i had a thought

So Texas legislators got clever and cute; they found a way to dodge the civil rights protections that allow pregnant folks control over their reproduction. They cobbled together a devious, shifty way to stop abortions–which, after all, is a safe, legal medical practice they disapprove of for their personal religious reasons.

See, the mechanism by which the courts protected civil rights involved is grounded in the 14th Amendment. That amendment is divided into two chunks. The first chunk defines who qualifies as a US citizen. We can skip that for now. It’s the second chunk we need to pay attention to. The second chunk says…well, hell, just read it:

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

There it is. No State–like, say, Texas–can make or ENFORCE a law that deprives a citizen of their rights under the Constitution. That ‘enforcement’ business is where Texas got cute. The State of Texas doesn’t enforce any abortion ban. Instead, it relies on ordinary citizens to step up and sue the shit out of anybody who performs or aids or abets an abortion. If the Federal government says, “Yo, Texas, c’mon, you know abortions are legal, you can’t do just ban them,” Texas can say, “Hey, it’s not me, I’m not doing anything, I’m just standing here with my hands in my pockets.”

Cute and clever, right?

I had a thought. It’s just a thought; I haven’t done a lick of research about this. But if this shit stands…and given the Trumpist-dominated SCOTUS, it might…my thought is this: maybe we can turn the idea on its head.

Democratic-run states can pass similar laws. If anybody aids or abets a firearm sale that results in an injury or death, we can sue the shit out of everybody involved. The person who sold the gun, the people who hired the person who sold the gun, the individuals who assembled the gun, the company that manufactured the gun. They all aided and abetted the injury.

Now apply that to catching Covid, or attempting to vote, or polluting the air, or contributing to climate change, or or or. Hell, make it so private citizens can sue clothing manufacturers for failing to put workable pockets in women’s clothes–surely we can come up with an argument that requiring a woman to carry some sort of bag at all times is an infringement on their right to…something. Autonomy? Doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter, because the point–as with the Texas abortion law–isn’t necessarily to WIN the lawsuit. It’s to harass and intimidate; it’s to force the people we disagree with to cough up the coin (and the time) necessary to defend themselves in court.

Okay, I admit, that would be a shitty way to behave. It’s a shitty way to even think. But right now, I’m kinda okay with that.

We can be cute and clever too.

i am asshole, hear me roar

At the beginning of August I wrote a post about the response of the patriots at FreeRepublic to all those anti-vax fuckwits who, as they’re about to die a preventable death from Covid, suddenly see the benefits of being vaxxed. I titled the post Asshole Culture.

A few days later somebody asked me, “Greg, old Sock, this ‘Asshole Culture’ of which you speak, qu’est-ce que c’est?” Which is a good question. For those of us who spent too much time hanging out in grad school Sociology coffee shops, ‘culture’ is an overarching term to describe the social behaviors and norms of groups, grounded in the shared knowledge, beliefs, customs of the individual members of those groups. So Asshole Culture is basically the associated social behaviors of assholes.

Back in 2015 I began calling certain members of the Republican Party the Fuckwit Collective. I did that because they were, you know, a collection of fuckwits. Seemed pretty obvious. It was pretty obvious. But it was also naive.

Anti-mask/anti-vax assholes.

See, I thought the Fuckwit Collective was doing cruel stupid shit because they were just too stupid to understand that what they were doing was cruel. Silly rabbit, that was naive. It’s become clear to me now that a LOT of conservatives are doing cruel stupid shit NOT because they’re stupid, but because they’re cruel. Either the Fuckwit Collective has evolved into full blown Asshole Culture, or they were always assholes and I failed to give them credit for it.

Let me simplify it even more. This is the mantra of Asshole Culture:

I do/do not want to do this thing. I don’t care if it helps other people. You can’t make me do or not do this thing. I will go way the fuck out of my way to create a disturbance sufficient to make others miserable in order to do/not do/stop other people from doing this thing. I am Asshole, hear me roar.

