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The Guardian takes the lid off the pot

I avidly followed the coverage in the British press of the the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court. In this post I will look at one paper in particular, the Guardian. When it was founded as the Manchester Guardian in the nineteenth century, this newspaper’s name was meant to indicate that its role was to “zealously enforce the principles of civil and religious Liberty”, which included an earnest concern for legal protections such as the presumption of innocence. The modern Guardian published many, many news and opinion pieces describing how to tell that Kavanaugh was a bad ‘un. I was more interested in the readers’ comments.

The Guardian used to allow readers to comment on practically every news article and opinion piece. Sometimes this meant that its editors and writers would be made painfully but usefully aware that many of its readers were not “with the program”. That changed under the current editor, Katharine Viner. Throughout most of the Kavanaugh saga comments were firmly closed. There was at least one story that I cannot now find for which comments were opened in error and then quickly slammed shut again. Then on 5th October came a story in which comments were intentionally opened: “Trump and Kavanaugh claim we live in a meritocracy. Don’t believe a word of it” by Arwa Mahdawi. The tone of the piece is that of a shared joke: “… Brett Kavanaugh. You know, the judge who really likes beer and seems to hate women having autonomy over their reproductive systems”. I think the writer may have been surprised at the trend the comments took. The top rated comment was by “SpringinAmsterdam1” and said,

Arwa can I ask, how would you feel if an event someone else felt had happened, had no issue was raised at the time, and when it was raised and people know there is no proof of the event, but thousands of people had decided through the court of social media, believed you to be guilty?

How would you deal with that, and can you see how this could be used to assassinate a persons character? Lastly, do you believe in innocent till proven guilty?

October 8th saw the breaking of a tiny little Berlin Wall: two pieces which acknowledged that all was not well with the narrative. For Jessa Crispin’s article “Women aren’t united against Kavanaugh. That’s a dangerous myth” the top comment came from “HarSingh” and said,

It might be because women are sensible? There was no corroborating evidence, she can’t recall if he was there, or even where it happened. She listed 4 people who could provide evidence but none of them decided to.

The timing of the allegation points to a witch hunt and a political hatchet job. It backfired, male or female, the majority realise this

Also on October 8th came this article by Cas Mudde putting forward the novel argument that Kavanaugh’s confirmation might boost the Republicans. The most recommended comment was by “Truewordshere” and said,

The Republican senator Susan Collins once again broke the hearts of many naive liberals

True liberals should watch her speech explaining her choice. A calm and reasoned explanation based on deeply-ingrained liberal principles. “Liberals”, however, branded her a “rape apologist”.

Comments were pre-moderated for “Trump sees only his own victimhood as he apologises to Kavanaugh” by Gaby Hinsliff on 9 October. The top one came from “HappyExpat50” and started by quoting Ms Hinsliff,

For a moment, as Donald Trump spoke of the “pain and suffering” endured by one noble individual in his wretched supreme court nomination process, you almost wondered if he might find some gracious way to acknowledge Christine Blasey Ford.

HappyExpat50 then went on,

Has he been charged with anything ?

Has he been convicted of anything ?

I would have thought that the Cliff Richard fiasco in the UK would have at least taught some people that people are innocent until proven guilty.

The lid is off the pot and there is something bubbling up within.

32 comments to The Guardian takes the lid off the pot

  • Julie near Chicago

    Natalie, I hope for the Lord’s sake you are right.

    To the point, here is Juanita Broaddrick relating her experience of the lack of interest in her (alleged, but I’m disinclined to believe Slick Willy on anything) rape by WJC.

    What is sauce for the gander was not sauce for the goose.

    And in her opinion, Ford’s story does not hold up.

    “Juanita Broaddrick: Anti-Kavanaugh #MeToo Protesters Never Heard Of Me”


  • John Duckett

    Here in New Zealand,Guilty by accusation,is pushed by the hard of thinking. I have had to take a strong line with a local woman who boldly declared that Kavanaugh was unfit to hold office as someone had alleged that she had been molested by him.I asked her if she could furnish any evidence that such an event had taken place and whether it would pass the “Beyond reasonable doubt” test. I also enquired if she would be happy for her Father/Son/Brother to be condemned on the same flimsy grounds. I have not had a reply yet.

  • staghounds

    John Duckett, I’ve found “Wait a minute, you’re the woman who stole Mary Wilson’s car back in 2006. I don’t care what a thief like you thinks.”

