Thursday, June 14, 2012

Peter Cottontail and the Politics of Hate

Yesterday I had an interesting exchange with someone I grew up with, an educated individual that has claimed not to be of any particular political persuasion. And I’ll take him at his word for that. But his comments and reactions typify the Politics of Hate that so often degrades any kind of political discussion, particularly with Progressives, and I found it both humorous and enlightening as to their mindset of how to attack opponents whom hold differing points of view. Come along with me, if you are so inclined, as I dissect the anatomy of this exchange. Of course, I understand if you don’t care to, you probably have more interesting projects to focus on, like removing navel lint, or organizing sock drawers, both noble and worthy pursuits.

It starts with a mutual high school chum posting her Facebook status regarding her thriving summer garden:

Chris - Peas, beans, carrots, and beets are all coming up! - which means that we are officially at war with the neighborhood rabbits. We can't decide if Joe is Boggis, Bunce or Bean.

Julie- My mom actually planted lettuce for the bunnies in her yard. And yet, they do not nibble at it, but instead eat the grass on the side of garage.
James - Pesticide, maybe? Bunnies are smarter that most humans..,

Here it begins. James throws out the “humans are stupid” cliche, which always rubs me the wrong way. I find it tiring that so many people love to berate humans, people, as beneath animals in some kind of intelligent, moral, or even emotional level. There’s a certain arrogance to it. It also plays into the typical Liberal, or Progressive ideal that people, left to themselves, are idiots and unable to do anything for themselves. They need smart people, and the power of government, to do things and create opportunity for them. Yeah, seems like I’m reading a lot into this simple comment, right? But I know James, and I know the way he thinks, and that’s exactly what he means by “Bunnies are smarter than most humans”. They are smarter than everyone but people who think the way he thinks. Naturally, I make my obligatory wise-ass remark:

Deron- smarter than most Democrats, anyway.

He and I have had some friendly political rough house before, and I know he knows my sense of humor, and he knows I don’t support many Democrats. Guys like to do that sort of thing, poke each other, play up their embarrassment, slather on some humiliation with a wink. It’s a bonding thing. A sign of affection. Fairly innocuous comment, in my opinion. Remember, he’s never claimed to be a Democrat, so I’m not actually making this about him. While truthfully I think Democrats are smarter than rabbits, I don’t understand why they cling to policies that have proven to fail, and I also regard them as a monolithic, homogenized political unit, at times resembling lemmings. Most Moderates and Conservatives have left or been run out of the Party, and Progressives currently hold a tight reign. It makes them a swift and mobile political force, I agree, but it doesn’t seem to lend to very much debate or discussion. Debate and discussion is the foundation of a Democratic Republic. I guess what I’m trying to convey is that I find Democrats obtuse in their narrow mindedness and unwillingness to embrace opposing positions. I don’t necessarily feel that way about James. As we’ll see, he’s about to change that perception for me.

James - I thought the Cons put out the marching orders via their Joseph Geibel's (sic), I mean, Karl Rove propaganda minister to stop using the word 'Democrat' - it's all Libs or Socialists now... Tsk..Tsk... you might get on zee bad list... You know how zey deal with those who don't obey...

Interesting. An innocuous comment about Democrats elicits a scathing rebuke invoking Nazis, propaganda, that evil henchman “The Architect” Karl Rove (really dude? Karl Rove? That’s kinda reaching, isn’t it?) and some spicy German enunciation to bring it to a personal level where it infers that I’m not following marching orders with my protocols, like a good Gestapo stooge is supposed to.

First off, “Cons”, or conservatives, that I’ve read, heard, or observed, don’t seem to follow any marching orders from anyone. One of the tenets of Conservatism is Rugged Individualism, as championed by their great Zen Roshi Ronald Reagan. Conservatives follow the precepts of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness to the fullest, particularly the latter, pursuing that which their efforts can bring to fruition. Outward from this, they focus on their immediate family, radiating out to their friends and acquaintances, then to the community at large, and eventually to a larger perspective, a State, a Nation, Globally, what have you. Progressives, in fact, work exactly in reverse; the State, or Nation (or Global Presence) dictates down to the communities, which dictate down to the families, and finally the individual, whom in their eyes, as mentioned above, is helpless without the benevolent, patriarchal (or even matriarchal) hand of The PEOPLE, i.e. Government. It’s a fundamental difference, and one you’ll see that James apparently can’t distinguish.

