There you will recognize how the phenomenon has infected our political discourse. In the antics on both left and right, Mr. Nunberg discerns that the insults aimed at blacks, gays, women, the wealthy, or others do not really intend to attack the ostensible target. Rather, outrageous things are said to energize a response of solidarity among the partisans, who imagine with glee how much the insult enrages the ostensible target. "The more of an asshole you can make your adversaries seem, the more of an asshole you can permit yourself to appear, so as to bond with your fellows with provocative gestures." It is a short-term technique to solidify the base, but not a means of governing.