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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Feelings Of Solidarity

Pedro The Quietist writes of a conversation with a friend and a sudden realization:
She said:
Well, I have a right to my own opinion.
Whoa. Wow.

Then I realized that we weren't debating the same thing at all. I was making a technical case -- that George Bush, however awful and evil you think he is, simply cannot be called a dictator without rendering the term "dictator" completely meaningless. But she was arguing something different. It wasn't a political argument or a technical argument. It was the right to feel antipathy for someone and not have the grounds of that antipathy challenged.

Is this why ideologues so often call it "censorship" when you try to debate them? Are you threatening their right to feel secure in their beliefs? For them, has politics left the realm of the intellectual and the actual, and instead become a pure issue of emotion and identity?(emphasis mine)
Yes. It has for many of us. The comments on the post are very interesting. You'll want to read them.

A politics that is about feelings is no politics at all. It's pure tribalism. Dr. Sanity and Shrinkwrapped have been addressing the same point (read the post about toilet training, it fits quite well with Pedro's). I don't know where this leaves us. SC&A has been pointing out with increasing desperation that a suicidal culture is blossoming, and that there's no need for those not in that cult to commit suicide out of fellow-feeling. Howard of Oraculations has resorted to big-boob-blogging interspersed with varied calls to at least open our eyes and contemplate reality; he appears to believe that critical thinking is contagious. See his post on Iran. Carl at No Oil For Pacifists has been reduced to slack-jawed amazement at human/dolphin marriages and the extraordinary spectacle of an entire party announcing that the Constitution is a suicide pact (never mind, as he documents in Carlian fashion, that the courts have recognized the rights of the Executive to direct surveillance of foreign threats).

The point I am making is that the cultural divide is real. The gulf between those on one side and between those on the other is real. There is probably no way to reconcile the worldview of those who look at Beslan and the continuous and savage attacks upon the civilian population in Iraq and form their conclusions as to what type of a threat the civilized world faces, and those who draw the conclusion that it is Bush's or Putin's fault.

Pedro may have identified the nature of that divide as well as anyone. If he is correct, then there is no real way to bridge the gap. It's not a political gap at all. It's not really a cultural gap. It's an epistemological gap. On one side, you have a bunch of people who have seen the flames of the brushfire over the hill and are running around trying to clear firewalls, water down the roof and testing the wind to figure out where they can build backfires. On the other hand, you have Howard Dean, John Kerry and Pedro's friend with their hands clapped over their eyes wailing that all this disruption is hurtful, and that everyone has to stop it right now, because it's nap time.

The only question is which side is the more numerous, because the US really is a democracy. (Don't tell DU.) One side or another is going to win out, and that side will grow in numerical strength. Looking at the polling numbers over the NSA flap, I would say that the Dean-and-Kerry dance is about over. Just look at this DU weekly article summarizing the worst conservative evils of the week:
Last week was not exactly a banner week for the media - Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell (2), CNN (4), Chris Matthews and Friends (5) and Bill O'Reilly (6) all make it onto this week's list. But members of the media aren't the only ones offending our sensibilities...
See? It's all about feelings. This is not a clarion call to arms for the left - it's more the weekly whine.

And this leads me to my final conclusion: OBL and his cohort made a fatal miscalculation. They believed Hollywood's depiction of the US, and that country would already have capitulated. So, in a final irony, it turns out that Hollyweird was our best weapon. If the fools had waited another generation they could have won this one, because the Marxists had conquered the universities. As it is, they woke the world's greatest nuclear power a generation too soon.

All discussions of war should end with at least one quote from Sun-Tzu's The Art Of War:
Ask:
Which ruler has the Way, which general has the ability, which has gained Heaven and Ground,
which carried out Law and commands, which army is strong, which officers and soldiers are trained, which reward and punish clearly, by means of these, I know victory and defeat!
By all means, read the chapter on Using Spies.
Generally, raising an army of a hundred thousand and advancing it a thousand li, the expenses to the people and the nation's resources are one thousand gold pieces a day.

Those in commotion internally and externally, those exhausted on the roads, and those unable to do their daily work are seven hundred thousand families.

Two sides remain in standoff for several years in order to do battle for a decisive victory on a single day.

Yet one refusing to outlay a hundred pieces of gold and thereby does not know the enemy's situation is the height of inhumanity.
It is indeed, which is the point Tommy of Striving for Average was trying to make.

(Footnote: This post links mostly to male bloggers because this post is addressing group dynamics. We cannot escape our natures in such a situation. Men are by nature the ones defending the perimeter, so they decide where the perimeter lies and the rules of battle. The women lurk within the perimeter and proceed to dismember and disembowel (with shrieks of joy) any stray luckless members of the attacking force who manage to break through the lines and make it onto their territory. Aslan was being really, really tactful when he remarked that women participating in wars made them nasty. Really tactful. However, the truly superior nature of the training in our Armed Forces has made women who have had that training less nasty. If another attack occurs on US soil, the men are going to have trouble preventing the civilian women from setting out on a dismembering and disembowelling campaign against anyone who even looks like he might be the enemy. And then we'll all go back to baking cookies.)


