Writing in this issue of Chronicles, Frank Brownlow, the scholar and literary critic, quotes W.H. Auden as having described logic as “a condition of the world,” like aesthetics and ethics. Auden was right, which makes advanced liberalism’s rejection of logic so dangerous.
Five nights a week on FOX News, week after week, Tucker Carlson in particular exposes this refusal as he backs one liberal guest after another into a rhetorical corner from which the victim seeks to escape by pulling his rubber knife of liberal illogic and brandishing it at the show’s host. It hasn’t worked yet, but still they haven’t learned. When will they ever? Never, it seems certain, until they are forced to confront their own illogic by other liberals who are through with being humiliated by the endless public display of the childish evasion and rhetorical dishonesty of their fellow ideologues.
One example is the parade of immigration “advocates,” lawyers, community activists, and commentators invited by Mr. Carlson’s producers to justify before millions of viewers their defense of California’s refusal to cooperate with federal agents in arresting and deporting illegal aliens, including criminal ones, and most recently to protest against the inclusion of a question pertaining to citizenship in the 2018 Census. Typically, Carlson’s guests assert one, many, or all of the following propositions. First: The vast majority of illegal aliens are good people helping to make America “better.” Second: Their arrest and deportation is really a new and previously unheard-of federal policy inspired by one man, the President of the United States, acting from his hatred of brown and black people. Third: No human being can rightfully be called illegal, a meaningless rhetorical term employed by bigots. Fourth: Illegal aliens are, rather, bona fide Americans endowed as tax payers by God and the Constitution with the right to political representation. And fifth: If Congress only bestirred itself to effect “immigration reform,” we wouldn’t be having this argument in the first place. In other words, “First give us what we want, and then we’ll give you what you want, though of course you won’t need it any longer.”
Several of these arguments, including the last one, have been made on Tucker Carlson Tonight by one practicing attorney, an illegal immigrant from Mexico now licensed to practice law in the great state of California. But given the proven effectiveness of laymen in promoting such arguments as the above ones, who needs attorneys and law schools, anyway? Or, for that matter, any educational institutions at all in the postmodern Western world, where formal (and even simple) logic, along with aesthetics and traditional morality (ethics), are regularly neglected, or twisted and bent beyond all recognition—in short, violated?
The same illogic, or antilogic, otherwise prevails in the Golden State, whose politicians insist on Monday that, as governors of a state in the federal Union, they are entitled to benefits from Washington, D.C., and on Wednesday that they are the leaders of an independent—or soon to be independent—People’s Free State of California entitled to make their own law. These are the sort of people who view the old Confederacy as a benighted society characterized by unlettered ignorance, religious superstition, and backwardness. They stand, however, to learn at least one thing from Dixie: the logic, based on formal learning and a secure knowledge of history, that allowed Southern statesmen to make a rational and compelling case for secession, and a considered (though self-interested and morally unjustifiable) one for the Peculiar Institution. It is an intellectual and political effort that California liberals, and American liberals generally, have no interest in repeating on behalf of their newly erected institution: legalized illegality as part of a parallel legal system, one for recognized victims, the other for their supposed victimizers.