Tag Archive | disagreement

The Assumption Liberals Make

Elements on the left seem increasingly zealous about whether Trump was, perhaps, friendlier with Russia than they want him to be, but I’m not really interested in whether the increasingly desperate attempts to engage Trump and Putin in a bromance is based on truth or some mutated psychosis leftover from the Cold War. Actually, I’d say that Cold War paranoia is more like AIDS, because AIDS isn’t actually the cause of death for HIV sufferers–some other disease infects them due to their severely weakened immune system, and this disease is what kills them. So the Cold War paranoia is the AIDS that made us susceptible to this weird, virulent strain of “Them Damn Russians!”

But whether we’ve got a severe AIDS infection or whether we have cause to distrust Trump’s Russia connections isn’t of much relevance until another question has been answered: Why should we care if Trump has these alleged connections?

The first contention is that we should care because Trump is close to the country that subverted our democracy by interfering in our election. At best, this ranks among the most dubious claims that I’ve ever heard. The leaks ripped the DNC into pieces, but progressives have benefited from that as much as Trump did, so unless they’re guilty of the same collusion (in fact, irate Sanders supporters have at least as much motive as Trump–“Oh, hello, Seth Rich!”), the claim appears to be nothing but “You possibly benefited from this, so you’re guilty of collusion, and even though we provably benefited, we’re not guilty of collusion.”

Even if we assume that all of the Democrats’ bizarre claims are true, it still doesn’t answer the question of why I should care. Hillary was no better suited to be President than Trump, and that some people are willing to eat a plate full of dog vomit over a pile of festering shit is of no consequence to me, and certainly not reason for me to get mad that more people (by the weight of the political rules we all agreed to beforehand) scarfed down a helping of turds.

Even if Trump only won because of these ties to Russia (which, again, we’re assuming are true), so freaking what? If you’re going to hold up electoral processes as wonderful, quasi-magical things that must be insulated from influence of the outside world, and whose integrity must be beyond reproach, I’d take your claim more seriously if you hadn’t spent the last six months rioting because you didn’t get the election result that you wanted.

Until actual evidence has been put forward–something more than a laundry list of “He Said, She Said” bullshit–and as long as we live in a place where one of the great social principles is that one is innocent until proven guilty, it follows that the only people undermining the integrity of the election are the Democrats. Mind you, this is after Jill Stein’s recount attempts showed no disparity at all with the results.

So let’s be clear about this. It’s not “The election” that democrats are claiming was influenced. The vote totals were not changed via Russian meddling, and, to my knowledge, only the most uninformed and absurd progressives are making such claims. For the greater part, what liberals actually mean when they allege that Russia influenced the election is that Russia influenced voters.

Again, I must ask: “So?”

By the Constitution of the United States, an American voter has the immutable right to not only believe whatever the hell they want, but also (an extension modern liberals gloss over) to act in accordance with those beliefs. It doesn’t matter if Bob votes for Trump because he’s a Christian, as is Bob, and if Bob was convinced of Christianity by Americans or by Russian Jesuits. Why Bob believes what he believes is his own business, not ours, and we can’t threaten that without also curtailing his right to believe what he wants.

So, too, if Jim voted for Trump because he believes Hillary is the worst thing since gonorrhea, it’s not of any relevance to us whether he believes that because of the “documentary” “Clinton Cash,” because of the DNC Leaks, because of Wikileaks, or because he was taught to be Republicans by his parents and never looked any further. He cast his vote, and his reasons for doing so may be whatever he wants. Maybe he doesn’t like Hillary’s hair, or maybe he finds Hillary to be somewhat more psychopathic than the unpredictable Trump.

Whatever his reasons are, they are his reasons, and the alleged beauty of the American political system is that he gets the same number of votes to express his values as does anyone else. It’s fine that liberals would disagree with his reasons–either because they believe those reasons are factually incorrect, or they believe that one should value other things–and it’s fine for them to express this disagreement through the one vote that they each have.

What’s not okay is attempting to erase Jim’s vote because one disagrees with the beliefs he holds that led him to vote the way that he did. I notice there’s no criticism of the people who only voted for Hillary for stupid, demagogic reasons, or for equally asinine reasons like “Well, she’s the first female candidate!”

The liberals, it seems, don’t want to erase every vote that was based on reasons with which they disagree (since “She’s the first female candidate!” obviously flies directly in the face of the claim that “Gender shouldn’t matter,” the basis they use for criticising Trump supporters who voted for Trump because he’s a man), but only those for the other candidate with which they disagree, and, let’s be honest here, that’s basically all of them, because the entire fucking rift exists because liberals and conservatives value different things.

