Choosing political expediency over ethics and morality

There’s a remarkable admission in an article in the New York Times yesterday, titled “I Believe Tara Reade. I’m Voting for Joe Biden Anyway.

Let’s be clear: I believe Tara Reade … Discounting Ms. Reade’s accusation and, one after another, denigrating her corroborating witnesses, calling for endless new evidence, avowing that you “hear” her, is nonsense. We are now up to four corroborating witnesses … So stop playing gotcha with the female supporters of Mr. Biden or the #MeToo movement, making them lie to the camera — or perhaps to themselves — about doubting her to justify their votes.

I’ll take one for the team. I believe Ms. Reade, and I’ll vote for Mr. Biden this fall.

. . .

Suck it up and make the utilitarian bargain.

All major Democratic Party figures have indicated they’re not budging on the presumptive nominee, and the transaction costs of replacing him would be suicidal. Barring some miracle, it’s going to be Mr. Biden.

So what is the greatest good or the greatest harm? Mr. Biden, and the Democrats he may carry with him into government, are likely to do more good for women and the nation than his competition, the worst president in the history of the Republic. Compared with the good Mr. Biden can do, the cost of dismissing Tara Reade — and, worse, weakening the voices of future survivors — is worth it.

. . .

Utilitarian morality requires that I turn my face away from the people I propose to sell out: Monica Lewinsky, Tara Reade. This is agonizingly hard for me to do. Pretending not to believe the complainants — which is what is taking place with Ms. Reade — or that they’re loose nobodies, which is what much of the media did to Ms. Lewinsky, is just an escape from the hard work of moral analysis … Better to just own up to what you are doing: sacrificing Ms. Reade for the good of the many.

There’s more at the link.

Here you have the classic difference between liberal and conservative;  between socialist and capitalist;  between those who believe the state can (and should) do everything, and those who believe in individual freedom.  It’s simply stated:

The individual is less
important than the group.

That’s it, in a nutshell.  In this case, it’s more important for the “group” to triumph (however you care to define the group:  liberal/progressive/left-wing political supporters, or women, or feminists, or anti-Trumpers, or whatever) than for the allegations of a self-described sexual assault victim to be investigated and, if proved, prosecuted as criminal charges.  It’s more important that ethical, moral and criminal evil be allowed to triumph (in the crime of sexual assault) rather than allowing partisanly perceived political evil to triumph (in President Trump winning re-election).

That attitude, of course, is the diametric opposite of our constitution, which assigns individual rights to “the people” and to each individual member of “the people”.  That’s why we speak of “equality before the law” and the importance of “due process” (both of which the author of the above article would deny to Ms. Reade).  One can take that further.  In the mid-eighteenth century, William Blackstone published his “Commentaries on the Laws of England“.  In it, he stated the seminal proposition that “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer” (a concept that came to be known as Blackstone’s Ratio).  As Wikipedia points out:

The phrase was absorbed by the British legal system, becoming a maxim by the early 19th century. It was also absorbed into American common law, cited repeatedly by that country’s Founding Fathers, later becoming a standard drilled into law students all the way into the 21st century.

Other commentators have echoed the principle. Benjamin Franklin stated it as: “it is better 100 guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer”.

The attitude expressed by the NYT op-ed writer appears to turn on its head the principle expressed in Blackstone’s Ratio.  In so many words, she’s arguing that it’s better for political reasons that the victim of crime (Tara Reade) should suffer than that the guilty party (Joe Biden) should be held accountable.  What’s more, she has no qualms, and no shame, about stating that openly, in print.

One doesn’t have to wonder what Blackstone would have said to that . . . or what the Founding Fathers would have said.  One suspects their reaction would have been to call loudly for tar, feathers and a rail.  It’s certainly mine.  As for deliberately voting on the basis of expediency – openly advocating the triumph of evil over good in the ethical and moral sense, in order that one set of partisan political principles may triumph over another – all I can say is that such a person has no place in my world, or I in hers.  If her view triumphs, it effectively means civil war between those who have principles, and those who have none:  between those who support our constitution, and those who reject it.  On so amoral a foundation no society can stand, and no nation can endure.



  1. Excellent analysis. Thank you for the reminder. Everyone who needs a reason to chose sides in the question of the future of the country should read this.

    . . . than his competition, the worst president in the history of the Republic.
    Barack Obama isn't running again.

  2. So ethically, morally and legally the choices are clear. It's obvious to adults of reasonable intellect that making a such partisan choice is evil.

    Knowingly supporting evil over better alternatives is evil. Society in it's current state is doomed.

    (I'm wondering if Great Meteor 2016 would have been a better solution than CoronaChan 2020…)

  3. But why? Why run a candidate that to all appearances is suffering senile dementia and carries a weight of moral and legal baggage that could easily paint him as the pariah he should be. Joe Biden is in fact not a viable candidate without major support from and fantastic cover by people with lots of money and no morals. Why? He cannot be an effective leader, it's doubtful he could lead a group of drunken sailors into a whorehouse. So why are they so desperate to push and protect Biden? Is the TDS so strong that any tattered bit of hope to defeat him is worthy of this level of effort? Who is pushing Biden, how do they plan to win and what do they expect to achieve?
    America stands on the brink of becoming better than ever. If nothing else covid has taught people that the federal bureaucracies are bumbling fools, untrustworthy and more interested in power than in service. Some have woken up to the burden state regulation places on everything. Get out of the way and let us create our own paradise. I do not trust the machinations of people so wrapped up in winning that open support of arrogant immorality is acceptable. Do the liberals think they have the power to force the result through manipulation or are they stupid? Personnaly I'm not sure stupid isn't the answer.

