Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. What’s at Stake

 

There’s a vast difference between the visions of America offered by the two parties in the upcoming election.

On the right is a vision of optimism, of competition in a free market, of growth and prosperity, and a reined-in government that has a relatively light touch on our lives and our earnings. The right sees America as a generally decent place, as the product of a long painful journey from its founding in a less enlightened time to a nation of freedom and equality today. If asked, people on the right will readily say that America is fundamentally a good and exceptional country.

On the left is a vision of a reckoning, of victims lifted up and oppressors put down, of ever-larger government that takes and spends more, regulates more, prohibits more, all for the good of the people. The left sees America as a fundamentally unjust place, as an oppressive influence in the world, and as an exploiter and destroyer of the global order and the planet itself. If asked, people on the left will be reluctant to say, and will rarely say it at all, that America is fundamentally a good and exceptional country.

One of those two competing visions will triumph in November. That’s frightening enough, but there’s something darker coming if the Democrats win. There is a growing intolerance on the left of thoughts and opinions, both the holding of them and the sharing of them, that deviate from the orthodox left perspective.

Regarding climate science, the left increasingly considers skepticism of apocalyptic claims to be “anti-science.” That’s a mistaken view, but it’s invoked to justify the silencing, for the public’s own good, of those skeptical of alarmist predictions.

Regarding the coronavirus, the left portrays those who believe that we are overreacting to a serious but not extraordinary health threat as “anti-science,” stigmatizing and silencing the growing number of medical professionals and normal citizens who think that ongoing lockdowns do more harm than good.

Regarding sexuality, any critique of the left’s increasingly radical embrace of gender diversity and rejection of sexual identity or meaning is met with efforts to silence and “cancel” critics by accusing them of “hate crimes.”

Regarding free speech, the left supports angry mobs of self-appointed Antifa thought police who take it upon themselves to violently suppress any speech they deem “hateful.”

Regarding race, any attempt to question the demonstrably, statistically flawed claims of the Black Lives Matter movement are met with accusations of racism and, again, aggressive and sometimes violent efforts to silence the opposing viewpoint and cancel or deplatform anyone who dares express it.

The theme is obvious: as we are witnessing today in social media and mainstream news, silencing dissenting views and controlling what normal people can say and hear is an accepted part of the left’s approach to politics and culture. Twitter, Facebook, Google, mainstream media, and urban street mobs all practice censorship in their efforts to further one side of the political and cultural debate.

It would be foolish to imagine that a victorious left will be less bold in its intolerance, its violence, and its aggressive suppression of free speech and opposing viewpoints.

There’s more at stake here than mere policy. The right of a people to safely express dissent, to believe what they wish, and to speak what they believe is under attack.

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  1. James Lileks Contributor

    There’s more at stake here than mere policy. The right of a people to safely express dissent, to believe what they wish and to speak what they believe, is under attack.

     As the other side would put it: the right of people to be free from harmful speech, to be free from the violence of transphobic / racist / patriarchal expression, and to be safe from racism, must be secured. By whatever means necessary. The gradual unraveling of the belief in the First Amendment has provided the intellectual cover for suppressing wrongthink. They believe the theater is on fire, and want to arrest the person who says that’s just the red glow of the Exit sign.

    • #1
    • October 25, 2020, at 10:13 PM PDT
    • 13 likes
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Any day now, in spite of the Left’s hatred of America, they will say those who disagree with them and speak out against them are anti-American. Watch for it.

    • #2
    • October 26, 2020, at 8:03 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  3. The Reticulator Member

    Joan d’Arc was at stake. Thomas Cranmer was at stake. Girolamo Savonarola was at stake. There will be others.

    • #3
    • October 26, 2020, at 8:25 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):
     As the other side would put it: the right of people to be free from harmful speech, to be free from the violence of transphobic / racist / patriarchal expression, and to be safe from racism, must be secured. By whatever means necessary. 

    JamesL,

    Why don’t we give them a hand with this. All those isms to keep track of. Let’s sum it all up for them.

    They wish to be safe from reality.

