Friend of mine posted this article to Facebook, and it has me thinking of all the things that aggravate me about talking to people, or reading articles from people, on the more conservative side of the political spectrum.
I will note that a lot of people on the leftward side of things share many of these same behaviors, and it also makes me mad.
Let’s parse through some of this, best we can. And warning: naughty language ahead. I’m mad today.
1. Political attack buzzwords
The second you use a phrase like “bleeding heart liberals*” (what’s the conservative equivalent?), you’ve turned the discussion into an ad hominem attack. Now we’re not talking about our disagreements; you’re being snide and calling me names.
2. Couching a discussion as a 50/50, then making it 75/25.
The article starts with examples of hypocrisy from both sides. The examples of liberal hypocrisy got 115 words. Conservative hypocrisy got 35. Emphasis matters; this is clearly a pro-conservative article. Got it. (This does bear out in the rest of the article, by the way.)
3. Dancing around “possibilities” vs “actual evidence”.
I hate this shit. “We also have to consider the very real issue of voter fraud…” He links to an article that sites a study, which concluded 800,000 people MIGHT have illegally voted for Clinton. I’d really like everybody to be a lot more clear about what’s proven, what’s evidenced, and what’s just suspected.
4. The “even people I admire are being assholes!”
This could be better summed up as “some of my best friends are you guys, and even they are doing Thing X”. Some of this writer’s BEST ONLINE FRIENDS are left-wing, and they’re evincing bad behavior too! I suppose this one might actually, somewhere, have some kind of relevence and credibilty – maybe – but it gets under my skin anyway.
5. Verbal (or written) subtweet.
Subtweeting is officially a post that refers to someone without mentioning them, as a form of “furtive mockery”.
Here we have an actual mention, with furtive mockery: “If you were to read typical left-leaning sites like Salon and The New York Times, you might think that the sky is falling.” Okay, we all use language like that from time to time. But again, this was supposed to be a 50/50 article – BOTH sides are behaving poorly! – and I’m only seeing accusations of hysteria toward one side.
This is, by the way, another kind of ad hominem attack, and it’s even more aggravating. It’s that person who mutters, mid sentence, “(not like you’ve ever thought of that)” without stopping. It’s infuriating.
6. Broad, sweeping generalizations.
“It vexes me to see all these bleeding heart white liberals pretend to care about poor brown people in the third world. None of them actually care.”
Wow. Well, it’s nice that you’ve done the studies, taken the polls, and determined for certain that a large enough percentage of liberals actually care, such that you’re able to make the reasonable assertion, “None of them actually care.” This is both an overgeneralization AND another ad hominem attack.
7. Ignoring context.
“When President Obama halted acceptance of refugees from Iraq (albeit in a more limited fashion), hardly anyone noticed. Now with President Trump doing it, we see massive backlash and outrage.”
Yes. But the bit you’re missing – apart from that brief nod to “a more limited fashion” – is the context. Obama did not campaign on a promise of ridding the country of illegal immigrants, on the possibilities of registering Muslims. Trump did. Obama directed the ICE to focus on criminals, not otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants. Trump told ICE to get everyone.
There are huge differences here, and they scare the shit out of us. I’ll be happy to sit down over a beer and explain why, too…so long as you don’t start name calling again. It makes discussion difficult.
8. Begging the question.
Don’t get me wrong, this is your article, dude. You can put forth a thesis, support it, and ask questions any which way you want. But, like a bad special effect in a good movie, this took me right out of the scene:
“If the Left wants to reclaim its moral authority it needs to do two important things.”
You’ve just stated, without bothering to state it, that liberals have lost the moral high ground (presumably, the right has retained theirs…”To preserve what credibility they have left, the Right needs…”).
(Ref: Begging the Question, on Wikipedia.)
Man, I’m not even done with this article. But I have to be done. This is a good exercise for me – picking out the specific things that bug the shit out of me when talking politics. It makes it easier to identify in discussions with the other side, in listening to people on “my side”, and when speaking, myself.
*By the way, “bleeding heart liberals” has to be one of the least effective insults of all time. It translates directly to “caring about other people liberals”. You’re trying to make an insult out of that?