    1. Because his running mate will be the actual president. Of nothing else, Biden is completely controllable by people behind the scenes, like Bloomberg or Soros.

      I just pray God will have mercy on America, again.

  4. @Mark Leigh: because a presidential candidate and later on a president is not a single person but a team where the candidate / president is the figurehead, the "one face to the public" of the presidential seat.
    It's a (generally happy) coincidence when the figurehead is also a strong personality with enough intelligence to think for himself and enough personality to promote and sustain their ideas and vision even contrary to the "party line". This kind of political personalities vanished in the '90s and what you currently see are just political drones placed to parrot the party line.
    Yes, I know that Trump is not a drone, but let's be honest: he is an accident in the political landscape! He didn't win the presidential election, Hillary Clinton lost it. The voters were sick and tired by the "political establishment" on both sides of the spectrum and Trump was shrewd enough to piss of both sides of the political landscape, and that made him attractive to the voters. But his record as president is seriously underwhelming – and don't come comparing him to Obama or Bush: I don't think there are two worse presidents in the US history than these two clowns.
    Trump came up with some quick-wins that were not sustainable long-term (check the economic projections on the effects of his tax policies on the Dollar, just as an example) and this whole pandemics fiasco only made everything worse. The tragic thing is that in November the voter only has the choice between bad and worse: either the egocentric dilettante with less common sense than a fly or the senile marionette manipulated by a gang of mobsters – that's what the political parties have really become.
    It seems that America really needs a second revolution…

  5. I don't think you can map "the individual is less important than the group" to the left and right axis of the political spectrum, I think it is an entirely different axis itself.

    There's plenty of conservatives I know who are more communal (religious conservatives especially) and plenty of left wingers who are the most selfish individualist people I know (tech for the most part).

  6. "If her view triumphs, it effectively means civil war between those who have principles, and those who have none: between those who support our constitution, and those who reject it."

    Welcome to the party, Peter. You've just got a few more, tiny steps to take before your eyes are fully opened.

    This has been the behavior of the Left for 90 years now. It is nothing new. They are the serpent, gnawing at the moral, ethical, and cultural roots of the nation. They want us dead and gone – and that is not a metaphor to them.

  7. I will echo McChuck.

    It is always amusing when so many people make excuses for the obvious, always trying to explain away the evil that is open and apparent. These people, the ideological idols (Marx, Lenin, Gramsci, Alinsky, et al) and their acolytes, fellow travelers and useful idiots, are murderous totalitarians.

    These people seek destruction and chaos; it is a fundamental principle of their dialectic. At their very core they are filled with hate of God and goodness, and will, with unblinking dedication, murder tens of millions to obtain and maintain power and control.

    Gramsci was actually the smartest of them; he knew that that violence would fail in the west. American workers would not declare war on their neighbors as long as they shared common Christian values and the culture that it produced. He developed an alternative, the long march through the institutions to lay the groundwork for a silent revolution.

    The tactics are deception, manipulation and infiltration. Initially obscuring their Marxist ideology until they could stupefy the masses, they obtained positions of influence in churches, government, communities, and the media. Central to this strategy was a virtually complete assimilation of education so that generations of children would be intentionally corroded both morally and intellectually. It is no accident that what formerly would be called perverts are now teaching and evangelizing little children in schools and libraries regarding the benefits of their sordid behavior, and all with the smiles and encouragement of their mothers.

    These people mean to destroy; they have in every country that they have ever achieved ascendancy and the U.S. is no different.

  8. I'm in the group that thinks Biden's only reason for existence right now is preventing Comrade Sanders from making a run at the nomination and having to be rejected at the convention. That would cost a lot of Bernie-Bros votes come November.

    Once past the convention and with a suitable VP in place to carry on Biden will likely be given a choice of his exit method, on his feet or feet first. The Democrats won't allow Joe, or Bernie, to make President Trump look good in the debates or in the voting.

    The only question is who will survive the long knives in the backrooms to emerge as the temporary VP, and eventual nominee.

  9. Well, the founding fathers would not call for tar and feathers if they could have foreknowledge of this. They would simply write a far more well defined clause in the constitution about who could vote in the first place, and prevent it from being amended.

    Ounce of prevention, and all that…

  10. " The individual is less
    important than the group."

    I'm pretty sure we can apply that to all the Republicans and conservatives who have serious moral qualms about the head of their party. And that's what this is about, Peter: PARTY. The greatest irony of this election cycle is that the only candidate to truly threaten their presumptive party was the socialist independent! And Biden's selection by "The Party" was about stopping Sanders and offering a bland, safe choice.

    The truly dirty secret is that most Democrats know Uncle Joe will not serve his full term; his vigor is fading. So the real fun will come with the choice of his successor–that VP slot is pure platinum.

    It's disgusting, but it's rarely dull.

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