I’ve known it for years, but I continue to struggle to wrap my head around the fact that political power is exactly the enforcement of a double standard. Hypocrisy isn’t a bug, but a key feature.
The hard part to quite accept is that some people know this. The dangerous and awful thing was that Hitler was right in what he said about the Big Lie. Most of us at least try to be honest, even if we’re deluding ourselves, and consequently can’t quite reckon with the fact that our politics is dominated by people committed to lying in pursuit of power.
I know, Trump, blah, blah, blah. Problem with that whole line of thinking is that it views Trump as an aberration, just like it views ‘Russian hacking’ as some novel corruption of our politics, as if the American establishment, the political and media elite, hasn’t been committed to untruth for who knows how many decades.
The essence of this untruth is the double standard, the open violation of one’s own stated principles. Power is all about who gets to violate principle. The violation of principle is the fracturing of equality and the assertion of hierarchy.
And it drives us all mad, trying to reconcile the fact of power within a normative morality that it is incompatible with. This is the thorn at the core of the lesser of two evils argument. We are constantly warned not to take a stand in defense of our ethics by the threat that such a stand will only open the door to truly demonic.
As I see it, the primary function of Russiagate, and the hashtag Resistance, has been to keep this old order in place in the face of its failure and thorough corruption.