    “What are you talking about, I never heard Mary Wilson.”

    “You may not have heard of her, but you stole her car. The cops caught you speeding in it, you had already sold the laptop she left in the trunk, and it took her months to get the stink of weed out. Not to mention the rubbers. The only reason you didn’t go to jail is that she got deployed to Kuwait and couldn’t come back to testify.”

    And so forth. Or use cheating on the spouse, that works too. It’s fun, sometimes they rave.

  • Mr Ed

    This is deeply troubling, it indicates that otherwise sensible people still visit The Guardian website.

  • bobby b

    “The lid is off the pot and there is something bubbling up within.”

    Just to be clear, the lid you mention, to me, isn’t the popularity of the opinions which you quoted. Many many many of us have held and shared those same opinions without apology for quite some time.

    But the fact that those opinions appeared and stayed in that paper does represent a cracked lid to me. The lid isn’t off just yet, but the bubbling pot is shooting steam out around the rim. I don’t know if some reporters have taken to heart the idea that they as a group have sullied their own names and credibility and now need to try honest reporting, or if the number of comments in agreement with these Guardian readers is scaring the editors into letting some be heard, or what, but I do know that, just generally, I’m seeing a few more articles and postings and comments that reflect my own positions every week in unexpected places, and the anti-right monolithic public media content creators seem less monolithic today than they did even just a month ago.

    I’m cautiously optimistic in spite of myself.

  • bobby b

    “You may not have heard of her, but you stole her car. The cops caught you speeding in it, you had already sold the laptop she left in the trunk, and it took her months to get the stink of weed out. Not to mention the rubbers. The only reason you didn’t go to jail is that she got deployed to Kuwait and couldn’t come back to testify.”

    Oh, you are just friggen’ evil.

    I like it. 😆

  • Paul Marks

    The Guardian is at least open about what it is – a socialist propaganda organ whose only concern is pushing the cause of collectivism, people who look for the truth in the Guardian are (as Mr Ed points out) making an error. The Guardian is the same as such American newspapers as the New York Times (indeed the NYT is a partner of the NYT – they work closely together), but anyone who tells the truth about the New York Times (that it is a collectivist propaganda organ whose only concern is pushing the collectivist cause) is attacked as “paranoid” and “McCarthyite” – whereas the Guardian admits what it is.

    As for comments – I would not want to comment on a Guardian article, I assume that all articles in the Guardian are a tissue of lies and distortions, but also (see above) that anyone who comes upon a copy of the Guardian (say on a train) knows that its articles are lies and distortions – and, therefore, does not take them seriously. Teachers and university lecturers tend to read the Guardian – which shows the objective of much of the education system, which is to fill the minds of the young with LIES to serve the Collectivist cause. The government led by Mrs May must know this – but does nothing about it (other than to throw even more money at the brainwashing centres).

    The Economist magazine (which has also de facto restricted comments under its new editor) is a more serious case. The Economist has traditionally presented itself as “Classical Liberal” publication – so some people still take its articles seriously, it is not the case that everyone knows it is a collectivist propaganda publication pushing (in Fabian fashion) for gradually more-and-more statism (for example its reaction to the terrible harm that Obamacare has done is to demand that the States that resisted the unsustainable expansion of Medicare follow the same path to bankruptcy of the States that accepted the expansion of Medicare).

    I used to point out in comments that the Economist magazine articles combined lots of Free Market talk with proposals for even MORE statism, and that the Economist magazine claimed to support Classical Liberal rolling-back-the-state but at election time tended to support candidates who were on the BIGGER government side. But I am no longer able to do this.

    Of course if everyone knew that the Economist magazine was (essentially – and in a disguised way) on the same side as the socialist Guardian newspaper, then comments on its articles would not be necessary (one could just ignore the publication), but everyone does NOT know this. The Economist still pretends to be a free market, roll back the state, publication – and denounces candidates for being “too left wing” (what they actually mean is “too left wing to be elected and defeat the evil right wingers” NOT “we really disagree with the political philosophy of this candidate). So the Economist magazine is like the old MANCHESTER Guardian – when the Guardian was still pretending to be a “liberal” publication, and (whilst really pushing the same cause it does now) had not “come out” as an openly Collectivist (indeed Totalitarian) publication.

