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Schlichter vs Erickson: Should conservatives abandon the ‘rule of law’ to restore it?



This is a very interesting online conversation between two well-versed lawyers fighting on the same side for conservative values.

Kurt Schlichter wrote a piece at Town Hall advocating for using the Left’s tactics against themselves in order to break them.

My plan is to cause the left so much pain by applying their new rules to them that they give up trying to grind their Birkenstocks into our faces forever. Yes, as a practical matter that means allying with President Trump, guy I formerly criticized in detail and without restraint, and who was my 16th of 17 choices in the primary (Jeb! was last because he’s an insufferable wuss and I won’t suffer him).

Erick Erickson countered with his own post on The Resurgent, contending that “meting out pain to the opponent is not conservative.”

Also, meting out pain to the opponent is not conservative. In fact, I think what Kurt is offering up is really the choice we are carening towards and he seems to want to force: rightwing authoritarianism vs leftwing totalitarianism. The former lets you keep your social liberalism and beats the hell out of you if you try to push it on anyone else. The latter destroys your life if you do not cave into liberal social policy. Neither shows grace for the other and the rule of law is premised on which mob is in charge.

The question here is one of tactics. Do we become our (political) enemy in order to defeat our (political) enemy, in order to return to our own selves when the battle is won? Or is the battle itself and how it is fought more important?

It’s like an undercover officer becoming a drug addict for the purpose of defeating a drug dealer. He may defeat one particular dealer, but then he has to overcome being an addict.

I have always believed that in the tug-of-war between ends and means, means always wins. We are not responsible for outcomes, because–well, there could be a hurricane or other disaster–they are largely out of our hands. We are only responsible for our own conduct and personal character. If conservatives abandon character in order to defeat a movement that is focused almost entirely on outcomes, then the nature of the political battle will certainly shift to a larger and more violent frame.

It will. History shows it. When Germany lost World War I and the rise of violent Weimar gangs gained backing from regular citizens, the only moral force able to stop it was the church (which at that time had a lot of influence in Germany). But the church did not stop it, and in fact stepped back.

Then politics became everything, and character (means) took a back seat to outcomes. We know the results.

In the battle between conservatives and progressives, progressives win by default when conservatives make our focus causing pain to the “other side” as Schlichter proposed. Doing that essentially makes us all progressive, which is likely a one-way journey.

As a metaphor, it’s like an undercover officer becoming a drug addict for the purpose of defeating a drug dealer. He may defeat one particular dealer, but then he has to overcome being an addict, and needing a drug dealer to supply his habit.

If conservatives take Schlichter’s drug, there’s no easy way to kick the habit. It’s sad that so many conservatives have already gotten hooked. This is one of the main reasons we need to look at the Federalist Party. The country needs a rehab center for conservatives addicted to progressivist outcome-based thinking.

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