Calls for impeachment are the latest displays of the naturalistic fallacy and system justification

Retraction, July 18, 2019: Events have transpired that force me to acknowledge that the faith I have placed in Nancy Pelosi was foolishly misplaced. Consider this the Democratic Party’s last chance and that, with me, they have now absolutely blown it. There is no merit or legitimacy to be found in this party which I now refer to as the neoliberal party.[1]

When one confuses what should be with what is, they commit the naturalistic fallacy. And so it is with calls for impeachment reverberating through my Twitter feed.

In essence, the argument is still Will Bunch’s, that horrible things may well happen, but impeachment is the “right thing.”[2] This is supplemented by assertions that impeachment is the constitutional remedy for executive branch stonewalling of congressional investigations[3] and speculation that as investigations proceed, support for impeachment will increase or, at least, that opposition might decrease.[4]

The faith these people express in the U.S. system, the very same system that put Donald Trump in office in the first place, the very same system that offered us only Hillary Clinton as his viable opposition, the very same system that mires us in endless war, neglects the climate crisis, and failed to prosecute war criminals and bank fraudsters, is well, nothing short of astonishing. They utterly neglect the Faux News bubble in which Trump’s base and the Republican Party now live fervently.[5]

They think the system will work because it should work. Despite all the contrary evidence that they themselves have amassed about social inequality and the climate crisis—hence the Green New Deal. It is as if they think they can respond to this crisis quickly if they can only get Trump out of office (apparently forgetting that he would be replaced by Mike Pence) and, oh yes, edge aside those neoliberal mainstream Democrats who rigged the 2016 primaries against Bernie Sanders.

None of it even begins to make sense. There is no logic here, only wishful thinking.

Or they are impatient with court proceedings that are already upholding Congressional subpoenas.[6] It is true that these proceedings have yet to run their course, but if the system in fact works, Congressional oversight will be upheld. And may well be even though the system does not in fact work.

Further evidence that the system does not work can be found in that such people are in charge. Even if, despite their fears, they actually succeed.

But not one of them has a plan for what to do about Faux News. Not one of them has a plan for dealing with Trump’s base. Not one of them has a plan for addressing the even deeper polarization that the “I-word” would stoke. Not one.

And all for an end that might not even be taken up in the Senate, where an impeachment trial would take place.

But accountability, they plead. This is unadulterated bullshit. For accountability, you need impeachment to succeed. And it won’t.

Because the system doesn’t work. No matter how much they want it to.

  1. [1]David Benfell, “A retraction: I now support impeachment,” July 18, 2019,
  2. [2]Will Bunch, “Trump’s diabolical plan to blow up democracy, get reelected and avoid jail just might work,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 5, 2019,
  3. [3]Anna Palmer, Jake Sherman, and Daniel Lippman, “How would you explain the Democratic investigations to a Washington outsider?” Politico, May 15, 2019,
  4. [4]Becky Palmer, [microblog post], May 18, 2019,
  5. [5]David Benfell, “Why Nancy Pelosi is right about impeachment,” Not Housebroken, May 22, 2019,
  6. [6]Spencer S. Hsu, “Judge denies Trump bid to quash House subpoena for years of financial records,” Washington Post, May 20, 2019,; Renae Merle, Michael Kranish, and Felicia Sonmez, “Judge rejects Trump’s request to halt congressional subpoenas for his banking records,” Washington Post, May 22, 2019,

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