Liberalism

David French: 'I Think the Protection of Liberty Is a Common Good'

The Dispatch senior editor on the value of liberalism and the problems with the new nationalist right

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"There is a level of panic and catastrophizing about American politics that's way out of proportion," says David French. "And that is dangerous to our body politic."

It's ironic that French, a Tennessee-based evangelical Christian, has found himself in the position of trying to persuade his fellow conservatives to cool their jets. After all, the 51-year-old writer, litigator, and activist made a name for himself lobbing attacks on laws and policies that he felt were infringing on people's rights. As president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), he helped file suit against college speech codes that were preventing students from voicing unpopular opinions on campus. As a columnist for the conservative magazine National Review, he regularly drew attention to religious liberty violations such as the Obamacare contraception mandate.

But since about the time Donald Trump made his presidential aspirations known, French has found himself in hot water with folks on the political right who fault him for not being a team player. The brief against him was epitomized by a now-infamous May 2019 essay in the Christian journal First Things in which New York Post op-ed editor Sohrab Ahmari complained that "liberalism of the kind French embodies has a great horror of the state, of traditional authority and the use of the public power to advance the common good, including in the realm of public morality."

In October, French left his perch as a senior editor at National Review to join former colleague Jonah Goldberg and former chief of the now-defunct Weekly Standard Stephen Hayes in a new media venture called The Dispatch. In December, French sat down with Reason Managing Editor Stephanie Slade to explain that while he's "every bit as conservative" as he was before the Trump era, he's also deeply committed to the values of classical liberalism.

Reason: In one of your recent email newsletters, you used the phrases common good conservatism and nationalist conservatism. Can you tell us what those terms signify and how they differ from each other, if at all?

French: They're mainly synonyms in my mind. The reason why I used common good conservatism is because I'm going with phrases used, for example, in some of [Sen. Marco] Rubio's work and in a lot of the work you're seeing out of Claremont, out of First Things. It's emphasizing the role of the government in fostering the common good over the role of the government in protecting liberty.

They would reject, in many ways, this formulation from the Declaration of Independence that we're endowed with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and then the next sentence following that, that governments were instituted among men to protect these liberties. They have much greater confidence, for example, than I do, that governments can in fact create economic conditions, can create social conditions that advance human welfare in a concrete and predictable way.

So you're seeing a lot more emphasis on the right on central economic planning and a lot less emphasis on individual liberty—certainly a lot less emphasis on free speech, a lot less emphasis on economic freedom, more of an argument that because the market has been shaped a great deal by government, that essentially that means it must continue to be shaped as much as we can possibly shape it to advance the common good. It's a sharp turn from what you would call classic Reagan conservatism.

What do you think caused that departure?

Well, there's always been a strain of the GOP that is populist. And populism is rarely focused on small government and individual liberty, particularly the populism that you've seen in the South over the years….Populism in the South was public works: a big public intervention into the poor rural South.

There's a very flawed belief that the principles of Reagan Republicanism and classical liberalism have failed this country—this is an argument you've seen from Patrick Deneen at Notre Dame—and that therefore we need a correction.

The thing that has come to exemplify everything that's wrong with modernity for this crowd, as you well know, is Drag Queen Story Hour. Tell us what those words mean and then give me the Frenchian position on it.

Drag Queen Story Hour is a small movement of drag queens and friends of drag queens who will host, in public libraries scattered around this country, small gatherings of people who will listen to a drag queen read a children's book. Children come to Drag Queen Story Hour. They see the drag queens and they interact with the drag queens. It's come to symbolize the advance of the sexual revolution and, particularly, the way that the sexual revolution touches the lives of children. So the argument that was made was that classical liberalism is inadequate to address the threat of Drag Queen Story Hour, and that Drag Queen Story Hour is the product of liberty unrestrained. This is what happens when people are given too much liberty: Drag queens read books to kids.

My argument about this was really pretty simple. I don't like Drag Queen Story Hour. I would not take my children to Drag Queen Story Hour. But I don't have to go to Drag Queen Story Hour, and unless they violate anti-obscenity or indecency statutes or otherwise applicable and constitutionally appropriate laws, they enjoy all the protections of the First Amendment that everybody else enjoys. In fact, that open access to the use of public facilities has been a boon to social conservative groups like Christian organizations. There are thousands of churches that conduct worship services in empty classrooms and gymnasiums and cafeterias across this country, who have access to library facilities and other public buildings. They utilize those to say and preach and teach things that the common good conservatives would very much like and very much endorse. And you cannot have a legal system that allows the government to dictate which preferred viewpoint gets access to its facilities. If you embrace such a system, you're not going to like the outcome.

The idea is that if conservatives can stop Drag Queen Story Hour from happening at the library, then why can't progressives stop—

They can and will stop church services, Bible studies, Tea Party meetings, GOP gatherings. I mean, once you lift the [requirement of] viewpoint neutrality in access to public facilities, you lift it. It's gone. And you better be in charge of everything, or you're going to see your preferred viewpoint locked out of the public square.

Now, that's a pragmatic response. I tend to think that liberty has independent value. A lot of [common good conservatives] think there is no independent value in liberty unless liberty is used for virtue. But I think the protection of liberty is a common good.

It's true, though, that people on the left increasingly are trying to use the power of the state to impose their values on conservatives.

Oh, sure.

So why isn't it true that at some point you have to fight fire with fire?

The fact of the matter is that we have systems in place that protect individual liberty increasingly effectively. This is something a lot of people miss. People who just started following politics recently tend to think that religious liberty is under unprecedented siege, when the reality is religious liberty has more protections right now from government interference than it has had in the last 25 years. People tend to think that free speech is under unprecedented attack, when right now people are more free from the threat of government censorship than they have been perhaps anytime in the whole history of the United States of America. There is an enormous advance of legal protection from censorship from the government over the last 25–30 years that is completely underappreciated.

What we face now isn't so much the government imposing its values but private actors using the power that they have, whether financial or cultural, to try to crowd out competing voices from the public square. That would be, for example, when the Oscars doesn't let Kevin Hart be a host. That's one private entity telling a private citizen he can't host their gathering. I am concerned about the culture of censorship that exists in a lot of these private actions. But it's just a fundamentally different thing from the formal censorship that happens at the point of the government's bayonet.

But we did just go through a presidential administration that wanted to make Catholic nuns provide their employees with birth control. We do have states trying to force bakers and florists to provide their services for gay weddings even if they object on religious grounds. So government power is being wielded.

It's trying. And that's been the case throughout American history. I mean, the wisdom of the necessity of the Bill of Rights was made manifest from the very first founding generation. As bad as the Little Sisters of the Poor case was or as bad as the Masterpiece Cakeshop case was, they're not the Alien and Sedition Acts, and the Alien and Sedition Acts came in the founding generation.

There is a tug of war between government oppression and individual liberty that has been a part of the fabric of this country for 200+ years. I opposed the Obama administration's legal position in Little Sisters of the Poor. I opposed their legal position in Masterpiece Cakeshop. And by the way, they lost. They lost. Individual liberty won.

Your former boss, National Review Editor Rich Lowry, has recently taken it upon himself to make the case for a "benign" nationalism. Is there such a thing as benign nationalism?

