You Can’t Demand My Respect

 

In a number of interviews on video, I’ve noticed recently that the Left is demanding the respect of their adversaries, that is, the political Right. I was baffled by this expectation, since everything I know about respect would be inconsistent with the positions of the Left. Given the unapologetic demands of the Left toward those who disagree with them, I was surprised at their call for respect, and decided to explore whether this new hope on their part might tell me something about the polarization in our country. First, I realized that I needed to clarify my understanding of the word, “respect.”

The most practical definition of the word from my perspective was: to feel or show deferential regard for; esteem or admire. These are descriptions of respect that I think would define what the Left expects from the Right. But the Left clearly has little to no understanding of what language and behaviors elicit respect.

The biggest mistake that the Left makes is that they believe they deserve respect for a number of reasons. They think their ideas are superior to those who see the world differently. They attribute to themselves the mantle of the intelligentsia or the elite that merits their being held in high esteem. They frankly don’t care whether you agree with their ideas, or support them or even understand them. But simply because they espouse these Leftist beliefs, they are entitled to your high regard. To them, that mindless regard is what they actually mean by the word “respect.” And that respect requires deferential acknowledgment of their ideas and goals.

The Left, in its current iteration (and I see no hope of its changing) can’t possibly earn the respect of its adversaries. Let me list just a few of the reasons:

  • They ignore or discount conventional/conservative values. Morality, truth, integrity, honor, family, free speech, and respect for others are missing from their own belief system. It’s fascinating that they expect respect from those they hold in disdain.
  • They put no value on telling the truth. If lying is required to meet their agenda, they will find a way to justify lying or simply ignore that they are telling lies. And lies can vary from the smallest lie to a whopper—if they serve the Leftist agenda, they are permissible. Whether they promoted Russian collusion or pursued the impeachment of Trump, the truth was irrelevant.
  • Stereotypes are built into their system. People who don’t believe in their ideas are sexist, homophobic, transphobic, greedy, evil, religiously limited, and stupid. There are no exceptions.
  • None of the ideas of the Right are worthy of consideration. If the origin of the idea can be connected to any part of the Right, it must not only be discredited but condemned. It will be seen as lacking any merit, and must be fully rejected.
  • The Left lacks curiosity and the desire for facts and information. Unless an idea can be directly tied to the Leftist belief system, it has no merit. Information that contradicts their fully formed ideas is unacceptable.
  • The very distasteful words and actions that the Left attributes to the Right are almost always descriptive of themselves. Their inability or unwillingness to reflect on their own positions and strategies manifests as projections on the Right.

Here’s an example of their condemnations of the Right that arose during election campaigns:

The Republican handbook used prejudice against racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities in cleverly packaged campaign ads that won elections. Bold-faced lies came shamelessly from conservative radio commentators, Fox news, and other outlets. The social media, which lacks the means of truth-checking, facilitated wide dissemination of these untruths. A result has been the splintering of the public into fractions who only get information from and communicate with those who agree with them.

This repugnant behavior was not condemned by religious leaders because many of the policies they advocate were supported by the offenders. Republican leaders generally did not admonish fellow party members because their own success was helped by this conduct.

Most people on the right would say this description actually applies to those on the Left.

The Left does not understand that respect garners respect . Its insistence on condemning the Right, almost without exception, has no chance of earning the respect of the Right:

Leftists cannot have it both ways, but they do not understand that, partly because they keep driving out their more gifted members. If you want free speech for the voices of sexual liberation, you must tolerate it for more traditional, sexually temperate voices. If you want free speech for BLM and other pro-black activists, you have to permit speech for dissident rightists too, including white advocates. That is, if you want to be morally and philosophically consistent. The Left wants to have its cake and eat it too. That just does not work long-term. Those terrible, self-serving standards tend to boomerang back on the standard-bearers.

In effect, the Left has brought this “lack of respect” on themselves:

If gay and pro-gay teachers can no longer express themselves on campus, it is their own doing. If you do not respect the voices of your adversaries, your adversaries and the standards you establish for censorship, are liable to come back to haunt you. Censorship is not consistent with a free society. It never has been. Until the Left demonstrates a commitment to the free speech rights of everyone, its own rights to speech will, and perhaps should, remain imperiled.

I also believe that the Left doesn’t really want the respect of the Right; it would be a step backward from their view. They actually want the Right to simply accept their ideas without protest; that would substitute nicely for respect. Ultimately, though, they will never be successful in their efforts.

