Extreme Views and the Loss of Restraint Among the Losers

Yesterday, it was Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) saying Trump is an agent of a foreign power: “He’s working on behalf of the Russians, yes.”

“MATTHEWS: You’re a member of the Judiciary, do you believe the president, right now, has been an agent of the Russians?

“REP. SWALWELL: Yes. I think there’s more evidence that he is—


“REP. SWALWELL: Yes. I think all the arrows point in that direction, and I haven’t seen a single piece of evidence that he’s not.

“MATTHEWS: An agent like in the 1940s where you had people who were ‘Reds,’ to use an old term, like that? In other words, working for a foreign power?

“REP. SWALWELL: He’s working on behalf of the Russians, yes.”

Now we learn this: “House Budget Committee chair Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) called Sunday for a ban on teenagers wearing ‘Make America Great Again’ (MAGA) hats…” In his words:

“I am calling for a total and complete shutdown of teenagers wearing MAGA hats until we can figure out what is going on. They seem to be poisoning young minds.

“…This is a direct result of the racist hatred displayed daily by the President of the United States who, sadly, some mistake for a role model.”

Swalwell, who wants to be president, has been very negative on Trump for a long time. He’s now reached an extreme judgment that is highly unlikely, unsupported by evidence, and inconsistent with Trump’s treatment of Russia in office. Yarmuth’s extreme is to throw out the First Amendment for anyone aged 13 to 19. A fine lesson that teaches. Prior to these extreme views being publicly aired by prominent political figures, hundreds of extreme views have been expressed by celebrities and others.

The expression of views like these, which are obviously extreme and unreasonable, signals a society-wide political problem of great depth. The problem is sour grapes among losers. The problem is that those who didn’t see their candidate for president elected in 2016, which includes Democrats and many Republicans too, have not been behaving as the losers or minority in a constitutional anarchy are supposed to behave and must behave in order to make the system work.

For an understanding of constitutional anarchy and the conditions required for it to work, see Alfred G. Cuzán’s article “Revisiting ‘Do We Ever Really Get Out of Anarchy?'”

One pertinent passage reads

“Within the legislature, the majority faction, party or coalition must not shut out the minority but share power with it, suffering patiently as the latter tries to block, delay, or amend bills perceived to be deeply prejudicial to its rights, to its vision of the public good, or to its interests. Neither should it pursue a relentlessly confrontational course vis-à-vis an executive whenever this is controlled by a different faction or party for any but the most serious reasons. For its part, the minority needs to yield to the majority most of the time, seeking concessions at the margins of legislation and not habitually engage in obstructionist tactics. They have to accept defeat, at least temporarily. In the meantime, if the stakes are high enough, they can and should involve others in the dispute, the courts or the public, hoping that enough of them can be brought to its side on the issue.”

This is preceded by this analysis:

“In sum, borrowing from Locke, in a constitutional anarchy those who occupy positions of authority, lacking ‘a common superior on earth,’ must strive to ‘liv[e] together according to reason,’ not force. This requires that they all practice restraint…”

What we are seeing in our politics at this time is a severe loss of restraint among those who were defeated, not that much in the physical sphere of direct action although some already has occurred in marches, sit-ins, demonstrations and riots, but mainly boiling over into the verbal, visual, emotional and legal spheres of behavior. Instead of settling down in the past two years, tempers and extremism are rising, egged on by irresponsible media and political figures.


8:50 am on January 21, 2019