Only if the definition of nationalism is watered down to near meaninglessness. I think the United States of America is a different nation from virtually any other nation in the history of the world. It has a different history. It has a different composition. It is a collection of many nationalities. There's that old phrase blood and soil nationalism. That's difficult to translate into the U.S. I mean, whose blood? Which soil? So if you're going to water nationalism down into, "Well, we have shared historical stories," or "Most of us like the flag," or "We're stirred by specific events from our history, like Normandy Beach," these things are symbols that matter. But as far as an organizing principle for a coherent politics, I think nationalism is dangerous.

What would nationalism look like as a political organizing principle?

In my view, it's hard for nationalism to avoid becoming very centralizing—to avoid becoming statism, with the principal actor being the national government. Nationalism is in many ways a direct challenge to the fact of American pluralism. America is a continent-sized, multi-faith, multi-ethnic, constitutional republic. It's hard to think of a nation anywhere in the world combining so many different nationalities and so many different and often competing strains of faith, with so many different geographies and subcultures.

You hear frequently this phrase used, real America. All of America is real America. The whole thing.

And you say that as somebody who lives in Franklin, Tennessee, a place that conservatives would call real America.

Oh, I'm in the middle of real America. The fact of the matter is that we have many different American experiences, many different American stories, many different perceptions of this country. And I agree: When you have that degree of pluralism, unity is a challenge. But I believe that unity is harmed more than it is helped when you try to centralize.

One complaint that nationalists make is that there's a liberal elitist pastime of crapping on America. They think we need a renewal of basic pride in our country. You're a veteran. You enlisted in the Army Reserves after 9/11. You served in Iraq. I imagine you're a patriotic person. So do you feel like the nationalists have a point?

Yeah. I think that there are people who tell a very flawed story about this country, and I do think there are people who live within this country who don't particularly like it. But because politics is the art of overreaction these days, I think that we conservatives paint with way too broad a brush about that.

There are people—I experienced that when I was in law school—who just look at the United States as this dreadful beast that was 200 years of greed, exploitation, and genocide followed by a couple of halfway decent social reforms that have made us only marginally less awful. I met people like that. They're out there. But the idea that that is sort of a dominant strain of thinking—you see this all the time. You'll hear someone on the right say, "They hate America." That's just false. You can nut-pick, and you can find an individual here and there, or even some sort of coherent intellectual movement coming out of some university, that does hate America. But this sort of "they hate America" talk, which is a tool of mass mobilization, is just a flat-out overreaction.

You and your family have been targets of some pretty heinous and horrible speech online. In the time since that started, this has become a highly politicized topic. There's a lot of talk about needing to regulate social media companies to require them to monitor their users' speech and make sure that users are not doing things like bullying or spreading false information. Where do you come down on that?

Just going back to my family's experience: To the extent that true threats are communicated through social media, they should be prosecuted.

Social media companies…should have the liberty to be able to build and foster the kind of community that they seek to cultivate with their product. My general view is the government should take its hands off of social media companies, but that social media companies, when in doubt, should privilege free expression. What I've long argued is that social media companies should voluntarily try, as much as is practical with their given platforms, to track the First Amendment. Now, it's different with different platforms. If you're a Facebook and you want Instagram to be a much more kid-friendly space, sure. Fine. No nudity. Just like broadcast television without violating the First Amendment restricts profanity and nudity, etc. You can build the kind of community that you want. But as much as possible while doing that, try to avoid outright viewpoint discrimination. When in doubt, err on the side of free speech.

That's not the government's business. You hear a lot of argument right now that the government needs to step in to make sure that Facebook or Twitter or YouTube or whoever is sufficiently protective of "free speech" as the government defines it. And they pinpoint Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act [which says that web platforms are generally not liable for the speech of their users], and they say, "That needs to be repealed or substantially reformed." Let's be super clear about this: If the government repeals Section 230, it would ultimately create one of the biggest waves of censorship in the whole history of the United States of America. It would not have the effect that people think that it would have.

Why is that?

Section 230 basically says you can have good-faith moderation of user content without turning the moderator into the speaker. What does that mean practically? It means if I write a comment on Facebook, I'm responsible for my comment. Facebook is not. And Facebook can even moderate my comment and delete it if it has racial slurs or whatever. But the moderation of my comments does not make Facebook liable for my speech.

This was enacted as a reaction to two different cases, both out of New York. In one, a court said that an early internet platform that moderated user content was going to be responsible for user speech. In another, the court said that you're not responsible for user speech if you don't moderate at all.

What's the problem there? If you don't moderate at all, then you're Gab [a social media site popular on the far right]. And Gab is a sewer. I know there are people who are on it, but Gab is an absolute open sewer, and a company like Facebook will not exist like that.

Because not enough people will want to use it.

Nobody wants to play in the sewer, right? These companies are not going to become the raw open sewage of the internet.

What's the alternative? If they're responsible for user speech, they're going to be vetting your speech. Which means the voices that will exist will be voices that have access to the levers of power [and the ability] to speak in the way that journalists speak or the way that celebrities speak. Average people will not have an opportunity to speak.

Imagine if I can't comment on Yelp about a restaurant unless Yelp fact checks me. I can't comment on Facebook about my beliefs about the flaws of the University of Michigan football coach unless Facebook fact checks me. What? So this notion that good-faith moderation is key to allowing the internet that we use and take for granted, it's absolutely true. It's indispensable for regular, average, ordinary, everyday Americans to have a public voice. You revise this and you're going to place these companies in a box: Submit to the government or be a sewer. And that would be a tremendous practical act of censorship.

Let's get a little more explicitly political. Nobody saw Donald Trump coming, but everybody seems to have a pet theory about how he got elected. Do you have an explanation that you think is the most plausible?

I think there are a couple of factors that are underappreciated in the rise of Trump. One is just his raw celebrity. How many hundreds of millions of dollars were spent by the [Mitt] Romney campaign to brand him with the American public? Hundreds of millions of dollars. And this is a guy who was a governor. He headed up the Salt Lake City Olympics. He had run for president before in '08. And still, if you'd ask an average American to name three facts about Mitt Romney, even the average American voter, what would they have been? So politicians have to spend a ludicrous amount of money [to brand themselves]. A lot of us who live and eat and breathe politics don't fully appreciate this.

Donald Trump has been one of the most famous Americans for decades. And his brand, which was particularly enhanced through [his game show] Celebrity Apprentice, is "I'm an entertaining, super smart, super successful businessman." And then because of his massive celebrity, think about the free media he got. As much as all politicos were like, "Oh, Marco Rubio: rising star. Ted Cruz: the new constitutional conservative," millions of Americans just didn't know those guys, and they knew Donald Trump.

And then Donald Trump—the very famous, successful celebrity—sold a very simple, potent message. I should've been more aware of just how potent this message was with voters who are not super political but really tired of the status quo. I was buying a truck in Columbia, Tennessee, and I was talking to the salesperson…and he said, "I like Donald Trump because he won't apologize for America and he kicks ass." And I thought, "You know, that's a pretty compelling, simple message: He's strong. He'll fight for America."

You briefly thought about running as a conservative challenger to Trump in the 2016 general election. Do you think that's why you've become the subject of so much ire?

