Friday, September 21, 2018

A Centrist Appeal for Sanity

Extremists on both the Left and the Right, I make this futile appeal to your perpetually deaf ears:

Criticism of your tactics for solving a problem does not signal approval of the problem, nor alliance with the problem-causers.

If I could break into some central control room somewhere and make one single alteration to the human psyche, I'd rekindle this obvious and mundane logical connection, which seems to have gone completely dead for practically everyone.

To the Left: One can question the tactics of Black Lives Matter without being a racist who wants to see black people terrorized. And one can question the assumptions of #MeToo without excusing violence against women. To the Right: One can support a woman's freedom to choose without deeming embryos worthless, disposable scraps of tissue (more here). And one can support gun control without wanting to deny guns to people for whom hunting and vigorous defense of property and family is culturally important.

To those of you so deep in the Duality of it all that you've lost your minds, try to hang on to the seemingly obvious truth that everyone refusing to adopt your mantle, buy your doctrine and unquestioningly join your team is not a monster, and not your enemy!

Benjamin Witte is a legal commentator and editor of the Lawfare Blog. He's a national treasure who's done as much as any American this side of Robert Mueller to track and thwart the excesses of this administration. A few weeks ago, Witte was mass-harrassed by a furious mob for daring to oppose a line of attack on Brett Kavanaugh that he considered unjust. Intellectual integrity being unfashionable these days, many thousands of his previous allies and supporters decided that this could only mean his mask had fallen, revealing Witte as hellbent on enslaving women's bodies (never mind that the next SCOTUS nominee will be just as opposed to Roe vs Wade, or that Witte's positions have no power to affect the Senate's vote).

If you're not delving into social media and real life conversations, you may have found my last few few political postings overheated. They weren't. Left extremism right now is every bit as deranged and dangerous as right extremism. The true cancer isn't one ideology or the other, but extremism, period. And extremism on one side always begets reciprocal extremism on the other. 

Please at least consider moderation. In times of turmoil, it takes some discipline and contrarianism to favor rationality over emotion, but it's worth it. In the face of awfulness like Trump, we can choose the slightly more disciplined option of pressing for a return to moderation, rather than indulge the compulsion to careen to a reciprocal extreme; to monster-ize ourselves in response to the monster.

1 comment:

Anonymous coward said...

You make many good points. I really like the part about criticizing Black Lives Matters tactics doesn't mean you are a bigot. Though I wouldn't automatically ignore all extreme points of view. The Gender Knot by Allan G. Johnson appeals for radical feminism. Liberalism is not enough to solve a problem that is systemic and institutionalized. The point of view is extreme left, but the tactics are moderate.

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