    In case anyone doubts what I say – please remember that John McCain and “Mitt” Romney were ultra moderate Republicans, yet the Economist magazine did NOT support them in 2008 and 2012 – it supported Barack Obama. “But did the Economist magazine people know of his Marxist background?” YES THEY DID, in spite of their sarcastic response to me of “show us his Communist Party card” (as if a modern Frankfurt School Marxist carries a C.P. card). By the way the Vice Presidential candidate in Brazil does have a Communist Party card (the Workers Party Candidate for President does not have a Communist Party card – because he is a member of the Workers Party, which is also Marxist, but his “running mate” does have a CP card). This has not stopped the Economist magazine DE FACTO (not openly) supporting the Marxist campaign in Brazil.

    The alliance of certain big business groups with the Marxists is depressing – but is also long standing. Like the Duke of Orleans back at the time of the French Revolution (indeed for years before it) – a lot of rich people (such as the ones that own the Economist) believe that if they back the left, the left will be thankful and will not HURT them. I would remind such rich people of the words of “Stalin” – “gratitude is an emotion felt by DOGS”. The left will accept your support, rich “liberals”, and then they will ROB AND KILL YOU ANYWAY.

  • Mr Ed: “This is deeply troubling, it indicates that otherwise sensible people still visit The Guardian website.”

    Of course they do. It’s a goldmine of blog material!

  • NickM

    I’m glad Natalie brought this up. I have for quite some time noticed something very odd about Guardian comments policy. it makes no sense at all. Even completely apolitical things sometimes allow comments and sometimes not for no reason I can discern. I suspect that partly (at least) this might have something to do with The Guardian’s precarious finances because there often really isn’t an obvious poltical reason. Poltically though the biggest thing is the number of removed comments for “not meeting community standards”.

  • Runcie Balspune

    The common theme has not been so much that the brand of socialism trumpeted by the likes of The Guardian has come back in fashion, but that all other divergent worldviews are put down as nasty or evil.

    The core of liberalism is to see everything and assess everything, but this is not liberalism when even the faintest hint of alternative to the common socialist goal is seen as “far right” or “alt-right” or “fascist” and denounced as such.

    You know you’ve reach peak leftist propaganda when even Nick Clegg is no platformed.

    Libertarians seem to be having a hard-time in this, lumped in with those who support authoritarianism is a bitter pill to swallow.

  • pete

    By not inviting comments the Guardian is being more honest than inviting them and then deleting most off-message ones for not meeting ‘community standards’.

    That policy revealed that the only real ‘community standard’ at the Guardian is intolerance of dissent, a characteristic of most people who tell us they are liberal and progressive.

  • Sam Duncan

    “alleged, but I’m disinclined to believe Slick Willy on anything”

    Well, of course, he has a proven record of lying about that sort of thing, but the important aspect of Ms. Broaderick’s accusations in comparison to Dr. Ford’s is that she has evidence.

  • Jacob

    Comments need moderation. Without moderation you get an uncontrolled deluge of idiocy and foul language, which makes reading a comment thread impossible.
    Maybe the Guardian lacks the resources needed to moderate comments on all its articles.

  • NickM

    You know what? That is exactly what I thought c.10mins after I posted. But my point about the randomness of what does and doesn’t have any comments allowed is still odd.

  • I have a question for fellow commenters about those right-leaning US bloggers and politicians who are now speaking about how evil Senator Feinstein exploited poor Dr Ford.

    Some who say so may be sincere. I will not speculate how gullible Senator Collins may naturally or wilfully be. The likeable neoneocon has at times struck me as a bit willing – whether nobly or rashly – to be more credulous of her former liberal friends than I would be.

    That said, do commenters agree that most of those right-leaning US politicians who talk about how the evil Democrats exploited poor Dr Ford are doing so in the spirit in which Al Capone’s prosecutor said how shocking it was Mr Capone had not paid the taxes due on his doubtless-legitimately-acquired income?

    Mr Capone’s lawyer could hardly point out that murdering people for profit does not figure in any federal tax schedule – and the prosecutor knew that. Likewise, Senator Feinstein can hardly say that Dr Ford told her and the lawyers to remember to forget to pass on the invitation from the senate committee to visit her, her being so afraid of flying and all, etc.. And the Republicans know they cannot say that. Dr Ford’s supporters have to pretend Dr Ford told no lies under oath – so Dr Ford (watched no TV, saw no friends, wore earplugs and) was deliberately not told of the offer by her lawyers. They have to pretend that the leaking of the letter was knowingly done against her wishes. Etc. They have to pretend they were very false friends.

