When someone says, “I don’t think welfare benefits the poor,” we have come to expect a response something along the lines of:
Oh? So you just want to let the poor starve?
That libertarians are so often accused of “wanting poor people to starve” is, if nothing else, a shocking example of how pervasive this extremism has really become. It happens to anarchists, as well. “I don’t think the state does anything to benefit society.” Of course, then the response comes:
Oh? So you’re okay with being ruled by rape gangs?
It’s a mark of how sensationalized, hysterical, and extreme we have become that these two innocuous statements are met with such hostility; those making these replies appear to be legitimately unable to fathom that “the state” and “rule by rape gangs” (one might say that this is not just a false dichotomy but also a false choice, as “the state” and “rule by rape gangs” are exactly the same thing, but now is not the time for that…) are not the only possibilities.
A few weeks ago, frustrated with how Jill Stein was attacking Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, I commented one of her posts asking why she was becoming a shill, why she was wasting her energy targeting another third party candidate, when it served no one except the two dominating parties for the third parties to begin chiseling away at each other. I observed that she was acting like the youngest child petulantly attacking the middle child because the oldest child wouldn’t let her play with the toys. Thankfully, Jill Stein ceased her attacks on Gary Johnson.
Anyway, Rusty–we’ll call him “Rusty” because he’s a Steiner, and no one reading this will get that reference, and wouldn’t get it even if it wasn’t so tenuous–commented my comment to basically shriek, in all caps half the time, that it was stupid to expect Jill Stein of the Green Party to support Gary Johnson, when their policies, as I’d pointed out, were diametrically opposed.
On the surface, he had a good point. Why did I expect Stein to support Johnson?
Because I didn’t.
I asked Stein to stop attacking Gary Johnson. “Not attacking Johnson” and “supporting Johnson” aren’t even remotely the same thing. If I could not respect a candidate without supporting them, then my presence on Jill Stein’s page–which came about specifically because I respect her; I just disagree with her… on everything…–would have been impossible. Until Stein attacked Gary Johnson, I never attacked Stein, and I immediately stopped as soon as she stopped. I’m not attacking Stein now. I still don’t support her, because her platform is the anti-thesis of everything I stand for.
The idea that Jill Stein could just not say anything about Gary Johnson was something that Rusty couldn’t comprehend. In his extremist, ends-of-the-spectrum World of Either/Or, Jill Stein must attack Gary Johnson, because otherwise she supports Gary Johnson.
It’s easy to see how this came about, since we live in a society where the false dichotomy has thoroughly conquered the political landscape, and everything starts there and stems from it. If I post something negative about Trump, people take me as a Hillary supporter. If I post something negative about Hillary, people take me as a Trump supporter. My Quora page demonstrates this clearly.
I support neither one of those toxic devils, and it is my fondest wish that they both withdraw from the race. Trump is no better than Hillary, and Hillary is no better than Trump. They are both just absolutely awful, but for completely different reasons. It’s as close to a real-life example of “Pick your poison” as I’ve ever seen, and I am not going to do it. I will not eat a bowl of shit simply because the other bowl is diarrhea. I will leave the table.
But I doubt that the two party system is really the source of the problem; I suspect it’s a reflection of something that lies underneath, within the average human’s mind, and stems more from psychology than manipulation. This election just makes it more apparent. I know very few Trump supporters. Indeed, most of the Republican Party seems to be saying something along the lines of, “We don’t like Trump, but we really hate Hillary.”
Democrats point that out, too. I’ve seen Democrats suggest that the RNC was little more than a “We Hate Hillary” party. Fine. I’ll gladly grant that. However, they’re delusional if they think that the DNC was anything but a “We Hate Trump” party. The average liberal spends far more time trashing Trump than they do supporting Hillary.
It’s distressing how many people consider Hillary to be the apex of progressivism, though. That’s a scary amount of cognitive dissonance.
More than ever, we’re not voting to put someone in. We’re voting to keep someone else out. And all the while we bemoan the state of the nation and ask how it came to this. I don’t know why anyone should be surprised it came to this, or confused on how this came to be. It’s quite obvious. A country full of sensationalized masses who only think in the ends of the spectrum will obviously view their political enemy as “LITERALLY” Hitler and “literally” the devil. So it doesn’t matter how bad their candidate is–their candidate is opposed to “literally” Hitler and “literally” the devil, so their candidate is automatically preferable.
They’re too terrified of “literally” Hitler and “literally” the devil to even dream of voting third party, and they will absolutely hate you for doing it. Why?
I’m not sure why. It’s an ongoing examination.
I’ve noticed it elsewhere, too. You wouldn’t believe how hostile people have been because I tried reasoning with them over this clown shit and tried to point out to them that they’re being hysterical–textbook definitions of “hysterical” at that. Ad hominen is their bread and butter; they immediately launch into it, seizing anything and everything they can. One woman did this by attacking my grammar, though, if she’d actually bothered to read anything that I wrote, she’d have noticed that my grammar is borderline impeccable, and things like “but” being used to start sentences are intentional departures from formality. Another decided to inform me that she could see the feather’s end in my hair, and that it was tacky.
Basically, I was met by weak and petulant personal attacks, exactly as I was when I first joined Youtube with my video targeting the Liberal Redneck and criticizing him for assuming that this white family was racist simply because they were white. The response was so vicious that I ultimately pulled the video down, and it is what first clued me into the false dichotomy that the average American appears to be trapped in. The podcast I linked above is from that period, and the preceding and succeeding podcasts dive into the same issue.
It was clear. They hated Christians, so any attack on Christians was fair game, no matter what the attack was, regardless of how unfounded it was, and without respect to its applicability. That I, a transgender atheist, dared defend the Christian from an utterly baseless attack presented them with a cognitive dissonance too great for them to face. They saw me, and so they saw someone who refused to jump on their hateful bandwagon pulled by a horse named fear.
And they hated me for that.
I received more hate from those liberals calling themselves progressive and “Allies” than I’ve ever received from Christians for being transgender–if you don’t include my family. Meanwhile, as they spouted their vitriolic, hate-filled rants, they insisted that they were spreading love and tolerance. Is it a case of people believing that the ends justify the means? We should not be surprised that people think that they can use violence and hate to put an end to violence and hate–it’s the idea that allows the state’s existence to persist, after all. “We hate hate!” they proudly proclaimed. “So fuck those Christians, and fuck you for defending them, you boring, terrible, idiotic, treacherous piece of shit! Whose side are you on, anyway?”
“Whose side are you on, anyway?”
That was an actual comment, and it was such a transparent example of the Us and Them, False Dichotomy, World of Either/Or bullshit that I thought, “Surely no one can refute me now.” I had the evidence right there–I had proof right there, that I had called it from the start. People were overly sensationalized, trapped into thinking only in hyperbole and extremes, because they had locked their minds in a vicious Us Versus Them state where anything that didn’t fit with “Us” was, by definition, “Them,” and thus to be ridiculed and hated. And then there was this person who just straight-up asked me whose side I was on, implying that I could be on the Christians’ side or I could be on the liberals’ side, but that there were no other options.
We have to calm down, and we have to re-open our minds.
We have to stop thinking in terms of Us and Them.