The Wages of Proportionalism

Ethical theories like utilitarianism, say that an action is right or wrong, depending on the consequences it produces. A deed is judged as good if it has a good result. The intentions of the actor are of little or no consequence, because what matters is the final result. Similarly, the deed has no intrinsic morality because the morality is entirely dependent on the results. The most common expression for this is that the ends justify the means. Most of what we think of as the Left falls into this ethical category.

The obvious alternative to this is what Jeremy Bentham called deontological ethics or deontology. This loosely means the knowledge of what is right and proper. A Catholic, for example, acts in accordance with the teachings of the Church. A lawyer conducts himself in accordance with the demands of Lucifer. The act is good or evil intrinsically, regardless of downstream outcomes. What matters is the fidelity to principle or a moral code. The means justifies the ends is the most common formulation of this.

Then there is Proportionalism, which was discussed in this post with regards to how our rulers manage race relations in the current age. That is the ethical theory that says it is never right to go against a principle, unless a proportionate reason would justify it. For example, discrimination is always wrong, unless doing so mitigates some greater wrong. Affirmative action is the policy of discriminating against living whites, based on their race, in order to address the racism of white people too dead to be punished.

The obvious danger of utilitarianism and pragmatist is that it gives license to all sorts of horrible things. A despot, for example, can kill wantonly, claiming it is necessary in order to achieve some greater purpose. Similarly, a pathological adherence to principle, or simply adherence to some bizarre moral philosophy like Nazism, can lead to monstrous ends. Even so, there’s at least a principled argument to be made in order to limit or block the despot and the zealot. There are rules against which they can be judged.

In the modern age, our rulers are quick to point out these things when criticizing whatever it is they are railing against at the moment. They favor Proportionalism because it allows them to make the rules up as they go along, in the moment, in order to take maximum advantage. Proportionalism lets them bet both sides of the wager. When it suits them, they can assiduously apply the rules. When the rules are inconvenient, they can claim that a rigid adherence to principle is not in the public interest.

This moral ambiguity has worked reasonably well, but it is proving to be their undoing as we see with the ongoing spying scandal in Washington. The political class is now faced with an impossible choice. They can pretend that none of this happened and hope Trump stops dumping details about it into the alternative media. That’s pretty much what happened with the Susan Rice story that was handed to Cernovich. That’s an unknowable unknown because Trump plays by a different set of rules and has unknown motives.

There’s also the problem of letting what Team Obama did go unpunished. It sanctions this sort of activity and exactly no one wants the executive having that sort of power. Imagine if a soulless sociopath like Clinton had won the election and had the power to unleash the intelligence agencies on her enemies. On a regular basis, assassins would be gunning down political figures on the streets of Washington. The organized and brazen abuse of power that went on in the last year cannot be left unaddressed.

That, of course, leads to the other unpleasant option. Investigating the former staff of the former president for the crime of domestic espionage and perhaps conspiring to undermine the election is no small thing. After all, that former president is the most precious trophy of the party that runs Washington. That party has been willing to excuse just about anything in order to win political fights. No one knows what sort of dirt Team Obama has at their disposal to use in a bloody political war over this.

That brings it all back to Trump. This latest twist was rather obviously a White House caper. They had the goods on Susan Rice and probably several others so they found a willing outlet. This is one of the oldest political tricks. You find an obscure reporter looking to make a name for himself and you give him the scoop of his lifetime. In this day, a blogger works even better because they don’t have to clear things with a boss. Picking Cernovich is the sort of flourish that a guy like Trump would find amusing.

It’s also a reminder to the political class that Trump is a fast learner and he is willing to play the hardest of hardball. Trump is a leverage guy. He always looks at what he has in order to leverage it to get something else. He’s just turned this Russian hacking nonsense into a weapon he can now use on the political class. The Republicans don’t want to go to war with the Democrats and the Democrats don’t want anymore of their soldiers getting dimed out to ambitious bloggers looking to make a name for themselves.

It is the inevitable end to Proportionalism. In the 90’s, the Left made all sorts of compromises in order to win elections with the Clintons. The Right decided to do the same the following decade with Bush and the neocons. As a result, the political class lost their moral authority. Team Obama had no reason to obey the rules, because no one was obeying the rules. There was always some proportionate reason to justify violating principle. After all, they let the IRS caper pass. Why not some domestic spying?

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36 Comments on "The Wages of Proportionalism"

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Doug
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I think that proportionalism is at the stage where it’s consuming resources on a logarithmic scale to survive its crisis of legitimacy. Pretty soon, it acquires so much gravity of illegitimacy and irrelevance, it reaches black hole stage and consumes itself, a singularity if you will, collapsing in on itself. The State is going to end as we Men of The West know it. Trump, really not the man, but what his coming represents, is no accident of fate, it is the equation of tyranny and liberty trying to balance itself. The State as we know it in the West… Read more »
Lars
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Good points all.