There were a couple of waves of anger. One wave was in late 2015/early 2016, when I wrote very critically about the alt-right, and that triggered just this awful backlash. Then when I considered running, there was another wave. And then I think the most recent [reason] is that there are very few Christian conservatives who were publicly Never Trump in the election who have maintained that stance. Very few.

Why have you been so stubborn on that?

I'm every bit as conservative as I was the day before Trump came down the escalator. I just think Trump is fundamentally incompatible with what I thought the conservative movement was, and I'm not willing to concede what I believe the conservative movement should be to him.

I reject this idea of all of these Americans sitting around going, "I need a president to fight for me." You don't. You're a free American citizen. There is a level of panic and catastrophizing about American politics that's way out of proportion. And that is dangerous to our body politic. I just do not believe that the defense of the values that I care the most about and have fought the hardest for in my life—I don't think those values need Donald Trump as their champion. I don't believe the pro-life movement needs him. I don't think the argument for religious liberty needs him. I don't think the argument for free speech needs him. I don't think we need him.

We already were living in a world where progressives watch MSNBC and conservatives watch Fox News. With sites like The Dispatch and Breitbart and Jacobin, now everybody can choose the precise echo chamber that they want to live in. Does that worry you at all?

It worries me a ton.

This is a large issue, and it's creating huge gaps of knowledge in the politicized portion of the American electorate, those people who pay close attention to politics. It's creating a complete distortion field in our perceptions about each other.

I don't know if you saw the More in Common research that said that the people who are most well-informed about politics are most wrong about the political beliefs of their opponents—they tend to believe that their opponents are far more extreme than they really are. That's the product of people engaging with media that feeds that perception. It's exacerbating divisions. If you think the Democrats are 25–30 points more extreme than they really are, doesn't that raise the stakes of the election a lot in your mind?

Yeah, we've got a real problem. And I live in the heart of Trump country, and I see it every single day. If you read Twitter, progressives will say, "Look at all those bad people in Trumpland who see all of these terrible things that Trump has done and love him anyway. What a pile of hypocrites those people are." Well, that applies to some people. It applies to an awful lot of the very vocal Trump supporters you'll see online, because they know everything Trump does. They have histories of condemning the same behavior in Democrats and then they just flip around.

But your average, regular, everyday Trump voter doesn't see the world like that. The media that they watch is very effective at defending Trump and very effective at highlighting Democratic excesses and Democratic wrongdoing. So if you talked to somebody at random in Franklin, Tennessee, about Donald Trump and they pay attention to politics, they're going to know all the best defenses of Trump about Ukraine, and they might believe that they know terrible things about Biden that have been spread around conservative media. Is it really true that they have accepted all the bad that Trump has done? No. They don't believe it.

I'll never forget, I had a conversation with a sweet lady at my church. She said, "Why do you, David, still not support our president?" And rather than have a long conversation…I said, "You know, I just want a president who doesn't lie all the time." And she looked at me, and she said, "Donald Trump lies?" with all sincerity, with every ounce of sincerity in her. This is somebody who watches Fox primetime, who listens to Rush [Limbaugh] or Mark Levin. She would be able to talk to me about the basic outlines of the Ukraine controversy or the basic outlines of the Russia investigation. But the defense of Trump comes through so powerfully that there is no perception of the truth of the underlying indictment.

Do you have any optimism about our ability to break out of this place that we've gotten into as a country?

Not in the short term. I don't think that there is any significant social, cultural, political, religious trend that is pulling us together more than it's pushing us apart. Politics is only one part of that.

There was a book written several years ago called The Big Sort. All of the trends that were identified in that book have only accelerated. We tend to live around like-minded people more than we used to. The percentage of Americans living in landslide counties, counties that went for one candidate or another by 20 points or more, is higher than it's been since we've been measuring the statistic. If you look at everything from [college football to Game of Thrones], a lot of pop culture preferences map with political preferences….And then if you look at the map of faith—where do people who go to church regularly live?—it is not an even distribution across this country. These are tectonic forces that are dividing us.

In my view, that's one of the things that is so dangerous about nationalist conservatism. The response to these tectonic forces should not be forced centralization. It should be enhanced federalism. Let San Francisco be San Francisco. Let Franklin be Franklin. Nancy Pelosi needs to be less important in my life. And Ted Cruz needs to be less important to a San Franciscan's life.

This interview has been condensed and edited for style and clarity.

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  1. What a squish = French

    1. Mr. French appears to be attempting to rescue movement conservatives who are headed toward an even more severe stomping in the culture war. He must have an education or something.

      1. You should try to get one; maybe you’d quite being an asshole bigot.

      2. Oh look, its Reverend Human Hemorrhoid

      3. In order to rescue anyone French would have to actually succeed at something first.

      4. Loser, the left has already lost the plot. We’re moving in another direction.

        1. You figure the bigoted, superstitious clingers have won the culture war in America? Tell us more . . .

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    3. If you think he is educated, tell me, is America a country or a continent. USA means United States [OF !!] America which is a continent that is home to many countries other than the US. Arrogance is part of the problem the US has.

  2. I’m more worried by the old progressive and socialist left.

    1. If you are tired of all this damned progress — and reason, education, tolerance, science, modernity, liberty, and inclusiveness — you should be worried. Awaiting replacement may be the sole resolution for such a person.

      1. You are entire too stupid to understand the term “progress” or recognize it.

      2. Inclusiveness now means replacing people.

        1. In the context of cranky old clingers taking their bigoted, right-wing thinking to the grave and being replaced by the next generation — younger, better people — in our electorate, replacement has been and will continue to be a substantial contributor to America’s greatness.

          1. nah he got you

          2. You are entirely too stupid to understand the term “progress” or recognize it.

      3. Reason… education… tolerance… like woke nation? Post modernism? The death of objective truth? Lol

        1. Stick with superstition, backwardness, ignorance, and intolerance, JesseAz — that suits you and makes you what you are today and will be until replacement.

          1. how many years after losing to Trump have you been whining about replacement now?

          2. You are entire too stupid to understand the term “progress” or recognize it.

          3. A gun in your mouth one of these days will be a reckoning, and the most satisfying part of it all is the fact that you’ll be the one pulling the trigger in November 2020.

      4. “reason”
        “There are 57 genders”

        “education”
        “Public schools are the only place to educate your children, any other way is abuse”

        “tolerance”
        “Bake the fucking cake, bigot. Sanction my sexual behavior with legal force”

        “science”
        “So my guru told me my dharma was great ever since the anti-gmo, anti-nuclear march. He’s the one that sold me the healing crystals for Dakota so we don’t have to get her those dangerous vaccinations”

        “modernity”
        “I read Marx and Foucault”

        “liberty”
        “Free speech doesn’t mean hate speech. I define what I find hateful”

        “inclusiveness”
        “No one who opposes baby killing is anti-choice belongs in the party.

        1. +1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2. I’m not seeing much of a different between the old left and the new right. It’s true that the old left wanted a centrally ordered economy that was socialism in everything but name, but the new right wants to micromanage trade, pick and choose businesses who get government favors, and lack any sort of fiscal restraint. Bernie and Donald have surprisingly similar views on immigration and trade, as well as similar views on the restraints place upon the executive branch.

