Twilight of the animals: We rational animals are always quick to put our skills on display.
So it was in the case of Thursday's Senate hearing, which may have been scripted by Alice's queen:
"Hearing first, investigation later," we rationals said. And not only that:
"Let's put a time limit on our probe! We wouldn't want to take a chance on possibly learning too much!"
So we modern Americans play, in the twilight of our culture. Also this:
Within the framework of our rationality, Thursday, July 1, 1982 can't be scored as a weekend night. More specifically, it wouldn't have been the start of that year's July 4 weekend!
The Washington Post accepts this framework in this morning's otherwise instructive news report—a news report which makes us wonder if Kavanaugh's voluntarily provided calendars may turn out to be the equivalent of Nixon's undestroyed tapes. Featured in the Post's photograph is a familiar type of event—a liberal leader, Senator Whitehouse, arriving at the scene of the crime exactly one day late.
We mention Whitehouse for a reason. It's easy for us liberals to spot the dissembling in Kavanaugh's testimony—and it must be said that, for better or worse, Kavanaugh is an astoundingly unskilled dissembler.
The fact that he did a lot of dissembling doesn't necessarily mean that he assaulted Christine Blasey when she was 15. That said, his endless, amazingly unskilled dissembling cohabited on Thursday with a familiar phenomenon—the amazing incompetence put on display by our own tribal leaders.
Why did Senator Feinstein, and all the others, wait so long to deny the claim that she and/or her staff leaked the contents of Blasey Ford's confidential letter, thereby bringing Blasey Ford into the public eye?
Why in the world did they wait so long? We have no idea, but it amounted to (very familiar) intellectual misfeasance when the Democrats allowed this claim against Feinstein and her staff to go unchallenged so long.
If you want to inform yourselves farther, here is The Intercept's Ryan Grim saying that neither Feinstein nor her staff leaked the information in question to the Intercept, the site which produced the first public report concerning Blasey Ford's allegation.
Conservatives watching Thursday's hearing saw Feinstein fingered again and again before she finally got around to objecting. In these ways, our tribe's astounding incompetence contributes to false belief on the part of the other tribe's members.
Anyone watching Thursday's hearing saw Kavanaugh claim, again and again, that everyone named by Blasey Ford had "refuted" her claim about the party or gathering in question. This was said again and again and again and again. As Kavanaugh kept repeating this claim, our tribal leaders performed like the famous "potted plants" of Watergate-era fame.
Our team has performed in such pitiful ways for at least three decades. It has been impossible to call liberal attention to this fact. In large part, this explains the way we got to the place where it falls to Donald J. Trump to make Supreme Court nominations.
In short, we created this amazingly stupid and dangerous world. The twilight of the rational animals achieved its full flower through us.
How else have we gotten to this place? If you watched Tucker Carlson on Monday night, you saw this appalling performance during his opening monologue:
CARLSON (9/25/18): There's a flip side to the new system. Because the accused are guilty by definition, the accuser suddenly have no responsibility to make credible claims. And we're seeing that principle in action too.Carlson made the same false claim about the people Blasey Ford named.
We covered the story all last week. Five nights in a row we said that we are giving Christine Ford every benefit of every doubt, and we did that. But let's be honest now. Not many of her claims would hold up in an actual court, the one governed by the justice system we thought we had until about 10 days ago...
When did this alleged assault take place? Ford can't say. When did it happen? She doesn't know. Where are the witnesses to this? Well, there aren't any. The few people Ford has named deny it happened. When was this first reported to authorities? Well, it never really was.
The story came out in stages. It was a recovered memory, apparently summoned by a psychotherapist 30 years after the fact. And even then, it was another six years before Ford named Brett Kavanaugh specifically, at exactly the point he was being nominated for the Supreme Court.
That's not our analysis of the case. It's the position of Ford's lawyers, nearly all of whom double as Democratic Party activists and operatives and some of whom defended Bill Clinton from far graver sexual assault claims when he was accused.
That doesn't mean Ford is lying. But it does raise legitimate questions so does a lot of her behavior.
"The few people Ford has named deny [the alleged assault] happened?" In fact, one of the people Blasey Ford named has said she believes it did happen. (Two of the people she named are said to have perpetrated the assault.)
That was penny-=ante stuff; we also note the apparent false claim about when Blasey Ford first named Kavanaugh as her alleged assailant. From there, Carlson went on to other false claims, including the claim we've highlighted.
When have Blasey Ford's lawyers ever said that her allegation is the result of a "recovered memory?" We find evidence of no such assertion, nor did Carlson specify any such statement.
That said, he was soon repeating this claim, several times, in the face of a less than fully competent liberal guest. As he did, he said that such "recovered memories" are less reliable than the regular kind.
In a familiar pattern on Carlson's show, his eager but overmatched liberal guest failed to challenge his bogus assertion. Several million viewers thus became even more misinformed, in a familiar old way.
At least sine the rise of Rush Limbaugh in the 1980s, such acts of disinformation have ruled American discourse. When these acts have come from the right, the liberal world has typically slumbered and slept and dozed and scratched and dreamily chosen to burble. Either that or we've gone on Carlson's show, where we typically offer the silence of the sacrificial lambs.
Not all the acts of disinformation have come from the right. During the Clinton/Gore/Clinton years, many of these acts came from the upper-end mainstream press, the source of employment to the many people who pose as our tribe's liberal leaders.
Our leaders have tended to stare into space as dis- and misinformation have come to rule our discourse. On the rare occasions where we manage to show up at all, we tend to show up one day late, as Whitehouse did yesterday morning.
People like Carlson can say what they please. Beyond that, attacks on the Clintons—including misogynistic attacks on Hillary Clinton—will run all over the New York Times without a word from our leaders.
(Those misogynistic attacks ran on cable for decades. Our liberal leaders clamored to get on the programs in question, so they could play right along.)
We reaped the whirlwind of our endless silence when Donald J. Trump drew an inside straight and squeezed his way into the White House. So it has gone in the never-ending twilight of the rationals.
There's no way to cover the full extent of this moral and intellectual breakdown, but our own tribe's relentless failure is a very large part of this mess. We're in this twilight up to our necks—this twilight of the rational animals, which could sweep us all away.
Is Blasey Ford's allegation true? We can't tell you that. But on Thursday morning, she rose to perform her citizen's duty. Over here in our self-impressed liberal tents, we rise to that level quite rarely.
Hearing first, investigation later! And don't let the probe run too long!
In fairness: After performing his acts of disinformation, Carlson typically spends some time airing tape of low-grade, inane behavior by our own liberal players.
These parts of Carlson's show are often all too instructive. If you ever watch his show, we're afraid you might see what we mean.
In these ways, the other tribe learns that we liberals can't be trusted. All too often, viewers see Carlson making a decent point.