Posts Tagged ‘ideology’

AN OPEN LETTER TO RIGHT-WINGERS: RESTORING AMERICA

September 13, 2020

America can be healed. It won’t be easy or quick, but the disestablishment has not been quick, or disintegrationism, if you prefer Ben Shapiro’s term. And I suppose the latter term is easier off the tongue than antidisestablismentarianism. Easy in concept, difficult in implementation: Simply reverse the program of the far Left. If Trump loses, it’s questionable whether the values of the nation’s founding have sufficient prevalence to ever reconstruct. If he wins, we buy a little time. But if we haven’t learned the lessons that brought us to this point of existential instability, it won’t matter.

Other political minds have stated, correctly, that the Republican Party has focused almost solely on politics and policy to the exclusion of culture, falsely secure in the knowledge that the principles upon which the country was founded were so solid that their value was self-evident. The Left recognized the importance of winning minds and hearts. They invested their energy in commandeering the educational system and the mainstream media. The results are inarguable: The curriculum from grade school through college is dramatically Leftist, and almost all professors are on the far Left. It’s so bad, conservative professors routinely risk losing their jobs for expressing an alternative point of view. From the perch of a far-Left viewpoint, even moderately right-wing views are seen as far-right, or even alt-right. In the mainstream media, sources such as CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post and NY Times and, to a large extent, any of the news networks other than Fox, the so-called journalists are 85-90% or more liberal and/or Leftist. Judging by the quality of the “journalism,” it seems most are Leftist. To varying extents, especially with CNN, MSNBC and the aforementioned newspapers, any attempt to preserve good journalistic ethics have succumbed to political/ideological activism (examples are legion, and include changing headlines and chyrons in real time). The Left will counter by citing bias on Fox News and other conservative sites such as OAN, and there is conservative bias, but this is like comparing a spring shower to a hurricane. I know this not only because I’m a convert, but because despite being a conservative it’s impossible to avoid left-wing sites. However, Leftists and, as I’m learning even many liberals, rarely if ever see unfiltered right-wing reporting and opinion in the left-dominated media.

So, it’s apparent that any hope for a return to a sane, color-blind and unified society governed by the high-minded principles that defined the birth of our nation and that, ironically, we’d come so close to fulfilling until five minutes ago, will require unpeeling the layers of toxic Leftist thought. We need to inject conservatives back into the educational system, expand the conservative influence in the online, social, and dwindling print media, and actively speak with minorities about issues for which we share a common goal, such as liberty, law and order. We cannot reach minds closed to facts and the truth that are clouded by a false narrative and ideology. As a fellow right-winger, or an open-minded liberal, you know that we are not, writ large, hateful or racist, and share a desire that everyone, regardless of race, creed, color, or sexual orientation have the same opportunities to succeed. Unfortunately, the Left has masterfully marketed the opposing viewpoint.

It’s a difficult but not an impossible task, and will require a sustained effort, assuming we can buy the time. Anything short of this cannot succeed.

Editor’s note: The original version erroneously attributed the term “deconstructionism” to Ben Shapiro.

WHEN RIGHT IS RIGHT, WHAT’S LEFT?

August 24, 2020

I’m the only conservative among the blood relatives in my family. For years I’d related a decade old telephone conversation with a relative as an example of parallel liberal-to-conservative sociopolitical evolution, (he’s stayed back East, I’ve migrated from NY to CA). So I thought it was time for my next 10-year call. He’s a smart and logical guy, and after the familial updates, we got around to discussing COVID and I expressed my view that eventually we’d overcome the pandemic, but I wasn’t as sure about the rent in our sociopolitical fabric. He responded, “Yeah, we need to get that guy out of office.” I’d erroneously assumed that if anyone would be immune to the “orange man bad” rhetoric, it would be him; and his casual response indicated that, like others on the left, he was certain I shared his beliefs. We avoided lengthy discussions of the issues, agreeing that we would be unlikely to change the other’s mind, but he did ask what seemed to me to be his litmus test of the depth of my eccentricity: my view on climate change (the implication being it is “settled science”). Both of us lacking the time for an in-depth discussion, I accepted that I’d likely be viewed a “flat-earther” and simply indicated that I’d researched the subject, listened to speakers on both sides of the issue (yes, there are two), and believed the climate is warming but don’t subscribe to the alarmist take that is being used for political purposes, or the validity of the proposed “solutions.”