Is there such a thing, to the Democrat, as a good reason to vote for Trump? If there is, I’ve yet to hear a Democrat acquiesce that point.

You voted for Trump because you liked his expressed opinions on immigration? No, that’s illegitimate, you racist bastard.

You voted for Trump because you preferred his probable tax policy? No, that’s illegitimate, you elitist fool, dick-riding the rich.

You voted for Trump because you didn’t like Hillary’s arrogant and sociopathic demeanor? No, that’s illegitimate, you sexist pig.

You voted for Trump because you liked his abortion stance? No, that’s illegitimate, you fascist, because people have the right to convenient abortions.

The conservative/liberal rift occurs long before the candidates are chosen. The point of the presidential debates is not for the Republican candidate to entice Democrats, or the Democratic candidate to entice Republicans. Even independents are rarely swayed by such things. People simply don’t operate that way. Most have their value system and will vote for whoever best fits with that value system, and the divide between Republicans and Democrats is so large that there is almost no crossover. How many people voted for Trump because of Wikileaks or these presumed-to-be-true ties to Russia? I’d wager that the number is fewer than a thousand, throughout the entire country, because that’s just not how people work.

No amount of terrible things you told me about Hillary, however true they were, would have caused me to vote for Trump. No amount of terrible things you told me about Trump would have caused me to vote for Hillary. Honestly, how manipulable do Democrats think people are? At absolute best, the revelations of how much a candidate sucks will only reinforce whatever position I currently hold, and most Americans will readily pick and choose what information to take in and what information to discard.

This is practically a tautology. I’ve seen countless Democrats say that there’s no evidence that Hillary has ever done anything wrong–no hyperbole, no straw man. Yet these same people proclaim there is incontrovertible evidence that Trump did countless things wrong. Meanwhile, Republicans do the same and claim that there’s no evidence that Trump has ever done anything wrong, and that there is incontrovertible evidence that Hillary is the devil.

Anyone who is actually open to the information long ago concluded that both of these people are disgusting toads who have no business being anywhere near a position of power. That’s the keyword: open to the information. Because there is plenty of evidence that both Trump and Hillary are absolutely awful.

What we’re talking about isn’t that someone isn’t “open to the information.” It’s simply that someone disagrees with the liberal, and the liberal lost the election because of that disagreement.

Remember any of the 90s sitcoms that had families “vote” on what they were going to do, only for the adults to immediately lose the vote and say, “Well, our votes each count as two, because we’re adults”?

That’s all we’re seeing here.

And even if all this was true, no one has yet explained to me why it’s undesirable for the United States to have warmer relations with Russia. No one seems to care that the United States has warm ties to the European Union–or Pakistan, or India, or Saudi Arabia. So why Russia? In what weird understanding of the world is it bad for two great powers to get along?

Is it because of their human rights record? No, it can’t be that, because many of our Middle Eastern buddies have far worse records–as do we, as we house 20% of the world’s prison population while having only 4% of the world’s population, and you can’t get to those numbers without severe destruction of liberty and rights. Is it because Russia has nukes? So does India, Pakistan, China, many EU countries, the UK, and many others, so it can’t be that, either.

In fact, I’d bet everything that only a year ago the majority of liberals would have happily agreed that the United States needs to work with Russia. Why do liberals suddenly hate them so much that state congressional Democrats are seriously making the claim that the United States needs to break off all communications with Russia? What changed between then and now?

Democrats lost the White House. And since recount efforts showed the votes weren’t tampered with, rather than accepting responsibility and blaming themselves, they would undermine democracy itself with the contention that your vote only counts if you cast it for the reasons they want you to cast it. Put bluntly, your vote only counts if you cast it for their candidate.

They’d deny this adamantly, of course. “You can vote for a Republican,” they’d say. “Just not freaking Trump!”

I see no reason to believe that there’s any truth to this amended claim. In fact, I’m sure we’d be here today if Hillary lost to Kasich or Cruz. They say otherwise, and it’s useless to argue one hypothetical against another. Maybe they are telling the truth. I doubt it, though, because they’ve already lied to themselves about what they’re saying, and what they’re really saying is, “Your vote only counts if you cast it for reasons we agree with.”

If you want to talk tyranny and fascism, I think we’d have a hard time finding clearer examples.

Addendum to Previous Post Re: JonTron

This is an addendum to my previous post found here.

