16 votes

Ask Andrew W.K.: My Dad Is a Right-Wing Asshole

73 comments

  1. [22]
    Loire
    Link
    Does this qualify as ENLIGHTENEDCENTRISM or is just painful naivity? What is this Hallmark card bullshit? Here's a novel idea: some people are bad and it doesn't make you equally bad for...

    The world isn’t being destroyed by democrats or republicans, red or blue, liberal or conservative, religious or atheist — the world is being destroyed by one side believing the other side is destroying the world.

    Does this qualify as ENLIGHTENEDCENTRISM or is just painful naivity?

    When we truly believe that some people are monsters, that they fundamentally are less human than we are, and that they deserve to have less than we do, we ourselves become the monsters.

    What is this Hallmark card bullshit? Here's a novel idea: some people are bad and it doesn't make you equally bad for recognizing that.

    When we anticipate with ferocious glee the next chance we have to prove someone “wrong” and ourselves “right,” all the while disregarding the vast complexity of almost every subject — not to mention the universe as a whole — we are reducing the beauty and magic of life to a “side” or a “type,” or worst of all, an “answer.” This is the power of politics at it’s most sinister.

    The complex idea: We have less three decades to more than cut our current emissions in half or face catastrophic enviromental consequences. One side is trying to navigate this already difficult scenario, one side is pretending there is no issue. Is the "beauty and magic of life" going to solve this civilizational issue for us?

    We must be tireless in our efforts to see things from the point of view we most disagree with. We must make endless efforts to try and understand the people we least relate to. And we must at all times force ourselves to love the people we dislike the most.

    Ahh yes. If your opponent sincerely believes in the genocide of another race, just try to see things from their perspective. Disagree with concentration camps? Have you considered your opponents arguments for their importance? Care about preserving the climate? But what about just doing nothing instead?

    Thank you Andrew W.K. you've solved everything.

    It remains our only real hope for survival and has more power to save us than any other belief we could ever cling to.

    Here I thought rigorous societal and industrial transformation prioritizing scientific concensus and solutions was our only real hope for survival. Who knew love conquers all.

    40 votes
    1. [2]
      Artrax
      Link Parent
      Empathy != Sympathy. We are confronted with the problem that those kinds of people exist. They express their opinion and vote. No ones going to change them by yelling at them. Yes, of course their...

      Empathy != Sympathy.
      We are confronted with the problem that those kinds of people exist. They express their opinion and vote.
      No ones going to change them by yelling at them.

      Yes, of course their believes are from pretty much every even modestly rational point of view bad (e.g. immigration massively benefits the economy and also improves the situation of not-so-well-of folks), but being right doesn't mean anything when no one cares.

      Think about it this way: Are you more inclined to talk to a salesman when he is friendly and tries show you options on how to solve things you have problems with or an agent that is yelling at you, demanding that you buy their stuff. The quality of the product he offers might be superior to what you already use, but you'll still walk away.

      18 votes
      1. moocow1452
        Link Parent
        This reminds me of a TED Talk, https://youtu.be/waVUm5bhLbg Long and short is that if you are in a place where you can talk to people and they want to listen, you can do so, but they're not...

        Empathy != Sympathy

        This reminds me of a TED Talk,

        https://youtu.be/waVUm5bhLbg

        Long and short is that if you are in a place where you can talk to people and they want to listen, you can do so, but they're not entitled to your ear and if they want you dead or transformed into something your not, you are under no obligation to attempt to negotiate known unnegotiables.

        6 votes
    2. [3]
      Thunder-ten-tronckh
      Link Parent
      Not gonna lie, it's distressing to see things like "ENLIGHTENEDCENTRISM" and "Hallmark card bullshit" in response to a guy simply advocating for a son to view his father with empathy, to help...

      Not gonna lie, it's distressing to see things like "ENLIGHTENEDCENTRISM" and "Hallmark card bullshit" in response to a guy simply advocating for a son to view his father with empathy, to help salvage their relationship when politics threatens their perception of one another.

      Between science denial and genocide, have you noticed how many things you've attached to this article that actually have nothing to do with it? Why are you taking Andrew's words about a specific interpersonal conflict and applying them to unrelated circumstances? Clearly, not all of W.K.'s ideas apply broadly to every aspect of political discourse—yet you're ripping his words to shreds because they don't.

      At the risk of sounding condescending, I think you should take a step back and look at the assumptions you're making based on nothing more than the premise of someone's political position. It's the same type of judgement that's threatening this guy's relationship with his dad.

      9 votes
      1. Loire
        Link Parent
        Not the relationship in itself? You don't believe that his dad's politics can affect their relationship even ignoring specific policy beliefs? Nobody's relationship broke down to the point of...

        It's the same type of judgement that's threatening this guy's relationship with his dad.

        Not the relationship in itself? You don't believe that his dad's politics can affect their relationship even ignoring specific policy beliefs?

        Nobody's relationship broke down to the point of writing a letter to a C-List rocker for help because of general political disagreement. One, or both of them have taken to antagonizing eachother outside of the peculiars of foreign policy, and the direction Republican politics have gone over the last four years, it's very likely the dad antagonizing the son. Got to stick it to the libs.

        Also I clearly should have left out the genocide comment I was making an exampke of a possible opposing political view that would be ridiculous to "see from your opponents side" and people assume Im specifically refering to Republicans. Maybe that ib itself says something.

        6 votes
      2. FatherGlucose
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Your argument can also apply to W.K. He's extrapolating a lot based on a small paragraph the son wrote about his father. It could have been written in a time of frustration, anger or argument and...

        Your argument can also apply to W.K. He's extrapolating a lot based on a small paragraph the son wrote about his father. It could have been written in a time of frustration, anger or argument and does not necessarily represent their relationship.

        Why are you taking Andrew's words about a specific interpersonal conflict and applying them to unrelated circumstances?

        Because Andrew himself wrote them in a way that presents his words as general truths.

        The world isn’t being destroyed by democrats or republicans, red or blue, liberal or conservative, religious or atheist — the world is being destroyed by one side believing the other side is destroying the world.

        This is a pretty blanket statement to make, and honestly, to me, sounds like something people say to give the appearance that they have a deeper understanding of the world past all the colors and flags without bringing anything substantial to the table. The truth is, our environment is being destroyed, wars are being waged and some sides are more aware to the harm being done while other sides are either turning a blind eye, or worse: completely causing or enabling this behaviour. Some sides are more guilty than others in placing us in the current mess that we're in.

        The author of the anonymous letter seems to think that his father holds some opinions that will lead to some actions that are detrimental to their surrounding and society. He wanted some advice about how to have a more comprehensive and productive discussion with his father, in order to try to make the father see how his son perceives his view of the world wrong and hopefully, according to the son, turn his father into a better person.

        W.K went on a tangent, ranting about the current polarization of the world and attempting to draw statements that, honestly feel half baked. To quote one and counter one of them:

        So we must protect and respect each other, no matter how hard it feels. No matter how wrong someone else may seem to us, they are still human.