    More immediately relevant to this post, what do we think the Graniad’s commenters think about this? What do people in the states think? What ideas are bubbling up?

  • >The Guardian is at least open about what it is – a socialist propaganda organ whose only concern is pushing the cause of collectivism

    This is true. That’s why the case of The Telegraph, still regarded by many as conservative paper, is in a way more troubling. The Telegraph has been driftng leftwards, and its Women’s section has become almost as bad the Guardian. (More here: https://hectordrummond.com/2018/10/08/the-telegraphs-womens-section-is-an-odious-cesspit/

  • Julie near Chicago


    “I don’t know if some reporters have taken to heart the idea that they as a group have sullied their own names and credibility and now need to try honest reporting….”

    Here is a discussion featuring Adam Liptak of the NYT and Richard (Epstein) and moderated by Jeffrey Rosen. Mr. Liptak stands up stoutly for the honesty, integrity, and dedicated fact-checking of the NYT, its reporters, and of the MSM papers in general.

    Surely you wouldn’t mean to gainsay Mr. Liptak.

    Podcast “Libel, the Media, and Constitutional Legitimacy, 49 min.:


    [Who’s Jeffrey Rosen? A Great Big Noise in and (IIRC) co-founder of the American Constitution Society, who has founded under its auspices the National Constitution Center. The NCC is “endorsed by Congress as the best resource on the Constitution” (and actually perhaps it is, for all I know; if not, it’s probably still relatively unslanted). Mr. Rosen is openly Progressive, has a sideline as a journalist (NYT, WSJ, more), and to my mind is very very full of himself and somewhat of a pill. But he did once stand up in print (in the NYT!) for Richard, and his barbs in panel discussions are at least not vicious.

    He thinks Kelo was rightly decided. :>( Tsk.]

    . . .

    Sam (above at 3:34): Nothing to argue with there!

    . . .


    I’m glad Sen. Collins made her speech, which turns out to have carried a lot of weight with the anti-Forces-of-Darkness, and I hope with some who were still able to look at the evidence or who aren’t wedded to the Dems in the midterms. Personally I wasn’t so thrilled with the last several minutes of it, but never mind; at least, it might have helped not to frighten off undecided potential voters in November.


    Neoneocon! So you too have walked in the Vale of Arcady, if that’s what neoneocon.com — now thenewneo.com — is. I notice commenters from Samizdata there every once in awhile, but the ones I’ve seen are Americans. Personally, I much prefer the present locale, but hers, and Simon’s “Libertarian Home,” are the only other weblogs I follow. I think some of her analyses are pretty good — or, at least, interesting. I do see your point; that hadn’t occurred to me, and it’s something to think about.


    I think that those politicians who express outrage at Sen. Feinstein after showing great sympathy with Ford are trying to stave off the usual Cold, Callous, Cruel Republicans charges from the Dems and those who sympathize with them or with her. Plus, “I’m not saying she’s lying” — being fair-minded in public, you see.


    “…Dr Ford (watched no TV, saw no friends, wore earplugs and)….”


    . . .

    Niall, Hector, and everybody,

    I have recently seen comments at a right-wing website to the effect that while our own MSM is horribly slanted to the left and not to be trusted, the BBC and Le Monde (I think it was) are pretty good and are what they watch or read for honest reporting.

    So there!

  • Julie near Chicago

    I forgot to say.

    The American Constitutional Society was founded as a Progressive counter to the Federalist Society. –ACS, not to be confused with the ACU — American Conservative Union — or, heaven help us, the ACLU.

  • Paul Marks

    Classic Orwellian language Julie – the “American Constitutional Society” being made up of people who hate and despise the limited government private property principles of the Constitution of the United States.

    Hector Drummond – there are still many conservative articles in the Daily Telegraph, but (yes) the left are always trying to take over (especially in these days of recruitment from universities – which as the playpens of the left). It normally starts in such areas as the “women’s section” and in book and film reviews. Culture is important – as Andrew Breitbart was fond of saying “politics is downstream from culture” – when the left succeed in poisoning the culture, the culture then poisons everything else.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Paul, “It is difficult to argue” with your comment addressed to me.

    In other words, You got that right!