It must be nice to have opinions that are so popular and so mainstream that you can cease enjoying people’s content if you disagree with them on something politically. In fact, it seems to me that this is the very essence of privilege, at least with opinions and politics. If I refused to watch videos from people with whom I disagree, or listen to music from musicians with whom I disagree, then I’d find myself very quickly in a droll, colorless, unfunny world, with a total number of musicians I can safely listen to being about two.

It occurred to me that the reason I have no difficulty enjoying the content of people who I disagree with is precisely that my positions are so unorthodox and rare. It’s necessary, if I am to get any enjoyment at all out of life, that I learn to love Stephen Hawking’s physics books, even though he makes me grind my teeth when he starts spouting off at the mouth about the necessity of a world government. In contrast, people whose opinions are extraordinarily common don’t have to make that adjustment. Why, if they don’t like Jon’s political views, they can easily do a search and find a half-dozen people who make funny gaming videos and who they don’t disagree with.

That’s a luxury. It is… a privilege.

See, I can’t do that. If I am bothered by the political opinion expressed by a YouTube personality, I can’t just pop open YouTube and find a gamer who makes funny videos and shares my political opinions. And before anyone prattles on about popularity lending opinions credibility, I’ll just say… argumentum ad populum.

It’s similar to how I’m not offended by a lot of things people say about transgenderism and transsexualism. I don’t have the luxury of being offended over stupid, little things, just as I don’t have the luxury of turning against a content producer over a political opinion.

If you do, then I would suggest that you…

Check your privilege.

We Can Heal the Divide. Here’s How.

Right now, there is a lot of strife and agony among liberal Americans, ranging from a bit of sadness to full-blown hysteria, with some convinced that death camps are inevitable. There are riots in the streets of Oakland, as people react emotionally and violently to not getting their way. There are widespread protests of the election result, with it being a literal case of the losers losing but wanting to win anyway. Imagine if America played a baseball game and the National League Liberal team lost the World Series to the American League Conservative team, and then the Liberal team started rioting because they wanted to win.

Yeah. That’s what is happening right now.

I’m not happy about it.

“But you’re an anarchist! This is anarchy!”

No, it’s not. This is violence, and violence is mutually exclusive with anarchy. Scroll up and look at the tagline for the site. Peace, love, and liberty. Those word choices are not accidental; they are all tied together. I would even say that it’s as redundant as White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. Peace is love is liberty is peace. There is no room within the mantra of liberty for violence and destruction of property except, as I said earlier, as retaliation to clear and provable injury.

Conservatives are happy and are gloating, ringing their hands and thinking about all the wonderful things they are going to do to liberals now that they are back in power. This is the realization that motivated me to write myself the letter this morning–it’s foolish to expect that conservatives genuinely want to meet liberals in the middle. Some do, yes, and some liberals want to meet in the middle. But more fall closer to the straw man than fall away from it. However, it is also true–Trump has shown nothing but willingness to meet in the middle and, in social areas, that’s a good thing. He has explicitly extended the hand of peace to liberals, notably the LGBTQ community.

I’ve talked about this before. Things changed in Orlando. I’ve since removed my video on the subject, because it was too heartbreaking to leave up. Following Orlando, conservatives across the country–including some of the most homophobic people I’ve ever known, like my father–extended the olive branch to the LGBTQ community, saying, “You’re one of us. This was an attack against us all, and we’re going to stand beside you.”

Petulantly, the LGBTQ community retorted, “No, this was an attack on only us, because we’re LGBTQ! It was homophobia! You’re just as bad!”

The chance for healing was right there, and I wept as we drove past it without even acknowledging it.

Conservatives, however, led by Trump, are, continuing to extend the hand of friendship. All liberals have to do is take it.

handshake1_3219777kWhat I’m finding most remarkable right now is that it genuinely does seem like Trump is going to try to unite the country. When Trump said that he will ensure the safety and protection of LGBTQ citizens, the crowd–conservatives, of course–cheered for him. My eyes water just thinking about it. It’s here, the moment is here. It’s right freaking in front of us. All we have to do is accept the hand of peace.

Liberals

How you feel right now? That is exactly how conservatives felt in 2008 and 2012, when you mocked them. Of course, there was no Universal Liberal Petition on the conservative secession petitions. Some liberals said what conservatives are saying now: “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!” Others said, “lol, you can’t survive without us.” Others said, “The union is perpetual. You can’t secede.” Regardless of what you personally thought of the secession petitions that Republicans put forward across the country, if you are a liberal you are undoubtedly in a position, right now, at this very moment, to understand how people on your side feel when they sign these petitions. You understand precisely how they feel, even if you don’t share their feelings or even if you don’t feel sorrow to that extent.

Take that emotion! Take that empathy!