      1. Most of what you said is wrong. Retaliatory trade theory is not micromanaging trade. The fact that the idealist core of this site refuses to get past freshman year econ and start realizing game theory as a valid condition of trade is astounding.

        1. Jesse, C’mon man. I’m starting to agree with you that there is a trade problem that is not addressable by individual action, but do you really think Trump can even string the words game theory together?

          What did you think about French’s dig toward hypocritical Trump super fans he meets online? Just curious. Have a good weekend.

          1. Fuck off jeff you pant shitting retard

          2. “but do you really think Trump can even string the words game theory together?”

            Does it matter what he labels it if he consistently practices it?

      2. “I’m not seeing much of a different between the old left and the new right.”

        In goals they are exactly the same. The new right desperately hopes that nasty words, tone, and volume will keep too many from finding the same incite that have you.

        One real difference, and it’s not to the advantage of the new right, is that they seek to enforce their central planning more via, often capricious, executive dicta and threats rather than the old left’s modes of legislation and litigation. This makes the new right even more injurious to the Constitution, due to these shortcuts around it, and to the economy, due to the uncertainty introduced.

  3. French’s Federalism has surprising appeal to me, a liberal atheist. But his vision doesn’t go far enough. I want freedom not just from Ted Cruz, but from Mitch McConnell and Jerry Falwell and the current SCOTUS and Trump. Federalism doesn’t spare us from Citizens United or Wisconsin voter suppression, doesn’t shield us from the partisan rulings of the five justice Republican majority. And it especially doesn’t allow me to ignore or escape the incompetence and ignorance of Trump, or the fatuous “christian” dominionists surrounding him. Trump’s bumbling, corrupt handling of the pandemic is the strongest argument ever made for Federalism. We’re much better off with Cuomo or Newsom running things. I’ll join French in supporting Federalism if it means I don’t have to live in Trumpland any longer.

    1. I hear Italy is real nice this time of year. You should go.

    2. I’m sure French’s federalism does have a surprising appeal to you, because you never gave a thought to federalism before Trump. And you won’t give it a thought once the right Top Men are back in charge, either. It’s the same way so many people who bitched about Obama’s abuses of power are quite happy to defend Trump’s. It wasn’t the abuse of power they objected to, it was that the abuse of power didn’t work in their favor. It’s a utilitarian viewpoint rather than a principled, a sort of situational ethics where nothing is Good or Bad, Right or Wrong, it’s just a matter of whatever works in the moment. We’re all thieves and liars and immoral hypocrites when it suits us to be and we can always find a hundred easy justifications to excuse – if not downright glorify – our thievery, our lying, our immorality and our hypocrisy.

      1. I agree with this. People I talk to can’t comprehend why I don’t generally like Trump much, and yet won’t jump on the condemnation band wagon. I try to explain to them what they don’t see – ALL politicians are liars. These people I’m talking to don’t understand that Obama is a liar, Clinton is a liar (both of them), all the Bushes are liars, and dammit, Trump is a liar. Politicians have to be good at lying in order to succeed as politicians, just like a shop keeper has to be good at arithmetic in order to succeed in their endeavors. And yet, all these liars have done a few good things in spite of their natures. Some more than others, and some of those things are only good depending on one’s perspective, but that is the nature of politics, isn’t it? That is also the reason that politicians must be effective liars in order to succeed – ours is a very diverse populace with diverse goals and outlooks. Honesty of the type that we admire in columnists will win a politician about 5-10% of the vote if they are lucky. I usually vote for the libertarian, because I admire honesty – but I never have any expectation that they will win.

        1. Trump may lie but comparing Trump to other politicians isnt really warranted. Trump hasnt been on the federal dole for years trying to control or usurp peoples rights. You dont have to like Trump to see the value in how hes driven people to their absolute limits and how far theyre willing to go to push their narratives.

          1. Interpreting Trump as performance art designed to provoke hysteria in leftist statists is the only thing that keeps a Trump presidency bearable.

            1. I know right. Trump as president is almost as bad as Hitler as president.

        2. right but you got banned for posting kiddie porn screech

    3. corrupt and bumbling at the same time dont really go together. Either youre trying to be a crook or youre just missing the mark. Unless youre hillary clinton and youre excuse is youre just old and dont understand technology. What made Trump corrupt with his handling. Also what made trump a bumbling idiot. Overall hes done about a good a job as probably anyone would have, and he hasnt used his power to really usurp anyones rights.

      1. Actually, corrupt and bumbling often go hand-in-hand. There are many examples (Blagojevich, for just one), but let’s focus on Trump. His Atlantic City Casinos? Trump University? His stupid attempts at patronage with the national stockpile of medical equipment? Trump is not very bright, and he is very unethical. The combination gets you bumbling corruption.

        1. “The combination gets you …” all sorts of things, and all sorts of other things also get you all sorts of things. Please say something useful.

          1. I thought you were aware of Trump’s many instances of fraud and corruption? He made a big payout for his charity fraud case, and now he’s being sued again (and it is not going well for him) for racketeering and fraud in regards to a fucking MLM scam he was pumping.

            1. shut the fuck up jeff you pant shitting retard you slit the economy’s throat and expect people to give a fuck what you bleat about

            2. How could Obama afford a $15M seaside mansion (so much for rising seas!) after 8 years at $400K per year? Speeches, you think? Why, those were done on government time, and paid so well only because he was the President.

              How did the Clintons get so rich so fast while Hillary’s slush fund charity was raking in the donations from countries whose destiny she pertly controlled as Secretary of State?

              How clean do you think any politician is?

              1. Don’t care about obama, but his mansion was paid with book royalties. His book sold like pancakes.

        2. “…His Atlantic City Casinos? Trump University? His stupid attempts at patronage with the national stockpile of medical equipment? Trump is not very bright, and he is very unethical…”

          Certainly looks like he’s got you beat.

        3. Are we still pretending allowing for corporate bankruptcy is a bad thing?

          1. Are conservative slack-jaws still pretending that inheriting wealth and being a serial bankrupt are signs of achievement?

            1. I think they think beating the best you have like a dog is achievement

              but hey , you haters gotta hate

            2. Obviously, asshole bigots are still envious enough to whine about people who succeed at something.
              No great surprise; imbecilic losers are always envious.
              Green looks good on you, shitstain

      2. Well the first two are private issues and have nothing to do with his position as president. Blagojevich, a Democrat who served time in prison for nonviolent crime, whats your problem with trump there .i noticed you stole that phrase of patronage from Vox. Youre only claim of Trump being stupid is that he wont just willy nilly give out ventilators to every state. So hes being stupid, not corrupt? Or is he corrupt and not stupid. Is he either bumbling or corrupt?

        1. I guess you just glossed over the demands for loyalty statements from state governors who were begging for aid.

          1. Lol. Man you do fall for the liberal narrative despite claiming to not be a liberal. Please cite the loyalty statement demands using a non opinionated paraphrase.

