have to repeat that a business making vaccination a condition of employment and a government forcing people to get the jab are fundamentally different things, but I will.

And so there you have it: Modern journalism, left and right, in a nutshell. Scarry is absolutely correct that the journalists of the left won't responsibly present a politician's positions, but he demonstrates with his own sloppy words that the we can't count on the journalists of the right to do so, either.

Perhaps the way to vet a candidate is to see what the cheerleaders pretending to be journalists on each side are happy about, and think very, very carefully about it.

-- CAV

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