  • Julie near Chicago

    Paul, anent to that: I’ve been watching some of the Clarence Thomas hearings, before the 2nd set about Anita Hill.

    From both Sen. Orrin Hatch and Sen. Joe Biden, there’s a lot of talk about how horrible it is that Some People are talking as if property rights and economic rights are to be put equal with human rights. Thomas agrees (!!!), but still they quizz him over and over about why did he write/say this-that-or-the-other indicating that these rights should be taken more seriously [than they were at that time] ????

    And why did he come out all in favor of Natural Law? And Thomas defends himself by saying No, he does not believe in Natural Law, but he was speaking on the issue of political philosophies and saying that there might be something to consider in Natural Law, but that he certainly would not consider N.L. as applying to any issue in which he was acting as a judge.

    (Though he did point out that the Const. was written against a background of a general belief by the framers in some form of Natural Law.)

    (He also was at pains to point out that he was trying to make Conservatives more open to some of his ideas, such as that slavery was wrong and civil rights are of extreme importance. !!! )

    Oh yeah, and Biden was all over him for saying, in the speech to which the parenthetical above occurs, that he had said he found some good ideas in (Richard) Epstein’s writings. So he also had to defend himself against having imbibed intellectual toxins from the likes of Richard Epstein. (Can’t remember if Orrin Hatch, who was a strong supporter of the nomination, also harped on this.)

    Times were different back then!

    If anybody cares, go to cspan.org and put Clarence Thomas in the search box.

    (I do not vouch for absolute accuracy of every word in this summary. But I think there are no grievous errors.)

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Mr Ed, If people are only visiting the Guardian website, then they’re not buying the paper. How is that bad or sad?

  • Mr Ed


    They might be buying the paper and commenting online, and if not they are still driving advertising and market share, and it’s a teeny bit like looking at a palantír and having Sauron stare back at you. Sometimes a tactic, and also a source of intelligence as to the enemy’s ideas, but not a sensible way to carry on as if it were normal.

    I speak as one who used to listen to Radio Albania in English in Enver Hoxha’s last days, weirdly fascinating to hear the contortions, rants and even the denunciations of the Soviets.

  • terence patrick hewett


    Engaging with the intertubes simply wishing to hear the echo of one’s own voice will end in disappointment.

    The Mass Observation project circa 1937-1950 which was conceived by Charles Madge, Humphrey Jennings and Tom Harrisson is widely recognised as an immensely valuable resource available to historians.

    ”Mass Observation sought to bridge the gap between how the media represented public opinion and what ordinary people actually felt and thought.”

    And the Internet is this writ large: it is an anarchic, libertarian, un-controlled feral beast but for the first time future historians will have a massive archive to mine: with engines and analytical devices the nature of which we can only guess. And everything is of value: the abuse, the insults, the bibulous, the trivia, the drug fuelled as well as the more informed and the expert. That many people display all the sensibilities of a Victorian maiden aunt is of course all part of the archive.

    Leonard Shapiro wrote:

    “the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought reveals itself as a jarring dissonance.”

    The internet has destroyed that object forever: what is a real worry is digital decay.


  • bobby b

    “And the Internet is this writ large: it is an anarchic, libertarian, un-controlled feral beast . . . “

    I remember when this was so, but I don’t think it is now.

    Now, it’s more like a huge Mall of America, with many large and medium and small branches of corporate retail America, more places than you can go through in a day, but all plugged in to data miners and credit card processors and traffic counters and Google-search-influencers. There are still tiny unconnected real people out there with web sites, but they’re no longer findable by most people, so even the anarchists and the white supremacists have taken to Facebook pages and Twitter so they can be plugged in to society and seen by more than just their friends, until they’re kicked out.

    And that all came to be because people decided they didn’t like the “anarchic, libertarian, un-controlled feral beast”, and felt more comfortable in the Mall of America, where comments are moderated.

    The internet’s past its initial Wild West stage, driven by what the bulk of the people want. But comment sections opening back up might indicate the second coming of the Wild West.

  • Jacob

    “And everything is of value: the abuse, the insults, the bibulous, the trivia”

    Well, maybe it’s of value, but to whom? To future historians? I don’t care or worry about them. An un-moderated thread of comments is impossible to read, I give up after the first half dozen or so. It’s worthless to me, as a reader, so I suppose it’s worthless to the site.