          2. shut the fuck up jeff you pant shitting retard you slit the economy’s throat and expect people to give a fuck what you bleat about

          3. Point me to them.

          4. Or the identify-gender loyalty statements demanded by Gavin Newsome of all UC professors.

            1. Really, live in Cali but haven’t read that. Please provide link

      3. Oh? Sen. Grassley and 6 other GOP senators are calling for the Trump admin to be investigated over the firing of the stimulus IG. Very much a case of bumbling corruption.
        https://www.grassley.senate.gov/news/news-releases/grassley-investigation-transparency-lets-be-consistent

        1. So your complaint is that the senate is actually acting as a senate now? Still doesnt actually say what you think it says. It is just 6 senators finally acting as a coequal branch. Doesnt mean trump cant fire political appointments.

          1. I’m not sure why I should care that some people want face time to blather about Trump exercising his Constitutional powers.

        2. having some assholes grandstand on your fame is bumbling?

          god dammit you’re easily fooled and stupid jeff

        3. Ok, you say that and then post a link to Grassley blasting Democrats for being hypocrites(rightly so) for mueller clinton and their other bullshit. What does that have to do with trump?

      4. Biden it is then.

    4. “and the current SCOTUS”

      You can always leave

    5. “fatuous “christian” dominionists”
      Oh look, the latest imaginary bogeyman for pensive Baizuo. Somebody’s been watching too much Handmaid’s Tale during their self-isolation.

      1. “Baizuo” is the best thing that’s ever come out of China

    6. Federalism doesn’t spare us from Citizens United[…]

      You mean Federalism can’t prevent people from pooling their money (in corporate form) and producing a movie about a horrible politician like The Hag?

      Yeah, you really don’t know or care much about freedom, do you. Fucking Democrat.

    7. Better with cuomo or newsome? Don’t live in NY, so don’t know about cuomo, but I do live in California, and newsome is hell-bent on making it Mexico’s 33rd state. No way, jose.

  4. Most conservatives are simply idiots. I watched a video from early March of Boris Johnson proudly announcing that was visiting COVID 19 patients in the hospital and shaking their hands. He then turned to his “health minister” and they both had these dumb grins as they in unionize agreed that everything was fine so long as they were washing their hands.

    “I was at a hospital the other night where I think there were actually a few coronavirus patients and I shook hands with everyone.”

    Boris Johnson says he has not refused to shake hands with people during the #COVID19 outbreak. More on this story here: https://trib.al/mfh8S9H

    1. Some like Johnson are well intentioned idiots and some like Trump are evil idiots.

      1. *I changed my name

        Also I’m an idiot too sometimes (as we all are) but knowing this is what sets one apart from the terminally stupid.

        1. Then you must agree that Obama is terminally stupid, as are almost all politicians, and statists in general.

    2. “Most conservatives are idiots” ok, most liberal/progressives are evil. You make that broad statement and then go on to talk about Boris Johnson. Compelling stuff.

      1. More than one Johnson in politics. I figured he/she meant Ron Johnson.

        1. Or was it my Johnson?

    3. Most conservatives are simply idiots.

      I agree. The thing is, most liberals are simply idiots as well and progressives are the biggest idiots of all. Conservatives at least seem to grasp that humans are fallible and imperfect and not to be trusted, progressives believe that Man is perfectible and their failures can be overcome if only the right people are in charge of legislating their behavior.

      1. Totally nailed it!

    4. Wow, doesn’t he know that you have to HUG the COVID 19 patient so that Gaia will smile on your lack of racism and protect you? Idiot!

    5. “Most conservatives are simply idiots”
      Absolutely, and most progressives are evil. Stereotypes exist for a reason.

  5. Reason: In one of your recent email webzines, supported by multiple hundreds and one billionaire…

  6. I may be wrong but I dont remember Republicans mandating legislation to ban drag queen story hour, they just dont want it around their kids. And yes drag queens who are invited to read to someones kis at the local library shouldnt be banned or prevented, but its probably not really wanted.

    1. The problem with Drag Queen Reading Hour is not the Drag Queens or the Reading or even the Hour; it is government hosting anything. Yes, if government opens up libraries for public groups, that has to include all who apply, including drag queens, KKK, everybody. But the proper solution is government libraries should stop letting the public host events at their libraries, or better yet, no government libraries.

      Oh the horror of no government libraries! We wouldn’t have books without government libraries!

      1. I dont see a problem with libraries if the community wants to willingly invest/be taxed to support it. Probably in the past public libraries had a stronger value, but nowadays with the internet, you can access almost any lirerature you willing to pay for. Now offering public places up to be used for gatherings, if community members are willingly being taxed or donating to that instithtion then they definitely have a right to access it for meetings if they can come to a consensus on the issue.

        1. Communities can willingly pay for a library out of their own pockets. Why should they insist that the government create an inefficient bureaucracy to do the same and end up with less?

          Or do you think the library will be cheaper and better simply because government controls it?

          Please tell us all what magical sauce government has that makes government libraries so wonderful. We sure could use it elsewhere!

          1. Literally never spoke to the efficacy of government regarding libraries. Government in general is pretty inefficient in most sectors it seemz except of course for killing people. But if people want to make decisions regarding their community then they have that right. Im about people making choices, and being able to exercise their voice in their community. Take an edible man, you need to chill out.

  7. The ‘common good’, like ‘public interest’, or ‘national interest’, or ‘greater good of all’ is subject to the interpretation of what the speaker or writer is advocating.

    Health insurance could reasonably called a ‘common good’ that everyone should have – and many believe the government (taxpayers) should provide it.

    And ‘liberty’ is not necessarily good for everyone; certainly not for those who want to inject heroin into themselves. Unfortunately, such people give cause to restricting the liberty of the rest of us.

    Liberty is good for me and all one needs to claim liberty as a right is to respect the right in others.

  8. David French? Seriously?

    1. I know. Why are we talking with conservatives who actually know what classical liberal values are?! I want more talk about big strong USA men beating up latin gangs and muslim terrerrrists!

      1. Lol. You only started liking david French when he joined the anti trump wing of the party.

        1. jeff has always been very stupid

      2. conservatives?

        He said DAVID FRENCH you moron

      3. No DOL, I think you are wrong about this. David French is a squish, twisting to and fro from whatever position he holds. And yes, it changes. Where is French’s consistency, I just don’t see it. He dithers about, wringing his hands about lost civility. As if there ever was civility in politics. No, I lost respect for this man.

        David French traded his principles for political correctness.

        Mr. French is a moral coward for leaving the field of ideological battle. I am not particularly sad to see him ‘step off’. Buh bye, Dave. If French has no stomach for battle, then he can stay home in the rolling hills of TN. And wring his hands some more. This is why is is nothing more than a total squish.

        1. And you are a culture war casualty, destined to spend the remainder of your life losing ground in the culture war and complying with the preferences of better Americans. Bigotry, backwardness, insularity, and superstition are not America’s future. The liberal-libertarian mainstream’s progress seems destined to continue so far as today’s eye can see.

  9. There is something deeply wrong with thinking that the State should promote liberty by mandating belief in the common good of the State promoting liberty.

    The best way for the State to promote Liberty is to shrink itself and not try to promote itself.

    1. Imagine there’s no rulers. It’s easy if you try. No politicians above us, below us only ground.

  10. Reason is the only place I bother to comment. I see that I should cease reading comments here too – most of these are trolls, reading their “thoughts” is a waste of time.

    Good interview however, I like David French a lot. He’s reasonable. He has never appeared to me to believe that the entire world must agree with him in order to be treated as having a legitimate outlook (just lost all the trolls, they can’t follow that kind of logic – I’m sure a few will try to troll me now, have at it children of all ages).