Interactions like this with people I respect that have a divergent world view are profound and frequently cause me to pause and reevaluate my current beliefs. However, the opposing viewpoints and reportage, rather than becoming more coherent, are diverging more and more from the overt reality, sometimes expressed through hyperbole, and often via omission or outright lies. These tactics are not limited to the Left, only extraordinarily more extreme and frequent to an extent that continues to amaze me. There is little question the apparent success the radical Left has achieved would not have been possible in the absence of control of the mainstream media, an educational system with preconditioned minds, and the ability to disproportionately filter major social media sites such as Twitter, Google, and to a lesser extent, Facebook. For normally intelligent, logical and discerning people to look at all the information and boil it down to “Trump” seems to me to be impossible. There are bad people who are willfully using misinformation to accrue power, but the people I’m referring to are honest, well-intentioned, and bright. So only two possibilities remain: I’m wrong or they are misinformed. My having acquired a conservative state of mind via a liberal upbringing and a difficult evolution, I’ve excluded delusion through nurture. And there are countless historical and contemporary examples of the end result of what is happening now in the US, if one is willing to critically examine them. In addition, my perception spans a couple of decades, long before COVID, Black Lives Matter, Inc., or Trump. So my only conclusion is that good people on the left are being pounded again and again with the same inaccurate or incomplete information; they are far less likely to seriously listen to conservative sources than I am to visit liberal/Leftist ones—I can hardly avoid them. My occasional visits to some right-wing opinion sites I normally avoid due to excessive pro-Trump bias confirm that even they cite facts more frequently and completely than the Leftist equivalent.

I recognize that it’s difficult to go to places at odds with our deeply ingrained ideology, and the instinct is to dismiss views that make us uncomfortable. Simply put, no one wants to be “wrong.” Withdrawing into the protective cocoon of “it’s Trump’s fault, and things will be better if only he’s gone” can be comforting, but also simplistic and lead to wrong conclusions. I could rehash details ad nauseum to support this, but it’s already been done, by me and others. Instead, I choose to hope that many of these bright, busy people just haven’t started paying enough attention yet, but will be investigating more thoroughly in the time remaining before the election. And, perhaps, there are a lot already out there that see, but are afraid to speak before going to the ballot box. In any case, the result will demonstrate the net value system of our great but beleaguered nation.

HOW IDEOLOGY CLOUDS THINKING

July 26, 2020

I did something I’ve never done before: called in to a radio show twice within the same broadcast. It’s a good, local show hosted by Dave Congleton. Dave is a liberal, not a Leftist, and a capable and generally fair interviewer. I caught the end of his discussion about whether the leader of the Black Lives Matter protest in San Luis Obispo that ended with the group blocking traffic on the 101 freeway should be charged and/or jailed. My brief suggestion at the end of the segment was to reverse the cause (i.e., make it about, say, anti-abortion or “build the wall”) as a test to demonstrate how much political ideology was influencing higher brain function.

In the next segment, David interviewed the head of a local San Luis Obispo intersectionality group who was making the argument for systemic racism. The discussion included references to County Sheriff Ian Parkinson’s recent speech that angered many, in which he acknowledged the presence of racism but didn’t see it here in SLO. The main thrust of the guest speaker’s “evidence” for systemic racism turned out to be the disparate outcomes socioeconomically of people of color that are universal, even in SLO. While Dave suggested “attitudinal racism” (what I call personal or individual racism) as potentially operative, this guest insisted both were in evidence.

I called in with the following counter-arguments: the election of President Obama, twice, the fact that 2 million blacks have emigrated to the U.S. over the past 50 years, and the fact that race relations seem to crop up as an issue every 4 years, just prior to a presidential election. In addition, I argued, disparate outcomes alone do not, a priori, prove the existence of systemic racism and I pointed out that black fatherlessness has rocketed from about 10-15% of families to about 60-70% since the 1950s, while only increasing to ~40% in white families, and that well-intentioned policies have encouraged this sad state of affairs within the black community (one of many contributory etiologies for the socioeconomic disparities). I suggested that reflexively pointing to systemic racism as the cause was a narrowly focused analysis. I expressed distress that this narrative is being used to destroy a great country at the time of the least systemic racism in history, and is turning the most color-blind generation in history into one that is highly race-conscious. His answer? Unsurprisingly he didn’t refute anything I said or even try to support the view of a systemically racist country. He tacitly assumed the concept of systemic racism needed no further buttressing, acknowledged the issues and facts I brought up without refutation, and stated that he wanted things to progress “faster.”