        Respect is not a fundamental right. Respect is earned and lost. Respect can be justifiably lost based on opinions an individual holds and actions done.
        Humans by definition are humans. Humans are animals too. Humans can be harmful, directly or indirectly. Some humans are intentionally harmful, there is no reason to feel a need to protect humans that mean one harm or not to view them as anything other than a threat.
        This is just one line. Many of his lines are written in this style, giving the impression of them being hard truths about the world. Throughout the body of his reply, he makes no mention about the author's father, or addresses the author with some context-based examples on how to approach a strained father-son relationship. The reality is that most of these statements are general enough that they are true and wrong, and have to be thought about on a case by case basis taking context into mind, but W.K did no attempt at conveying his words in such a way.

        He ends his reply by telling the author to love his father no matter what, something the author already expressed in his letter to W.K.

        Don’t feel the need to always pick a side

        Not picking a side is picking a side. If W.K is frustrated that the son is failing to see the nuances when looking at his dad, then W.K is failing to see that the world is not balanced, that by not picking a side, that by loving everyone around us, some sides, namely oppressors, will unjustly benefit more from it while others risk to suffer from it.

        I think that is what a lot of people are frustrated about in W.K's answer.

        5 votes
    3. [16]
      PopeRigby
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      These were my exact thoughts when I posted this. Humanizing Nazis and science deniers does nothing but give them legitimacy.

      These were my exact thoughts when I posted this. Humanizing Nazis and science deniers does nothing but give them legitimacy.

      12 votes
      1. [14]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        No, it doesn't. It means recognising that, just like you, they are human beings. They are complex. They have feelings. They have their own experiences, which colour their opinions. They are not...

        Humanizing Nazis and science deniers does nothing but give them legitimacy.

        No, it doesn't. It means recognising that, just like you, they are human beings. They are complex. They have feelings. They have their own experiences, which colour their opinions. They are not just cardboard cutouts or stereotypes.

        By depersonalising supposed Nazis, you are performing exactly the same behaviour that you don't like in them. They reduce whole groups of people to simple stereotypes and then use those stereotypes to say that those other people are not really human. You're doing exactly the same thing.

        19 votes
        1. [9]
          Whom
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Really? Is that what I (we) don't like fascists for? Just because they simplify another group and don't recognize their humanity? That's a pretty massive assumption. No, the reason I hate fascists...

          Really? Is that what I (we) don't like fascists for? Just because they simplify another group and don't recognize their humanity? That's a pretty massive assumption. No, the reason I hate fascists is more specific than that. They perform that action against people who have done nothing wrong, based on bullshit criteria like race. They use that tactic as a first step to genocide and other atrocities.

          Also, you're ignoring the effect of humanizing a group as a rhetorical choice. Yes, everyone is human, but humanizing isn't just a recognition of that fact which is entirely neutral and does nothing more than make people realize "this person is human." Humanizing is a powerful force which leads to massive changes in action and perspective which take the humanized into consideration, hence why it's a massive part of civil rights and anti-discrimination movements. By humanizing someone, you're inherently inviting people to come try and understand their views. You're doing their propaganda work for them while you think you're promoting peace, love, and unity or whatever.

          Recognizing humanity is relevant if we're going to understand how these people are created and combatting that that process...obviously. That's one piece of the puzzle for a specific kind of resistance. Humanizing them, on the other hand, is doing exactly what they want and making their views more acceptable. It's making them into just people with views, instead of the massive threat that they are. In the vast majority of cases, I'm okay with not taking into consideration the humanity of them and I'm certainly not spreading that message.

          I don't care about their feelings if they want to be on a forum with me but can't. I don't care about their feelings if they want to start a genocide but can't. I have better things to do than pondering how a fuckin' Nazi feels or making sure my internal image of what they're like is fair to them. So yes, I'll reduce them to just "the enemy."

          18 votes
          1. [2]
            Algernon_Asimov
            Link Parent
            But, ultimately, they are humans. They are people. With apologies to William Shakespeare: if you prick them, they do bleed; if you tickle them, they do laugh; if you poison them, they do die....

            But, ultimately, they are humans. They are people. With apologies to William Shakespeare: if you prick them, they do bleed; if you tickle them, they do laugh; if you poison them, they do die. (That's not a suggestion!) They are each people in their own right.

            You're not achieving anything by denouncing them as inhuman monsters.

            I have better things to do than pondering how a fuckin' Nazi feels or making sure my internal image of what they're like is fair to them.

            In other words, you have no idea why Nazis think the way they think - which means you have no idea how to stop them thinking that way. And, thought drives action.

            10 votes
            1. Whom
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              Yup, they're human. That doesn't carry much meaning to me, if I'm honest. Repeating that doesn't challenge anything I've said. A member of my species can be so awful that I have no concern for...

              Yup, they're human. That doesn't carry much meaning to me, if I'm honest. Repeating that doesn't challenge anything I've said. A member of my species can be so awful that I have no concern for them whatsoever, and Nazis are well into that area. Someone literally being a human doesn't mean I should publicly affirm that they are human, as that carries much more than just that affirmation.

              In other words, you have no idea why Nazis think the way they think - which means you have no idea how to stop them thinking that way.

              Sure, if you ignore that I specifically said taking that into account for the task of stopping the spread of the ideology is obviously useful. But beyond that I also disagree that changing minds is the ultimate form of anti-fascism. Changing minds is a far-off and extremely difficult goal. I don't care to try at that if the thing you do to try and change minds makes it easier for the ideology to spread. In that case, you're working against yourself.

              So no, I don't think the fact that I don't care about the feelings of a Nazi does anything useful. But publicly proclaiming the humanity of Nazis normalizes them as just another kind of person—just like doing the same with various racial groups has accomplished very positive things. It affirms that as just another way to live, regardless of if you think it's just recognition of a basic fact.

              I don't think I'm achieving much by making them distant monsters. I think the alternative is harmful, not that what I do is particularly helpful.

              15 votes
          2. [3]
            TheJorro
            Link Parent
            It's important to humanize them so you don't end up treating them like they treat the people they dehumanize.

            It's important to humanize them so you don't end up treating them like they treat the people they dehumanize.

            6 votes
            1. [2]
              alyaza
              Link Parent
              i mean, i'm pretty fine with treating people who want literal, actual genocide and enslavement of everybody they consider inferior the way they treat the people they want to genocide and enslave,...

              i mean, i'm pretty fine with treating people who want literal, actual genocide and enslavement of everybody they consider inferior the way they treat the people they want to genocide and enslave, personally. in general i feel like you really forfeit your right to being treated humanely when your whole belief system consists of the inhumane treatment and annihilation of everybody but people you look like.

              15 votes
              1. TheJorro
                Link Parent
                As long as you can turn the gun on yourself when you go too far. There's an ethical way to wage war, and an unethical one. Dehumanization can quickly lead to the latter.

                As long as you can turn the gun on yourself when you go too far. There's an ethical way to wage war, and an unethical one. Dehumanization can quickly lead to the latter.

                4 votes
          3. [3]
            LukeZaz
            Link Parent
            The end point of this all is not to try to see any supposed reason in their views, but rather see why they adopted them. Fascist views are shit, and by all accounts those who espouse them are...

            The end point of this all is not to try to see any supposed reason in their views, but rather see why they adopted them. Fascist views are shit, and by all accounts those who espouse them are being absolutely shit, but the idea is to see what caused the issue so you can figure out how to fix it. That's the goal, after all: to correct harmful opinions. You can't do that by calling someone a monster — they'll just not listen to you, and it'll escalate a potentially already-dangerous situation by increasing tension.