    1. I think what happened is alot of people from the left and right camps have come in here maybe because they were looking for something else. I know i consider libertarian but i break from others on different issues. But on the whole individual freedom is my primary concern. Some presumably have come just to be shitheads and to spew whatever political bullshitivism theyve been indoctrinated with. But theres still good discussion and arguing here thats worth engaging.

      1. “I consider myself a libertarian” some days man

    2. right but you posted kiddie porn screech

      wait, you didn’t realize we can tell it’s you immediately screech? that’s because you’re stupid like jeff

    3. I always find the people who come to places and troll by calling other people trolls to be the least insightful and interesting posters on the internet.

      And that includes the trolls.

      You really thought anyone cared that you don’t like a few people, and think a fake conservative is a worthy source of indoctrination. No really, you just posted that.

    1. I suppose I should be rending my garments over The Injustice Of It All. But it was actually pretty funny.

    2. and remember back in March when NY was telling everyone that public transportation was so safe and subway operators were punished for wearing masks? https://www.wsj.com/articles/amid-coronavirus-fears-officials-say-new-york-city-subway-is-safe-11583272664

      That is progressive politics in a nutshell. Monday the elites tell you one thing and punish you for doing something else. Tuesday they tell you the opposite and you’re punished for doing what was mandatory the day before.

      1. Progressive policies are perfectly encapsulated by the communist hatred for Hitler up until Aug 23 1939, when it switched to love, and then switched back to hate on June 22 1941.

        1. The communist/fascist scrapping pre-1939 were internecine conflicts. The hatred was that of jealous siblings.
          It was an authoritarian-progressive family feud between Marxist socialism and a type of socialism later defined by Keynes.

  11. “So you’re seeing a lot more emphasis on the right on central economic planning and a lot less emphasis on individual liberty—certainly a lot less emphasis on free speech, a lot less emphasis on economic freedom, more of an argument that because the market has been shaped a great deal by government, that essentially that means it must continue to be shaped as much as we can possibly shape it to advance the common good. It’s a sharp turn from what you would call classic Reagan conservatism.”

    It’s important to keep two things in mind.

    1) The need of those out of power to differentiate themselves from those in power in order to win an election.

    When Reagan was campaigning against Carter, he sounded like Milton Friedman–because he was arguing against the “misery index” and the stagflation of the Carter years. His tax cuts, deregulation, ending the oil crisis, etc. reflected that in his early term, but when it was time to be reelected, he was all about “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” and pushing back against the Russians using big government. It’s the same difference between “Make American Great Again” and “Keep America Great”. Once you’re in power, the revolution is over.

    2) The need for those in power to argue for their own reelection.

    This is why libertarians will always be doomed to disappointment by politicians who use libertarian rhetoric. Expecting presidents to destroy their own power once they have it is unreasonable, and all the politicians, activists, and journalists who support that president aren’t about to suddenly start advocating that the president do less with the power he has once he has it. They’re drawn in by the allure of what could be done with that power.

    In The Lord of the Rings, Aragorn refuses the ring, and that’s what makes him such a hero–the only one who should be king. The Lord of the Rings is a fairy tale–not the real world. It is unreasonable to expect presidents not to use all their power to do what they will in the real world, and certainly not when he has the people behind him. The real brake on the power of the president in the real world isn’t the Constitution, the character of the person who is president, or his belief system. The president can and will do whatever he can get away with–so long as he or she thinks the American people will let him or her get away with it. The real brake on the power of the president is the unwillingness of the American people to go along with whatever he wants to do, and that’s why the most important thing we can do isn’t to get like-minded people in office. It’s to persuade our fellow Americans to want less from government. We will never get a president who abides by the constraints on his power until we get an American people who insist that he does so.

    Until we get that, we may have to settle for a president who isn’t openly advocating authoritarian socialism like they do in the Democratic Party in regards to Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. The fact remains that if Hillary Clinton were in power, the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting would have resulted something much worse than a bumpstock ban. Instead of working together with Putin to destroy ISIS in Syria and withdrawing our troops from harm’s way, we would be fighting a war in Syria, not because it was in America’s interests but because it was in the interests of the Kurds. The migrant crisis at the border would have ended with an ongoing massive influx of phony asylum seekers. We would not have with drawn from the Paris Climate Treaty.

    If we can’t have President Aragorn, President Trump isn’t such a bad consolation prize compared to the alternative.

    1. “The Lord of the Rings is a fairy tale–not the real world.”

      You, sir, shall take that back right now!

  12. Sorry, but liberals don’t believe in the protection of liberty. They quite arguably did at one time, but those days are now LONG gone. It’s liberals who are overwhelmingly responsible for (hopefully temporarily) turning us into state-controlled Soviet America. To try to make a claim like this NOW of all times couldn’t possibly be any more laughable.

    Pretending otherwise like this rag endlessly does is why it has become almost impossible to take anything that is said here seriously.

    1. This is what i hate, the hijacking of definitions. Do you mean classical liberalism or liberals of the American political left. Because alot of people still see a distinction between progressives and “liberals” on the left. Liberals in that sense did support free speech, but were definitely state centric. They seemed to have been excluded from the modern left and are transitioning themselves into the independent or libertarians camps.

      1. A lot of people may (correctly) see the difference between progressives and liberals but, since FDR hijacked the term, liberal is now synonymous with leftist and progressive in the common tongue

      2. It’s worth remembering that neoconservatives are the same sorts of people as the neoliberals as the 60s and 70s, they merely switched parties. JFK would have been a neoconservative if he’d run for president in 2000 instead of 1960.

    2. “It’s liberals who are overwhelmingly responsible for (hopefully temporarily) turning us into state-controlled Soviet America. To try to make a claim like this NOW of all times couldn’t possibly be any more laughable.”

      I guess you missed this part:

      “You’ll hear someone on the right say, ‘They hate America.’ That’s just false. You can nut-pick, and you can find an individual here and there, or even some sort of coherent intellectual movement coming out of some university, that does hate America. But this sort of ‘they hate America’ talk, which is a tool of mass mobilization, is just a flat-out overreaction.”

      A tool of mass mobilization. Aka bumper sticker politics or politics for dummies. Don’t fall for it.

      1. I know I didn’t miss it at all, I just remember how stupid and wrong he’s been for years and laugh at how naive and ignorant it is.

        And you fell for it.

      2. If your comment is supposed to be a response to me, I don’t have the first freaking clue how.

        Almost the entire country has (hopefully temporarily) been turned into a quasi-dictatorship under martial law with many of our constitutional freedoms under suspension, and the people who are doing this to us are overwhelmingly liberals. And it’s not a totally partisan thing, a lot of our so-called “leaders” in this country have labeled themselves republicans, but in reality are liberals, though many of them would probably deny it.

        You apparently don’t want to address this new reality we’re living in now, so you’re trying to change the subject.

  13. “”You know, I just want a president who doesn’t lie all the time.””

    Yeah, and I want to spray unicorn farts all over so as to cure COVID-19.

    Let’s see who gets their wish granted first.

    I wanted to give French the benefit of the doubt, but with…shall I call it naive?…lines like that, I’m not so sure.