They cannot demand our respect. It must be earned.

Published in Culture
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 41 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    You cannot expect respect; you earn it.

    You respect a person’s rights because they are a person. But you do not respect them as individuals without it being earned.

    You grant a level of courtesy (that people often confuse with respect) because treating people as you would have them treat you and creating a general expectation of reciprocity only makes sense.

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Rodin (View Comment):
    You grant a level of courtesy (that people often confuse with respect) because treating people as you would have them treat you and creating a general expectation of reciprocity only makes sense.

    This comment reminds me of my teaching Managing Conflict workshops. Participants would grouse that they were expected to “respect” their supervisors, even though those supervisors were incompetent (or had poor communication skills or were unpleasant, etc.) I explained that they didn’t have to respect those people if they were stuck working with them; they only had to behave “respectfully.” The Left doesn’t have the right to demand respect from us; whether it’s reasonable for them to ask us to behave respectfully is another issue.

    • #2
  3. Fritz Coolidge
    Fritz
    @Fritz

    When the Left demands that the Right respect them, they mean the Right must submit to them. Anything short of submission is disrespecting them. Not entirely unlike gangbangers shooting at people whenever they feel they have been disrespected.

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Fritz (View Comment):

    When the Left demands that the Right respect them, they mean the Right must submit to them. Anything short of submission is disrespecting them. Not entirely unlike gangbangers shooting at people whenever they feel they have been disrespected.

    Perfect analogy, Fritz. Thanks.

    • #4
  5. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Very well put, and timely. Thanks!

    • #5
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Very well put, and timely. Thanks!

    Thanks, Jim. Unfortunately, there’s little hope that this will change the polarization between the Left and Right; respect is sadly missing.

    • #6
  7. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Tolerance and acceptance are not the same thing. Tolerance means you keep your hands to yourself in a debate, or an argument. I don’t have to accept a lifestyle, political, or religious belief.

    • #7
  8. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Susan, I really like this post.

    I do see the same thing from people on the Right sometimes, not so much demanding respect, and stating things like “we should treat people with respect” or something about “dignity.”

    I’ve always disagreed with such views, at least as far as I can recall.

    About earning respect, I think that I’d put it differently, but you’ll probably agree.  I start with a default condition of respecting someone and treating him with dignity.  This generally just means courteous behavior.  We might call it a “presumption of respect.”

    The presumption doesn’t last very long.  If a person is behaving in a rude or ridiculous manner, then I may stop extending respect.

    • #8
  9. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    The Left doesn’t want your respect or even tolerance. They want your unconditional submission or, preferably, your death. The sooner the Right understands this, the better the chance for survival and flourishing. 

    • #9
  10. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Fritz (View Comment):

    When the Left demands that the Right respect them, they mean the Right must submit to them. Anything short of submission is disrespecting them. Not entirely unlike gangbangers shooting at people whenever they feel they have been disrespected.

    Perfect analogy, Fritz. Thanks.

    Exactly correct.

    While I live by the adage “there’s no excuse for bad manners”, I no longer indulge any of the lefties in my life, nor do I defend myself.

    When I’m accused of homophobia, transphobia or racism, I simply tell the person to “Go duck yourself” (at least that’s how Siri insists on spelling it)

    It’s taken years for me to realize that while I was minding my manners, many were showing me a complete lack of respect. I’ve had people say horrible things to me, and then get offended by my “lack of respect” when I respond in kind.

    The person who sent me this email late last year (someone I’ve know for 20 years) is angry with me as I’ve dropped her from her life (and I didn’t even respond to the email; I simply stopped calling):

    Hillary Clinton was absolutely  right and prescient. The people supporting trump and the ones supporting the republican party were then and are more so now a basket of deplorables.Racists, selfish, insurrectionists, ignorant, climate deniers, science deniers.  The most deplorable people America ever vomited up in its most imperfect history. What a club to join, what a cult to follow.  Socialists are a much more humane group though there aren’t any real ones in government. Social Democrats are something else, and something deplorables can’t grasp. Stay in your ugly bubble. 

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Annefy (View Comment):
    The person who sent me this email late last year (someone I’ve know for 20 years) is angry with me as I’ve dropped her from her life (and I didn’t even respond to the email; I simply stopped calling

    You made a wise decision. Another good example, Annefy.

    • #11
  12. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):
    The person who sent me this email late last year (someone I’ve know for 20 years) is angry with me as I’ve dropped her from her life (and I didn’t even respond to the email; I simply stopped calling

    You made a wise decision. Another good example, Annefy.