            3 votes
            1. [2]
              Whom
              Link Parent
              Well first: I think it's somewhat useful for combatting the spread of fascism. Analysis of that kind is exactly how I came to my (not super relevant here) conclusions about what long-term...

              Well first:

              Recognizing humanity is relevant if we're going to understand how these people are created and combatting that that process...obviously. That's one piece of the puzzle for a specific kind of resistance.

              I think it's somewhat useful for combatting the spread of fascism. Analysis of that kind is exactly how I came to my (not super relevant here) conclusions about what long-term anti-fascism looks like.

              Correcting harmful opinions, though? I think it's horribly naive to think that we're going to be able to change a meaningful amount of minds. We're not gonna love the Nazism out of them, nor are we gonna argue it out. What we can do is create a climate which doesn't allow the spread, and constantly affirming the humanity of fascists does the opposite.

              This does get more complicated. I believe hostility to fascism is only one piece of the puzzle as well. There are real fears which fascism gives shitty answers to and redirects toward innocent people. There are root causes which go further and do come from some understanding of how fascists...happen. None of that requires me to go out and affirm the humanity of fascists.

              3 votes
              1. LukeZaz
                Link Parent
                It is true that understanding as a strategy doesn't scale well, yeah. But that said, I'm not sure it has to. I view this as more of an individual or small-scale strategy for changing the minds of...

                It is true that understanding as a strategy doesn't scale well, yeah. But that said, I'm not sure it has to. I view this as more of an individual or small-scale strategy for changing the minds of those you know or can otherwise reach via effort. I realize that won't fix the problem, or even likely make much of a dent, but widespread adoption of that tactic would certainly help.

                No doubt about it that you're right in that it's a complicated issue that no one thing can solve, though. I agree that overprioritizing understanding on large scales (e.g. popular websites, television, etc) may well only allow the toxicity to spread, so I'm absolutely for attempting to reign it in. It's just a matter of balancing the two. Some speak only vitriol online to those they disagree with – which I believe only worsens the problem – but others take understanding too far, creating platforms with initially noble-sounding goals (such as absolute free speech) but which end up propagating hate.

                1 vote
        2. Thunder-ten-tronckh
          Link Parent
          The sheer volume of rhetorical gymnastics in this thread to justify the practice of dehumanizing others based on nothing more than the premise of their political beliefs is sincerely...

          The sheer volume of rhetorical gymnastics in this thread to justify the practice of dehumanizing others based on nothing more than the premise of their political beliefs is sincerely disheartening. Regardless, I appreciate your efforts in supporting empathy and understanding.

          8 votes
        3. [3]
          PopeRigby
          Link Parent
          How are we supposed to fight them then? It's hard not to feel powerless against people like this.

          How are we supposed to fight them then? It's hard not to feel powerless against people like this.

          4 votes
          1. Algernon_Asimov
            Link Parent
            How were you fighting them before? I assume you weren't just writing internet comments that denounced "Nazis and science deniers" as inhuman monsters; that wouldn't achieve anything. You fight...

            How were you fighting them before? I assume you weren't just writing internet comments that denounced "Nazis and science deniers" as inhuman monsters; that wouldn't achieve anything.

            You fight them the same way:

            • Vote. Vote early and vote often, as the saying goes.

            • Protest. Get out on the streets and show the world that "Nazis and science deniers" don't speak for you. (Peacefully, of course.)

            • Write letters. Find a Congressperson or Member of Parliament and write to them. Let them know your views.

            • Take action. Do what's necessary to make non-racism happen, and to reduce climate change. Be the change you want to see in the world, as Gandhi is reported to have said.

            And so on.

            The only difference is that you're focussing on the other people's views instead of the people themselves. Don't focus on denouncing Mr ABC as an inhuman monster, focus on arguing against the views he's supporting.

            9 votes
          2. wfrced
            Link Parent
            You are not supposed to 'fight them'. In what is called democratic establishments, you are supposed to exercize power by communicating and voting to elect representatives that make general...

            You are not supposed to 'fight them'. In what is called democratic establishments, you are supposed to exercize power by communicating and voting to elect representatives that make general decisions and create laws. The laws are a set of rules that imply a punishment for breaking them. The punishment is usually carried out by law enforcement organizations, which, in turn, are supposed to be controlled by people.
            The racial supremacist groups are nice examples of proper minority groups (racial 'minorities' are not by the way, the ridiculous formal division of people into 'races' is, quite literally, racism and has nothing to do with political minorities). What are you supposed to do when you do not agree with their views? You are supposed to not vote for representatives that share their views (shouldn't be that hard if they are a minority; if they are a majority, well, that's democracy for you). Those members who break the law are supposed to be punished by LEOs accordingly.
            You feel powerless because you are trying to treat the symptoms instead of the cause. People will always make mistakes, but different political systems offer different feedback loops - some of them dramatically amplify the impact of poor decisions.
            Assume that whatever you call bad people (that you dont consider humanizing, whatever that means) don't exist anymore - they just disappeared in a blink. This time for real, not just officially like in 1945, for example. Do you think that without significant changes to the way of thinking and living people wouldn't arrive in the same spot?

            4 votes
      2. Thunder-ten-tronckh
        Link Parent
        Who are the Nazis you're referring to? In the article, Mr. "Son of a Right-Winger" offers zero evidence that his father is a Nazi. All he said was:

        Who are the Nazis you're referring to? In the article, Mr. "Son of a Right-Winger" offers zero evidence that his father is a Nazi. All he said was:

        He’s a 65-year-old super right-wing conservative who has basically turned into a total asshole intent on ruining our relationship and our planet with his politics.

        5 votes
  2. [5]
    monarda
    Link
    This weekend we had two mass shootings. When it came out that the 2nd shooter leaned left, my gut reaction was, "oh my god, we totally failed this young man." On further reflection I noticed I did...

    This weekend we had two mass shootings. When it came out that the 2nd shooter leaned left, my gut reaction was, "oh my god, we totally failed this young man." On further reflection I noticed I did not have the same reaction to the first shooter -- I had deemed him other.

    How fucked up of me.

    We, as a society, have failed. I wonder how much of our day to day interactions are tempered by love for our fellow humans. It seems like it is not. It seems like if we can put someone into the "other" category, we no longer feel the need to feel anything but contempt because our contempt is justified.

    I'm just really sad at the hate I see. I am sad that we are so divided that we can't even seem to speak to each other anymore. Under my tin hat, I believe this is intended, and it makes me even more sad that we allow ourselves to be manipulated in such a fucked up way, or rather that I allow myself to be manipulated this way. I thought I was vigilant.

    23 votes
    1. [3]
      knocklessmonster
      Link Parent
      Can you give me a source on this second shooter? I'm just curious about the motivation in contrast to the white nationalist motivations of the last few. Even where it happens would be enough,...

      Can you give me a source on this second shooter? I'm just curious about the motivation in contrast to the white nationalist motivations of the last few.

      Even where it happens would be enough, frankly, so I can Google it myself.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        imperialismus
        Link Parent
        Snopes: CNN says he even liked a pro-guncontrol tweet just days before the shooting.

