CSotD: Explanations, Excuses and Clarity

Joel Pett gets a laugh and helps lower our expectations of each other this morning, given how very little of what ought to be painfully obvious appears to be so.


The past several days have seen a display of how many know so little about American History or about how our government works.

Scott Stantis (Counterpoint) posted this cartoon saying it was what would happen if July 4, 1776, happened today.

We could argue his notion that equal gender rights are the concern of overweight unattractive women, and that “woke” people who — damn them! — care about others would clash with the Deists, who were the agnostics of their era, but that’s too narrow.

The entire confrontation wouldn’t happen, because the majority of the Founders were the liberals of their day. Did they have 21st Century views on women and minorities? No, and few did in the 18th Century.

They would if they were living today.

They were well ahead of their time in most areas and they at least had the decency to be conflicted over their obvious blindspots. In fact, in the wake of the Revolution, as they began writing the framework for a new nation, they carefully made provisions for amending the specifics, even as they held their noses over unwelcome compromises that ensured the infant nation’s unity and survival.

And they left a pretty good record of the quarrels over those compromises, not simply in diaries and letters to be dredged up by historians, but in the Federalist and Antifederalist Papers, which remain readily available and affordable, though they fall under Twain’s definition of a classic as “something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.”

But it’s hard to have a debate on the topic with people who think Hobbes was a stuffed tiger and that Locke and Rousseau’s first names were Sandra and Renee.

That’s true whether they see the Founders as faultless Olympian Gods or as despicable racists and sexists.

We’ll get back to this later.


We’re also hearing, as Paul Fell illustrates, calls for churches to lose their tax-free status with the IRS because they are so politically active.

While it’s expected they’ll preach on moral principles, churches are not supposed to proselytize on specific legislation or election campaigns. This would seem to extend, for instance, to making legal judgments about the start of life based on religious belief, though I wouldn’t look to SCOTUS to confirm church/state separation just now.

There are all sorts of dubious non-profits that deserve examination, though when the IRS tried to sort them out by their common code words, all hell — the sectarian kind — broke loose.

And we’ve defunded the IRS to a point where they can barely answer taxpayer questions, much less take the time to audit dubious returns.

Still, outraged liberals should not forget a few other preachers who took political positions from their pulpits, like Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph Abernathy, Jesse Jackson, Hosea Williams, Vernon Johns and Benjamin Hooks.

Handle this issue with bipartisan care.


And be clear. Jeff Boyer compares the conservative wing of the Supreme Court to the Crusaders, but he doesn’t provide a clue as to whether he means those who fight for the righteous and true, or those imperialist extremists who kill non-christians for the greater glory of their perverse vision of God.

There’s a substantial global divide over whether these folks are heroes or villains.

I meant the Crusaders, mind you, but whatever.


By contrast, Michael Ramirez (Creators) can be misinterpreted, but it takes a deliberate effort.

You could, if you wanted, take “culture” as including Fox, OAN, Newsmax and other rightwing propagandists who have exploited mental illness to fuel the alienation that results in mass shootings.

I’m pretty sure that’s not his intent, even though those propagandists declare mass murder the price of freedom, justify violent assaults upon Capitol police and nitpick over whether the instigator of a coup actually touched the steering wheel of his car.

The analytical divide is far more clear in this

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Mike Lester – AMS)


(Clay Bennett – CTFP)

Again, a deliberately dishonest reading of Lester could lead to the conclusion that guns ought to be regulated and their operators licensed in the same way we deal with automobiles, but its clear that his intention is similar to Lauren Boebert’s analysis that, because there was a mass shooting in regulated Denmark — the first in seven years, in a nation with fewer firearm homicides annually than the US has in a day — gun laws don’t work.

But Bennett offers absolute clarity in his opinion that guns, and their promoters, are the common thread in firearm deaths, and that everybody is a target.


Juxtaposition of the Day — International Edition

(Kal Kallaugher)

(Alan Moir)

Here’s a substantive difference: Kal notes the massive military support that NATO nations have poured into Ukraine, while Moir seems to base his disdain either on the fact that NATO itself is an organization and, while it can issue statements about its member nations’ response to the war, it has no actual weapons to share, or else that, like his native Australian — the largest non-NATO supplier of weapons to Ukraine — the nations of Europe have not sent troops into the war.

As Kal points out, however, it’s not like the NATO nations aren’t prepared, if it comes to that.


Or, as Tjeerd Royaards (Cartoon Movement) suggests, that they aren’t making important movements.


On the Bright Side

Roy Crane was a noted anti-communist, but the current Vintage Buz Sawyer sees him on an emergency medical mission to a Russian research station in Antarctica. I don’t know where the story is headed, but this reinforces my experience that, however appalling their government, Russians themselves can be a whole lot of fun.

Which makes the current horror that much more of a mysterious tragedy.


And praise to Matt Buck, whose comment on the resignations from Boris Johnson’s government gets the seaman’s myth correct: The rats leave a ship before it sinks, foretelling its fate. Any damn fool leaves once it’s inundated.


Now, about that ignorance of history

Here’s what it took to get through American History in NYS a half century ago. Would you have made it?

3 thoughts on “CSotD: Explanations, Excuses and Clarity

  1. Stantis would have been a vehement Loyalist in 1776. I give him credit for recognizing trump for being a skunk (and his cartoon trump-skunk is hilarious) but he’s never recognized how trump is the logical end result of the very things Stantis supports.

    I’m off to take that US history quiz now! thank you for the link.

  2. The Fell cartoon is a classic. A serious problem is captured in a simple image, and somehow none of the complexity of the problem is sacrificed. It’s funny and not mean spirited. It’s a beauty.

    (Embarrassed by the history exam, even though I’m of that vintage. I couldn’t have answered #10 until my second year of law school.)

  3. Lester has a special gift. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but “self-referential satire” may be close.

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