On another note, I need to point out that I, myself, am not a conservative, nor pretend to be one. I’m more loosely a Libertarian, if you have to put some kind of label on me (and Progressives need labels, because they have to attach them to people so they can demagogue them). Libertarians and Conservatives share a great many traits, namely an understanding of why smaller government encourages Liberty, economic understanding of the strengths of Capitalism, and also a deep faith in Individualism. The differences tend to be roughly social. Libertarians tend to be more secular or agnostic (however I’m a Zen Buddhist, and deeply metaphysical in my faith), and Conservatives tend to hold more traditional Judeo-Christian ethics. But, either James doesn’t recognize this distinction because he only labels the opposition he despises with a generic Conservative brand, or he’s simply attempting to humiliate me by tying my comments and opinions into something he recognizes as abhorrent. In effect, he’s insulting me.

To top it off, I find the whole “take your marching orders” insult HI-larious, because in reality, it’s actually Progressives that stay focused on a single message; a drumbeat of rhetoric, ad hominem, and strawman arguments that defect from an issue, leaving no room for debate or discussion. With that, I fire back my response in that vein to illustrate it, twisting what he said about me into the reality of what Progressives do:

Deron - That's right. Disagree, and they call you racist, xenophobic, homophobic, sexist, capitalist, war monger neocon... wait... that's the main stream.... yeah. Maybe bunnies are smarter. All they do is have sex.

This last line is me realizing, and politely apologizing to Chris, the original poster, that we’ve obviously started to hijack her happy bunny status with some increasingly acrid political comments, and honestly, this isn’t the place for this battle. I don’t want that. I’m not that big a prick. I’ve acknowledged to James that perhaps he’s correct: bunnies are smarter than most humans, because humans like us suddenly take a friendly gardening post and decimate it with political bickering. However, James is just getting warmed up:

James - The thing is, if they only the CONS didn't express their racist, xenophobic, homophobic, sexist, neocon, and war mongering ideas so clearly and overtly on a regular basis or express it (often poorly articulated) in the guise of religion, morality, or family values... sigh, it wouldn't be so easy to see and point out how truly absurd they are. The CONS make it so easy to see what they really think. It's funny how Democrats aren't defined by any of those horrible terms... (crazy thought, huh?)... the worst the CONS can come up with is "Socialist" - oooooh, like the great boogeymen countries of Sweden, Norway and Holland (where none of them have ever been) and where people are happy and content.... And then, there are those crazy 'libs' who want to keep the Gov out of a woman's uterus, want equal pay for women (like your daughters--'how dare they'??), a clean environment and gasp... health care for all... like every other first world nation... gasp... You're right, Bunnies are smarter than CONS... who repress themselves, have sex in bathrooms with other men and then hide from it, molest choir boys and then go broke trying to defend themselves in court... Yeah, you're right... bunnies are smarter than CONS, they just have sex and don't try to control how other people have it...

WOW. Just. WOW. So, we went there, huh James? Naturally, I had only one initial response:

Deron - feel the love

That’s quite a hateful, unwarranted, almost deranged rant. And I’ll dissect that in depth at the close of this, but, it’s hard to believe I elicited that kind of bitterness. But, so much of it is typical when conversing with a Progressive. Focus on hate, and tie you to that hate. I attempted to highlight that:

Deron - I think Orwell referred to that as Two Minute Hate

In George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty Four, for a daily period at the Ingsoc meetings they held Two Minutes Hate, where the visage of the former leader and other enemies were shown to the Party Members, and they were, for two minutes, to project all their hate and animosity towards him, literally screaming at the screen, throwing things, attacking it. A hate mongering tactic using this individual as a scapegoat where they manipulate the Party into hating him, thereby controlling them, keeping them from hating their own government. Orwell used it as an allegory to Trotsky, when after Stalin seized power in Communist Russia Trotsky was exiled from the country and the Soviets were manipulated to hate the former communist founder. I find that Progressives like to use this tactic themselves to a very successful degree: agitate; gin up enough hatred at someone or some evil, and tie all your opponents to it. That seething, irrational hate overrides the logical processes of the brain, and prevents people from questioning what is actually wrong with the idea or person. You hate them, that’s what. This is what I was attempting to infer to James.