Prior to our interaction, he did cite one study to support his contention: Reportedly black students are cited for infractions at 3 times the rate of white students. There are data here to support disparate outcomes. (For data regarding more serious issues, such as white on black police shootings, please refer to prior rants.) It is arguable whether this should be interpreted as systemic or individual racism, or to what extent racism is playing a role. But I don’t believe the rules and regulations in this day and age explicitly target people of color, and, like everyone I know, would oppose any such attempts.

I must admit that despite the predictably underwhelming counter-response, I was surprised (and encouraged) that such a weak argument was espoused for systemic racism by someone regarded to be in a position of expertise. The lack of knowledge, and wisdom, is striking and sad. We should all stand shoulder to shoulder to snuff out any residual policies or activities contaminated by racism, which will likely exist “attitudinally” as long as we walk the earth as flawed humans. We should also unite in defense of a great country and a great system that should not be deconstructed because of misdirected anger.

THE COLOR POLITIC

June 4, 2012

Disregarding the radical fringe on either side of the political aisle, there is large segment of the electorate that is thoughtful, reasonable and informed that sees the world through different colored lenses.

This may be a “duh” moment, but for me it was starkly highlighted again yesterday during a polite but sometimes spirited family debate. My brother is intelligent, well-read and politically savvy. Although only a couple of years my senior, his interest in things politic antedated mine by many years—I remember a poster of then-presidential candidate John Kennedy hanging on our bedroom wall when I was in grade school.

During this highly unpublicized telephone debate he presented his arguments and I mine, neither of us expecting to convert the other. We had common ground on a few important points, agreeing that crony capitalism had to stop and Wall Street fraud must be more effectively policed. We agreed that a reboot of botched anti-monopoly regulation is sorely needed, and tax reform is long overdue. But when I told him that I believed the coming election is, to quote commentator Dennis Prager, a plebiscite on the nation’s ideology, he strongly disagreed. Instead, he began to attack Romney’s record and suggested I spend more time reading analysts willing to call both sides to task.

I don’t disagree that a balance of views is important; in fact, it’s the hallmark of a free society. But I submit that it’s not a question of defending Romney against Obama, or the bad behavior of any Republican against his or her Democratic counterpart. There are sinners in both camps. For me, it’s a question of a belief system—one based on the values that founded the nation versus a progressive agenda that leads us down the path that Europe is following, a road that veers left through a pass called social justice and opens on the cold moraine of frank socialism.

So my brother and others who share his views will continue to see the world as bluish green, and I as greenish blue, despite maps looking to define the country as blue or red. We see the same things and yet we don’t.

One of us must be color blind.

HOPE OR CHANGE

February 27, 2012

I’ve heard that several polls indicate that if the election were held today, Barack Obama would beat any of the Republican candidates. If true, this is compelling evidence for an electorate hungry to maintain the status quo. This seems illogical unless the majority believes one or more of the following:

  • Conservatives are all evil, greedy rich people bent on accruing more wealth at the expense of the downtrodden worker.
  • The president’s plan is solid and has only failed to produce results because he hasn’t gone far enough due to obstruction from the right.
  • As indicated by recent statistics, the economy has begun to turn around despite the failure to balance the budget, develop a workable plan to reduce the debt or revise the current tax system.
  • Government subsidies and redistribution trump concerns about debt accrual and “quantitative easing.”
  • Government sponsored crony capitalism can be offset by more aggressive attempts at wealth redistribution.
  • Without tight-fisted government control of the marketplace the world will be polluted or heated to extinction anyway so economic failure is a secondary concern.

I also suspect a significant proportion of the would-be Obama supporters are either marginally focused on the issues or craving normalcy to the point of engaging in wishful thinking.

A Republican president won’t guarantee success in turning this nation around. But a reelection of the current leader will be seen, with good reason, as a mandate to continue the current policies; policies which I predict will lead to a Greece-style disaster—with guns. So it’s more than an election—it’s a referendum on our dominant ideology.

While we get side-tracked with issues of contraception and abortion, it bears remembering that this is indeed the most consequential election in our lifetime. A baby conceived today will be taking its first breath at the moment in history we chart its future.