    My mistake was putting up with too much for too many years. I should have demanded more respect and not allowed her to rant and rave with me as an audience.

    • #12
  13. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Tolerance and acceptance are not the same thing. Tolerance means you keep your hands to yourself in a debate, or an argument. I don’t have to accept a lifestyle, political, or religious belief.

    I can tolerate something by ignoring it.

    • #13
  14. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Percival (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Tolerance and acceptance are not the same thing. Tolerance means you keep your hands to yourself in a debate, or an argument. I don’t have to accept a lifestyle, political, or religious belief.

    I can tolerate something by ignoring it.

    I have adopted my Mother’s long time advice: “Consider the source.” I find it saves me a lot of aggravation and frustration. There are some people with whom it is a waste of time and energy to debate an issue.

    • #14
  15. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Tolerance and acceptance are not the same thing. Tolerance means you keep your hands to yourself in a debate, or an argument. I don’t have to accept a lifestyle, political, or religious belief.

    Not everything should be tolerated.

    • #15
  16. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD
    @DonTillman

    Susan Quinn: In a number of interviews on video, I’ve noticed recently that the Left is demanding the respect of their adversaries, that is, the political Right. I was baffled by this expectation, since everything I know about respect would be inconsistent with the positions of the Left. Given the unapologetic demands of the Left toward those who disagree with them, I was surprised at their call for respect, and decided to explore whether this new hope on their part might tell me something about the polarization in our country. First, I realized that I needed to clarify my understanding of the word, “respect.”

    Susan, the way you wrote this sounds very naive.

    I mean, this demand for respect is clearly strategic.  It’s included in their talking points specifically to support rhetorical bullying.

    I suppose it might be enlightening to collect a list of such techniques.

    • #16
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: In a number of interviews on video, I’ve noticed recently that the Left is demanding the respect of their adversaries, that is, the political Right. I was baffled by this expectation, since everything I know about respect would be inconsistent with the positions of the Left. Given the unapologetic demands of the Left toward those who disagree with them, I was surprised at their call for respect, and decided to explore whether this new hope on their part might tell me something about the polarization in our country. First, I realized that I needed to clarify my understanding of the word, “respect.”

    Susan, the way you wrote this sounds very naive.

    I mean, this demand for respect is clearly strategic. It’s included in their talking points specifically to support rhetorical bullying.

    I suppose it might be enlightening to collect a list of such techniques.

    First of all, the ones who might be very naive are  on the Left. They may be foolish and egotistical enough to insist that they deserve to be respected. In the interviews I saw, they behaved as if they were entitled to respect. Since we see the Left repeatedly making ridiculous demands, I’d suggest that they reveal a number of motivations. Some may be bullying, others may believe they deserve to be respected. And I think the full content of the OP suggests the absurdity of their expectations.

    • #17
  18. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD
    @DonTillman

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: In a number of interviews on video, I’ve noticed recently that the Left is demanding the respect of their adversaries, that is, the political Right. I was baffled by this expectation, since everything I know about respect would be inconsistent with the positions of the Left. Given the unapologetic demands of the Left toward those who disagree with them, I was surprised at their call for respect, and decided to explore whether this new hope on their part might tell me something about the polarization in our country. First, I realized that I needed to clarify my understanding of the word, “respect.”

    Susan, the way you wrote this sounds very naive.

    I mean, this demand for respect is clearly strategic. It’s included in their talking points specifically to support rhetorical bullying.

    I suppose it might be enlightening to collect a list of such techniques.

    First of all, the ones who might be very naive are on the Left. They may be foolish and egotistical enough to insist that they deserve to be respected. In the interviews I saw, they behaved as if they were entitled to respect. Since we see the Left repeatedly making ridiculous demands, I’d suggest that they reveal a number of motivations. Some may be bullying, others may believe they deserve to be respected. And I think the full content of the OP suggests the absurdity of their expectations.

    No no no… that paragraph sounds naive.  

    Posting this means you’re not naive.

    • #18
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: In a number of interviews on video, I’ve noticed recently that the Left is demanding the respect of their adversaries, that is, the political Right. I was baffled by this expectation, since everything I know about respect would be inconsistent with the positions of the Left. Given the unapologetic demands of the Left toward those who disagree with them, I was surprised at their call for respect, and decided to explore whether this new hope on their part might tell me something about the polarization in our country. First, I realized that I needed to clarify my understanding of the word, “respect.”