Deron - out of respect for Christine's original post on happy bunnie rabbits, I'll just let James stew in his hate and animosity towards conservatives, and enjoy a beer. And chuckle.

Now this thread has taken a disastrous course, one that I certainly didn’t want or even imagine, and I’m feeling bad for the people whom we’ve hijacked the tread from. Yeah, I had to highlight James’ animosity once again, but basically I’m late for dinner, and just want to say “wow, how did this happen? What a joke. Someone needs to lighten up.”

James - Deron, didn't you start by saying that Dems are stupid...? That's what I call "stewing up hate" - you're particular variety just happened to be "bunny stew." It's a classic rhetorical game to put down someone or an idea and then blame the other person when they highlight another person on it... Of course, I wouldn't know that if I hadn't taught Rhetoric for years...

James now attempts to blame his meltdown on me. Right. I’m accused of a rhetorical game here, blaming him, when in fact he’s blaming me for the rhetorical game he himself is playing. And, of course, he needs to establish his superiority in the closing stanza, noting that he’s smarter than me. Does that sound familiar, that air of arrogance? A pissing match. He's pretty sure he just slammed me down, and I won't get up to answer the bell from this display of debating prowess. Flexing those muscles to the crowd.

Deron - Actually James, you started that by calling the human race stupid. I kmow (sic) that, because I learned to read at an early age, and can follow the post.

Self explanatory. No, I didn’t start this, his smug comment about rabbit intelligence did and you can bet that smugness was aimed directly at the people he’s so eloquently reviled above.

James - I actual said "most humans", not "the human race", so I guess I have to question your reading skills. Nevertheless, I've never considered you part of the human race, so don't take it personally...

More personal attacks at my intelligence, par for the course, naturally, and a feeble retort explaining pure semantics that don’t support anything he’s said. We know exactly what he said, and what he meant. The argumentative skills have seriously deteriorated at this point of the discussion.

Deron - Just as I said most Dems, but that seems to equate contemplating dancing angels on heads of pins. And its been well known throughout school I was from Planet Vulcan and my liver is Teflon. So no offense taken. Next time I'll focus my sense of humor on James approved topics. Eventually, if your disdain will allow, you will quit confusing me as a conservative. Not that I consider it an insult. Merely amusing. And short sighted.

Again, trying to clue James in here as to why the semantics of those statements, MOST not all… are completely moot. Hell, I was copying WHAT he was saying as a form of sarcasm within my responses, something that obviously sailed straight over his head. But, none of it matters, just like counting angels on the head of a pin. An exercise in futility. I try to roll with his put downs, show I still have some sense of humor, and highlight, yet again, how hateful he comes across. But, as I’ve said, that’s part in parcel of what the debating technique is: attack you, belittle you, and tie you to ideas or other people that are “abhorrent”, at least in his view. In fact, he went on to tell me that’s what I’m doing, as though I didn’t even know it, yet, as I’ve pointed out, it was he himself guilty of this type of rhetoric, and that rhetoric is a serious piece of hardware in the Progressive’s toolbelt.

But, let’s dive into his rant, and expose and rebut points he tries to convey:

The thing is, if they only the CONS didn't express their racist, xenophobic, homophobic, sexist, neocon, and war mongering ideas so clearly and overtly on a regular basis or express it (often poorly articulated) in the guise of religion, morality, or family values... sigh, it wouldn't be so easy to see and point out how truly absurd they are.

First off, besides this being a veiled attempt to insult me, framing me as a CON, there’s no debate of any issue, no scholarly examination of ideals or policies. Its name calling. It’s a litany of alleged evils conceived out of stupidity associated with conservatives (in his view), and attempting to infer that I’m just as stupid because assuredly, I believe all of them too. That is, if I associate myself with them. He’s taking a label, conservative, and assigning racism, xenophobia, sexism, war mongering, and juxtaposing them with what he feels are supposedly conservative values; religion, morality, family, there by impugning them as absurd by their hypocrisy. But, this all has to operate from a given; conservatives ARE sexist, racist, homophobic, etc. That’s the Liberal/Progressive template that’s been crafted. It’s inarguable fact, in their mind. And if you attempt to argue it, they use straw man arguments attempting to validate this given, and employ the hateful rhetoric we’re seeing displayed to manipulate the argument.