    1. People keep trying to compare Obama saying you can keep your doctor to Trump spewing lies every single day that he talks. He has put out dangerous misinformation, he lied, verifiably, about Trump Tower meeting with Russian Agents, he lies about hurricane path predictions, about the size of his inauguration crowd, literally about the weather (no show for D Day memorial because the wind would have blwo his toupee over, lol). He said corona was going to go away magically in April,he claims he passed Veteran’s choice (Obama), he lied backwards and forwards through the whole Ukraine thing and smeared anyone who told the truth.

      Trump’s doesn’t just tell a convenient political lie or misstatement from time to time, he builds an alternative universe for his followers that is much more comfortable than reality. In this universe, Trump is “draining the swamp” and protecting innocent americans from vicious animal latin gangs. In reality, Trump has spent 300% more time at the golf course than Obama, and makes money every time too. Forbes estimates his golf trips have grossed him over $100 million at his resorts, and cost the taxpayer 4 times that. In reality, Trump installed his incredibly conflicted son in law in charge of managing federal aid during corona virus, and mid east peace. Amazing responsibility for a young man who couldn’t even pass a Top Secret background check and is in debt to the tune of 8 figures. And then there’s all the fraud lawsuits he keeps losing. Can you imagine if a dem president lost a charity fraud lawsuit while in office? Or got sued for fraud and RACKETEERING! for running a pyramid scheme?

      The GOP has abandoned all standards when it come to avoiding the appearance of corruption. Just ask GOP Sen. Grassley and seven other senators who are saying Trump must be investigated for his systemic avoidance of oversight, specifically for firing the IG over covid stimulus.

      Trump doesn’t like like all politicians do, he lies like very few politicians do. He’s the most prolific liar we’ve had. If you think he’s comparable to recent presidents on the corruption and lies front, you aren’t getting a balanced media diet. You aren’t perceiving reality.

      1. You really do just treat the Vox narrative as fact dont you?

        1. JesseAZ, you see, DOL is intent on promoting himself as the smart progressive metrosexual. The highly intelligent ‘professor’ who deigns to tell us plebes what is good for us. When you get right down to it, he is a somewhat more polite version of the Human Hemorrhoid we call Kirkland. But no less loathsome.

          His/her ideology is sickening, and his/her beliefs are morally bankrupt. The only comfort I take is the dumb son of a bitch is outing him/her/itself. And trust me, if s/he does it here, s/he does it in real life. The sad part is s/he probably does not see the silent shakes of the head, the frowns, the comments people make about him/her.

          That is, until DOL is alone and needs help. On that day, DOL will learn just what an asshole s/he truly is, when s/he is abandoned by all those fellow travelling, wine swilling ‘friends’.

        2. He;s a standard disingenuous jerk doing everything he possibly can to try to distract us from the fact that it was scumbags like him who suspended the constitution and the rule of law and turned us into a near dictatorship practically overnight in the blink of an eye.

      2. “Obama saying you can keep your doctor”

        That was *one* of Obama’s lies, though I never claimed it was the only one. But it’s certainly at least as bad as lying about a golf course or whatever.

      3. “Obama only lied a little, despite that itself being a lie” – shorter Jeff

        Suck him harder.

        You see, here’s the thing jeff. We can tell you by the company you keep. You’ll whine that people defend Trump, but I haven’t, ever, and you can’t provide any links that prove otherwise. Sure, you’ll point to me mocking you when you attack Trump, but you’re fucking stupid and think that MOCKING YOU is for being an idiot and sockpuppet is the same as being Pro-Trump.

        However, you CONSTANTLY slurp Obama, like you did right there. You flat ignored many of Obama’s most egregious behaviors and openly defended him.

        Then you lie and try to pretend you’re not a prog.

      4. Can you imagine if a dem president lost a charity fraud lawsuit while in office? Or got sued for fraud and RACKETEERING! for running a pyramid scheme?

        Things like that might have more weight if Dems themselves hadn’t spent decades engaging in lawfare. As it stands, especially after the failed partisan attempt to fabricate evidence for an impeachment, the Dems gaming the court system is pretty much par for the course.

      5. “People keep trying to compare Obama saying you can keep your doctor to Trump spewing lies every single day that he talks.”

        Fucking losers whine, whine, whine and refuse to grow up.
        You are a pathetic piece of shit.

      6. “Trump spewing lies every single day that he talks”

        The ironic thing is that this is a lie.
        Eighty-percent of the time it’s weaselly journos sperging out over figures-of-speech “Trump said he had butterflies in the stomach, but doctors say that’s impossible”.
        Nineteen-percent of time Trump’s relaying the information he was given that’s subject to change “A month ago Trump said they were expecting a .3% death rate but it turned out to be .29%. He lied!”.
        One-percent of the time it’s Trump just getting shit wrong. Still less than the messianic lightbringer who deliberately dissimulated.

        And this is why the press’s ratings are in the toilet compared to Trump. The proles are less naive than outer party members like DOL when it comes to demagoguery. They recognize most of these allegations are politically motivated horseshit.

      7. In reality, Trump has spent 300% more time at the golf course than Obama

        Yet Trump gets so much more done. Maybe because he’s a stable fuckin’ genius and not some dumb ass affirmative action hire like Obama.

        1. I’ve read your entire information that you stocks in your article and I must say I love it. Transen Hamburg

    2. He retreated deep into pure idealism when Trump came on the scene as a way to avoid calls of hypocrisy for his changing standards. French has always been between neocon and libertarian. But trumps election broke him like it did many here. So they reverted to pure idealism so they dont have to extend themselves to any form of deep analysis required in the real world. They are in a world of frictionless surfaces now, to use an idiom from physics. It let’s them seem pure as idealism requires no complexity. Which is why idealism will never work whether it is communism or libertarianism. Both could work if pesky reality didnt exist. Both require an authoritarian control of behaviors to work. Even the libertarian side.

      1. And you know how they get “frictionless” surfaces?
        Superstates

      2. No JesseAZ, I see French as a moral coward who ran from the ideological battle. I have a lot of respect for people who are willing to duke it out on the ideological field of battle. Doesn’t matter which side (though one side – the Progressive Left – is clearly wrong and bereft of reason or morality).

        French is unworthy of any respect, he traded his principles for political correctness. He can sit and pout in the hills of TN. And leave the ideological battle to those who have the balls to fight it.

  14. As much as I hate all flavors of conservatism (Paleo, Neo, Populist, Nationalist, AltRight, etc) I can at least agree with French on premise that the Nationalist and Populist Right doesn’t believe in reducing the thuggishness and harmfulness of the state. While left socialists tell you up front (in one way or another) that your rights will be violated, Populists and Nationalists (regardless if its a left populist/left nationalist or right ones) wait until at least they get in power before they start their rights violating. As Pete Schiff recently said on Twitter; Socialism is winning in November regardless if its Trump or Biden

    1. “Populists and Nationalists (regardless if its a left populist/left nationalist or right ones) wait until at least they get in power before they start their rights violating.”

      Super secret dog-whistles, huh. That only discerning, well-educated Vox/Times/Salon readers are able to suss out.

