As is their wont, a muse appears in the oddest of places. Yesterday, one appeared at our local Safeway as my wife and I were doing our weekly shopping. This particular muse took the form of a politically ignorant young woman ranting into her phone about “Citizens United.”
I was already in an agitated mood. Before shopping, I made the mistake of checking my “family only” Facebook account. Out of courtesy, I keep my posts on this account clear of politics. However, the same can not be said of some of my relatives. On viewing the feed, I saw one meme after the other of fallacy-laden bromides from one such relative: a typical, ill-informed, virtue signaling, Bernie Sanders supporter. To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, a few years back, this same relative, in an argument with my wife, insisted that Sarah Palin actually said, “I can see Russia from my house,” and was therefore “stupid.” When presented with the evidence of the actual and factual statement which Palin made, and Tina Fey’s parody of it, this relative did not care – Sarah Palin (and not this relative) was still, and would continue to be, the stupid one. There is a word for such stubborn attachment to one’s beliefs in the face of overwhelming and contradictory evidence. That word is “faith.”
I agree with Karl Popper that Marxism is a religion. And I can’t help but observe that the modern incarnation of the Democrat party is thoroughly Marxist. Bernie Sanders himself is an avowed Socialist if not a full-blown Communist. Therefore, we should not be surprised to see rank and file Democrats who are not interested in debate: faith is not open to it. We should not be surprised to see Democrats not only unmoved but outraged and further entrenched when faced with any supposed “evidence” from morally bankrupt and politically incorrect unbelievers. We should not be surprised to see tales of horror, such as Venezuela’s new “Pets for Food” program, shrugged off as some “it can’t happen here” fable in some faraway land by the same people who also enthusiastically support a candidate who has openly endorsed bread lines. The Democrat party has become a mob of ill-informed, delusional zealots.
So, what to do? I differ from many I know on the right in that I do not believe that any reconciliation is possible. Many long for a healing, for a “can’t we all just get along” moment. But how do you reason with zealots? How do you present an argument to the ignorant and ill-informed who are comfortable and smug in their belief that you are evil and therefore any argument which you might bring is void? You don’t. You can’t. You’d only be wasting your time. As such, I am and have been quite ready to say, “If Bernie Sanders, a man who has endorsed breadlines, is the Democrat nominee, and if you vote for him, begone.” But I realize that others on my side might not be quite so ready to embrace this conclusion.
Which brings me back to the politically ignorant young woman at Safeway. If it were possible to reach her, and others like her, to show her that her feelings on Citizens United, as with so many other issues, are illiberal, how could it be done?
I would like to suggest a series on this topic to which I invite any member of Ricochet to contribute. Chose an issue which the Left consistently misrepresents to its base and then provide argument/evidence of this misrepresentation in such a way that those on the Left who are still able can be reached.
On Citizens United: ask if the government should be able to ban a movie because it doesn’t like the political content. If the answer is “yes,” forget this person, they are unreachable. If the answer is “no,” ask if the people who made the movie should have a right to make a political statement in their film. If the answer is “no,” forget this person, they are unreachable. If the answer is “yes,” explain to them the details of the Citizens United case. It is doubtful that they even know it.
Your contributions to this post and possible this series are welcome.