        Snopes:

        Police have stated that they are “not close at all” to figuring out a motive for the shooting. The specific claim that Betts described himself on social media as a leftist, as pro-Satan, and as an Elizabeth Warren supporter, however, is true.

        CNN says he even liked a pro-guncontrol tweet just days before the shooting.

        6 votes
        1. knocklessmonster
          Link Parent
          I hadn't even heard the right-wing spin, but had thought it was another white nationalist thing, not a deranged copycat.

          I hadn't even heard the right-wing spin, but had thought it was another white nationalist thing, not a deranged copycat.

          1 vote
    2. Bullmaestro
      Link Parent
      Sometimes, I look at our society and feel like we need a reset button. Especially when I look at the bile that parts of the internet (4chan, 8chan, Voat, Reddit, etc) keep spewing out.

      Sometimes, I look at our society and feel like we need a reset button. Especially when I look at the bile that parts of the internet (4chan, 8chan, Voat, Reddit, etc) keep spewing out.

      1 vote
  3. [2]
    feigneddork
    Link
    There are some really good points here, but I just want to add that this was written in 2014. Back then Obama was still president, so there may have been a bit more... optimism in how we see...

    There are some really good points here, but I just want to add that this was written in 2014. Back then Obama was still president, so there may have been a bit more... optimism in how we see people. At least back then shit wasn't quite as devisive as it is now.

    19 votes
    1. PopeRigby
      Link Parent
      You're right. I didn't notice than when I posted. I got this from a chat room I'm in, and I didn't check the date for some reason.

      You're right. I didn't notice than when I posted. I got this from a chat room I'm in, and I didn't check the date for some reason.

      3 votes
  4. meme
    Link
    In Andrew WK's ideal world, how are disagreements resolved between two highly opposed forces? For example, Republicans think abortion is killing a baby and Democrats thinking outlawing abortion is...

    the world is being destroyed by one side believing the other side is destroying the world.

    In Andrew WK's ideal world, how are disagreements resolved between two highly opposed forces? For example, Republicans think abortion is killing a baby and Democrats thinking outlawing abortion is a violation of women's bodily autonomy. If both sides recognize each other as full humans with varied beliefs, how does that get us any closer to deciding if abortion should be legal or not? One side must win and one side must lose.

    Politics isn't about holding hands and singing kumbaya, it's about brokering decisions between disagreeing groups of people. As long as human beings have different beliefs and different goals, it's going to be contentious. Thinking that the other side is "destroying the world" is just a recognition of having your beliefs and goals about the world be failed because another side's vision got to govern.

    At best, what Andrew WK is asking for is a democracy where people don't have any emotional attachments to politics. If I believe in "choice", you believe in "life", we go to the polls, and Republicans lose and your tax dollars are paying for babies to be murdered, you're not allowed to be angry about it or to think anything was destroyed.

    So his advice is for something even worse than radical centrism - apathy.

    If I was the one giving advice here I would have told the letter writer and his dad to be as passionate about politics as they liked, but to make a "no politics" rule at family gatherings. I would tell them to push past the tensions of past arguments to reforge their bonds and love with each other. You can hate Republican dad's political view and think he's voting to destroy the world and still love and get along with him. I manage this just fine with my own Republican relatives.

    9 votes
  5. [37]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. [27]
      Loire
      Link Parent
      Just a heads up you missed the reply and made a separate comment. Have you considered that the reason American politics are this polarized is because Republicans and their associates have been...

      Just a heads up you missed the reply and made a separate comment.

      The whole letter is a general appeal to our humanity, and you've turned it into a political debate. You're arguing against a giant angry straw man.

      Have you considered that the reason American politics are this polarized is because Republicans and their associates have been allowed to run roughshod with no pushback for three decades? That liberals have been reaching across the aisle while their conservative counterparts have been happy to take advantage with no reciprocation. That the polarization is an effect of them pushing politics as far to the right as they can get away with. For normalizing authoritarianism, fascism and white nationalism while also pushing climate denial until we were well over the cliff?

      The "appeal to humanity" is naive bullshit. The two sides aren't debating the fundamentals of tax rates anymore. This isn't a matter of balanced budgets versus running deficits. Love and the beauty of life are not going to solve the the fact that, in all reality, dude's dad has been brainwashed into a monster who likely takes pleasure in antagonizing his liberal child.

      When the American conservative comes back to reality we can start discussing humanity. Until then giving American conservatives the benefit of the doubt has resulted in literal concentration camps, climate catastrophe, massively for profit healthcare and the deaths that result, born and raised American's of colour being told to "go back where they came from", and a massive surge in right wing domestic terrorism.

      How is more understanding, more give an take going to fix that?

      16 votes
      1. [3]
        unknown user
        Link Parent
        As someone who's not really a part in this debate (if we limit it to the US), I can say that this attitude is not much different from stuff that Shaun or Three Arrows criticise on YouTube:...

        When the American conservative comes back to reality we can start discussing humanity. Until then giving American conservatives the benefit of the doubt has resulted in literal concentration camps, climate catastrophe, massively for profit healthcare and the deaths that result, born and raised American's of colour being told to "go back where they came from", and a massive surge in right wing domestic terrorism.

        As someone who's not really a part in this debate (if we limit it to the US), I can say that this attitude is not much different from stuff that Shaun or Three Arrows criticise on YouTube: reactionary reductionist screaming about. You manage to miss out on many occasions to display some nuance: "giving the conservatives the benefit of the doubt" need not mean conceding them powers, nor sympathising with these people and trying to reach out to them in order to overcome polarisation and meet somewhere in the middle should mean "giving [them] the benefit of the doubt." This attitude is only feeding the divide and those who benefit from the divide in a population. We could start with not doing the same kind of generalisations far righters or other extremists do when they call all Muslims terrorists or when they say that the left and the Jews are trying to destroy the western civilisation.

        Life is not a struggle to find what's right or what's wrong. It is an experience that when taken under objective scrutiny is an experiment in horror. If there are people who fall prey to stuff like alt-right or nazism or what not along the way, well, we should help them, for we can't split the world in two nor destroy that part of the population. We must recognise that most if not all of us that are not adhering to those philosophies were a book, a few forum posts or even a few videos away from having become instead one of "those" people. We must recognise that reaching out to our "opponents" works.

        There is one world and we gotta share it. We can't do that if we don't try to convince each other. If you become part of furthering a divide, you don't get to complain that it exists.

        Here, well, I didn't even read the article yet, but we're talking about someone's father. If you have both of your parents with you and you never lost or had one of them be absent for whatever reason (and them becoming a "right wing monster" is kinda close to that if it severes your relationship), it is easy to expect that people go all in on criticising their parents or stop seeing them or whatnot. But the reality is that is an extremist thought to have; loss of a parent is something heavy to live under the weight of, so a person who's nearing that just because idiotic politics needs sympathy, not a rhetoric on how people become monsters and how their parent is now a monster that's a menace to the society or who's potentially a mass murderer or whatnot.

        Left is about enlightening and only then empowering the masses; it's not about hating on those who are being exploited by political & economic factions for capitalist or imperial or oligarchic gains. Most of these people are not monsters, they are ignorant fools being exploited by organised fraudsters and liars, and thus merit sympathy and help. That you're apathetic to that need not, should not and indeed does not require a person who's in a vulnerable position regarding their parent be told that their parent is a monster or is inhuman.

