episode 37: Why The Senate’s Ritual Defamation Of Brett Kavanaugh Threatens Every American


“Any rational observer of the Democrats’ non-stop character assassination machine can see that something is seriously sick in our republic. Instead of allowing Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee were permitted to use trumped-up, hip-pocketed charges to stage a show trial more in tune with a totalitarian system.” Stella Morabito – The Federalist



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episode 37 transcript

The Bill Walton Show

Why the Senate’s Ritual Defamation of Brett Kavanaugh Threatens Every American

Speaker 1:

Welcome to The Bill Walton Show, featuring conversations with leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, and thinkers, fresh perspectives on money, culture, politics, and human flourishing, interesting people, interesting things.

Bill Walton:

Welcome back. I have a special show today. As you know, I normally don’t get into day-to-day politics on this show, but what we’re seeing with the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation circus has caused me to change my thinking about not getting in. Something needs to be said and needs to be said by a lot of people because we’re witnessing now a kind of McCarthyism from the left. It brings up images of Joe Stalin’s show trials and terror in the Soviet Union. You’ve got US Senators saying, basically, that men should just shut up and that men should basically confess to any crime that any woman accuses them of without a shred of evidence.

Bill Walton:

We do have something in this country called due process. We’ve got a rule of law, and we’re looking at that completely trampled as a part of this Kavanaugh thing. We know that Kavanaugh is extremely threatening to the left, but we’re seeing a process that talk about Trotsky. These ends are justifying any means and any means risk ruining our country and ruining people’s lives.

Bill Walton:

With me to talk about this and to talk about the structure of what’s happening with Brett is Stella Mortabello, Morabito, sorry, who writes for The Federalist and can be found at thefederalist/stellamorabito (one word) .com, and she’s written just this week about something called The Ritual Defamation of Brett Kavanaugh and why it threatens every American. Stella, welcome.

Stella Morabito:

Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Bill Walton:

Tell us about this. I think this is the best sort of structured presentation of what we’re seeing that I’ve seen yet.

Stella Morabito:

What’s happening is really kind of microcosm of something much bigger, which I think is, as you said, the threat to the basic foundations of freedom. That would be due process, presumption of innocence. All of these things are being made a mockery of by those whose primary interest is power. As Lindsey Graham said, “I hope you never get it,” because what’s at stake is far more than just the man, Brett Kavanaugh. It’s all the foundations that our system is based on.

Bill Walton:

The Ritual Defamation, ritual means something that happens regardless of content and defamation. We all know what that is. There was an essay that you write about, 1990, by Laird Wilcox, who was a libertarian activist in Kansas, who outlined what was happening, and it’s sort of similar, but different from the Saul Alinsky playbook, The Rules for Radicals. Could you walk through what ritual definition is and what the elements are?

Stella Morabito:

Well, I think what Laird Wilcox did was a real public service because he basically identified the ritualistic nature, the patterns of tyranny that you find within that practice of ritual defamation. It’s ritualistic because it follows a pattern, the Alinsky pattern, as you mentioned, which is really the personalize and then polarize and freeze the target so that the target can be taken down. In this case, it’s Brett Kavanaugh, but what he really stands for is the primary target. What he stands for is basically a reverence for the Constitution and our individual rights as citizens and of a free nation.

Stella Morabito:

These are rights that are really written on our hearts. They’re inalienable because they are something that we all know that human beings are due.

Bill Walton:

Well, Bill McGurn writes about in today’s Journal, that it’s essentially … It’s about the Constitution. It’s also about Roe V. Wade, and I think Senator Feinstein has Tweeted that because of he won’t take a position against or for Roe V. Wade, he has to be stopped, so it’s not about a lot of things. It’s about that one thing, I think.

Bill Walton:

You point out in Ritual Defamation, the victim must have violated a particular taboo in some way, usually by expressing or identifying with a forbidden attitude, opinion, or belief. Well, I think we’ve talked about it. The forbidden belief is belief in the Constitution. Thoughts?

