When a proud basic value set runs up against drastic and obscene changes across a broad spectrum of society, one needs to be extremely careful in how one goes about presenting the matter to those who could be allied to stop it the most strongly and soonest. Let me put that more plainly, for me, if not just for you. We on the left have a tendency to be so secure in the righteousness in our cause, that we can edge toward being our own worst enemy in effecting change. It is not because we are wrong, or need to moderate our beliefs, no. It is because we will not reach the people we need to reach, given how we govern ourselves. In a democratic republic, only a true majority of society can institute real change. It just is. It would be easier if we had a benevolent king. But that system doesn’t work when the king isn’t benevolent. I hear you: Jason, what the hell does that even meannnn? It means that we have to utilize the most effective tool(s) to cull voters and opinion-makers to see the world as we need it to be seen. It doesn’t mean we change our values or our policies. It doesn’t mean we search for common ground in places where common ground doesn’t exist. It means we shape our message as the most challenging to deny, and on its most fundamental level. Because if we present it as our most sure, most obvious, the best case (self perceived, “best”) we create a situation where we fall into conceit in our righteousness. And even where that conceit may be based upon “the only tolerable position” (which I think is the case on many issues) we lose much of our effectiveness in changing society’s priorities and behavior. That is still a bunch of grad-school philosophy crap that even I don’t understand, so I am simply going to use an example, perhaps the strongest example. Take the case of torture of children on the border, never mind the torture of their parents. Because we are most sure of our position as the only acceptable response by anyone capable of demonstrating humanity, the conclusion becomes, well, “this is the only acceptable response by anyone capable of demonstrating humanity” as its strongest challenge to those who may wittingly or unwittingly vote in a way that prolongs such abuse, through their vote, are complicit. The above is all true. But it is not the most effective way to get moderates or even moderate Republicans to vote out the people putting the policy in place. It can be seen as conceit. And however it is justified – say the Nazi policy toward the Jews, that conceit is entirely justified and true – but conceit isn’t as effective in changing others’ minds, and imploring them to action. Picture a town hall. Picture a debate. Picture a Democrat, liberal, progressive, hell, picture a “leftist” presenting all the facts, the inhumane living conditions in clear terms, clear terms like the fact that refugees are entirely different than people who sneak across the border, that they present themselves for possible admission, that the living conditions match those of concentration camps, the profit made in the whole matter (spending over $700 per kid, yet they […]
Sometimes people in Washington get it plain wrong!
If conservatives support police killing citizens without justification, climate denial, fact denial, science denial, racist and misogynistic behavior, or a litany of other absurd points of view about numerous important issues, we call them out.