Saturday, June 13, 2009

Absolutists, breaking the cycle, bi/post partisanship, golden rule, ...

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Moderated by blogger, for length... (Not having a comment character limit was one of blogger/blogspot's best features. Might as well be using Haloscan, now... Well, not really...)

Reply to JSF, posting at American Power on June 13, 2009 12:22 AM

heck, I voted No on 8 for Conservative reasons, yet i still hear how I am a homophobe, rascist, bigot because i don't support President Obama.

There are absolutists over here on the left, no doubt. Some do legitimately believe that any vote to deny gay folks the same marriage rights straight people have is bigotry, so yes, if you're saying you voted against it because it had fiscal costs that you as a conservative found unacceptable, there are going to be people who will not accept that argument, and will think you a homophobe or a bigot, whether or not you actually are.

(I confess that I'm not sure where your mention of support for Obama comes into the story... From where I'm sittin', it looks like he's in a similar "homophobic" boat as your fiscal con who didn't support prop 8. BO has political reasons for not moving too fast on Don't Ask, Don't Tell, &/or repealing DOMA, but the same folks calling you a bigot for your fiscal con "no on 8" vote ain't real happy with President Obama's foot-dragging on those issues, either...)

The Anti-semite/heathlander posts were about geese and gander. You paint us with a broad brush, I return the favor.

"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."

Break the cycle, if only because in every encounter with a broad-brushing, name-calling, mean-spirited (or perfectly pleasant) leftie, you're the only one whose behavior you actually have control over... S/He's going to do what s/he's going to do, and you can't really stop it...
And, when you react to what they do, you're letting the other person control you. When you set the tone, you potentially control the other person.
And besides... If you do the right thing, it make the guy who's mistreating you look all the worse, giving you the upper hand, morally speaking.

Look at the Churchill quote in my latest post -- where is the democrats (and their allies) post-partisanship?

I can only speak for me of course, but I don't buy into all the post partisanship talk. Personally, I'm not even such a big fan of bipartisanship, though I guess somebody's gotta do it.

In every political group, there need to be ideologues who are loathe to leave their principles behind, ever... Without them, the party doesn't stand for anything.

There also need to be practical folks who are willing to horse trade & compromise, and eventually reach bipartisan consensus. Without them, we wouldn't get anything done.

Needless to say, I'm one of those whose heart is in the former group. All that's to say, I like a good fight, both within my party (Green, btw), and outside it. I just think we can disagree without being disagreeable... ...most of the time, anyway. (I am human; I do falter & fail, sometimes, and expect that pretty much everyone else does, too.)

I always believed in treating people how you want to be treated, but the past 8 years burned me. I don't believe the democrats belive that saying anymore.

As with everything else--& everyone else, including those on your side of the aisle, too--some do, and some don't. Some Dems feel as burned as you do, whether or not you believe they should or have a right to feel that way. Some of 'em are waiting for your side to be nice first. But as I said above, the only person you can change is yourself. It isn't about whether "they" believe in that saying, but whether you believe in that saying, and are willing to model the change you seek in others, essentially treating others the way you want them to treat you, and showing them the treatment you find acceptable.

(That saying, btw, is an opportunistic bastardization of The Golden Rule -- "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." -- (DUO... puts the onus on you to do right for the benefit of others, while the bastardized version is all about demanding that others treat you pleasantly because they should want you to treat them pleasantly, too. That's the way it looks to me, anyway...)

I would love to agree to disagree, but when the next shooting occurs, will all Conservatives and republicans get blamed or will they blame the individual?

The next shooting? God I hope not...
Besides, I submit that we ain't even done deciding how to view these last few, yet.

In this world, there will always be fools who will generalize about "all Conservatives" or "all Liberals," so yes JSF, your side (or perhaps mine, & more than likely both) will get blamed (by some) no matter the tragedy, past, present or future.

I think the first thing to understand about that is to realize what mental midgets the people who generalize that way are, and to trust that the American people are not stupid enough to fall for such lies and self-serving distortions.

Yes, there will be fools, but fools will never have much influence over how the rest of us view the societal tragedies in our lives... They can only spout their lies & broad brush generalizations from the sidelines, while reasonable men & women see them for who & what they really are. I think you're assigning them far more power than they actually have...

Not only are all conservatives/republicans not responsible for von Brunn's thoughts or actions, no conservatives/republicans are responsible for von Brunn's thoughts or actions. And no liberals/democrats are, either.

But by the same token, one can't singlehandedly change the definitions of words and phrases. James von Brunn is a right wing extremist, just as all other violent, hateful neo-Nazi, white pride folks before him have been. To say otherwise is to indulge in the No true Scotsman fallacy, essentially saying that since you're on the right wing, and you're a perfectly reasonable fellow who loves people of all races & religions and would never think or act as von Brunn did, he can't be a right winger of any sort...

"Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his Glasgow Morning Herald and seeing an article about how the "Brighton Sex Maniac Strikes Again." Hamish is shocked and declares that "No Scotsman would do such a thing." The next day he sits down to read his Glasgow Morning Herald again and this time finds an article about an Aberdeen man whose brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly. This fact shows that Hamish was wrong in his opinion but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says, "No true Scotsman would do such a thing."
—Antony Flew, Thinking about Thinking (1975)"

For those who still refuse it, I (really, Jonathan Chait) ask(s) you... "Is there such a thing as a right-wing extremist? When you go past the right wing of the Republican Party, through Tom Tancredo and Pat Buchanan, what comes next? Is there anything there or just a gaping void?"

1 comment:

JSF said...

Thank you for a great reply (here and at American Power.

I have a role as a partisan (still a partisan today, but for the other side), but when I was a young Democratic volunteer in NYC (with friends who moved very high up in the party until Client #9 screwed with them because he didn't want any primary problems),

I learned 3 very basic rules:

Never attack a Politician (or his or her family period.) in these 3 places:

1) Sick bed
2) Death bed
3) water's edge (I learned that, yes disagree, but do not let our foreign enemies repeat the same rhetoric)

The past 8 years all of these rules were broken. How do you walk back the cat, after the rules you learn, from the Party you learn the lessons from, break them?