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On Bullshittery

bullshit [1]

Waldo Jaquith hammers home the idea that those who are defending E.W. Jackson are engaging in a specific form of bullshit [2] that transcends into outright deceit — liars, indeed.

What is the basis for this opinion?

No rational person could look at his candidacy and think this is a good idea.

Ironically enough, he uses his disdain for McAuliffe as the fulcrum to demonstrate that (1) he is above such bullshittery and (2) others defending Jackson are therefore guilty of the crime, QED.

May I suggest the following: those who are defending Jackson are not per se defending his candidacy as their perfect candidate.  It’s an amusing effort to point to a divisive convention and claim that such division could not (and even though it was indeed a nomination contest, magically should not) produce a candidate Republicans should rally around.

What offends the sensibilities of most Virginians is the moral presumption of the extreme left.

Jackson is an anomaly that horrifies Democrats on two counts.  First, he does not back down on his beliefs on marriage, life, and most certainly the impact organizations such as Planned Parenthood have had on minority communities.  Secondly — and perhaps of most concern for the left — we have a black candidate running on black issues in a Republican Party that has embraced Jackson on his own terms.

The moral question that is vexing Democrats is simple.  A candidate of E.W. Jackson’s qualities would never have emerged within the Democratic power structure.

The mental gymnastics required by Democrats to reject this sort of authenticity within the Virginia Republican soul is an unfathomable object to the vast majority of left-leaning operatives in Virginia.  Therefore, they must allege what liberals always allege when they know they are losing — dirty tricks, deceit, foul play… and a disconnect with the truth that approximates bullshit cum lies.

The truth is far more disconcerting.  Jackson is bringing a set of concerns within the black community long ignored by the Democratic Party.

The bullshitting Jaquith infers here is somewhat distant from the definition popularized by Professor Harry Frankfurt in his epistle On Bullshit [3] (a great read if you have not merely picked this up as a curiosity to seem trite):

The point is rather that, so far as Wittgenstein can see, Pascal offers a description of a certain state of affairs without genuinely submitting to the constraints which the endeavor to provide an accurate representation of reality imposes.  Her fault is not that she fails to get things right, but that she is not even trying.

This is important to Wittgenstein because, whether justifiably or not, he takes what she says seriously, as a statement purporting to give an informative description of the way she feels.  He construes her as engaged in an activity to which the distinction between what is true and what is false is crucial, and yet as taking no interest in whether what she says is true or false.  It is in this sense that Pascal’s statement is unconnected to a concern with truth: she is not concerned with the truth-value of what she says.  That is why she cannot be regarded as lying; for she does not presume that she knows the truth, and therefore she cannot be deliberately promulgating a proposition that she presumes to be false:  Her statement is grounded neither in a belief that it is true nor, as a lie must be, in a belief that is not true.  It is just this lack of connection to a concern with truth — this indifference to how things really are — that I regard as of the essence of bullshit.  (emphasis added)

I would submit to the reader that this “indifference to how things really are” applies quite readily to McAuliffe, and by extension to those ignoring the very real debate and challenge to the Democratic mindset that Mr. Jackson brings to Virginia’s political discourse.

bullshit_free [4]

So yes — I call bullshit.

Bullshit, indeed.