Throughout the week, you can usually find me debating the weeks political points on various social media outlets. And every, single time you will find that people do not always agree with me. (Even other libertarians.) But more often than not, it can be kept civil. Of coarse, it wouldn’t really matter if it didn’t, since these are just social media debates that have no deeper consequence.
Wouldn’t it be great if the truly influential people of this world used their podiums and large audience to exercise the same civility?
From #MeToo all the way to #GunControlNow, a growing sentiment among the masses is one that means to stifle or straight-up obliterate the concept of due process in favor of emotional grandstanding, posturing and passing feel-good legislation. And if you are not as outraged as the screeching idiot next to you, than you are a racist, transphobic animal-beater that hates children and loves terrorists. There can be no conversation. For there is evil afoot, and any sidetracked conversation about guilt or logic only serves to help the guilty (because they said so) escape our divine social justice!!!
And something tells me I am not the only one that has noticed this sentiment.
The Left and the Right (more specifically, their masters) have set this up (or at least quietly stood back, allowing this to persist). It works for them. Emotional voters who feel wronged and victimized are more likely to actually show up and vote. And when presented as the hero who will save them… well, the benefit should be obvious. And this is how a congress with a remarkably low approval rating is also one that is mostly reelected. Take for instance, the American South, where members of the GOP tend to outshine their Democratic colleagues in both local and state races. Now, anyone with a mind can see most of these Republicans haven’t really done much for their respective states. The American South still suffers greatly from rural poverty and high crime. So why do they continue to get elected? Simple; they tell the tale of the hero.
The hero. The hero who will shield them from their Yankee aggressors, wishing to force their loose morals and values upon them. And for the record, I would probably sell it the same way if I was a southern Republican. You see, after the Civil War, we never really stopped punishing the South. It became a duel policy of punishing the south economically while also shaming them at every turn. Even today, the southern redneck stereotype is one of the few that even the most progressive liberal is unlikely to challenge as wrong. Think about it, why would you vote for a party made up of people who constantly tell you that you are wrong? (As in, everything about you is wrong.)
Likewise, the 80’s saw the rise of the moral majority (I think they were a little confused on the meaning of both of those words), and with it came a new line of statist Republicans who believed that it was now the governments job to enforce morality. By morality, I mean conservative Judeo-Christian morality, of coarse. And with Nancy Reagan’s efforts towards the war on drugs combined with this, we now had a Republican party that was openly hostile to the more free-wheeling, coke fueled party crowd of that time period that populated the Democrat-controlled larger cities of America. As such, these larger cities have voted Democrat ever since: fueled by their hatred of the racist, homophobic, transphobic Republicans (who hate poor people and may/may not worship Satan … that just made me think of Dana Carvey from SNL).
And we have been stuck in an ideological cluster-fuck ever since. Too loud, too loud to get a word in edgewise with all the hyperbolic screaming. The debate shifted, and perhaps, has been shifting for some time.
Even when Norman Mailer tried to debate feminists during the 1970s, the insistence that Mailer accept certain points and views (often with little or no evidence as to why he should) left him finally responding to author Diana Trilling by saying “And how about you, smart cunt”. Even back then, in a time when the country was arguably less divided, the remarkably intelligent Mailer still could not remain civil. (Worth noting that other participants in that debate weren’t exactly civil either.) Oh, and in case you are wondering, the filmed debate is called Bloody Town Hall and you can find it on YouTube. Check it out, it’s pretty good.
We really have come a long way from live and let live. Just the other day, I saw a man end a 17 year friendship over the other person’s stance on gun rights and the Second Amendment. That is crazy shit!!!
Look, I get being passionate about your beliefs. But as a libertarian living in a blue state like Vermont, I can tell you right now that if I only hung with people like me then I would have no friends (there are not a lot of libertarians in Vermont).
I learned in 2016, that if I wanted to gain votes for Governor Gary Johnson that I had better come with a welcoming and compromising tone. I spoke to the people, not down to them. I showed overlap in views and values between many libertarians and Bernie Sanders-style progressives and I got those votes (in both Vermont and New Hampshire).
Truth is, at the end of the day none of us are political beings. We are just beings who want to live and survive and the politics that forms around that is based on what we think will deliver the best outcome. I doubt many (if any) wake up thinking how they can use government to fuck someone else over just for the fun of it. Facts are facts, take away politics and we are all really the same… makes you wonder how we got this contemptuous and vile towards each other.
So my message to you, the liberty crowd, for this week is to be civil. Not just with the guy who you just sorta disagree with, but also with the guy who is opposite you on politics. You might just find you’re both more similar than you originally thought.