        16 votes
        1. [2]
          moonbathers
          Link Parent
          It's reactionary screaming to be pissed that a third or more of the country supports a fascist regime? They want a lot of us to not exist, and maybe other people can work through that but I'm not...

          It's reactionary screaming to be pissed that a third or more of the country supports a fascist regime? They want a lot of us to not exist, and maybe other people can work through that but I'm not wasting a second of my time on people who think I'm a degenerate at best and causing the downfall of western civilization at worst.

          6 votes
          1. unknown user
            Link Parent
            What are you gonna do then? Live in a cave? Let them become the majority? I sympathise with you: time is too valuable to waste with stuff like this. I live in Turkey where it always leans more to...

            What are you gonna do then? Live in a cave? Let them become the majority?

            I sympathise with you: time is too valuable to waste with stuff like this. I live in Turkey where it always leans more to the right. I'm fed up with the corruption, the ignorance, the complete absence of embarrasement, the lying. I feel I can't do anything, and I feel I don't want to do anything for the lack of a big scale effect. But when the opportunity presents itself, like in this case, why avoid being more humane and more approachable? It literally works when you speak to someone in person and be sincere and show that you're a good-willing human. Even if they won't convert and come out in that very moment, you'll have planted a seed. You'll have debunked a myth they were bombarded with.

            We might want to live in our recycled-PET towers, but the world is happening and we're inevitably a part of it. I'm not going all in in a fight for enlightening the masses, but I also refuse to retreat to my tower. Just being out there, even anonymously on a forum, and being personable helps with this cause. I won't deny that to anybody, and I won't deny that to my future self.

            10 votes
      2. [11]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        You can't convince someone they're wrong if they're not listening to you. You can't compromise with someone if they're not listening to you. And they're not going to listen to you if you open with...

        How is more understanding, more give an take going to fix that?

        You can't convince someone they're wrong if they're not listening to you. You can't compromise with someone if they're not listening to you. And they're not going to listen to you if you open with "you're a monster".

        There's a piece of advice about arguing: if you don't understand your opponent's argument well enough to argue it for them, then you can't really argue against it very well. Extreme partisanship removes that ability or desire to understand the other person's point of view, or to try to empathise with their motives.

        More understanding can reduce partisanship and "other"-ing. Reduced partisanship can lead to open communications. Open communications can lead to compromise or changes of mind.

        Why are people so worried about immigrants? Why are they rejecting the science of climate change? Why are they against universal healthcare? What motives are driving them (their real motives, not just someone else saying "they're evil!")? I've seen studies which say that much conservatism is driven by fear. What are these people afraid of, and how can we reduce that fear so that they're open to listening to different points of view?

        That's how more understanding can fix things.

        10 votes
        1. [10]
          Akir
          Link Parent
          That strategy does not work well nor does it scale to the masses. My coworker's racism is deeply rooted to how his family and friends have been devastated by drugs, and I have no idea how I am...

          That strategy does not work well nor does it scale to the masses. My coworker's racism is deeply rooted to how his family and friends have been devastated by drugs, and I have no idea how I am going to convince him that it's not the fault of immigrants, let alone how to work through unique issues in literally hundreds of thousands of racists who by default do not want to talk to me.

          6 votes
          1. [9]
            Algernon_Asimov
            Link Parent
            But the situation we're discussing here is the relationship between one man and his father, not a demagogue and a whole country's population. And why wouldn't the same strategy work for your...

            That strategy does not work well nor does it scale to the masses.

            But the situation we're discussing here is the relationship between one man and his father, not a demagogue and a whole country's population.

            And why wouldn't the same strategy work for your co-worker? Why couldn't someone talk to him one-on-one, and convince him that his family's drug problems were not caused by immigrants? Maybe, as you imply, you aren't the right person to approach him about this, but there must be someone in his life who can have this conversation with him.

            6 votes
            1. [8]
              Akir
              Link Parent
              Racism and it's more immediately harmful cousin the white power movement don't exist in a vaccuum. The reason why it's so powerful is that it's socially reinforced. Every day there is more and...

              Racism and it's more immediately harmful cousin the white power movement don't exist in a vaccuum. The reason why it's so powerful is that it's socially reinforced. Every day there is more and more media being produced reinforcing these ideas, from terrible news sources to the very public remarks of the US President. It's a giant racism machine. And as long as it runs, it makes it impossible for them to see the problem with their line of thinking. Why do you think that Fox News constantly has their showmen talking about how trustworthy and popular the network is?

              You can't start treating a snake bite without first removing the snake. But the racism machine is a snake that the victim forces upon themselves. To remove it, they have to admit that they may not be as good a person as they thought they were, and admit that they were causing harm to people - often including to people they love. That's far harder than doubling down on their reliance on the hate machine.

              And why wouldn't the same strategy work for your co-worker? Why couldn't someone talk to him one-on-one, and convince him that his family's drug problems were not caused by immigrants? Maybe, as you imply, you aren't the right person to approach him about this, but there must be someone in his life who can have this conversation with him.

              I have tried talking to him about his extreme views. Do you want to know what he does? He gish gallops. He interrupts whatever I try to say, and he throws up three other topics that are tangentially related at best. I'm honestly terrified to make him too upset because I can see him going into a violent rage. Like most racists, he won't admit he has racist views. Instead he sees minorities as being the "true" racists. Every time he sees someone speaking anything other than English he goes on a tirade of hate.

              This is the major reason why I say that your approach does not work. I try to be his friend, and I can't get through to him. His older, closer friends haven't gotten through to him (and I have no choice but to believe they agree with him since he brings up race practically every day). And his family certainly hasn't helped either. So who else could change his mind?

              Here's the thing; I do think of him as a person who is deserving of love and I want him to be able to redeem himself as well. I've tried to calmly reason with him about it, and have never actually called him racist. I might have changed his mind on a few small things, but you just can't change people to change that easily.

              5 votes
              1. [4]
                Algernon_Asimov
                Link Parent
                To twist your metaphor: you can only deal with the one snake who's biting you right now, rather than the group of snakes over there. Each snake bite is caused by a snake biting you. Each snake you...

                You can't start treating a snake bite without first removing the snake.

                To twist your metaphor: you can only deal with the one snake who's biting you right now, rather than the group of snakes over there. Each snake bite is caused by a snake biting you. Each snake you de-fang is one less snake biting people.

                I have tried talking to him about his extreme views.

                Have you talked to him, or with him? Have you told him why you think he's wrong, or have you asked him why he thinks he's right? Do you understand his views well enough to put yourself in his shoes? Could you explain his reasons for racism to me here and now? Can you tell me about his fears and his reasoning and his motives?

                On a tangent: one of the strongest weapons in the LGBT community's arsenal is coming out. Studies (like this one have repeatedly shown that people who know an LGBT person - a family member, a friend, a colleague, a classmate, and so on - are less likely to have anti-LGBT feelings. Each person changes their mind about LGBT people due to their personal experiences with an LGBT person.

                I'm not saying that racists will stop being racist just because they meet a minority person in real life (although that can't hurt!). I'm saying that the only way to change a thousand minds is to change one mind at a time, a thousand times.

