Silenced and Divided by Sensibilities

 

The Trump yard signs and banners I see only when I leave the metropolitan area where I live and work remind me that Americans were once expected to engage, debate, and persuade and that liberals were once openly in favor of certain values and goals.

Conservatives of all stripes are increasingly barred from speaking freely on campus, online, or at work. On the left, only extremists can be open about their beliefs.  Climate change zealots, sexual deviants, Hamas supporters, and high-tax Stalinists can be open about their beliefs but together they are a small minority of the Democratic (or just anti-conservative) vote. Most Democrats (like conservatives in blue states) are defined by what they believe but cannot say.

You could be a Democrat (or even a conservative) if:

  • You think that it is perverse for drag queens to do kindergarten storybook hour.  You resent the fact that your daughter’s high school track team lost medals to a biological male. But you can’t say so because you might be called “__phobic” and be lumped in with the Religious Right.
  • You think that it is appalling that rapists, murderers, and violent rioters are given light sentences or not prosecuted at all, but you do not want to be called a law-and-order racist.
  • You hate the rising cost of energy. You are tired of bogus climate catastrophe predictions and the absurd traffic blocking or art destruction by pompous greenies, but you must not appear to oppose the moral duty to Save the Planet.
  • You can see the cost, national decline, and chaos from open borders, but if you protest out loud they might call you a xenophobic MAGA racist.
  • Your kids’ history texts are openly anti-American, their sex ed openly perverse, school discipline is gone and you hate all of that, but if you complain you are a right-wing racist, “Christianist” nutball.

The dominant elite sensibility wants to be (or at least appear to be) kind, ethical, and open-minded but has instead become the Orwellian Party’s bitch.  When we accept that some ideas cannot be expressed, it is a short walk to the place where they cannot be thought at all.  How did we reach this state of affairs?

I suggest that our predominant nominal sensibilities (e.g., respect, kindness, conservation, opposition to racism, etc) emerged from a shared moral culture under the heavy influence of Western religious and philosophical traditions.  But when that grounding is dissolved and all that’s left is a set of increasingly vague sensibilities, those vestigial sensibilities can be easily bullied.  Lenin and Hitler easily brushed aside nice guys in periods of cultural decline and moral confusion.

The cultural battle of the moment is less about persuasion than about creating spaces where the commonalities of 80-90% of Americans can be freely shared and maybe rediscover our roots and identity as a people in the process.  Guys like Trump and Rush Limbaugh defy The Party but it will take more than hard-won pockets of defiance to restore the American way of life.

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  1. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    Guys like Trump and Rush Limbaugh defy The Party but it will take more than hard-won pockets of defiance to restore the American way of life.

    Trump and eventually Rush had F-You money. They didn’t need approval.

    But if you can be de-banked (and that has shown up here a bit already) then your F-You money might go away.

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

    I can never assume that a place where I go will be open to my ideas. Isn’t that a shame, in fact, a travesty? It’s like locking myself in a cultural cocoon.

    • #2
  3. Old Bathos Member
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I can never assume that a place where I go will be open to my ideas. Isn’t that a shame, in fact, a travesty? It’s like locking myself in a cultural cocoon.

    Well, of course you can’t. You are a notorious right-wing agitator. Disagreement is hate.

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

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    You are a notorious right-wing agitator.

    I kind of like the sound of that!

    • #4
  5. Chuck Coolidge
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    I confess to being a law and order extremist.  And a right-wing disciple of the living Christ.  And a nut.  But not pompous – I don’t think I am, anyway.

    • #5
  6. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring
    @WillowSpring

    I read through the list you presented and my first reaction is “I’ve got to get busier”.

    I’m also listening to the local radio station (WMAL) reviewing “Cringe”‘s attempt to explain attempt to explain how many times (none – 3 – 9 ??) a Neurologist has seen President Biden.  She ended using the same reference to President Trump as out current President uses.  Namely, “we have been more open than ‘the last guy'”!

    The democrats don’t respect any of our laws or traditions.  We now have “Speaker Emeritus Pelosi”, but the President they didn’t like is just “the other guy”.

    I weep for my children and grandchildren.

    • #6
  7. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    I have found that no matter what, I get attacked. Not worth it. 

    • #7
  8. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    I guess Middle Tennessee is quite unlike the places most of you live.  In the two years since I’ve moved here, every time a stranger starts talking about politics, they are voicing conservative or populist views.  I imagine people around here who are on the left keep their opinions to themselves, just like conservatives do in other places.

