Monday, May 15, 2017

The fine line between civility and resolute embrace of principles one knows to be right

There are two pieces today - one at The Federalist and one at The Daily Caller - that document the metastasizing of the intimidation and violence the Left has been practicing beyond the confines of college and university campuses. There is some overlap between the instances cited, but there are some unique to each author's list. We've cited some here at LITD, such as the Oregon parade last month that was cancelled because of threats against a long-time participant: the local Republican Party.

A couple of the most egregious examples from the above-linked pieces will suffice to indicate how far this has gone.

One is a chilling Huffington Post piece - by an editor - that forthrightly advocates aggressive intrusion into the personal lives of public figures:

On Wednesday, an editor at the Huffington Post called on his fellow leftists to stalk Republicans: “They should be hounded by protesters everywhere, especially in public—in restaurants, in shopping centers, in their districts and yes, on the public property outside their homes and apartments, in Washington and back in their homes states.”

That one has had over 29,000 shares.

It seems a Tennessee woman has already made good on the exhortation, whether directly inspired or not:

 . . . police in Tennessee charged a woman with felony reckless endangerment on Thursday for allegedly trying to run Republican Congressman David Kustoff off the road after a town hall. The woman, Wendi Wright, was reportedly enraged over Kustoff’s support for the American Health Care Act and screamed at the congressman and his aide, striking his car windows and reaching inside the vehicle. 
There is a fine line to be walked here, one that involves some self-examination. While I'm not aware of anything on the Right that assumes the degree of rage found in instances like those cited above, I think any of us blogging from a conservative perspective need to perform the kind of inventory that has Brittany Pounders at Liberty Juice rethinking her rhetorical approach:

I’ve been as guilty as any of them.  Eight years of Obama turned me into an angry conservative intent on slaying liberal dragons through tasteless methods and angry rants.  I might have been uncomfortable with the “libtard” language and while I never bought into ridiculous notions like the birther movement, I never shut it down either.
There is no denying that I’ve often been in the wrong with the approach that my platform has allowed me and watching some of my counterparts in conservative media echo much of what I often partook now makes me cringe- angry at myself that I didn’t have the foresight to see what this would lead to.
My motivation was to stir and activate conservatives.  And we did.  But the result from outlets like talk radio, conservative talking heads on tv, and social media created a lot of ideological anger without offering real life governing solutions.  And in doing so, we were setting ourselves up for a fall.  Our audiences echoed us.  Outraged and angry.  Ready to set fire to the building but forgetting we still live there.  Reacting to legitimate policy problems with nothing but anger based solely on ideology and ready to do anything to appease our emotions-even if it meant to cut off our nose to spite our face.
It makes me review the monikers I've come up with for various public figures over the years at this site, and some terms for Leftist behavior that are admittedly strong.

While I can see that it might serve the effectiveness of my communication to make other choices for terminology going forward, after giving the matter serious thought, I do not think I've either employed anything irresponsible, nor quoted nor even tacitly endorsed anyone who did.

I've caught flak for some of my terms and monikers, but they came from left-leaning commenters who, I submit, were being disingenuous and trying to get me to back off from points that needed to be made.

Some phraseology for which I've been taken to task:

The Most Equal Comrade - This refers to Barack Obama, and I probably have never referred to him otherwise on this site. The "most equal" part comes, of course, from the scene in Orwell's Animal Farm in which the animals are gathered, perplexed to gaze at an addendum to a slogan that had been painted on the side of the barn since the animals' revolution. It had always read, "All Animals Are Created Equal," but, in light of recent concern that the leader, a pig named Napoleon, had succumbed to the temptation for high living, had been supplemented with "But Some Are More Equal Than Others." "Comrade," of course, is what doctrinaire socialists call each other. I assert without qualification that this fits Obama to a tee.

Madame BleachBit - "Madame" is meant to connote the sense of entitlement that is at the core of who Hillary Clinton is, and, of course, "BleachBit" was the software used to attempt to scrub her private-server emails of any evidence of containing classified material.

Freedom-Hater - This term doesn't precisely apply to all citizens who vote Democrat, but I can't think of a Democrat public figure - DNC official, politician, pundit, activist or think-tank wonk to whom it doesn't apply. Their ideology stands in stark opposition to the necessary conditions for human liberty.

Post-America - I don't care what the GDP is, how low the unemployment rate goes, or how close to a balanced budget Congress gets, a society that has embraced insane notions such as health care being a right, or gender being fluid, or the global climate being in some kind of trouble demanding an abrupt halt to human advancement, is no longer recognizable as the United States of America.

These are all admittedly strong and clearly used as attention-getters. But I have never gone in for the kind of crude terminology such as "libtard" that strikes me as counterproductive in the extreme. If there's no constructive point to be gotten across, there's no use for the term.

Still, as someone whose faith walk is becoming ever-more-clearly the core of my worldview and the basis for my defense of any cultural, economic or political positions, I think I may need to check my heart more regularly as I formulate my discourse. The last thing I want to be doing is contributing to the brittleness of post-American society.

As I say, this requires walking the finest of lines.

It requires steadfast resistance against relativism. The Left is not correct about anything, and valuing civility does not change that.

It requires calling out crude expression and the shoddy thought represented thereby on the Right.

Most of all, it requires humility and humanity. What, after all, is the end result being pursued here? If it's a world that is more pleasing to God, it requires no small amount of praying that we all drop any assuming of a fierce posture for fierceness's sake, and look at what gets us where we want to go, and what hinders us on that journey.


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  2. I agree the left is not correct about anything, I would further the right to has agendas which may be possibly just as wrong. I hesitate to accept a labeling for any faction. Seems various factions would be better served saying this opposition has a point here or there. Business arbitrates civilly, why is so difficult in the political arena to do the same?