As much as I try to be tolerant of diverse opinions, even when those opinions aren’t all that tolerant of me, there are a few things that really “grind my gears” and I figured I’d share some of them.
My number one beef is with inconsistency. Believe what you will and use those beliefs as the basis of your political and social philosophy. But don’t change those beliefs whenever it happens to favor your own interests. As we approach January and a change in leadership in Washington, we can expect Republicans who were so happy to obstruct the previous President loudly speaking against Democrats who are obstructing them. And we can expect Democrats who were previously complaining about obstruction to suddenly discover its value. No…sorry. Can you all be any more transparent! If you sincerely believe (as I do) that it is the responsibility of the minority party to challenge the majority, particularly when they believe they have exceeded their Constitutional authority or are acting in a fashion which threatens the best interests of the nation, then you have to be consistent. You are simply not allowed to flip-flop when it suits you. If you hear people doing this, ignore these people.
Another one that drives me nuts is when people dismiss an argument simply because of the person or group that is making it. If you aren’t considered to be a part of the political establishment, your views will be routinely ignored or derided as too radical or unrealistic. I’m sure abolitionists in the 1820’s were too radical or suffragettes in the late 19th century were unrealistic. I suspect anyone who advocated marriage equality or the legalization of marijuana twenty years ago was unrealistic. If we are only allowed to think within the socially acceptable range of political opinion, we will never have any real change. So, unless you think that we don’t require any real change, ignore these people.
Finally there is what I will call the “argument from facts.” It is truly difficult these days to even find a source of objective and unbiased information. But, assuming that you have found one, the simple existence of facts does not, by itself, lead to any particular political conclusion and, acting as though it does, is a great way to delude yourself into believing that, not only is your political opponent wrong, but is also stupid. I will not inject myself into the climate change debate as I’m neither a scientist, nor do I play one on TV. That being said, I am always cautious in accepting the scientific consensus which, a generation or so ago, had concluded that we were about to enter a new ice age. But, even assuming that global warming is a real thing, that, by itself, does not lead to any particular policy. So if people tell you that any particular set of facts means that we have to engage in a particular policy, ignore these people.
I hope you will be on the lookout for these “arguments” as you tune into news and commentary over the next few weeks. Listen for the unmentioned assumptions, the dismissal of alternate ideas and the blatant inconsistency and see if you don’t start to believe that you should ignore these people.
You may have noticed that, in keeping with the season, I have been keeping “holiday hours” here on the blog, with only two or three entries a week. That is likely to continue until after the first of the year, unless events dictate otherwise. Hope you are all staying warm and having a great month! Look forward to “seeing” you next time!