Voting and Other Childish Things

 

shutterstock_213442531When we were growing up, my mother always made a point of bringing my sister and me with her when she voted. She would tell us why it was important and explain who she was voting for, as well as providing the reasoning behind her choices. Discussing politics and religion with my mom on long car rides are among my favorite memories of childhood, so I smiled when I read the first half of a recent status update from my sister. It explained how she had taken my niece with her when she voted recently:

As we do every election, we took our daughter to the polls to vote, I explained why we were voting (so our schools could get the money to make desperately needed repairs). To which she said, “why would anyone say no to that?” Why indeed?

I share this as a reminder of what our true obstacle in this battle of ideas is. The answer to my niece’s question is incredibly easy to explain: there are limited resources in the world and numerous competing priorities vying for those funds.

Why would anyone say no to more money for the police? Why would anyone say no to more money for hospitals? Why would anyone say no to more money for cancer research? Why would anyone say no to buying every person on the planet a pony?

My response to her will surprise few who know me:

Because voting doesn’t manifest money. When comes the lesson on competing priorities for limited resources?

My wit went unappreciated. My comment was rapidly deleted, as conservative ideas spread like a virus if people are led to believe that expressing them publicly is socially acceptable.

Though my 8-year-old niece has a fantastic excuse for not understanding the concept of competing priorities, the adults who heralded her comment as brilliant do not. To a large extent, their understanding of politics, economics, and world affairs has never progressed beyond elementary school.

Schools are good; therefore, schools should get more money. War is bad; therefore, the military should get less money. Those who disagree must just be bad people. It remains something of a mystery to me how those who know us so well — but who disagree with us politically — can avoid a moment of cognitive dissonance when declaring their ideological opponents evil.

Though I will happily engage anyone who is interested in discussing politics, religion, or philosophy, I almost never bring the subjects up; in turn, liberal friends and family need never engage me on these topics. And yet there is a very strong leftist impulse to employ hit-and-run arguments.

We’ve all encountered this. Someone takes a cheap shot at the expense of Republicans, Christians, or a specific position you hold. When you hit back, you find your friend or family member completely disinterested in discussing the matter. The reason is as simple as it is depressing: modern liberalism is little more than emoting for the purpose of being identified as a good person. Cheap shots at conservatives are like a radar ping, sent out to inform others that they are the right type of person and identify who else believes the right things.

Humans are social creatures and have a strong desire to find acceptance and validation from others. Democrats offer this to people on the cheap, and do not require anyone to have developed an understanding of the world beyond that of a child in order to be heralded as a right-thinking person.

To the Left, the act of voting is no longer a check on the power of our rulers, but a sacrament where they affirm their moral superiority. Don’t disrupt them with reasoned arguments when they are basking in the sweet glow of moral supremacy.

Image Credit: Gil C / Shutterstock.com

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  1. Pilli Inactive
    Pilli
    @Pilli

    “Hit and Run” arguments…perfect!

    • #1
  2. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    so our schools could get the money to make desperately needed repairs

    Also, so we can continue to pay teachers who retired before you were born. . . so we can hire more administrators than teachers . . . so they can buy rolls of those construction paper-like paper towels that cost four times as much as Bounty and repel water . . . so they can implement failed programs mandated by the State and federal government. . . so we can get over-charged for technology that the administrators really don’t understand (but “high-tech” sounds important) . . .

    I could go on, but I’ll stop for now.

    This morning I just sent out the first mortgage payment with the new property tax increases. Does it show?

    • #2
  3. Son of Spengler Contributor
    Son of Spengler
    @SonofSpengler

    I think the echo-chamber nature of Facebook is really bad for our civic discourse. It becomes too easy to avoid arguments (and facts) that challenge your preconceptions. It also becomes too easy to dehumanize and impersonalize (is that a word?) people who you interact with only in a virtual medium.

    I try — not always successfully — to encourage my children to slow down and not be quick to dismiss the “other side”. For example, I was in the car with my younger daughter, and I had the Ricochet podcast on. It was the one with the knock-down drag-out fight between Rob and Peter about whether we’re worse off. Peter said that the Obama years were the point at which government turned hostile to religion. My daughter sputtered, “But there’s supposed to be separation of church and state!”

    I pointed out that these were clearly not stupid people, so what did she think Peter meant? After all, Peter hadn’t said government should be involved in religion (or vice versa), but that government had become “hostile” to religion. After a few moments of silence, my daughter said, “Oh…! I still mostly disagree — not entirely, but mostly — but I think now I understand what he was saying.”

    • #3
  4. Kay of MT Inactive
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    Vance Richards: This morning I just sent out the first mortgage payment with the new property tax increases. Does it show?

    Indeed, but keep showing it.

    • #4
  5. user_517406 Inactive
    user_517406
    @MerinaSmith

    I think you’re right to respond to that little nugget of moral superiority, though it is tacky for them to delete what you wrote.  I never post political stuff on facebook, but I will respond to what others say, always politely.  And I do it for a reason.  I want them to know there is another side to the question, just as you did. The result is that very few of my friends post political stuff. Maybe that means I won the argument!  I always think so.  But I also never let politics get in the way of friendship.  I make it clear that they are my friend no matter what we say in our arguments, which are about the ideas, not the person.