The CONS make it so easy to see what they really think. It's funny how Democrats aren't defined by any of those horrible terms... (crazy thought, huh?)... the worst the CONS can come up with is "Socialist" - oooooh, like the great boogeymen countries of Sweden, Norway and Holland (where none of them have ever been) and where people are happy and content....

Now, this gets to the very crux of my point. (its about damn time) The worst CONS can come up with is calling them that dreaded word Socialist. Right. BECAUSE WE’RE TALKING ABOUT ISSUES. We’re not insulting people, calling them racists, sexist, evil people. We have issues with their policies! I don’t like Obama because he’s someone who champions Socialist policies. Not because he’s black! I honestly don’t think James can grasp this extremely important distinction that he himself swerves into and makes for me.

Also, I don’t have to go to Norway, Sweden, or Holland and see how happy they are to know how I want to live my life, which is to live FREE. Those countries exist! If you like them, go there! Don’t change mine to be like them! That’s why we came here in the first gawd dammed place! Is it really that difficult to grasp? Again, conservatives are horrible because people (like him) all call conservatives these terrible things, but no one calls Democrats that, so they can’t be as horrible as conservatives. Lots of logic problems there.

And then, there are those crazy 'libs' who want to keep the Gov out of a woman's uterus,

The “Keep Your Hands Off MY BODY” canard. In fact, Libs are the ones that have Government in their uteruses. Conservatives don’t want government in anything that’s not prescribed by the Constitution. And uterus isn’t in there. This deflects from the real debate, which is that conservatives don’t want the government getting into babies lives, or preventing one. I’m no longer a fan of abortion, now that I’ve had kids and seen the wonderful, special changes they make in a parent’s life. But, the Libertarian in me does hold that if you don’t want abortion, don’t have them. Still, that doesn’t really address the entire issue, does it? Because you’re dealing with a life form. So, I understand the concern and the debate. Me, personally, like I say, don’t have them. If we encourage women not to have abortions, promote other options, and increase birth control awareness, establish some cultural decency about sexual exploitation, then you don’t really need legislation; the problem will vanish. But, others have different views, and their primary focus is the well being and future of that child. Its not about a uterus, it’s about a life. They have every right to express that opinion. You just don’t have to agree with it. But, here, as we see, if you don’t agree with the Progressive opinion, you’re stupid, and you’re interfering with women.

want equal pay for women (like your daughters--'how dare they'??),

Now we see, continuing from the previous thread, Progressives like to find a minority and accuse you of oppressing them. How dare conservatives want women to work for less! But, what is the proof that conservatives want this? Because they don’t support legislation forcing equality? That’s a logical fallacy. Now, if conservatives put forth legislation that said “women must make X% less than men”, now you have a valid argument. Conservatives believe in free markets, and in a free market, the market sets the value of someone’s work. There isn’t a conservative around that wants women to make less than anyone else. What they don’t want is an institution like Government to regulate the market. What about women that make more than men? If you enact this legislation, shouldn’t then those women’s salaries be reduced to be “equal”? It’s an absurd argument that doesn’t deal with the actualities of the concept; it merely attempts to demonize and demagogue Conservatives as holding some animus against a particular demographic the Progressives hope to manipulate, much like the uterus canard.

a clean environment

That’s right. Conservatives want a shitty environment. Because they’re just too damn stupid to “get it”. If you are against anything Progressive Environmentalists profess, then you are deemed to support the opposite. Black and White. You are for dirty water, you are for dirty air. More baseless demagoguery and distortion. Because, again, it ties directly in to how stupid you must be to disagree with any notion they present. Your argument is invalid.

health care for all... like every other first world nation... gasp...

Again, another simplistic accusation (haven’t we seen that pattern develop?) painting conservatives as cruel, heartless, and ignorant because they don’t want to support “free” healthcare. As I’d mentioned earlier, this is where we see the differing views of the world between conservatives and progressives; progressives see the State as providing down to the masses, and the conservatives see the Individual as responsible for one’s self, and working outwards to help others thru their achievement. Conservatives are not without passion. They’re not cold, heartless Scrooges, remorseless to the plight of poor Bob Cratchet. Conservatives donate time, effort, and money to numerous causes and charities, and encourage others to do the same. What they don’t support is the concept that one person works for the benefit of another that doesn’t, especially as enforced by the State. Also, Conservatives have the capacity to understand the economic ramifications of “free” healthcare, which is anything but free. These “First World” Nations are struggling with their “Free Healthcare” along with other socialist programs (as we’re seeing with the collapse of the Euro), and having “Free Healthcare” doesn’t insure Good Healthcare. There are numerous complaints (although you’d never know, because Progressives don’t wish to engage in the discussion) from citizens of places like Canada and Great Britain of monthly wait times, refusal of service, basically all things you’d expect to happen when a government takes control of a business. Medicine becomes a bureaucracy, which stands against providing better, effective care. The US has various forms of “free” healthcare already in Medicare and Medicaid. And as deficits swell, their futures look unsustainable. But, again, that’s a topic non grata with Progressives, whose answer to that problem is take more money away from people that they deem don’t need it, and if you don’t like it, you’re stupid, and mean.

