« Completely Believable Friday Afternoon News From The IRS | Main | Friday Night Culture Post »
June 13, 2014

David Brat Says Something Entirely Uncontroversial; Journos Freak Out

Shock!!! Horror!!!

With just seven little words, the freakout began: “The government holds a monopoly on violence.”

We talked about this dustup a little on the podcast, as did Charles C. W. Cooke and Kevin Williamson on an episode of their lesser, but still enjoyable, podcast.

Cooke goes on:

These were written by David Brat, a professor of economics at Virginia’s Randolph-Macon College and, now, the Republican party’s nominee for the state’s seventh congressional district. “Unusual” and “eye-opening” was the New York Daily News’s petty verdict. In the Wall Street Journal, Reid Epstein insinuated darkly that the claim cast Brat as a modern-day fascist. And, for his part, Politico’s Ben White suggested that the candidate’s remarks “on Neitzsche and the government monopoly on violence don’t make a whole lot of sense.” As is its wont, the progressive blogosphere lost its collective marbles too: One contributor sardonically described Brat’s claim as a “doozy,” while another contended that such opinions were sufficient for “one to question his, shall we say, cognitive coherence.”

This reaction is rather surprising, for what Brat wrote is not merely a statement of fact, but a thoroughly neutral statement of fact.

Cooke attributes the reaction of the chattering classes largely to their hearing a truth they know but are uncomfortable with. Instead of acknowledging this simple and wholly uncontroversial point, they recoil in horror and run back to gauzy platitudes like "government is simply the name we give to the things we choose to do together".

I'd add that this is what's become of modern media, where producing clickbait driven by the outrage of the day, real or imagined, is the primary goal, and the content is a mere afterthought.

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry picks up the theme today in Forbes but comes at it from a different angle:

What’s wrong with this picture, America, is that the concept of the state having “a monopoly on the [legitimate] use of force” is a quotation from the highly reputed and important German sociologist Max Weber, and is a concept that is absolutely basic to our modern understanding of the State. Anyone who has taken polisci 101 or sociology 101 or political philosophy 101 or history of ideas 101 ought to have encountered the phrase. It is about as offensive as saying that donuts have holes. (Cooke, maybe because he went to college in the UK, knows this.)

...

... when a bunch of people, whose job is to write about politics, who presumably have nice-sounding educations, who have editors, don’t know one of the very basics of the political thought that gave us the world we live in, the hour is very late indeed.

Both pieces are well worth reading in full, and I encourage you to do so before answering the following:



digg this
posted by Andy at 05:00 PM

| Access Comments




Recent Comments
Vic: "326 325 Christopher Columbus discovered America. ..."

eleven: "[i]I believe Kamel Harris put Jussie up to the who ..."

Andrew "Law 'N Order" McCabe posing in assless chaps with diploma and gun: ""I believe Kamel Harris put Jussie up to the whole ..."

Quint: "303 We don't bury our opponent's monuments and pla ..."

mikeyG [/i][/i][/i]: "I believe Kamel Harris put Jussie up to the whole ..."

AlaBAMA: "I went plaid once. Once. ..."

Victor Tango Kilo: "Also,, within a week of PDT pushing for internatio ..."

hogmartin: "Is there One True Source of Standardized Yiddish S ..."

eleven: "[i]They discovered smallpox.[/i] Too soon. ..."

Jean: "IIRC, Stalin took the Ukrainian food and fed the R ..."

illiniwek: ""Secretary of Science Stallone will explain.'' ... ..."

xnycpeasant: "I believe that the metaphors and imagery people us ..."

Recent Entries
Search


Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64