    Unfortunately, only Gd could possibly accomplish that task. They don’t want to believe in Gd, so they hope that government will do the job. Like any deal with the devil, they won’t get what they want. Instead, they will get poverty, tyranny, and genocide. Guaranteed.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #4
    • October 26, 2020, at 12:46 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  5. JennaStocker Member

    The left takes to speech like they do patriotism: Dissent is patriotic, except when dissenting with their views, then it’s racism or bigotry. Speech is violence when facts offend their particular sensibilities; it’s worthy of a near four year investigation & impeachment when lies are peddled as facts. Hypocrisy may never be an admirable trait, but for politicians, it’s an important job requirement.

    • #5
    • October 26, 2020, at 9:45 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  6. James Lileks Contributor

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    They wish to be safe from reality.

    What you call “reality” is an illusion created by social constructs imposed on us by capitalism, bolstered by ideas such as “Empiricism” and “rational inquiry” and the rest of the Western modes of thought that privilege and center the colonialist mindset while disempowering non-Western approaches to interpreting the data. If we truly desire to attain a different reality, we can do so, but it requires us to utterly reject the systems that have kept us from seeing what that different reality could be like.

    (calendarpagesfallingaway.gif)

    Why are we starving, and why are the trains that take my neighbors away never bring them back?

    • #6
    • October 26, 2020, at 9:51 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    They wish to be safe from reality.

    What you call “reality” is an illusion created by social constructs imposed on us by capitalism, bolstered by ideas such as “Empiricism” and “rational inquiry” and the rest of the Western modes of thought that privilege and center the colonialist mindset while disempowering non-Western approaches to interpreting the data. If we truly desire to attain a different reality, we can do so, but it requires us to utterly reject the systems that have kept us from seeing what that different reality could be like.

    (calendarpagesfallingaway.gif)

    Why are we starving, and why are the trains that take my neighbors away never bring them back?

    I occasionally talk to intelligent, thoughtful progressives, and I almost always come away marveling at the vastness of the gulf that separates us. Worse, I often find that, upon reflection, the sporadic concord I thought we had reached, on those points about which we seemed to be in at least partial agreement, are illusory: our views are so divergent that we can say exactly the same thing and yet be at antipodes.

    I think most of us have had the experience of reading an article, nodding approvingly at what the author says, and then discovering that the author is enumerating what he considers to be sins, not virtues. I recently recorded a lengthy podcast with a couple of charming, hyper-educated, hard-left technocrats, during which I represented the alien world of conservative thought. I thought it went very well, until I listened to my recording of the two and a half hour conversation and realized that we were often talking past each other, albeit in a good-natured way.

    Conservatives and radicals are very different creatures. I think the differences are largely irreconcilable.

    • #7
    • October 26, 2020, at 10:11 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  8. RufusRJones Member

    Another one I would add is, the Biden family is hopelessly corrupt and compromised. This thing is really bad, and then the deep state and the media are helping them. If you want to get up to speed on it really fast, I recommend the last two Newt Gingrich podcasts and Joe diGenova on yesterday’s Howie Carr show.

     

     

    • #8
    • October 27, 2020, at 2:16 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  9. KevinKrisher Coolidge

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    They wish to be safe from reality.

    What you call “reality” is an illusion created by social constructs imposed on us by capitalism, bolstered by ideas such as “Empiricism” and “rational inquiry” and the rest of the Western modes of thought that privilege and center the colonialist mindset while disempowering non-Western approaches to interpreting the data. If we truly desire to attain a different reality, we can do so, but it requires us to utterly reject the systems that have kept us from seeing what that different reality could be like.

    (calendarpagesfallingaway.gif)

    Why are we starving, and why are the trains that take my neighbors away never bring them back?

    Wow, I didn’t know that you could speak Woke!

    As Orwell pointed out, language and perception influence one another, but neither determine objective reality.

    • #9
    • October 27, 2020, at 4:27 AM PDT
    • Like
  10. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Hank, I am quite pessimistic about the future. I worry that the Republican Party presents an optimistic message by ignoring the slow-motion train-wreck that we’ve been experiencing for my entire life. And I’m no spring chicken.

    I think that the most important single issue is the preservation and resurgence of the Christian faith. This is difficult to affect politically, for understandable Constitutional reasons. But the pro-homosexuality movement is a particularly bad factor on this issue, as it declares the teaching of the Christian faith to be not just wrong, but evil. I do not see the Republicans opposing this in any meaningful way. The President, who I strongly support, seems to be on the other side on this one.