Guest
Guest

Is there any evidence that Team Trump had the goods on Susan Rice? Cernovich suggested that he got the information from IT staff in a MSM organization, who (ironically) were monitoring emails of the MSM reporters who, according to Cernovich, were sitting on the story out of allegiance to Obama and antipathy to Trump.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-04-03/cernovich-explains-how-he-learned-about-susan-rice

Doug
Guest

What kind of evidence is required after all that has transpired over time since the Clinton regime? Or for that matter since 1865?

ron
Guest
Breaking the rules to achieve and maintaining power at any cost–Which is what politics is solely concerned about— is the equivalent of a farmer making a banquet of his seed corn. It makes for a easy and convenient meal, based on the nihilistic hope that there will be no tomorrow to worry about. And if tomorrow does come, well, the farmer can always steal from his neighbor. Unless his neighbor has done the same thing, hoping to rip off the first farmer as well. So have both parties burned their bridges, which explains why Trump, for better or worse, is… Read more »
Doug
Guest

They squandered the seed corn once they strip mined the wealth of America via fiat devaluation. The end game is here. To survive their illegitimacy there are no limits.

Alex
Guest

I think we should use the term “caper” more often. It perfectly defines the criminality of the activity while incorporating a light-hearted buffoonery I’ve come to expect from all politicians.

Doug
Guest

An alternative title could be The Wages of Sin too.

Drake
Guest

Everybody in politics ignoring the rules these days gives me an uneasy feeling. Once the rules are gone, it is a hard and usually bloody path to get them back.

I fail to see how this doesn’t end in bloodshed, tyranny, or both.

Doug
Guest
Thought long the same thing Drake. The only rules is there are no rules with these deep state actors. If it is discovered there are no rules, except for us dirt people, at some point, everyone figures out there are really no limits. You can see it beginning to dawn on a lot of people where, everything then, regards government, is becoming illegitimate. Like you say, then the potential for bloody conflict increases. Already we see how the deep state has waged it with their meme and narrative violence for a long time now. No doubt in my mind they… Read more »
wetburn
Guest

“A lawyer conducts himself in accordance with the demands of Lucifer.” Well said and well placed for maximum effect.

Member

Including the lawyers who have and do represent Donald J. Trump? How about those lawyers defending him in the Trump U matter?

LetsPlay
Member
When I read that, I did a double-take! Wow, from the fingertips of the Zman no less! As I have said before, “fuck the lawyers.” As said by Obi Wan in Star Wars (1977), “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.” Now I know there are good people who happen to be lawyers but for the most part the never ending supply of “bureaucrats” that infest the government, including politicians, just happen to be of the lawyer class. And that is government at all levels. So much for law schools attracting… Read more »
Member

Trump/Bannon are not going to get CBS, CNN, et al, and the political class to either go out of business or make hard right turns. But they can neutralize them and even get them to kow-tow. They can accomplish this by making Obama the villain, that is, the one responsible for using U.S. intel agencies to illegally and immorally spy on and undermine Trump. Hence the outing of Rice, who is one step away from Obama. The left is already defending her like
crazy, but they take their orders from Obama, so we shall see.

Al from da Nort
Guest
Your sidebar: “A lawyer conducts himself in accordance with the demands of Lucifer.”, is at once a very witty aside (because it fits with the subject of rules and it’s true enough) and also profound theology about rules. In the Book of Job, Lucifer/Satan is portrayed as having to to operate within God’s permission/rules to ‘re-proportion’ Job’s ‘priviledge’. With lawyers in general, not just racial spoils lawyers, it’s the same. Unless there are rules for them to bend and stretch, as does Lucifer in The Book of Job with God’s rules, there’s no point to employing lawyers: It’s either bribery… Read more »
El Eff
Guest
Another “on spot” conceptualization of our “situation”, Z Man. Yes, flouting the law very seldom, if ever, confines itself to one issue. Sometimes the flouting spreads simply because the nefarious perpetrators see they got away with “X” so why not do “Y”, and “Z” and on and on, ad infinitum. Other times flouting spreads because the first flout directly leads to the necessity of the next, and next, and next flout(s) – a vicious cycle. In either case, you end up with tyranny, chaos, and anarchy, or as Z Man sometimes ends his essays, something that “will not end well.”
Dutch
Guest

Bannon’s dismissal from the Security Council is being spun as a purge. Perhaps it frees Bannon up to do his work more freely. It is interesting how Trump is constantly spinning the structure of both the job descriptions and the personnel.