Examples? You want examples? Dude. Obviously, the anti-vax assholes. It’s not just that they don’t want to be vaxxed, they don’t want other folks to be vaxxed. Why? Because it makes them feel bad, it makes them feel weak and vulnerable. So they act like assholes. They disrupt free vaccination sites to prevent other folks who WANT to be vaxxed from getting the vaccinations. They not only refuse to wear masks themselves, they don’t want others to be masked. They will disrupt school board meetings that want to keep kids safe by enforcing mask mandates. They will threaten school board members at their homes.

Open carry assholes.

Another example? Open carry assholes. The assholes who want to be openly armed in line at the Dunkin Donuts. Others (and I’ve done this my ownself) will mock them for being timid, afraid to stand in line at Dunkin Donuts without their guns, but that’s not true. They’re not afraid; they’re just assholes. Their intent isn’t self protection; their intent is to intimidate others, to make other people uncomfortable.

Another example? Aggressively Christian assholes. The assholes who insist on putting Christian religious symbols in public non-religious venues. Like the Christian cross recently placed at the entrance of the Mission Command Complex at Fort Dix. That wasn’t an assertion of religious belief; it was just some asshole trying to provoke a response which will allow them to claim to be persecuted. The intent wasn’t to promote Christianity; the intent was to piss off non-Christians.

Anti-trans assholes.

Still more examples? Defending the 1/6 insurrectionists as ‘tourists’. Calling for Biden to be impeached for withdrawing from Afghanistan. Performing fake audits on the 2020 election results. Claiming there’s a war on Christmas. Protesting at citizenship ceremonies. Insisting on ‘patriotic’ fireworks displays during a drought. Scaring people about trans folks using public toilets. None of these behaviors are sincere expressions of belief; they’re all examples of assholes being assholes.

Asshole Culture is nothing more than performative indignation intended to insult or outrage or intimidate others. It’s now the dominant culture in the modern Republican Party. How did that happen? Why did it happen?

My assumption is it happened because there’s almost zero consequences for being an asshole if you’re white.

policy discussion

GOP: BIDEN GAVE AFGHANISTAN TO THE TALIBAN!!!
DEM: He implemented the deal the Trump administration negotiated.
GOP: HE DIDN’T FOLLOW TRUMP’S PLAN!!!
DEM: Trump didn’t have an actual withdrawal plan. He simply said he wanted to withdraw the troops.
GOP: TRUMP HAD A PLAN!!!
DEM: Okay. What was it?
GOP: WITHDRAW OUR TROOPS SAFELY!!!
DEM: That’s not a plan. That’s just a slogan.
GOP: IT’S A PLAN!!!
DEM: I’m not sure you understand the definition of ‘plan’.
GOP: BIDEN WANTS AFGHAN REFUGEES IN AMERICA TO VOTE FOR DEMS!!!
DEM: What?
GOP: SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!!!
DEM: Uh…


GOP: FAKE ELECTION!!! TRUMP WON!!!
DEM: That’s just not true.
GOP: MASK MANDATES ARE OF THE DEVIL!!!
DEM: Maybe you should sit down, have a glass of water, you’ve been under…
GOP: SEND OUR KIDS BACK TO SCHOOL FOR FREEDOM!!!
DEM: …a lot of stress lately. Maybe get some sleep.
GOP: BIDEN IS A BRAINDEAD PEDOPHILE!!! IMPEACH NOW!!!
DEM: Jesus suffering fuck.
GOP: IMMIGRANTS ARE BRINGING COVID TO AMERICA IN GALLON MILK CONTAINERS!!! FOR BIDEN!!!
DEM: Would you please stop shouting?
GOP: YOU’RE CENSORING ME!!! CANCEL CULTURE!!! FREEDOM!!! 5G!!!
DEM: …
GOP: WHERE ARE YOU GOING??? RUN AWAY LITTLE BITCH! PUSSY CUCK LIB!
DEM: …


MEDIA: Democrats refuse to engage in policy discussion; Republicans upset.

asshole culture

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve had the stomach to delve into the feverish miasma of FreeRepublic, so this morning I decided…wait. Damn it. Okay, sorry, first tangent of the day. Can you actually ‘delve’ into a ‘miasma’?