Stella Morabito:

Also, the fact that he’s a devout Christian, and that, of course, is utterly taboo when you are considering the views of the far left that has really taken over the Democrat party. Roe V. Wade is definitely an issue for them, but I think that it’s … That’s kind of, as I said in my piece, sort of the tip of the iceberg. They know darn well that even if Roe V. Wade was overturned, abortion would be legal in practically every state or would remain that or it would be up to the states anyway.

Bill Walton:

I think that’s an important point. The states have already enshrined these rights in most places, and so the threat is more abstract than real.

Stella Morabito:

Well, yet, it’s abstract in a sense that we don’t necessarily see it. We just think Roe V. Wade, but it’s a respect for life that goes against the sort of world they want to build, which is this sort of, I think … They keep having this urge towards utopia and, really, it’s a dystopia in which you get power by oligarchy. All socialism really is, in my view, is too much power in the hands of too few people, and that’s what they want. They have always been working towards that. You basically get government by clique, by bureaucratic clique that’s run by … Well, if you look at the history of communism in Soviet Russia, you have this little power clique that … the politburo, and there’s always power struggles, but there’s always someone who ends up on top, and in the worst case, you had Stalin’s reign of terror that came out of this.

Stella Morabito:

That’s one thing that’s so, so terrifying about normalizing the practice of ritual defamation is that it’s always a precursor to terror, utopia, the forcing of these utopian ideas, too, which is what they would claim [inaudible 00:07:53] and all that without any balance of power, checks on power. Same thing.

Bill Walton:

If that happens, I did a show just recently on China and learned that China is about to … They’re in the verge of having 600 million cameras installed around the country, and their facial recognition software is such that they believe within a year or two, they could personally all 1.3 billion people in China within one second, within one second.

Stella Morabito:

Second.

Bill Walton:

I don’t know if that’s [inaudible 00:08:25] or real, but there’s some very smart people who know a lot about technology to believe that’s real, so if you get power centralized anywhere, all those tools can be used.

Bill Walton:

Coming back to Kavanaugh, though, and the Ritual Defamation part of this, it’s important not to make it about issues. It’s important to make it about character assassination. Character assassination’s the primary tool, and you really want to dehumanize the person and make them a symbol of something rather than the person themselves, which is why I think we’re seeing what we’re seeing, that he’s a killer. How else has he been characterized? He’s a killer. He’s a rapist. All these labels stick, and we lose the man in the labels. True?

Stella Morabito:

Right. Who is the man in the label?

Bill Walton:

We lose who the man really is behind-

Stella Morabito:

We lose, yes.

Bill Walton:

But when we label somebody, they’re no longer human. They’re just that-

Stella Morabito:

That’s right. When you look at how the reign of terror operated in, say, Stalin’s Soviet Union, or the 20th century is filled with examples. You have the Cultural Revolution in China. The casualty number there was 70 million. In Russia, was 20-some million. There’s over 100 million victims of communism, and [inaudible 00:09:44]. Today, Venezuela. It’s basically people living under a reign of terror.

Stella Morabito:

Now, see, I’m rambling here, but I really want to get back to the point that character assassination and the dehumanization of the target, aside from the … Alinsky just basically put together the playbook, which has been used by every dictator through the millennia. This is not anything new. This is ancient, really, this practice. We dehumanize it. In the Soviet Union, it was to refer to someone as a non-person. That is the ultimate dehumanization. It can lead to some really nasty stuff, as we’ve seen, and, of course, I shouldn’t leave out Nazi Germany.

Stella Morabito:

If left to its own devices, this sort of practice takes us down some very dangerous and terrifying roads.

Bill Walton:

Let me do a mid-show commercial here. Once again, your essay can be found on this most recent Federalist website and published under the name of What the Senate’s Ritual Defamation of Brett Kavanaugh Threatens American, Why It Threatens, and I highly recommend people listening to this, if you’re listening to this, go online and read along or read it afterwards.

Bill Walton:

Also, the essay that she writes about was by Laird Wilcox. It’s called The Practice of Ritual Defamation, and that was published in 1990, and that can be found on The Social Contract website. I highly recommend that for people who want to understand the playbook to dig into these writings.