Now apply it to the conservatives from 2012 who felt exactly the same way. Sympathize with how they felt. They felt in 2012 exactly what you are feeling now, for exactly the same reasons you are feeling it. I implore you: do not write off their feelings by saying, “No, theirs was just bigotry about having a black president.” Do not do that, because then conservatives will just write off your feelings by saying, “You’re just being a baby because you don’t want to have to get a job.”

And nothing will change. No bridges will be built. We’ll remain divided on our different sides, hating the other and thinking terrible things about them–things so terrible that we are unable to empathize with their emotions because we reject the validity of those emotions.

So please. I beg you: don’t write off their emotions as invalid. Accept their emotions as equally valid to your own.

Conservatives

How you felt in 2012 and 2008? That is exactly how liberals feel right now. I know it feels good that the shoe is on the other foot, and now you have the opportunity to mock them. You’re going to have to resist that. You’re going to have to be the bigger person here, not call them hypocrites, not gloat about it, not mock them, and not deny the validity of their emotions. I know they did it to you. It doesn’t matter now. We have to put the divisiveness behind us, and that now starts with you, because now you’re the winners. You have to be graceful. It’s never been more important.

Empathize with what liberals are feeling right now. Remember how much you feared Obama? Don’t give me that bullshit that you didn’t fear him. That’s not going to work on me. You did. It wasn’t because he was black, and I’m not saying it was; it was because he was unfamiliar, and we fear the unfamiliar. Sure, eventually you realized that it wasn’t that serious, the world wasn’t going to end, and the sky wasn’t going to fall, but you did think that it was going to. Remember that today, and know that it’s how liberals feel now.

Put aside your innate human nature. Don’t say, “Good! They should feel it now, like we had to feel it in 2008!” Please. You have to put that aside.

A Future of Secession Petitions

This recent round of them made me realize that it’s the new norm. Henceforth, every single time we change Presidents, we’re going to see a batch of secession petitions. I have zero doubt that we’d be seeing them right now if Hillary had won, and we’ll see them again in 2020 regardless of who wins. The idea of having the Federal Government fully controlled by people with whom you adamantly disagree is scary, and the natural response to that is “Fuck that.”

And that’s what people are faced with today. All of those liberal states and liberal cities–they are faced with the prospect that they are about to be ruled by a person with whom they fiercely disagree on almost everything, just as conservatives in 2008 and 2012 were faced with the prospect of being ruled by a person with whom they fiercely disagreed on almost everything. This cannot continue. Obviously it can’t. We can’t just keep going back and forth making half the nation miserable, unhappy, and afraid.

There must be a better way.

handshake1_3219777k

A Better Way

There is a better way.

That we saw secession petitions under a Democrat and now see secession petitions under a Republican is the most incontrovertible evidence that we’ve ever seen that we must severely reduce the power of the federal government. California doesn’t want to be ruled by a Republican they disagree with so completely. We can all understand that, as I spent several paragraphs above explaining. We have this common ground. Neither does Arkansas want to be ruled by a Democrat they disagree with so completely.

So what are we going to do? Throw up a new round of secession petitions every time we have a new president, because we’re so eager for revenge and the opportunity to make the other side miserable that we won’t do anything to prevent ourselves from being miserable next time we lose? Because Republicans won’t control the Federal Government forever, and neither will Democrats. Maybe in 2020 the House, Senate, and White House will change hands again, and we’ll have another round of petitions from Texas, Mississippi, and Florida, with Democrats laughing and saying, “Haha, not so funny now, is it? Have some gay marriage, bitch!”

Come on, people. This is madness.

As long as we have a Federal Government with the power to rule so completely over all fifty states, the secession petitions are here to stay. If the Federal Government abode the Constitution, the secession petitions would not be necessary. I’m no Constitutionalist, but we suddenly have Democrats who are in favor of small government, the Second Amendment to fight against the state, and other libertarian-ish positions. Great! Now accept that you don’t want to be tyrannized, so forego the opportunity to tyrannize others.

Start seeking peace. Stop seeking revenge.

Conservatives, don’t seek revenge now that you control the Federal Government. Liberals, don’t seek revenge when you take it back. Let’s attack the heart of the problem: the Federal Government shouldn’t be telling California what it can and can’t do in the first place. If the Federal Government couldn’t tell California what it could and couldn’t do, then there would be no need to secede just because we got a president that the Californians wouldn’t like; it just wouldn’t be that big of a deal.

We have the opportunity now to empathize with one another and to agree. This “tyrannizing each other” thing is not working out.

Let’s change it so that politics is no longer a Hate Sale.

It’s time to live and let live.