    • #5
  6. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    I think a lot of people just want to fit in. If the liberal line of thinking is what is popular (thank you media), then they will just parrot that without any thought. The assumption is, “that’s what everyone believes.” If you challenge them they will be forced to either defend their position or rethink the issue (or more likely curse at you and change the subject).

    • #6
  7. user_1938 Inactive
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    I explained why we were voting (so our schools could get the money to make desperately needed repairs).

    The implication being that only one party wants to fund our schools? Are the school administrators helpless? Pep rallies take priority over building repairs, and that’s a political problem?

    • #7
  8. Lee Inactive
    Lee
    @Lee

    “We’ve all encountered this. Someone takes a cheap shot at the expense of Republicans, Christians, or a specific position you hold.  When you hit back, you find your friend or family member completely disinterested in discussing the matter. The reason is as simple as it is depressing: modern liberalism is little more than the act of emoting for the purpose of being identified as a good person. Cheap shots at conservatives are like a radar ping, sent out to inform others that they are the right type of person and identify who else believes the right things.

    Humans are social creatures, and have a strong desire to find acceptance and validation from others. Democrats offer this to people on the cheap, and do not require anyone to have developed an understanding of world beyond that of a child in order to be heralded as a right-thinking person.”

    You nailed it. It’s so frustrating to take the time to respond to something in a way that conveys you’re taking the other person seriously, only to find that he just wanted a pat on the back for thinking the “right way”. And yet, I always hope that even if the object of my rebuttal ignores it, maybe it spurs some people in the silent audience to re-evaluate their beliefs on a given matter.

    • #8
  9. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia
    @Ansonia

    From comment 8

    “And yet, I always hope that even if the object of my rebuttal ignores it, maybe it spurs some people in the silent audience to re-evaluate their beliefs on a given matter.”

    That’s always my hope.

    • #9
  10. CuriousKevmo Member
    CuriousKevmo
    @CuriousKevmo

    Genius Frank.

    • #10
  11. Foxfier Inactive
    Foxfier
    @Foxfier

    Frank Soto: We’ve all encountered this. Someone takes a cheap shot at the expense of Republicans, Christians, or a specific position you hold.  When you hit back, you find your friend or family member completely disinterested in discussing the matter.

    It’s not even just political, although that’s the most obvious– I’ve seen it happen with anything people feel strongly about.

    There are some folks who aren’t talking to communicate, they’re lecturing you; when you respond, then it’s starting a fight just like a student arguing with a teacher. (Presuming, ironically, actual knowledge possessed by the teacher here….)

    It even happens in comments: person A asks a question, person B says something, person C “corrects” person B, person B “corrects” person C’s correction, and person C states icily that they do not argue online.  (Never in a situation where you can inquire if that means they are knowingly in the habit of scattering the scatological with expectations of no reaction.)

    I’m with the theory that the bad reaction has to do with a mis-match of communication style to format– in person, they’d throw out this “zinger” and hurry on, with no chance for anyone to respond.  In text, those nasty people go in and undercut their wonderful, perfect argument!

    Online communication: Revenge of the Treppenwitz!

    • #11
  12. user_1184 Member
    user_1184
    @MarkWilson

    Your sister deleted your comment on Facebook?  That seems very rude.

    A few months back an acquaintance of mine posted a status message in praise of Obamacare because she had just signed up for a health insurance plan with a $1 premium after subsidies (not a typo!).  Somebody (who turned out to be her brother) wrote a comment that we are saddling our children with debt to subsidize healthcare plans like that (she is an able-bodied adult who had been gainfully employed, but quit her job to become an artist).  I didn’t even write anything, I simply “liked” her brother’s comment.  Her response: she un-friended me and sent me a long private message about how I didn’t understand her situation because of my “privilege”, and that I was voting for a world without artists.

    Facebook is weird.

    • #12
  13. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    I don’t FB. Ricochet is bad enough, thanks.

    • #13
  14. user_137118 Member
    user_137118
    @DeanMurphy

    “…I was voting for a world without artists.”

    I would vote for a world without the kinds of artists we have thrust upon us by art schools these days.

    • #14
  15. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    Mark Wilson:Your sister deleted your comment on Facebook? That seems very rude.

    A few months back an acquaintance of mine posted a status message in praise of Obamacare because she had just signed up for a health insurance plan with a $1 premium after subsidies (not a typo!). Somebody (who turned out to be her brother) wrote a comment that we are saddling our children with debt to subsidize healthcare plans like that (she is an able-bodied adult who had been gainfully employed, but quit her job to become an artist). I didn’t even write anything, I simply “liked” her brother’s comment. Her response: she un-friended me and sent me a long private message about how I didn’t understand her situation because of my “privilege”, and that I was voting for a world without artists.

