Liberalism’s Good Cop / Bad Cop Team

The phrase “good cop / bad cop” originated as a description of an interrogation technique described thus at Wikipedia:

The ‘bad cop’ takes an aggressive, negative stance towards the subject, making blatant accusations, derogatory comments, threats, and in general creating antipathy between the subject and himself. This sets the stage for the ‘good cop’ to act sympathetically: appearing supportive, understanding, in general showing sympathy for the subject. The good cop will also defend the subject from the bad cop. The subject may feel he can cooperate with the good cop out of trust or fear of the bad cop. He may then seek protection by and trust the good cop and provide the information the interrogators are seeking.

As Lawrence Auster recently pointed out about the hype surrounding the announced probable discovery of the Higgs Boson, contemporary science often employs a “good cop / bad cop” technique when making claims about the theological significance of scientific discoveries. The “good cop” reassures the public that science makes no claim to have disproved God and that science knows that its place in the order of things is only to make tentative pronouncements about physical reality and not to speculate about God.  In this, the “good cop” says what most people want to hear. But the “bad cop,” when speaking to those he believes to be sympathetic to aggressive leftist atheism, claims that contemporary science has indeed rendered any god both extremely improbable and totally unnecessary, as science (so he claims) is well on the road to explaining everything materialistically.

The “good cop’s” performance ensures that those who trust contemporary institutions and who are therefore not paying close attention to the situation will, at best, be confused. Their intuition, along with any of the bad cop’s words which they might have overheard, tells them that contemporary science claims to have overthrown the God in which John Q. Public still believes. But the “good cop” denies this revolution, and claims, at least implicitly, that things are as they have always been, that God and His decrees are still officially honored. Those who believe the “good cop” will be reassured, fail to understand the times, and fail to take appropriate action.

And observe that confusion always protects the status quo. When a man is confused he takes no decisive action, and the status quo, which these days is the institutionalized, slow-motion leftist revolution, continues. The good cop confuses the general public, rendering them passive, thereby protecting the revolution.

But science is not the only area in which the Leftist-serving “good cop” confuses the public into passive acceptance of the revolution. In every area where the revolution is fighting, leftist “good cops” are employed to deny what most people can sense. The “good cop” reassures the general public that society is not being radically changed, but is still what it has always been, and that the seemingly-radical changes are only minor readjustments designed to promote basic fairness and decency, along with bringing society into compliance with the latest findings of “research.” But the “bad cop,” when he is before an audience of the faithful, speaks more honestly. He confirms what intuition makes plain: that the goal of the Left is radical, destructive change, and that if you oppose or even question this change, you are regarded as an Enemy of the People.


Regarding homosexuality, the “good cop” reassures the public that homosexuality has always been accepted, even by the church, that research shows homosexuality to be normal, and that “tolerance” is the only political goal of the homosexualist movement. But the “bad cop” confirms that homosexuality is forcibly to be legitimized regardless of evidence or precedent, and contrary views are to be suppressed.

Regarding immigration and race, the good cop reassures the public that we are a nation of immigrants, that all peoples long for American-style freedom and can therefore become American citizens, and that diversity is glorious. But the “bad cop” confirms that the goal is the radical abolition of “white privilege” (i.e., the destruction of the traditional cultures of white peoples and the dragging down of whites in order to raise up nonwhites), and the creation of a radically multicultural / multiracial / “tolerant” [they say] society.

Regarding marriage and sex roles, the good cop reassures the public that divorce has always been common, that feminism only makes society more just, and that you can still have an old-fashioned marriage if you choose. But the “bad cop” confirms that the goal is utterly to smash patriarchy, Christianity and traditional society.

Regarding religion, the “good cop” reassures the public that good religion has always been tolerant, that most people have always been irreligious, and that the radical attack on Christianity exists only in the mind of “fundamentalists.”  But the “bad cop” confirms that religion is the real enemy of the revolution, and that all “true believers” will be stripped of power and made objects of ridicule.

