Lunatics Running the Asylum

Lunatics Running the Asylum

William B. Turner

One hears a fair amount of opinion that Democrats need to handle Trump supporters gently and “reach out” (ugh) to them.

No. We do not. There is no reason to accommodate the idiots. They are still citizens and deserve all the rights that come with citizenship, including equal protection of the laws, but they neither deserve nor need coddling from the smart people.

Some argue that having the colonists win the American Revolutionary War was not the best outcome, but win it they did, and once they won, they needed to govern themselves. The Articles of Confederation were a stop gap they created during the emergency of the war and proved inadequate to the peace that followed.

The Constitution is flawed – it accommodated slavery at its ratification – but, with amendments, it still serves, and, at the moment, looks like it provides the best mechanism for helping us emerge from the current, parlous state of affairs. Some have argued that inducing the slave owning colonies to join the Union helped end slavery in the long run because once the slave states were part of the republic, as we now know, they couldn’t get out and slavery was doomed.

We didn’t do right by the freed slaves or their descendants right away – we really still haven’t – but we did decide to let women vote. We tried an experiment in prohibiting the manufacture and sale of alcohol, which turned out to be a huge mistake, so we reversed it. We fought on the right side of two world wars (the second time choosing sides was easy, but before World War I, the German population in the United States was large enough that there was some chance we could have ended up on their side) and survived the Great Depression with major reforms to minimize the chances of another one happening.

Then we finally got around to taking some serious steps to help the descendants of the slaves. It was too little, too late, but we did make major policy changes.

The problem we have now is that the lunatics who don’t like making life more fair for the descendants of the slaves have continued to fight against those reforms ever since. And Republicans, ever opportunistic, were more than happy to exploit that sentiment to their own ends, which the stupids complied with even as the resulting policies harmed them.

The opponents are wrong. We have no reason to accommodate them. It sometimes takes longer than it should, but by and large, in the long run, the smart option has usually won in the history of the United States. It is hard to remember this when we’re in the middle of battling the stupids, who have won a temporary victory, but the smart people will win again in the long run, whether the stupids like it or not.

Since we’re the ones who enact policies prohibiting discrimination and want to treat everyone equally, the stupids have nothing to fear from us. We – at least those of us who are not heterosexual white men – have plenty to fear from the stupids. As with prohibiting racial segregation, the stupids don’t like it, and it does infringe on their freedom in some sense, but it worked a huge net increase in freedom overall because it allowed African Americans to go about their business without the constant harassment of segregation. Why should we care about the people who don’t like it? It was the right thing to do and perfectly reasonable, and any harm it caused to segregationists
was entirely abstract.One could make a similar argument about the Affordable Care Act.

The Donald as president has inflicted harm on lots of people to no particular advantage for the rest of us, which is not any excuse anyway, so we should take every reasonable step that will cause no more harm we can in order to remove him from office. Will his supporters like it? Who cares?