Bill Walton:

The other aspect of Ritual Defamation is it’s not just the victim, but it’s got to include family and friends, and especially if the victim has school children taunted, ridiculed, as a consequence of adverse publicity. This is the playbook. This is what we’re seeing now. It’s having the purpose, an intended purpose, of causing everybody who wants to enter the public square to think twice about it-

Stella Morabito:

Exactly.

Bill Walton:

Because if it can happen to Kavanaugh, it can happen to you.

Stella Morabito:

Exactly. That’s exactly right. Tainting-

Bill Walton:

We’re going to keep talking. We may have lost our audio here. While we work to get Stella’s audio set up … Let me see if we’re there. Could you …

Stella Morabito:

Yeah.

Bill Walton:

You sound great. Keep going.

Stella Morabito:

Can you hear me?

Bill Walton:

Yeah. Talk about the family. Let’s-

Stella Morabito:

All right.

Bill Walton:

Let’s start back to the kids, what it would be like to be a person in the public square, whether you’re in the left or the right, that because you’ve taken a taboo position, your entire being, your entire family, everything you’ve counted on for social support, is ripped from you.

Stella Morabito:

Exactly. It’s all about isolating the individual. It’s all about demoralization and breaking down all of your relationships through this imposed guilt by association, and they want everybody, not just who might be positively identified with Brett Kavanaugh to distance themselves, and this is a very typical totalitarian tactic, but they want everybody to distance themselves from any attitude or idea or belief that he would have. That’s really the kind of transformation that they seem to be looking for. It’s horrible, to break them down, so that if, say, their children or trusted friends are going to suffer. It’s standard and pretty disgraceful practice.

Bill Walton:

Do you think they were surprised by the ferocity of his self defense?

Stella Morabito:

Actually, I think they were. Thank God he did not step down because if he had, well, not only would that have been really bad for his own legacy, but in the much wider, much broader perspective, it would have really, as he said, prevent other people from entering the public square because a lot of people just, honestly, can’t manage that kind of pressure, and so it does take leadership. It takes leaders who are willing to stand up to smear campaigns and just not back down.

Bill Walton:

Then they shifted. Because of the vigorous defense of themself, they shifted their guns to say, “Well, look, he’s a really tough guy. He’s not being judicial.”

Stella Morabito:

Oh, there you go.

Bill Walton:

“He doesn’t have the temperament.”

Stella Morabito:

It’s always going to be something. It doesn’t matter. You could be … It doesn’t matter to them. If, for example, he was the kind of guy that would be willing to rewrite the Constitution in accordance with the way they want it rewritten, which is basically to abolish individual rights-

Bill Walton:

Due process.

Stella Morabito:

They’d be fine. They’d nominate … They would confirm him. They wouldn’t have a problem, if they felt confident that he was going to be another Anthony Kennedy or whatever or David Souter, but he [crosstalk 00:15:25]-

Bill Walton:

He did work for Kennedy.

Stella Morabito:

That’s true. That’s true.

Bill Walton:

I never thought that Kavanaugh was going to be that ferocious. I didn’t see him stepping into the Antonin Scalia shoes at all. I thought he’d be pretty moderate. I think he more reminds me of John Roberts than he does Clarence Thomas.

Stella Morabito:

Well, he got a taste of what’s at stake, what is really at stake, not just for him, personally, but for the nation.

Bill Walton:

What do you think of the accuser? What do you think?

Stella Morabito:

Personally, I don’t know. I think it’s totally … It’s obviously totally politicized. I suspect she was recruited and probably willingly because her political background is definitely in line with the left. What do I think of her? Personally, I did not watch her testimony. I have gotten to the point where there’s certain things I can’t stomach, and I didn’t want to watch the smear, so I can’t really speak for … Everybody talks about how credible she was.

Stella Morabito:

There’s a whole other social psychology aspect that we could delve into if we had hours, but people can truly believe things that didn’t happen. We are living kind of through technology and everything in a sort of quasi reality a lot of times. She could believe … She could have dreamt it. I have no idea. Hallucinated. People see things that aren’t there, and unless you have a society in which is open and free, where we have freedom of expression, it gets harder and harder to verify reality. That’s another issue. I’m going off on a tangent there, but that’s something we need to remember.