                3 votes
                1. [2]
                  Akir
                  Link Parent
                  One or both of us don't understand eachother's metaphors. I'm betting both of us. I feel like your second paragraph is a bit patronizing. Of course I'm not just lecturing him. I've listened to his...

                  One or both of us don't understand eachother's metaphors. I'm betting both of us.

                  I feel like your second paragraph is a bit patronizing. Of course I'm not just lecturing him. I've listened to his stories, know his fears, and understand his pain. He didn't tell me that he was a racist because of how drugs hurt his family and friends, that's what I've inferred from hours of conversations with him. I've made a point of understanding him even though there are plenty of parts of him that I really have come to hate.

                  Coming out won't help this one. I'm an out gay man, and he's OK with us.

                  Talking with people of color won't help him either. A few weeks ago a Hispanic security guard from next door came over asking us to call the police to disperse some homeless people who had camped out on the property because they had threatened to kill her. He had no sympathy whatsoever. As she left, he told me that she should go back to her country because she was an illegal immigrant - which he surmised because she had a slight accent. That's right; an accent was all it took for him to completely disregard a person's well-being.

                  5 votes
                  1. Algernon_Asimov
                    Link Parent
                    You're right - I think we are talking past each other here.

                    You're right - I think we are talking past each other here.

                    1 vote
                2. FZeroRacer
                  Link Parent
                  To use your own argument, are you talking with Akir, or talking at Akir? The reason why I bring this up is because often in these sort of arguments I see people advocating for talking to the...

                  To use your own argument, are you talking with Akir, or talking at Akir?

                  The reason why I bring this up is because often in these sort of arguments I see people advocating for talking to the alt-right, the racists, the bigots. Try to understand them, try to make emotional appeals. But you end up making the exact same argument that you argue against: It seems to come from a place of not understanding the reasons why someone decides to avoid engaging said toxic elements altogether. A black man choosing to engage a racist could end up with him getting killed if that man turns out to be a cop. Trying to engage with a man throwing anti-Muslim slurs can get you knifed [1]. And trying to defend yourself or your friends ends up with accusations of 'you just don't understand them'.

                  Do you understand those viewpoints and why people choose to demonize instead of engage? Can you put yourself in their shoes and be willing to risk your own life for the sake of convincing someone who is abusive or willing to assault you? This becomes more akin to cult deprogramming than a simple engagement of wits, and deprogramming isn't something that everyone can do. No one should have to convince someone else that their life is worth value, trying to argue that 'if you just understood why that person thinks you should literally be dead maybe you could convince them your life has value' always seems to come from an area of especially high privilege.

                  [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Portland_train_attack

                  4 votes
              2. [3]
                LukeZaz
                Link Parent
                That's just it though. If you've convinced him of even a few small things, that's progress. I don't think anyone can expect views as deeply ingrained as this to go away quickly, especially with...

                Here's the thing; I do think of him as a person who is deserving of love and I want him to be able to redeem himself as well. I've tried to calmly reason with him about it, and have never actually called him racist. I might have changed his mind on a few small things, but you just can't change people to change that easily.

                That's just it though. If you've convinced him of even a few small things, that's progress. I don't think anyone can expect views as deeply ingrained as this to go away quickly, especially with the situation the nation is in right now. But it doesn't have to happen overnight, or really even over a month, or year. If he doesn't listen to you in an individual conversation, that's not surprising, but even still you may have an effect that's not immediately visible. For every person challenging his views, he has to work harder to hold them up. Eventually, and with enough people criticizing those views, it's entirely possible he'll drop them.

                In order for that to happen though, he needs to be talking to those who disagree with the relevant extremism more than he does those who agree with it. If those who disagree push him away for his radical opinions, then all that'll be left for him to talk to will be those who agree, and they will reinforce his ideas instead of challenging them.

                2 votes
                1. [2]
                  Akir
                  Link Parent
                  Perhaps I should rephrase that. I have had him agree with me about small points, like how he conflates everyone on the left with the most extreme examples. However, even after he admitted the...

                  If you've convinced him of even a few small things, that's progress.

                  Perhaps I should rephrase that. I have had him agree with me about small points, like how he conflates everyone on the left with the most extreme examples. However, even after he admitted the problem with his reasoning, he went back to doing it a short while later.

                  You're right that he needs more contact with anti-racists and needs to stop connecting with extremists. However, I can't change the way he lives his life. I don't know enough to say that his friends are good or bad, and even if I did, I have no way to have him stop contact with them. I've seen him consume media from hate groups, but the thing about hate groups is that the seem innocent on the surface, so how can you convince them about how bad the group is? It's not like anyone on the right will suddenly start taking the SPLC seriously.

                  Let me re-emphasize that it's dangerous to escalate things with this person. He's very fit, gets angry quickly, and talks about fighting fairly regularly. The more I push, the more likely things will get violent.

                  3 votes
                  1. LukeZaz
                    Link Parent
                    That absolutely makes sense. I suppose I should clarify that when I advocate for understanding, I'm imagining contexts wherein nobody's trying to escalate so-to-speak so much as just encouraging...

                    That absolutely makes sense. I suppose I should clarify that when I advocate for understanding, I'm imagining contexts wherein nobody's trying to escalate so-to-speak so much as just encouraging dissenting discussion as a method of changing minds. If your co-worker is the kind of person to easily anger, then it's completely right of you to not push the subject.

                    I just think the mild pressure generated by being friends with those with good opinions should be valued, however small it may be, and that'd be why it's in turn valuable to attempt to get folks like this to respect you, even if you disagree strongly with them. There's no pressure to change your mind to that of someone you consider an 'enemy', but there definitely is if you consider them a friend.

      3. [12]
        boltsky
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        It hasn't been quite like this for three decades. You ran right past what you quoted: ...into exactly the type of thing the article is calling out. Conservatives bad, liberals good. You're lumping...

        Have you considered that the reason American politics are this polarized is because Republicans and their associates have been allowed to run roughshod with no pushback for three decades?

        It hasn't been quite like this for three decades. You ran right past what you quoted:

        The world isn’t being destroyed by democrats or republicans, red or blue, liberal or conservative, religious or atheist — the world is being destroyed by one side believing the other side is destroying the world.

        ...into exactly the type of thing the article is calling out. Conservatives bad, liberals good. You're lumping together everyone on the other side and blaming them for everything that is wrong, and that's exactly what you accuse them of doing.

        6 votes
        1. [10]
          thundergolfer
          Link Parent
          You don't think this is an asinine point? I don't know how anyone can pay even the slightest attention to Republican politics and not endure physical pain at the stupidity of thinking our problems...

          the world is being destroyed by one side believing the other side is destroying the world.

          You don't think this is an asinine point? I don't know how anyone can pay even the slightest attention to Republican politics and not endure physical pain at the stupidity of thinking our problems come from polarisation.

          12 votes
          1. [9]
            unknown user
            Link Parent
            Simply: if it was not for polarisation, it'd have been possible to convince those at fault decades ago. No discussion happens during a fist fight.

            Simply: if it was not for polarisation, it'd have been possible to convince those at fault decades ago.

            No discussion happens during a fist fight.