One of our primary tasks in opposing the Left and working for a more properly-ordered American society, then, is to help people see the lies of the “good cops.” Many who are potentially sympathetic to our cause are confused by widespread “good-cop” propaganda. Being naturally conservative, they tend to see society as fundamentally sound, with a few leftist threats that need to be opposed, and this is the worldview that is promoted by the “good cops:” That society is fundamentally sound, and that the radical conservatives are wicked, ignorant alarmists. That society is fundamentally sound is a message that most people want to hear, so the “good cops” find a willing audience.

We traditionalists, however, must appeal first to the (apparently) minority of people who can sense that something is fundamentally wrong with American society. The first part of the “traditionalist gospel” is the bad news that the “good cops” are lying: We’re in big trouble.

9 thoughts on “Liberalism’s Good Cop / Bad Cop Team

  1. Very good post.

    A factor in this is the sheer scale and pervasiveness of the good/ bad cop show as transmitted by the mass media, public administration, education, law… it is like ten thousand Pilates per day saying ‘what is truth?’ – but never staying for an answer.

    The outcome is confusion, erosion of traditional beliefs and Christianity – since the framework assumes that all possible questions (no matter of ill formed or tendentious) require an immediate, short and conclusive answer – yet there is no space for an answer, and there are always many more such questions.

    The fact that the basis for such questions is incoherent and evil is a feature, not a bug.

    This assault cannot be met on the terms of engagement of modernity.

    • “This assault cannot be met on the terms of engagement of modernity.”

      Yes. It requires that we identify and oppose the premises of the leftist revolution. “Oppose the premises” means both that we speak directly against them, and that we separate ourselves from them as much as possible.

      Modern man lives in a fog. Some love the fog, but others are looking for a lighthouse.

  2. I’m not so sure the good cop/bad cop division is always between those who speak to the larger reluctant world (i.e., do PR) and those who speak to the Inner Party faithful (i.e., provide Red Meat). In the case of the Civil Rights movement, we had the intelligent well socialized blacks (the kind with whom we wouldn’t mind being neighbors) playing good cop to the unintelligent poorly socialized blacks rioting. There was no inner party story. Just give us what we want and we’ll calm down our more excitable, and oh so undestandably angry, cohorts. They got what they wanted. The more excitable have become yet less intelligent and more poorly socialized. And all I got was this lousy “It’s hard to see racism when you’re white” T-shirt.

  3. Larry’s physics/Higgs-bashing is starting to piss me off. His and your larger point is certainly valid, though. Robert George also points to marriage redefinement as example of this phenomenon (

    “It was only yesterday, was it not, that we were being assured that the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex partnerships would have no impact on persons and institutions that hold to the traditional view of marriage as a conjugal union? Such persons and institutions would simply be untouched by the change. It won’t affect your marriage or your life, we were told…That was then; this is now.

    I must say, though, that I still can’t fathom why anybody believed any of it—even then. The whole argument was and is that the idea of marriage as the union of husband and wife lacks a rational basis and amounts to nothing more than “bigotry.” Therefore, no reasonable person of goodwill can dissent from the liberal position on sex and marriage, any more than a reasonable person of goodwill could support racial segregation and subordination. And this, because marriage, according to the redefiners, consists principally of the emotional union of people committed to mutual affection and care. Any distinctions beyond this one they condemn as baseless….

    The fundamental error made by some supporters of conjugal marriage was and is, I believe, to imagine that a grand bargain could be struck with their opponents: “We will accept the legal redefinition of marriage; you will respect our right to act on our consciences without penalty, discrimination, or civil disabilities of any type. Same-sex partners will get marriage licenses, but no one will be forced for any reason to recognize those marriages or suffer discrimination or disabilities for declining to recognize them.” There was never any hope of such a bargain being accepted. Perhaps parts of such a bargain would be accepted by liberal forces temporarily for strategic or tactical reasons, as part of the political project of getting marriage redefined; but guarantees of religious liberty and non-discrimination for people who cannot in conscience accept same-sex marriage could then be eroded and eventually removed. After all, “full equality” requires that no quarter be given to the “bigots” who want to engage in “discrimination” (people with a “separate but equal” mindset) in the name of their retrograde religious beliefs. “Dignitarian” harm must be opposed as resolutely as more palpable forms of harm.”

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