    I think that the second most important issue is marriage and family. The facts are catastrophic. Marriage rates are down significantly, and illegitimacy rates have soared. I do not see the Republicans doing anything meaningful about this. It is not even mentioned in your post.

    In fact, solving this second problem runs counter to your expression of the difference between the parties. You say that the Republicans want government that has “a relatively light touch on our lives,” and criticize the Democrats for wanting a government that “regulates more, prohibits more, all for the good of the people.” I don’t see a viable way to address the issue of the family without some regulation and prohibition.

    Sorry to pour cold water on an optimistic post.

    I do not say that we are doomed. The Lord is in charge, and He can turn things around. We also need to do our part. At the moment, the trends seem pretty unfavorable.

    • #10
    • October 27, 2020, at 6:44 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  11. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    What you call “reality” is an illusion created by social constructs imposed on us by capitalism, bolstered by ideas such as “Empiricism” and “rational inquiry” and the rest of the Western modes of thought that privilege and center the colonialist mindset while disempowering non-Western approaches to interpreting the data.

    JamesL,

    I have been properly chastised. However, it does seem odd that one could claim to “believe” in science and not believe in empiricism, rational inquiry, and the Western approach to interpreting data. I remember a story that I once heard. A gentleman was walking in the woods one day. He came upon a large tree. There on the tree, someone had drawn concentric circles with a large red dot in the center. An arrow was sticking out of the large red dot. Then he saw some way up the path a young lad with a bow and quiver of arrows. He called to him, “Did you do that?”. The boy answered back, “Yes”. “How far away were you when you shot the arrow?” The boy pointed to a spot at least 70 yards from the tree. “Amazing”, said the gentleman. “You hit the bullseye from over 70 yards away.” The boy responded, “No, I hit the tree from 70 yards away, and then I draw the target and bullseye around my arrow. I find that I am much more accurate when I do it in that order.”

    My truth v Your truth. My science v Your science.

    Stupidity Uber Alles.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #11
    • October 27, 2020, at 7:43 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  12. Gary Robbins Reagan

    Much of what you say is true. The problem is not Trump’s policies, it is his character and his incompetence. I have posted in the Member about this instead of filing a rebuttal in your post. https://ricochet.com/817705/last-call-the-most-powerful-ad-of-the-2020-election/

    [Edit. I am so glad that I created my own post instead of placing a long comment about Trump and COVID here. That post degenerated quickly, and would detracted from his post, if it were a comment. Gary]

    • #12
    • October 27, 2020, at 2:32 PM PDT
    • Like
    • This comment has been edited.
  13. The Reticulator Member

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Much of what you say is true. The problem is not Trump’s policies, it is his character and his incompetence.

    I don’t believe you, because you say these things and then you go and vote for Biden. I don’t believe most of the people who are against Trump are willing to tell us (or themselves) the real reasons they are against Trump. Because if they were really against the things they claim to be against, a lot of other political behaviors on their part would have to change, too.

    • #13
    • October 27, 2020, at 3:19 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  14. Flicker Coolidge

    Never Trumpers seem to have both disassociative thinking and conscienceless violent impulses similar to schizophrenics.

    • #14
    • October 28, 2020, at 4:34 PM PDT
    • Like
  15. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Never Trumpers seem to have both disassociative thinking and conscienceless violent impulses similar to schizophrenics.

    That could be. Unfortunately, I’m not licensed to practice clinical psychology in the state of New York.

    • #15
    • October 28, 2020, at 5:24 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  16. Flicker Coolidge

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Never Trumpers seem to have both disassociative thinking and conscienceless violent impulses similar to schizophrenics.

    That could be. Unfortunately, I’m not licensed to practice clinical psychology in the state of New York.

    Neither am I. That’s why I am free to make such an outlandish and unverifiable comment. Nonetheless, I find it hard to understand the thinking of, for example, Johan Goldberg, who wrote a great text on socialism and yet for some reason doesn’t see that he’s reinforcing and fostering a socialist agenda. And a form of severe mental illness seems to be the only reasonable answer.

    By the way, even phobias and neuroses can be deadly, and those considered otherwise benign mild mental illnesses such as OCD and Anorexia Nervosa have led people to waste away and die. So my arguing that political irrationality and delusions are likely is not really going out on a limb.

    [I meant “Jonah” but I’ll leave it because I kind of like it.]

    • #16
    • October 28, 2020, at 6:54 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.