I mean since the 1600s, ‘miasma’ generally referred to effluvia or foul-smelling vapors that rose from the ground and was considered to be infectious or injurious to health (which is applicable to FreeRepublic). But ‘delve’ comes from the Middle English term delfan, which meant “to dig, turn up with a spade or other tool, excavate.” Can you dig a stink? Not so much. However, I see that modern definitions of ‘delve’ include ‘to search for information’ so I’m going to go with yes, you can delve into this particular miasma.

Sorry. Back to business. FreeRepublic, where Asshole Culture masks itself as patriotism. The first post that caught my eye was about an article in the New York Post, a daily tabloid local to NYC.

“An unvaccinated Virginia man who thought he was ‘invincible’ to COVID-19 is rallying anti-vaxxers to get their shots from his hospital bed, where he is laid up with a dire case of the virus.”

Now, I’m fairly certain that none of the Freep folks who responded to the article actually 1) live in NYC or 2) read the NY Post on a regular basis, or 3) give a rat’s ass about what happens in NYC. But this topic is raw meat for FreeRepublic patriots. And they didn’t disappoint.

  • “People should direct their anger to the culprit…Chiiina.” by HighSierra5 (The only way you know a commie is lying is when they open their pieholes.)
  • “has he received the correct Rx, or is he being used? did he take preventative HCQ, or was that politically not allowed?” by Diogenesis (Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum)
  • “Doesn’t look like any kind of hospital room I’ve ever been in.” by Mathews (It’s all gravy, baby!)
  • “Crisis Actor. Clowns giving money away.” by Cletus.D.Yokel
  • “If you’ve decided not to vax, you really must have Ivermectin or HCQ on hand.” by G Larry (Those destroying the Constitution must demonize those who would defend it.)
  • “I would much rather die from Covid than live with the shot.” by Safrguns
  • “An unvaccinated Virginia man should shut up it’s his business not ours or this could be another Fake” by butlerweave
  • “Put this guy beside one of the people killed or maimed by the shot. And what therapies were used? Ivermectin? HCQ? Anything? No…” by DesertRhino (A coup government may not claim the protection of the same constitution it overthrew. )
  • “Another sick fat dude. Maybe COVID isn’t the problem. When you’re obese, there’s a lot of crap that can kill you…” by Magnatron
  • “Who sticks a damn microphone up to a dying man’s mouth so he can make a PSA? This is as phony as a 6 dollar bill. Looks like that hospital needs to finish up it’s drywall.” by dforest (huh)
  • “If the media wanted, they could print about 12,000 human interest stories how someone got the vaccine, then died.” by Flick Lives (We may or may not have reached herd immunity, but we’ve definitely achieved herd stupidity.)
  • “This is the third story I’ve read this week where a supposed average everyday person is “dying” from COVID and giving us a dire warning of the need to get vaxxed. Funny how all three of these poor souls are overweight/obese and were probably already suffering from one or all of diabetes, heart disease, cirrhosis of the liver, or kidney failure due to their being fat slobs.” by Qui is (Biden spews and Harris swallows)

These folks are why the Tractor Supply Company had to put up signs warning their customers NOT to ingest large animal de-worming chemicals. They’re shining examples of willful stupidity tempered with arrogant unthinking nationalism, completely unfettered by empathy.

Another short tangent. You may have noticed one of the Freep commenters had a tag line that read Tuitio fidei et obsequium pauperum. That’s the motto of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta, which back in the 11th century were more commonly known as the Knights Hospitaller. They were a religious military order–crusaders and all that. The motto translates as “defence of the faith and assistance to the poor”.

Asshole culture may not be immune to Covid-19, but they’re certainly immune to irony.