  • I have recently seen comments at a right-wing website to the effect that while our own MSM is horribly slanted to the left and not to be trusted, the BBC and Le Monde (I think it was) are pretty good and are what they watch or read for honest reporting. (Julie near Chicago, October 14, 2018 at 8:49 pm)

    Either the U.S. MSM is even more slanted than I thought or these commenters are alarmingly naive about the BBC (I’ll pass on Le Monde, which I rarely visit).

    In the old days, the BBC was more slanted than the US MSM. Anyone recall Reagan ‘the teflon candidate’? That was a saying in the US MSM, annoyed that their exposing of so many Reagan ‘gaffes’ met with so many ‘mehs’ from their US audience. The teflon line was never tried by the BBC, the Grauniad or similar; their UK-audience-oriented take was that Americans were stupid, so of course kept failing to grasp how disqualifying Reagan’s remarks were – no mystery there to need any ‘teflon’ explanation. 🙂

    My impression is that things have not greatly changed: you can still get stuff about the US past a UK audience that a US audience would not fall for. (For example, hurricane Katrina hit the black-democrat-mayored city of a woman-democrat-governed state; the MSM line that it was all the republican president’s responsibility and fault – and that US people were shooting at the helicopters bringing them supplies, etc. – was an easier sell in the centrally-governed UK, where the BBC tells us much about how violent and stupid Americans are, and little about federalism.) The major change is that commercial (ad-funded) TV news (the ITV channel) is now typically more PC than the BBC. That is a big change from Thatcher’s day.

    That said, if you have a link to comments with specific examples of better BBC coverage, I would be interested.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Niall, unfortunately I don’t have such links. The comments I saw were of the general variety anyhow, “X is better than Y in my opinion.” No examples or analysis.

    But this does go along with what is still a distinct theme within American culture that the Europeans in general, and the Brits in particular, are more civilized, more cultured, than we. [Yes, I know that you folks can be a bit prickly about the fact that Britain is distinct from Europe. What can I say, what do we in the Provinces know. *g*]

    And the pols and pundits are always saying things like “after all, the US is the only Major Industrial Country [ModREN Western country / civilized country / or some such] that has [doesn’t have] laws requiring/forbidding X.”

    This is the “But Mom, all the other kids are doing it!” argument. To which Mom rightly replies, “So if all the other kids are jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge, you’re gonna do it too?”

    Stupidity squared. (There, see? I said so myself!)

    Also, of course, the grass is always greener.


    Maybe I should clarify. When I said “Times were different back then!” I meant that present conservative and libertarian sensibilities have come to accept at least some version of Natural Law doctrines as being well within the pale, unlike Republican (at least) sentiments as late as 1991. Orrin Hatch was and is a Republican senator, and of course J. Thomas was considered conservative even at the time. –Oh yeah, and not everyone faints dead away at the idea that property/”economic” rights, and the right of contract, are also very important.

    Even Richard (Epstein) has an excellent reputation among many on the right who know who he is, and I guess is considered to be at least worth the smacking down by the average leftish legal professoriate.


    Heh. Back to your question, surely Everybody Knows that America is a culture of violence (and stupidity). Just read about Chicago!

    It’s cuz we’re all nuts in thrall of the Gun Culture.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Completely O/T (what else is new), but speaking of Clarence Thomas, last night I saw a UT video of an interview of the gent, conducted by Judge Diane Sykes for the Federalist Society in 2013.


    He said that as a young guy in the heyday of the Civil Rights Movement, he was definitely onboard with the radicals of the day. But as time went on and he saw more of what said radicals (of the Left – New-Left persuasion, I think) were up to, he decided such stuff was not for him. As time went on he went through his Marxistish phase, and in the end (by 2013) had become full-on Conservative.

    He had a whole lot of praise for Orrin Hatch as a person, who along with some others (especially Sen. Danforth) had looked after him over the years.

    I bring this up because I think it presents an interesting sidelight on J. Thomas, Sen. Hatch, and conservativism generally as exhibited in 1991 Supreme Court hearings.

    And I say again, We’ve come a long way, baby.