You're right, Bunnies are smarter than CONS... who repress themselves, have sex in bathrooms with other men and then hide from it, molest choir boys and then go broke trying to defend themselves in court... Yeah, you're right... bunnies are smarter than CONS, they just have sex and don't try to control how other people have it...

Here is James’ Coup de Gras: Conservatives are sexually repressed perverts, closet homosexuals, and their all consuming raison d’être is to manage people’s sex lives. Convincing, no? Basically we’re just seeing him project some snippets of media coverage (designed to highlight how much conservatives are sexually repressed perverts) about some Republican politicians (just because you’re Republican doesn’t mean you’re conservative, see Mayor Mike Bloomberg), and an attack on the Catholic Church (are all conservatives Catholic? I wasn’t aware that was a criteria), etc, and an accusation that conservatives have to manage other people’s sex lives. But, where’s the real evidence to make such a claim and besmirch them? As I established, the people that want to control people, how they think, and how they live are Progressives, whether its telling them how much soda they can purchase, or how smoking or their diets are unhealthy, what kind of automobile you should drive, how much exercise you should be doing, or how much money one should be allowed to earn. But conservatives aren’t legislating anyone’s bedrooms, or diets, or behaviors.

James is poorly attempting to skewer conservatives for upholding and promoting moral and ethical beliefs, as though that in itself is an evil thing. If you think that there’s no cultural moral and ethical deterioration in our culture and society, I’m afraid you’d lose that argument. We see it all around us. But to comment on it, to advocate an ethical issue or moral judgment, in the mind of a Progressive, can only be reserved for those whom no one can judge. Analogous to this line of thinking is you can’t comment about war unless you’ve been in the service. But that makes as much sense as saying you can’t comment on Pro Football unless you’re a Pro Football player. You can’t comment on a movie unless you’ve made movies. You can’t comment on something unless you are something. They are quick to paint their political opponents as hypocrites, and attempt to destroy the argument by equating some tangential hypocrisy to the entire ideal. And they find this successful based on the simple fact that Conservatives have the audacity to stand for a principle or and ethos. The very people that legislatively want to force you on how you should live socially attacking people who stand for moral and ethical issues as an ideal. Religion is wrong! Keep your religion away from me! Keep anything that pertains to religion, like Christmas, Easter, In God We Trust, prevent anyone from being forced to see or contemplate. But, we will force you to surrender money, and we'll tell you how much soda you should be drinking. Talk about hypocrisy!

Progressives stand for Moral Relativism, where your morals are relative to whatever your culture may be, or may turn into, but not in conjunction with any others or static ideals. Obviously convenient. Morals are fluid, and just because you don't agree or share them, means you don't understand. Again. You're stupid.

What? You actually read this monstrosity this far? You deserve a medal, or something. Perhaps counseling, I dunno. Personally, when we communicate with each other, as a society we work better, grow, and improve. But, that can also only be achieved when the structure of society has Freedom and Liberty instilled within its framework, which is exactly what our brilliant Founding Fathers had the wisdom to understand. Largely because: they communicated with each other thru a series of meetings and conventions, and debated what the future of their new version of civilization should be if it were to exist, grow, and prosper.

When we cut off debate, when we start using the tactics and foster the hate and animosity that I pointed out above, not only are we doing each other a complete disservice, we're promoting Tyranny as it creeps in, strips away Liberties and personal freedoms, and ultimately destroys what made this country the most amazing, prosperous nation on in the history of mankind. We become serfs to a new Feudal Socialism, and crush the engines of ingenuity and enterprise.

After all, if bunnies were so smart, they'd elect their own government to provide their carrots for them.