    Susan, the way you wrote this sounds very naive.

    I mean, this demand for respect is clearly strategic. It’s included in their talking points specifically to support rhetorical bullying.

    I suppose it might be enlightening to collect a list of such techniques.

    First of all, the ones who might be very naive are on the Left. They may be foolish and egotistical enough to insist that they deserve to be respected. In the interviews I saw, they behaved as if they were entitled to respect. Since we see the Left repeatedly making ridiculous demands, I’d suggest that they reveal a number of motivations. Some may be bullying, others may believe they deserve to be respected. And I think the full content of the OP suggests the absurdity of their expectations.

    No no no… that paragraph sounds naive.

    Posting this means you’re not naive.

    Oops. Sorry–I misunderstood. Thanks for clarifying, Don.

    • #19
  20. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD
    @DonTillman

    Or more to the point…

    The rhetoric we see on the left is repeated a lot.  And that is clearly due to the distribution of talking points.

    (Racist, white supremacist, demanding respect, etc.)

    And those talking points are employed because they’re pretty effective.

    But I think the biggest mistake conservatives make is to interpret those words at face value.  They’re not being spoken from the heart, they’re being deployed as a weapon.

    • #20
  21. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Thanks for the added clarity. Is there ever going to be a  time when we aren’t so naive?? We simply need to walk away; there is little to no reason to believe their sincerity and veracity in any area.

    • #21
  22. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    It’s amazing actually.  How is one to understand what goes on in the minds of ordinary Democrats.   The far left, the manipulators, the leadership, probably know that it’s all made up at best, or just blame Republicans for what they do routinely.  Who knows? Do they?  The world is vast and confusing and no one knows much outside their immediate area of concentration or knowledge, but even those whose area is broad, specialized journalists, middle east, or latin American  experts etc. don’t know much and many don’t try.    What I learned to do when I was in a new country as an FSO,  was figure one area in as much depth as possible, learning from local experts, government, journalists businessmen, and assessing also which ones used (usually an economic sector)  what appeared to be objectivity, then see what they said about other areas and gradually collect people who I thought tried.  What I usually found was that the other US embassy officers who appeared to me at first to be confident and well informed, usually weren’t, and that Washington’s experts weren’t ether and just fed more senior interests.   Moreover, the most seriously wrong headed folks were almost always experts because they reached understanding of some place or region at some point and didn’t stay on top enough to be aware of the changes in reality and personalities or differences in places or sectors which superficially looked similar or found it in their interests to not be fully objective.  lets face it, ground up works better, not because ordinary folks know more, but because ordinary folks pay costs if they don’t learn from experience.  Government experts don’t. Indeed it can be costly to be right at the wrong time or with the wrong people.   There were also times when senior  business  leaders were way off and costly wrong.   Back to the excellent article.   They know so much they can shut out new and different information?  Utter nonsense.   They’re fools, totalitarians and some, both.

    • #22
  23. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I Walton (View Comment):
     What I learned to do when I was in a new country as an FSO

    You’ve mentioned your background before, IWalton. We were lucky to have you in that role!

    • #23
  24. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    I couldn’t resist this Susan, but on a more serious note, censoring viewpoints is a slippery slope – as the Left may be finding out.  I hope the Right doesn’t forget it.

    • #24
  25. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Rodin (View Comment):

    You cannot expect respect; you earn it.

    You respect a person’s rights because they are a person. But you do not respect them as individuals without it being earned.

    You grant a level of courtesy (that people often confuse with respect) because treating people as you would have them treat you and creating a general expectation of reciprocity only makes sense.

    I disagree with you in much the same way you do. 

    There are people who have my respect because of the office they hold, such as fathers or mothers.  It is possible for them to lose my respect, if they abuse their office, but the default position is that they have my respect because of who they are, not because they earned it.   (Which is related to what you said in paragraphs 2 and 3, but not the same.) 

    • #25
  26. Painter Jean Member
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Fritz (View Comment):

    When the Left demands that the Right respect them, they mean the Right must submit to them. Anything short of submission is disrespecting them. Not entirely unlike gangbangers shooting at people whenever they feel they have been disrespected.

    Perfect analogy, Fritz. Thanks.

    Exactly correct.

    While I live by the adage “there’s no excuse for bad manners”, I no longer indulge any of the lefties in my life, nor do I defend myself.