Stella Morabito:

What do I think of her? I’m not quite sure [crosstalk 00:17:30].

Bill Walton:

What do you mean it’s harder to verify reality? That’s interesting.

Stella Morabito:

Well, I wrote an article for The Federalist a few years ago called … Let’s see. What was the headline they put on it? How to Escape the Age of Mass Delusion. It was read on the air by Rush Limbaugh for two hours, and he discussed it. This was in 2015. In that article, I discussed a book written 60 years ago by a Dutch psychiatrist named Joost Meerloo, and the name of the book was The Rape of the Mind, and it basically discussed that very thing, that if you don’t have freedom of expression in a society, and he interviewed a lot of Nazi officers after the fall of the Third Reich, he said that if you can’t verify reality, if you can’t say, “Oh, did you see that? Yeah, yeah, I saw that,” if you live in a society which doesn’t really allow for that because of repression of speech, you get closer and closer to a kind of a mass delusion.”

Bill Walton:

Seems like that social media, the Internet has aided and abetted that because everybody’s operating with their own set of facts, their own set of friends.

Stella Morabito:

That’s right.

Bill Walton:

I had Darnell Kling on a few shows ago who wrote about the three languages of politics, and he really means the three moralities, conservative, libertarian, progressive, all live in separate moral universes, and they’re not … I’m forced to live in the progressive universe because I live in the DC area where 97% of the people did not vote for Donald Trump. I know what their moral universe is about, and they only talk to each other. The idea that she could have gotten caught up … Ford could have gotten caught up in the separate reality-

Stella Morabito:

Exactly.

Bill Walton:

In watching it, I think she believes what she’s saying. Scott Adams, the cartoonist, has got a Tweet out there about self-hypnosis. Have you seen that?

Stella Morabito:

Well, I thought he would come up with that after I found out about the paper that she co-authored that had to do with self-hypnosis in which you can actually bring about artificial memories, as well as dredge up memories, but I didn’t see what Scott Adams wrote about that, but I know that he’s an expert on hypnosis, so I thought that-

Bill Walton:

I don’t think anybody’s … I don’t think he’s accused that. He said he’s bringing it up as a possibility because all of us are mystified by this, about if nobody around her at the time, and I know her family from here in Washington, if nobody can corroborate this, even if it’s 36 years later, what are we dealing with? I want to circle back to your conclusion of what kind of country we have if anybody could accuse, well, no, if any woman could accuse a man of anything with no evidence, tell me about what kind of country we would have.

Stella Morabito:

Well, the trajectory is what you saw in Soviet Russia, a Stalin’s Russia. That’s a trajectory. That’s the worst case scenario, but that’s the path that that puts us on, and we better turn around and do some self correcting here if we want to live in a country that respects individual rights and responsibilities.

Stella Morabito:

By the way, I just want to clarify that if people want to see this, the article, it would be under thefederalist.com/author/stellamorabito, one word. That’s probably the quickest way to come up with this if you want to find it.

Bill Walton:

Well, most of my listeners would be inclined to be supporting Brett Kavanaugh all this, but not all. I’ve got some that are on the other side, and I would remind my friends on the other side that what comes around goes around or what goes arounds comes around, and that these processes that were seeing can be used to destroy anyone. You have the instance of the French Revolution where the aristocrats piled on with the revolutionaries because they thought that it was going to buy them favor with the next regime, and it bought them a trip to the guillotine.

Stella Morabito:

There you go. That’s basically where these kinds of things end up. People think that they can buy themselves a little favor, and it just never works that way.

Bill Walton:

Well, Stella, thank you very much.

Stella Morabito:

Thank you.

Bill Walton:

This has been incredibly interesting and useful, and I hope it lays out for us what the issues are in this Kavanaugh hearing. Stay tuned till the next episode. Look forward to chatting with other things. Stella, I hope we’ll have you back sometime soon, your next essay.

Stella Morabito:

Oh, thank you very much. Enjoyed it.

Bill Walton:

Great. Thank you. Thanks.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening. Want more? Be sure to subscribe at thebillwaltonshow.com or on iTunes.

 

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