      You know, every fascist (because I’m sure that’s what you’re hinting at) movement ever was totally upfront about what they were planning to do. The Nazis made no secrets about their antisemitism or authoritarian beliefs in the decade before gaining power. Same goes for the Italian fascists, the Spanish Nationals, etc.
      That’s why the insinuation that the American right is secretly going to do the exact opposite of what they are currently saying, is ahistorical and demagogic.
      Really the “dog whistle” insinuation here is doing all the work, allowing the establishment left to describe American populists as advocating a position at odds with what they actually propose. Basically allowing them to misrepresent (lie) about the populist position. A common tic found in bad faith arguments.

      “Cynical in New York”
      Ah, there’s your problem. A New York ‘cynic’ is Washington DC’s wide-eyed naif.

  15. All that “catastrophizing” is not an accident. Panics are the health of the media.

    For at least the last century now, whenever the public goes two weeks without being scared to death, everyone in the (traditional) media considers it their sworn duty to invent and start selling yet another phony emergency. Every “crisis” in the evening news is the result.

    Naturally, the Democratic Party has struck it rich by positioning themselves to help sell all these phony emergencies. Paranoid movements including environmentalism and the organic food racket are nothing but byproducts.

    And then we have the present panic over a virus less dangerous than every year’s flu. GET OVER IT, you brainless herd of sheep!

  16. ‘I Think the Protection of Liberty Is a Common Good’

    Does anyone else think this makes zero sense?

    If someone is trying to rob or hurt me, the protection of my liberty is OBVIOUSLY much better for me than for them because I will have to use force to defend myself. The person who initiated force has a very different view of the common good than I do.

    1. You don’t understand liberty as a concept.

      Liberty ends just before the initiation of force. If you’re initiating force, you’re outside the bounds of liberty, and in the wrong. It is most definitely not a valid exercise of ‘liberty’.

      1. I didn’t say that the person who initiated force loves liberty, just that the act of protecting liberty necessarily does not result in a benefit for everyone (i.e. common good) because of the simple fact that plenty of people don’t care about the liberty of others.

        1. Put another way, many things are said to be a common good like healthcare and the argument usually revolves around the practicality of making healthcare available to everyone. Hardly anyone argues against the premise of healthcare being a desirable thing. But saying protecting liberty is a common good is stupid on it’s face because examples abound of people who don’t want liberty. It’s actually a minority of people who care about liberty. Hence, Benjamin Franklin’s line “if you can keep it”

  17. I wonder what you need to do to qualify as a Never Trumper. Presumably you can’t vote for Trump, because that would negate the “Never” part.

    So do you vote Democratic? Vote third-party? Abstain from voting?

    1. Chthulhu? Darth Vader? Mickey Mouse? Sweet Meteor of Death? If I like the Libertarian candidate, I might vote for them. Otherwise, I’ll vote, but it’ll be a throwaway vote for a fictional character, merely to express my displeasure at the choices available. Chthulhu is a very appealing option this november – cosmic horror is a good description of this election season.

      1. He makes a thrill run up your tentacle?

  18. I said, “You know, I just want a president who doesn’t lie all the time.”

    Is there a politicians that doesn’t lie? How much does Trump lie? How much does the MSM twist Trump’s truths into “lies”.

    Remember folks, Trump was 100% correct that the government was spying on him. The MSM is loathe to ever admit that ever happened.

    1. I think Trump lies more as a condition of him being an Big city businessman billionaire who speaks his mind. Trump shoots from the hip alot. Im not saying he doesnt lie, but its more hes just a bigmouth. But yes youre right, government corruption at its finest.

      1. He sure as shit doesn’t lie as much as the Lefties blather about in their Propaganda.

        Every time I look up some supposed lie from Trump that the media cites. I look at the full statement of Trump and then investigate to see if its a lie.

        I have yet to pin a general statement from Trump like when the media says Trump said this: ‘Enemy of the people’.

        The media then cites this tweet from Trump’s intern:
        The LameStream Media has gone totally CRAZY! They write whatever they want, seldom have sources (even though they say they do), never do “fact checking” anymore, and are only looking for the “kill.” They take good news and make it bad. They are now beyond Fake, they are Corrupt..

        The media IS the enemy of the people but Trump did not say that in this referenced tweet.

        1. My favorite thing that Trump has done is retweet
          that wrestling meme of Cnn, which the abc reporter tried to make out like Trump was threatening the news. And then cnn docs the creator, good job MSM, your pieces of shit.

    1. Hey, honey, there’s no faulty predicate in *my* probe!

  19. Maybe I can’t let it go and should move on but French scarred me when he defended some shithead school cop who body slammed a girl in class in order to get her to respect his ‘authoraitah’.

    1. Really? That’s surprising because just about the only thing I ever agreed with French on was his handling of Police Malfeasance. One of the only Right Pundits willing to argue a cop was in the wrong. Also, he’s a gun rights absolutist and manages to navigate the cop shooting those in possession of a gun as an abrogation of gun rights.

      Only things I think he is consistently right on.

  20. I don’t see any evidence that Trump is any more hostile to individual rights than any of his predecessors were. That’s an admittedly low bar but it doesn’t explain French’s TDS.

  21. “I don’t believe the pro-life movement needs him.”

    No, but they could have the decency to say thank you for putting some judges on the bench who recognize Roe and Casey as the coup attempts they were.

  22. Protection of individual liberty is the only common good – all else is redistribution or or destruction. All of the rights in the Bill of Rights are negative rights that bar the government from actions, rather than enable it to actions for a good reason.

    Government can’t do positive good or create. Government can only redistribute or destroy. And government redistribution entails much destruction. And government destruction entails much redistribution.

    “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'” ~ Ronald Reagan

  23. I’m not a nationalist, but the nationalism of today is so benign I can’t see it as a serious threat. At worst the harms it does now in any country are small, while it can be harnessed for good purposes.

  24. Sofia H. Gregg ??Looking for hook up with a stranger! ?? Ready for any experiments… Details Here

  25. >>>French … Jonah Goldberg … Stephen Hayes

    bleh. tried to come up w/a team of players nobody likes but even the worst team has fans

  26. I believe in the protection of liberty for the good of Americans. Protecting American liberty would have involved keeping foreigners out of America, because foreigners do not believe in liberty and do not even understand the first thing about liberty. It’s not their fault, of course, because they did not get born and grow up in America. But they are dangerous to American liberty nevertheless. Foreigners needed to implement liberty in their own countries first; then and only then would it be safe to allow them in to America.

    If you cringe at the idea of protecting America from foreigners, then, that is your first problem. That is the proof that you do not understand liberty at all yourself, and are a foreigner to America in your heart. I’m a Libertarian, but I’m not a stupid idiot. I really and truly want Liberty, and that means protecting my Liberty from those that would destroy it, either deliberately or in ignorance.

  27. Yeah, what’s not to like about a moral scold that can’t stop telling Christians that they can’t be REAL Christians like St. David of the French Davidians if they vote for Trump? Is it Libertarian to go around judging other people’s souls all the while claiming you’re the only Righteous Man? Oh, what am I saying, Reason isn’t a libertarian magazine.

    Little David is Reason’s pet because OrangeManBad; otherwise, they’d never have given this raging, sanctimonious hypocrite the time of day. What is this the 4th time he’s been featured?

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