    When I’m accused of homophobia, transphobia or racism, I simply tell the person to “Go duck yourself” (at least that’s how Siri insists on spelling it)

    It’s taken years for me to realize that while I was minding my manners, many were showing me a complete lack of respect. I’ve had people say horrible things to me, and then get offended by my “lack of respect” when I respond in kind.

    The person who sent me this email late last year (someone I’ve know for 20 years) is angry with me as I’ve dropped her from her life (and I didn’t even respond to the email; I simply stopped calling):

    Hillary Clinton was absolutely right and prescient. The people supporting trump and the ones supporting the republican party were then and are more so now a basket of deplorables.Racists, selfish, insurrectionists, ignorant, climate deniers, science deniers. The most deplorable people America ever vomited up in its most imperfect history. What a club to join, what a cult to follow. Socialists are a much more humane group though there aren’t any real ones in government. Social Democrats are something else, and something deplorables can’t grasp. Stay in your ugly bubble.

    Wow. You do not need this person in your life. Good call to end the relationship. 

    • #26
  27. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    I know we’re supposed to be talking about respect and I don’t want to hijack your thread, Susan, but I would like to continue the discussion with noD’s point about naivety on the Right. I’ll start my own post if you prefer.

    In brief, though, I think there’s a lot of it on the Right. Naivety, that is. Take, for example, from the quote above about the Left’s free speech being imperiled by their censorship of the Right. I think that’s naïve. There is at this moment a grandmother with cancer sentenced to two months in prison for the offense of “parading” at the Capitol on January 6 last year. Meanwhile antifa thugs (mostly privileged white kids) who tried to blind cops with lasers in Seattle and barricade them in and set the building on fire are uncharged and face no consequences. 

    We are living in extremely perilous times for anyone not in conformity with the Left. We may wish to ignore the Left, but it is highly doubtful we’ll be allowed to. Sun Tzu had it right when he said, “know your enemy.” The Left’s goal is to concentrate power, which always ends up in the hands of the most ruthless. As I often repeat, only 10% of Soviets belonged to the Communist Party at the height of power of the Soviet Union. It takes someone of extreme naivety to identify as a Reagan conservative and vote for Joe Biden out of distaste for Donald Trump. It is literally voting to put more power in the hands of the enemy of American values, not to mention the enemy of all that is good and holy. Leftism is evil.

    • #27
  28. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Fritz (View Comment):

    When the Left demands that the Right respect them, they mean the Right must submit to them. Anything short of submission is disrespecting them. Not entirely unlike gangbangers shooting at people whenever they feel they have been disrespected.

    Perfect analogy, Fritz. Thanks.

    Exactly correct.

    While I live by the adage “there’s no excuse for bad manners”, I no longer indulge any of the lefties in my life, nor do I defend myself.

    When I’m accused of homophobia, transphobia or racism, I simply tell the person to “Go duck yourself” (at least that’s how Siri insists on spelling it)

    It’s taken years for me to realize that while I was minding my manners, many were showing me a complete lack of respect. I’ve had people say horrible things to me, and then get offended by my “lack of respect” when I respond in kind.

    The person who sent me this email late last year (someone I’ve know for 20 years) is angry with me as I’ve dropped her from her life (and I didn’t even respond to the email; I simply stopped calling):

    Hillary Clinton was absolutely right and prescient. The people supporting trump and the ones supporting the republican party were then and are more so now a basket of deplorables.Racists, selfish, insurrectionists, ignorant, climate deniers, science deniers. The most deplorable people America ever vomited up in its most imperfect history. What a club to join, what a cult to follow. Socialists are a much more humane group though there aren’t any real ones in government. Social Democrats are something else, and something deplorables can’t grasp. Stay in your ugly bubble.

    I wouldn’t see her until at least next Tuesday.

    Good on ya.

    • #28
  29. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Annefy (View Comment):
    Hillary Clinton was absolutely  right and prescient. The people supporting trump and the ones supporting the republican party were then and are more so now a basket of deplorables.Racists, selfish, insurrectionists, ignorant, climate deniers, science deniers.

    She forgot to call us fascists or even Nazis. 😉

    But remember what George Orwell wrote the better part of a century ago:

    In certain kinds of writing…it is normal to come across long passages which are almost completely lacking in meaning…
    The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable’.
    –George Orwell, Politics and the English Language, April 1946

    • #29
  30. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Whether intelligent, interested,  wealthy, plugged into important interests, or just mindless bureaucrats there is one thing all the left has in common.  Historical ignorance or any knowledge of the contemporary world over the last century.  

    • #30
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.