    • #8
  9. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    I guess Middle Tennessee is quite unlike the places most of you live. In the two years since I’ve moved here, every time a stranger starts talking about politics, they are voicing conservative or populist views. I imagine people around here who are on the left keep their opinions to themselves, just like conservatives do in other places.

    One problem with leftism is that it doesn’t make any sense.  So you can express a belief in leftist policies only until someone in your audience admits that they are thinking about things.

    Leftist:  “The earth is getting warmer!  We must start driving hybrid cars!

    Rational adult:  “Um, are you sure the earth is getting warmer?  How do you measure that?  Doesn’t the earth get cooler and warmer sometimes?  How can we be sure this isn’t normal variation?  Are you sure you know what the weather is likely to be like in 500 years?  Maybe it will get cooler again.  Isn’t our next ice age due in the next few hundred years?  How can you be sure that you can alter the weather in 500 years by driving different cars today?  How can you be sure that those alterations will be positive?  Positive for who, exactly?  Are you sure?  Do hybrid cars have less impact on the environment that typical cars?  What about the batteries?  Are you sure?

    And that’s sort of the end of the conversation.  

    So talk of leftism only works among fellow leftists, who have all agreed not to think.  About anything.

    Leftists don’t hold their tongue around conservatives because they’re afraid of nasty arguments.  They hold their tongue because they’re afraid of rational thought.  A tendency which conservatives are known for. 

    If you’re a leftist, such things are best avoided.

    • #9
  10. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    I recently was told “We don’t know” about the idea that people of the past had a better understanding of the science of the world than we do today. 

    I was recently told “No it would not” to my statement that if men stopped working the world would grind to a halt. 

    I get angry. It’s not worth it to talk to anyone on just about anything, because most people are ignorant fools who are totally sure of things that just are not so. And they are unwilling to even slow down and listen to reason or facts. Everyone has their own damn facts. 

     

    • #10
  11. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I do have some concern about suppression of expression.

    I am generally conservative, and I have never been suppressed.  I say what I want.

    I think that it is highly inaccurate to view the so-called political right as being the only ones persecuted for speech or other expressive activity.

    As far as I can recall, the only large groups of people arrested in our country in the past year, for speaking and demonstrating, are pro-Palestinian groups.  In an event that was almost unprecedented, two major university presidents were driven out of office for not suppressing the speech of such groups.  This occurred with the active participation of large numbers of Republican Congressmen and Senators.

    I say “almost unprecedented” because I do recall Lawrence Summers being driven out of his position as the president of Harvard for accurate comments made about male-female IQ differences.  So, the feminists have occasionally wielded power comparable to the Zionists.

    • #11
  12. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    I guess Middle Tennessee is quite unlike the places most of you live. In the two years since I’ve moved here, every time a stranger starts talking about politics, they are voicing conservative or populist views. I imagine people around here who are on the left keep their opinions to themselves, just like conservatives do in other places.

    One problem with leftism is that it doesn’t make any sense. So you can express a belief in leftist policies only until someone in your audience admits that they are thinking about things.

    Leftist: “The earth is getting warmer! We must start driving hybrid cars!

    Rational adult: “Um, are you sure the earth is getting warmer? How do you measure that? Doesn’t the earth get cooler and warmer sometimes? How can we be sure this isn’t normal variation? Are you sure you know what the weather is likely to be like in 500 years? Maybe it will get cooler again. Isn’t our next ice age due in the next few hundred years? How can you be sure that you can alter the weather in 500 years by driving different cars today? How can you be sure that those alterations will be positive? Positive for who, exactly? Are you sure? Do hybrid cars have less impact on the environment that typical cars? What about the batteries? Are you sure?

    And that’s sort of the end of the conversation.

    So talk of leftism only works among fellow leftists, who have all agreed not to think. About anything.

    Leftists don’t hold their tongue around conservatives because they’re afraid of nasty arguments. They hold their tongue because they’re afraid of rational thought. A tendency which conservatives are known for.

    If you’re a leftist, such things are best avoided.

    Or just ask one question:

    “What should the temperature of Earth be?”

    • #12
  13. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    I recently was told “We don’t know” about the idea that people of the past had a better understanding of the science of the world than we do today.

    I was recently told “No it would not” to my statement that if men stopped working the world would grind to a halt.