  • Paul Marks

    Julie – yes the correct answers from Clarence Thomas to the questions of collectivist scum such as Senator Biden would have been……

    “Property rights are human rights – they are the basis of human rights” And “of course I believe in Natural Law – one can not support (or enforce) the Bill of Rights if one does not believe in Natural Law which is its basis – rights are NOT the gift of government, they are inherent in Natural Law which is made clear (for example) in the Ninth Amendment”. The idea that every raving of the rulers is “law” – is the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes and Jeremy Bentham, the Founding Fathers held to a philosophy that is the direct ENEMY of the legal philosophy of Thomas Hobbes and Jeremy Bentham, one can not truthfully claim to be loyal to the Bill of Rights (American or British) and be a follower of Hobbes and Bentham. Just as one can not truthfully claim to believe in free citizens and support the conception of what a human is (the denial of the existence of human BEINGS, the “I” – moral agency, the existence of the moral agent) found in the philosophy of David Hume.

    As I never tire of pointing out – you can not get to the Constitution of the United States (or to the Constitutions and Bills of Rights of the States) from the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, David Hume and Jeremy Bentham – which is why (for example) James McCosh so strongly opposed J.S. Mill in the 19th century (see his “An Examination of the Philosophy of Mr John Stuart Mill”). As Mill followed Hobbes, Hume and Bentham in his opposition to the fundamental principles that are the philosophical basis of the Constitution of the United States and of the State Constitutions. Chief Justice Sir John Holt (Chief Justice of England from 1689 to 1710) and the rest of the “Old Whigs” held to the basic philosophical principles that Hobbes, Hume, Bentham (and Mill) denied. Contra Hayek one can NOT keep the politics of the “Old Whigs” and ditch their philosophical beliefs about the “nature of man” – their philosophical principles (free will and so on) were the FOUNDATION of their political principles, and if their philosophical principles fall SO DO THEIR POLITICAL PRINCIPLES. What is left is unlimited power for the state – tyranny, Mr Hume and Mr Mill (either James or John Stuart) did NOT want tyranny – but this is where their philosophy (starting with their view of what a human is – their denial of the human BEING, of PERSONHOOD) naturally leads. Thomas Hobbes and those that followed him, broke with the basic idea of what a human is – that goes back to Aristotle and, indeed, to long before Aristotle (see Alexander of Aphrodisias for why the Aristotelian conception of human personhood need NOT be a religious conception – for it is possible that the soul dies with the body).

    Such things as the Bill of Rights (British or American) are meaningless if the view of what a human is (the non being of humans – the denial of personhood, of the “I”) of Mr Hobbes, Mr Hume, Mr Bentham and (yes) Mr Mill is correct – although it is true that John Stuart Mill was utterly tormented (all his life) by the Hobbesian philosophy he had inherited from his father James Mill and from family friend Jeremy Bentham, the spirit of John Stuart Mill was clearly in terrible torment – but I do not believe he ever FORMALLY broke with this philosophy on the “nature of man”, thus negating the traditional philosophical foundations without which such works as “On Liberty” make no sense. For if humans are just flesh robots without moral agency, the political freedom of such creatures is as unimportant (indeed possibly harmful) as the “freedom” of water after a dam has been blown up.

    The collectivist politics of the modern Guardian are the logical working out into politics of the philosophical principles of Hobbes, Hume, Bentham and the Mills – even Mr Hobbes (who did not see a moral duty to come to draw sword to come the aid of someone else about to be unjustly punished by some unjust “law” of the state) and Mr Bentham (with his proposed 13 Departments of State controlling most aspects of life) would, I believe, be HORRIFIED by the totalitarian politics of the modern Guardian – but they are the true philosophical grandfathers of it. Of the collapse of the Old Whigs into the mess that some call modern “liberalism”.

    By the way Natalie is quite correct – the Manchester Guardian was founded to guard liberty, now the Guardian represents forces that are fanatically determined to EXTERMINATE liberty. In the United States this 180 degree turn in what the word “liberal” means, appears to have occurred in the 1920s – in the United Kingdom the change in the meaning of the word date back into the 19th century and beyond (see above) and the change in the meaning of the word has never been total here. Essentially in the United States “liberal” now means MARXIST – specifically Frankfurt School Marxism which dominates the education system and the “mainstream media”, but the word “liberal” does not QUITE mean that here. Which is why I get angry when people call the Guardian a “liberal” newspaper – as even in modern British usage of the word, it most certainly is NOT a liberal newspaper.

  • Greg

    Someone should start a “deleted comments” website. It’s a badge of honor to have a comment deleted by the NUT (sorry, meant NYT, but my right index finger couldn’t quite bring itself to “Y”) or Guardianistas and the collection might be illuminating.