            6 votes
            1. [2]
              thundergolfer
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              Sorry but I just think that is totally naive and ignores how the polarisation is being generated and whether it reflects genuine, legitimate political conflict. The Southern Strategy became core...

              Sorry but I just think that is totally naive and ignores how the polarisation is being generated and whether it reflects genuine, legitimate political conflict.

              The Southern Strategy became core Republican political strategy "decades ago" in the 1960s and it obviously contributes hugely to polarisation. Are you just going to ignore who created the polarisation and why, and just blame polarisation itself as if it's a thing arising from discursive incivility and the fault of everyone?

              9 votes
              1. unknown user
                Link Parent
                Congrats for not being naive, now please illuminate me as to how you'll help make the world a better place while ignoring the Other. For me, I can't be bothered with powers I can't fight. What I...

                Congrats for not being naive, now please illuminate me as to how you'll help make the world a better place while ignoring the Other.

                For me, I can't be bothered with powers I can't fight. What I know is, if I don't approach a person with biasses and aggression, and don't reify their biases and stereotypes against me, I can help them see me for who I am and what I stand for for what those things are. Because that works, I've seen it work, I've participated in it working. You won't individually convert anybody, who the heck a single person is to do that anyways, but you'll lay a brick.

                Yes, there is evil to be recognised, and I do recognise it, but what do I gain fighting Evil Spirits and Greedy Windmills I can't see nor touch? But as the person I am, I can help those who I can touch, and why wouldn't I suffice with it, especially when that's simply more effective than yelling at capital-letter names on TV or Twitter?

                7 votes
            2. [6]
              FZeroRacer
              Link Parent
              I'm sorry, but this is the silliest thing I've read yet. The entire Republican strategy has been polarization. Did you forget how they behaved when Obama was in office? Or how Nixon used the drug...

              I'm sorry, but this is the silliest thing I've read yet. The entire Republican strategy has been polarization. Did you forget how they behaved when Obama was in office? Or how Nixon used the drug war as a proxy against hippies and black people?

              Why is it people say 'we must come together' despite the fact that Democrats have tried extending the olive branch over and over and over and over again, with Republicans taking a step back and deciding to become even further extreme? Did you forget the entire actions of the Tea Party and some of the things they wanted? The reason why we're in such a polarized climate now is because people are fed up with this shit cycle.

              7 votes
              1. [5]
                unknown user
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                Can't you lot blinkin see through Republicans and Dems and this-wingers and that-wingers, and notice the blinkin PERSON in the story? Yes, politicians gonna do what they are best at, fuck us up....

                Can't you lot blinkin see through Republicans and Dems and this-wingers and that-wingers, and notice the blinkin PERSON in the story? Yes, politicians gonna do what they are best at, fuck us up. And we're so caught up in their shitstorm that we can't se we're dealing with HUMAN INDIVIDUALS.

                You can't help Republicans. I can't. But you can help that guy you know who's your average citizen except a few lies they happen to believe in. That particular republican is not the Republicans, they are just one person holding some view.

                This blindness is what ruins everything good. Someone tells "fucking republicans fucking fuck the world" and we suddenly can't distinguish between persons and political factions anymore.

                IDK about the Tea Party, I'm not a US citizen. But it's the same shit everywhere: we can't get over being This or That and complain we can't communicate with others let alone convince. Well, try being a person and taking your interlocutors as persons, not instances of class Bigot extends IRepublican. They may well be that, but still, we're not in a static & strongly typed world, typecasting happens all day everywhere, so give it a shot. Don't get caught up in abstract constraints, recognise everything's bytes on a memory stick in the end; if that analogy is passing.

                edit: fix my Java a bit

                12 votes
                1. [4]
                  Loire
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  The blinking person is having issues with his blinking father because the Republicans, alongside their propaganda department in FOX News have turned him into what he is today. It's all connected....

                  The blinking person is having issues with his blinking father because the Republicans, alongside their propaganda department in FOX News have turned him into what he is today. It's all connected. It didn't happen in a vacuum.

                  Hi, also not an American. Grew up in a sane(ish) political system. Now I live here long term. I don't know where your from but it's not the same and you can't begin to understand unless you come experience it.

                  You remember a month ago when Trump told a bunch of American congresswomen to "go back to where they came from"? Since then I have twice experienced random run of the mill southerners telling my black, born and raised in America, friend to "go back where she came from", for no reason. Edit: Might I add this is a city that is less than 50% white and over 25% black. This isn't fucking Nebraska.

                  That is the American Republican. That is how their mind works these days. They hear their president or FOX News harping on something and they start believing it, start saying it. They will happily antagonize someone they don't know. Gleefully.

                  I have an coworker who will pepper "Nigger" into every sentence he speaks. His NPM ratio is through the roof. He talks about how lazy and degenerate and worthless black people are and believes it wholly. He's a worst case scenario but he's not alone. The number of coworkers I have that are quiter about their racism but will lecture me on how lazy, criminal, degenerate, etc that black Americans are when their guard is down absolutely stunned me.

                  You don't have to bite your tongue when they wholeheartedly talk about "liberals" being sent by the devil. When they say shit you thought only existed on reddit about George Soros and globalists and whatever else.

                  You aren't here. You don't understand what it's like and that's fine, how could you? You don't understand how pervasive the cult has become. But don't lecture those of us that experience it every day on how understanding the person and finding the humanity is the solution.

                  9 votes
                  1. [2]
                    unknown user
                    Link Parent
                    Racism is everywhere. That someone is not called a nigger but an infidel gavur or piece of Armenian spunk does not make it less of a racism. It is the same everywhere. What you experience in the...

                    Racism is everywhere. That someone is not called a nigger but an infidel gavur or piece of Armenian spunk does not make it less of a racism. It is the same everywhere. What you experience in the US is experienced by someone, identically or worse, somewhere else, and right now. What you experience, whathever that be, is privilege when compared to the situation of the minorities in the majority of the rest of the world. Suffering is everywhere and it is identical in its essence, and the reasons are simply identical.

                    You can't decide what I can or can not understand. You can't decide what I say. I don't lecture you, I write a comment on a website and it is only partially about responding you, I'm sharing my view with the community.

                    Also, what happens in the US concerns the entire world, because if it doesn't the US forces it to be so anyways. The policies of the US affect the entire world. It is the US itself that made it so. There isn't a place on the face of this earth where you can talk politics w/o mentioning the US. The US literally made itself into the cultural, economic and military center of the world. So, sorry, there is not much that's "internal" to the US; everybody's got a say in what's going on in there, either via votes, or via comments.

                    9 votes
                    1. Loire
                      Link Parent
                      You..... completely missed the point: let me try to focus it in on a single sentence so we don't keep going back and forth on the self righteous indignation. It'd become a core component of the...

                      You..... completely missed the point: let me try to focus it in on a single sentence so we don't keep going back and forth on the self righteous indignation.

                      They will gleefully antagonize someone.

                      It'd become a core component of the ideology. Makes it a little tough to "just break through with love".

                      6 votes
                  2. LukeZaz
                    (edited )
                    Link Parent
                    I'm American, was born American, and have lived here my entire life. I'd like to think I know what's going on decently enough, and although that opinion could be wildly inaccurate seeing as I'm...