    I get angry. It’s not worth it to talk to anyone on just about anything, because most people are ignorant fools who are totally sure of things that just are not so. And they are unwilling to even slow down and listen to reason or facts. Everyone has their own damn facts.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    • #13
  14. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I do have some concern about suppression of expression.

    I am generally conservative, and I have never been suppressed. I say what I want.

    I think that it is highly inaccurate to view the so-called political right as being the only ones persecuted for speech or other expressive activity.

    As far as I can recall, the only large groups of people arrested in our country in the past year, for speaking and demonstrating, are pro-Palestinian groups. In an event that was almost unprecedented, two major university presidents were driven out of office for not suppressing the speech of such groups. This occurred with the active participation of large numbers of Republican Congressmen and Senators.

    I say “almost unprecedented” because I do recall Lawrence Summers being driven out of his position as the president of Harvard for accurate comments made about male-female IQ differences. So, the feminists have occasionally wielded power comparable to the Zionists.

    I suspect if the pro-Palestininan groups had ONLY been speaking and “demonstrating,” they wouldn’t have gotten into such trouble.

    • #14
  15. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    As far as I can recall, the only large groups of people arrested in our country in the past year, for speaking and demonstrating, are pro-Palestinian groups.

    I don’t think a single Hamas supporter in the U.S. was arrested for simply speaking and demonstrating.  Can you give us a specific example?

    In an event that was almost unprecedented, two major university presidents were driven out of office for not suppressing the speech of such groups. This occurred with the active participation of large numbers of Republican Congressmen and Senators.

    “driven out of office for for not suppressing the speech of such groups”(?)

    You are a lawyer.  Isn’t there a limitation of free speech in the law having to do with publicly calling for the active extermination of a race of people?  If I organized a rally for the express purpose of promoting the murder of all Arizona Lawyers, would you be able to find a tiny legal argument in favor of suppressing my rally?

    • #15
  16. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    As far as I can recall, the only large groups of people arrested in our country in the past year, for speaking and demonstrating, are pro-Palestinian groups.

    I don’t think a single Hamas supporter in the U.S. was arrested for simply speaking and demonstrating. Can you give us a specific example?

    In an event that was almost unprecedented, two major university presidents were driven out of office for not suppressing the speech of such groups. This occurred with the active participation of large numbers of Republican Congressmen and Senators.

    “driven out of office for for not suppressing the speech of such groups”(?)

    You are a lawyer. Isn’t there a limitation of free speech in the law having to do with publicly calling for the active extermination of a race of people? If I organized a rally for the express purpose of promoting the murder of all Arizona Lawyers, would you be able to find a tiny legal argument in favor of suppressing my rally?

    I think the law says a threat must be imminent.  If you hold a rally and tell the crowd that some day we really ought to go kill all of these people, that isn’t an imminent threat.  If you tell the crowd our enemy is at this location, I have a couple dozen baseball bats in the trunk of my car, who will do what needs to be done and bash in those skulls, that would be an imminent threat.

    • #16
  17. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    I guess Middle Tennessee is quite unlike the places most of you live. In the two years since I’ve moved here, every time a stranger starts talking about politics, they are voicing conservative or populist views. I imagine people around here who are on the left keep their opinions to themselves, just like conservatives do in other places.

    One problem with leftism is that it doesn’t make any sense. So you can express a belief in leftist policies only until someone in your audience admits that they are thinking about things.

    Leftist: “The earth is getting warmer! We must start driving hybrid cars!

    Rational adult: “Um, are you sure the earth is getting warmer? How do you measure that? Doesn’t the earth get cooler and warmer sometimes? How can we be sure this isn’t normal variation? Are you sure you know what the weather is likely to be like in 500 years? Maybe it will get cooler again. Isn’t our next ice age due in the next few hundred years? How can you be sure that you can alter the weather in 500 years by driving different cars today? How can you be sure that those alterations will be positive? Positive for who, exactly? Are you sure? Do hybrid cars have less impact on the environment that typical cars? What about the batteries? Are you sure?

    And that’s sort of the end of the conversation.

    So talk of leftism only works among fellow leftists, who have all agreed not to think. About anything.

    Leftists don’t hold their tongue around conservatives because they’re afraid of nasty arguments. They hold their tongue because they’re afraid of rational thought. A tendency which conservatives are known for.

    If you’re a leftist, such things are best avoided.

    Or just ask one question:

    “What should the temperature of Earth be?”

    Much warmer. These ice ages are annoying and unstable.

    • #17
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