Comments:
MOM:
"The only question is which side is the more numerous, because the US really is a democracy. (Don't tell DU.) One side or another is going to win out, and that side will grow in numerical strength."

As a rule of thumb, I always reckon that the side that depends more on the appeal to the emotions is the weaker.

If the numbers aren't on your side, then you have to try and compensate by your volume.

"It was the right to feel antipathy for someone and not have the grounds of that antipathy challenged."

I forgot who once wrote it, but it is often the case that the belief is most shallow that is clung to most tenaciously.

"The point I am making is that the cultural divide is real. The gulf between those on one side and between those on the other is real."

To an extent, it is, but not so deep as it appears. The appeal to emotionalism tends to sharpen the contrasts and obscure the similarities that always exist.

For all their rhetoric, how many on the Left would really show up for the first muster at Manassas?

And return again for the second muster?

A lot of the anger and discontent that fuels our chums is a symptom of luxury.
It is only possible because those indulging their emotions "know" where their next meal is coming from.

It's easy to be a revolutionary when you're living on student loans and Mommy and Daddy's second mortgage.

Remove the college student, and in what demographic does the Left then retain dominance?

If you have to work like a mule to live like a human, you tend to focus on what is important.

Regards;
 
Bilgeman - less than 5% would show up for Manassas, but what they are arguing for is the right to maintain that no battle is occurring at Manassas, and therefore that anyone who shows up is a fool and a class traitor. They are self-consistent, at least.

The thing is, to vote you need sacrifice nothing, so the supremely selfish are quite as likely to vote as the Bilgemans.

Regarding the "next meal known" distinction, I agree totally. Those who are subject to uncertainty are unlikely to succumb to this mindset.

But consider the demographics, because this is not a left/right divide. Government workers can afford to adopt such a mindset for a very long while, because they are more insulated from the ups and downs of markets than you or me. Government workers form the largest single segment of the workforce. Any segment of the population which can craft a claim upon the general resources enforced by the courts is likely to adopt such a mindset.
 
MM: I agree with Bilgeman. Emotionalism is an easy weapon of choice. I'm not sure we're tough enough with the Western Left. They are as much a problem as AQ. The President has wisely,in one sense, avoided confrontation with these people.
Yes! Has he ever directly replied to one of outrageous claims/the hate talk of the Left? Never directly. Sure: That hasn't stopped them. Leftists love it when you are nice to them.

So confront them. BLAME the DEMOCRATS/THE LEFT for Iraq, for terrorism, for the sad state America is in. Offense, in military terms, always wins. So, let's OFFEND THEM. For real, not the play stuff.

CAll them 'baby killers,' (see Michael Yon's pictures of Iraqi children). That taunt is 'left over' from VietNam. Accuse them of driving this country into dictatorship with their violent behavior, speech codes, insane accusations. BEST-- call them Liars. They each and every one, as well as collectively, are Liars.

That's the beginning and the end of the battle. It's about truth. Honest Americans have been heavily victimized by Leftist crap. And the Left have LIED with every statement they make.

Appropriating that famous phrase of their Communist forebearer: Let's Bury the Left in their lies.
 
Excellent post, MOM- right on target all around.

Bilgeman's remarks are particularly apt.

Infact, far too many on the left are elistist- it is they that are charged with being the concious of the nation- and that of course, precludes them from having to work or of being responsible for their own words.

'Not exactly,' 'false but true' and outright lying to 'feel better,' are all part of the program.

That's for the little people.
 
Wow, MOM, good post. This part "On the other hand, you have Howard Dean, John Kerry and Pedro's friend with their hands clapped over their eyes wailing that all this disruption is hurtful, and that everyone has to stop it right now, because it's nap time."
This is what we saw in NOLA!
And the part about dismembering and diemboweling really gave me pause. I have suspected that our men in this country look soft for some time.
 
Me too. Great post M_O_M; great inspiration.
 
Oh, I forgot: I don't know what "Carlian fashion" is but I like the sound of it.
 
Mike, that is what we saw in NOLA.

To me it's what we are still seeing. The Gulf Coast is flat and the politicians seem to be blissfully unaware that there's, like, a problem!

Just wait until a few more banks fold. They can't fart around like this. Property insurers are unwilling to insure in NO, in particular. The threat of eminent domain is making the banks uncomfortable with lending.

The first credit union (Gulfport) just went into conservatorship. There's a lot of trouble headed down the pike. I bet some folks on the Gulfport feel like carrying heads around on a pike.
 
That is a great post, Carl!
 
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