    Facebook is weird.

    See? She just didn’t want to be job-locked.

    • #15
  16. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    iWc:I don’t FB. Ricochet is bad enough, thanks.

    How do you get into knock down, drag out fights with your siblings then?

    • #16
  17. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Lee:

    You nailed it. It’s so frustrating to take the time to respond to something in a way that conveys you’re taking the other person seriously, only to find that he just wanted a pat on the back for thinking the “right way”. And yet, I always hope that even if the object of my rebuttal ignores it, maybe it spurs some people in the silent audience to re-evaluate their beliefs on a given matter.

    Likewise.  Clearly this was feared by my sister as well, who thought it best to remove all traces of the counter point.

    • #17
  18. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    Frank Soto:

    Lee:

    You nailed it. It’s so frustrating to take the time to respond to something in a way that conveys you’re taking the other person seriously, only to find that he just wanted a pat on the back for thinking the “right way”. And yet, I always hope that even if the object of my rebuttal ignores it, maybe it spurs some people in the silent audience to re-evaluate their beliefs on a given matter.

    Likewise. Clearly this was feared by my sister as well, who thought it best to remove all traces of the counter point.

    Most my family doesn’t post politics, save us on the conservative side. My brother is the exception. He’ll post enough from Vox.com, Salon.com, or Paul Krugman to maintain New York City’s recommended daily allowance of smugness.

    • #18
  19. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    Mark Wilson:Your sister deleted your comment on Facebook? That seems very rude.

    A few months back an acquaintance of mine posted a status message in praise of Obamacare because she had just signed up for a health insurance plan with a $1 premium after subsidies (not a typo!). Somebody (who turned out to be her brother) wrote a comment that we are saddling our children with debt to subsidize healthcare plans like that (she is an able-bodied adult who had been gainfully employed, but quit her job to become an artist). I didn’t even write anything, I simply “liked” her brother’s comment. Her response: she un-friended me and sent me a long private message about how I didn’t understand her situation because of my “privilege”, and that I was voting for a world without artists.

    Facebook is weird.

    Yep, one of the many reasons I don’t take part in the world of facebook.  I do have a page out there languishing from neglect. :)

    • #19
  20. user_517406 Inactive
    user_517406
    @MerinaSmith

    Mark Wilson:Your sister deleted your comment on Facebook? That seems very rude.

    A few months back an acquaintance of mine posted a status message in praise of Obamacare because she had just signed up for a health insurance plan with a $1 premium after subsidies (not a typo!). Somebody (who turned out to be her brother) wrote a comment that we are saddling our children with debt to subsidize healthcare plans like that (she is an able-bodied adult who had been gainfully employed, but quit her job to become an artist). I didn’t even write anything, I simply “liked” her brother’s comment. Her response: she un-friended me and sent me a long private message about how I didn’t understand her situation because of my “privilege”, and that I was voting for a world without artists.

    Facebook is weird.

    Mark, that is disgusting.   But it shows that she feels kind of guilty about letting the rest of us subsidize her irresponsible choices.

    • #20
  21. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    Frank Soto:

    iWc:I don’t FB. Ricochet is bad enough, thanks.

    How do you get into knock down, drag out fights with your siblings then?

    I don’t need those in my life.

    • #21
  22. user_494971 Contributor
    user_494971
    @HankRhody

    Frank Soto:

    iWc:I don’t FB. Ricochet is bad enough, thanks.

    How do you get into knock down, drag out fights with your siblings then?

    I sneak up from behind, hit ’em in the head with a trashcan Pro Wrestling style. The sneak attack is paramount.

    • #22
  23. Big John Member
    Big John
    @AllanRutter

    Sunday, Kevin Williamson at NRO had a similar take on the shallow, self congratulatory progressive attitude on voting, and he and Mr. Cooke talked about it on their Mad Dogs and Englishmen podcast (which is pretty good if irregularly posted).

    • #23
  24. user_82762 Inactive
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Mark Wilson:Your sister deleted your comment on Facebook? That seems very rude.

    A few months back an acquaintance of mine posted a status message in praise of Obamacare because she had just signed up for a health insurance plan with a $1 premium after subsidies (not a typo!). Somebody (who turned out to be her brother) wrote a comment that we are saddling our children with debt to subsidize healthcare plans like that (she is an able-bodied adult who had been gainfully employed, but quit her job to become an artist). I didn’t even write anything, I simply “liked” her brother’s comment. Her response: she un-friended me and sent me a long private message about how I didn’t understand her situation because of my “privilege”, and that I was voting for a world without artists.

    Facebook is weird.

    Mark,

    There might be a big silver lining to this.  When tax time comes around she discovers that the subsidy they told her about was denied.  She didn’t qualify.  She will learn the hard way that you can’t make a deal with the devil and who the devil really is.  She might even learn to appreciate the likes of you.

    If this doesn’t happen, unfortunately, she probably will go on believing the nonsense ruining her own life and upsetting everybody else.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #24
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