Central City definitely has a band of dissidents in their midst. Are you not entertained?

Lulu
Guest

Bannon’s leaving the NSC can also be interpreted as a strategic appointment that achieved its goal and is no longer needed. The appointee, a multifaceted guy of apparently great intellect and just plain savvy, is free to be utilized somewhere else. The report is that he has retained his WH security status, just as when he was on the NSC.

Member
I freely acknowledge I’m not keeping up with all this. I couldn’t stand to do so. But I’m left with questions: 1. Didn’t all the alleged intel on what Trump campaign people were doing come from spying on the Russian diplomats? The US Gov is allowed to do that. Meeting with foreign diplomats comes with risks. 2. Assuming for just a moment that the campaign coordinated the wikileaks releases through the Russians, would that not be an attempt to undermine the validity of the election at least equivalent to anything the Obama administration did? If the spying authorized by the… Read more »
Drake
Guest

No indication that wikileaks had anything to do with the Russians much less Trump team. Podesta’s password was ‘password’. A 4-year-old could have hacked his accounts.

Dutch
Guest

It’s hard to tell the truth without a scorecard, but the Trump side of things, as can be construed through the statements made by the WSJ, Wikileaks, and others, is that the surveillance was on matters not related to Russia, and that Wikileaks got the goods from a disgruntled Sanders supporter on the staff of the DNC. Perhaps the DNC guy shot in the back of the head in a 4 a.m. street robbery attempt that resulted in no theft of anything.

Chuckie Larnuss
Guest
“Perhaps the DNC guy shot in the back of the head in a 4 a.m. street robbery attempt that resulted in no theft of anything.” 27-year-old DNC staffer Seth Rich, murdered July 10, 2016, after DNC emails were leaked to Wikileaks and prior to the release of said leaked emails in October: “In a statement sent to The Washington Times through WikiLeaks’ Twitter account, the organization said it would not confirm or deny whether Rich had ever been a source for WikiLeaks. ‘We treat threats toward any suspected source of WikiLeaks with extreme gravity. This should not be taken to… Read more »
Lulu
Guest
It seemed to me that Trump shot the door open with his tweet, having seen (on Inauguration Day morning) the NYT’s lead article saying that: “Intercepted Russian Communications Part of Inquiry Into Trump Associates” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/19/us/politics/trump-russia-associates-investigation.html?_r=0 Trump had not been in the WH yet. Most of his and his “associates’ “ business was being conducted at Trump Tower. So he came out with his blockbuster tweet expressing outrage about the Dems “wiretapping” him at Trump Tower. The NYT and the Dems were hoist on their own petards. Where to go with their story now that he was calling them on how… Read more »
Doug
Guest
Bannon is on a mission. That guy is forearmed and politically very dangerous in a way not seen before by the likes of those in the swamp. Wager dollars to donuts he has dirt on everyone. Ever notice some media mouthpiece will get to running their mouth about Bannon in the usual signaling and white racist Alt-Right meme or some bullshit past history, then all of a sudden nothing. His best friend Andrew Breitbart was murdered in cold blood because he had the goods on Podesta and the rest of the spirit cooking gang. Bannon knows things, lots of things.… Read more »
Lulu
Guest

I thought Bannon was probably the one who got word to Cernovich. (sp?)

Trump plays the media like a violin and Bannon is a media pro.

Al from da Nort
Guest

Lulu;
Excellent target selection, that’s for sure: Pick the one with the very least IQ and public credibility. Live by affirmative action, die by affirmative action.

Member
Trump holds all the cards. Only a colossally stupid ruling class like the Bourbons could fail to see this. The managerial class’ logic seems to be: “I dealt blackjack for a real long time. I can now come back to the table as a player and still get the house odds.” They also seem to think that the house detective and pit boss still work for them and are on their side. No. All they have is a bunch of shills and accomplices sitting (the media, the foundations, and the rapidly being purged stay behinds*) at the table with them.… Read more »
Member

I’d like to be around when Z is deciding what to write about and what angle or lens he’s going to use to look at the topic of choice.
Is it like Fred Sanford going to the drawer he keeps his glasses in, picking out a few pairs and deciding to look at a topic with this or that lens?
Or something like it in his head.
Whatever it is, it works. Glad I can be around to watch.

Member

Long ago I read a thing in the old National Lampoon regarding the reasons capitalism is more fun than communism. It was put forth that communists worry about rights and wrongs that are so big that you can never do anything about them, while capitalists worry about regular-folk rights and wrongs. The example given was “Is it right for my wife to be running around with god-knows-who while I’m at work? Would it be wrong to give her a pop in the yap?”

Great humor contains great wisdom.

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