                    I'm American, was born American, and have lived here my entire life. I'd like to think I know what's going on decently enough, and although that opinion could be wildly inaccurate seeing as I'm obviously biased, I'd hope that it's not.

                    I've not once encountered a white supremacist in my life that I know of. It wouldn't surprise me if I had and just didn't know it, but what I do know is I've never heard one vocalize – or even seen them write down – that opinion in any public place. Just as you've personally encountered those three people, I've personally encountered zero.

                    Yet, how are we to say either one of our entirely anecdotal experiences is representative of anything? Even when localized to our specific areas, they say little, because they aren't data. While I obviously don't know much of anything about where you reside, I still don't think it's safe to judge whether or not there's a pervasive cult simply off the assholes you've met, just as I think it'd be dumb of me to suggest the problem didn't exist just because I haven't seen it.

                    That is the American Republican. That is how their mind works these days. They hear their president or FOX News harping on something and they start believing it, start saying it. They will happily antagonize someone they don't know. Gleefully.

                    I'm sorry to say, but this reads to me as a flat out bad opinion all its own. You've denigrated the entirety of a political party down to the idea of a separate species to you. That is a massive generalization. Just because someone's Republican doesn't mean they're automatically a racist asshole. It doesn't mean they hate or love anything in particular. It only speaks to the likelihood of those opinions, and even then it doesn't say much.

                    While I honestly disagree with the idea of considering yourself "part" of a party at all, it still stands that someone can consider themselves a Republican and still want gun control, or still want universal healthcare, or still hate Trump, or any number views typically associated with Democrats. Just the same, someone can identify as a Democrat and still love guns, or hate clean energy, or whatever. Party association is a flimsy method of determining someones views at best, and making broad assumptions as to the thoughts and feelings of those who ascribe themselves to one is unwise.

                    4 votes
        2. Loire
          Link Parent
          Did I say its been exactly this for three decades or that they've been allowed to push the conditions that created this situation for three decades? You completely misunderstand. Republicans bad,...

          It hasn't been quite like this for three decades

          Did I say its been exactly this for three decades or that they've been allowed to push the conditions that created this situation for three decades?

          Conservatives bad, liberals good.

          You completely misunderstand. Republicans bad, Democrats the only option for Americans that isn't Republican.

          I have never voted for anything but a (small c) conservative party in my life. Seven elections, seven votes for conservative parties. I believe strongly in traditional (non-trickle down) right wing economics. Fortunately I also have the ability to think for myself and see the dangers posed by the modern Republican ideology.

          Platitudes are not going to stop their march towards fascism. Reaching across the aisle didn't stop them from instituting Orwellian legislation following 9/11, it just helped them. Trying to see things from their side is not going to bring us in under a 2° increase in temperature.

          5 votes
    2. [4]
      Akir
      Link Parent
      Sadly that is not the case anymore. If you haven't come across someone who has a visceral reaction to immigrants, it's possible you may be living in a liberal filter bubble. I personally know at...

      You would be extremely hard-pressed to find an American who believes in genocide.

      Sadly that is not the case anymore. If you haven't come across someone who has a visceral reaction to immigrants, it's possible you may be living in a liberal filter bubble. I personally know at least one, have seen at least three more, and have seen countless other examples online. When you try to talk to them about their position, they argue in circles and become so defensive that there is no way to reach them. So unfortunately, there is no straw man: we are dealing with some very real and potentially dangerous people.

      10 votes
      1. [3]
        LukeZaz
        Link Parent
        Are you certain these bubbles are so common? News often thrives on anger and fear, and it could very well be simply that you see countless examples online merely because those examples spread like...

        Are you certain these bubbles are so common? News often thrives on anger and fear, and it could very well be simply that you see countless examples online merely because those examples spread like wildfire. Hearing about how person X was kind and not a racist is not exactly an intriguing headline, after all.

        In the end though, it doesn't really make sense to me to make assertions about others' locales like that. I don't even know where you live, and you don't know where I live, so just as it'd be unfair of me to suggest you may live in an unusually hateful area when I don't even know what area I'm talking about, it seems odd that you would suggest people in places like mine might be in a bubble.

        1. [2]
          Akir
          Link Parent
          I didn't mean what I said to be offensive. To be honest, I can completely understand if you've never seen such extremists in person. The state I live in apparently has the most number of hate...

          I didn't mean what I said to be offensive. To be honest, I can completely understand if you've never seen such extremists in person. The state I live in apparently has the most number of hate groups in the country, so hateful bigots who advocate for genocide are likely to be more common here than where you are. All I was trying to say is that things are worse than you are picturing them.

          3 votes
          1. LukeZaz
            Link Parent
            No worries, I wasn't offended — sorry if that was unclear. (Of note, in case it wasn't clear: I'm not the author of the top-level comment you replied to. Just had thoughts on what you said was...

            No worries, I wasn't offended — sorry if that was unclear.

            All I was trying to say is that things are worse than you are picturing them.

            (Of note, in case it wasn't clear: I'm not the author of the top-level comment you replied to. Just had thoughts on what you said was all)
            Eh, I feel this is complicated. I'll admit I haven't really researched the state of things too well to see how bad it is, but yet I think with something this broad it's hard to really know even with some data available. Either one of us might have a more accurate perspective as far as I'm aware.

            That said, if you've got any data/studies/what-have-you, I'd definitely be interested!

            1 vote
    3. [5]
      ubergeek
      Link Parent
      You've not actually paid attention to what nationalism is, or the jingoism among warhawks, huh? "Turn the middle east into glass" "Those illegals are invading our country, get rid of them" Or...

      You would be extremely hard-pressed to find an American who believes in genocide.

      You've not actually paid attention to what nationalism is, or the jingoism among warhawks, huh?

      "Turn the middle east into glass"

      "Those illegals are invading our country, get rid of them"

      Or like, the entirety of US History?

      7 votes
      1. [4]
        unknown user
        Link Parent
        Would you mind telling me about the backstory of that phrase? Why turning into "glass" in particular? Genuine question, I'm curious.

        "Turn the middle east into glass"

        Would you mind telling me about the backstory of that phrase? Why turning into "glass" in particular? Genuine question, I'm curious.

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          alyaza
          Link Parent
          the idea behind "glassing" a place is that the middle east specifically is full of sand, and therefore if you dropped nuclear weapons on it you would replicate the glass making process and turn...

          the idea behind "glassing" a place is that the middle east specifically is full of sand, and therefore if you dropped nuclear weapons on it you would replicate the glass making process and turn that sand into glass because of the heat involved.

          6 votes
          1. unknown user
            Link Parent
            Thanks a lot for the explanation!

            Thanks a lot for the explanation!

            1 vote
        2. ubergeek
          Link Parent
          Nuking them, generally is what is meant.

          Nuking them, generally is what is meant.

  6. [7]
    BuckeyeSundae
    Link
    I don’t really have patience for people who pretend to know the complex nuances underlying a lifelong relationship. My dad, for instance, is also an asshole, but his being a Trump supporter didn’t...

    I don’t really have patience for people who pretend to know the complex nuances underlying a lifelong relationship. My dad, for instance, is also an asshole, but his being a Trump supporter didn’t cause me to see him like that. That was his mental abuse and physical threats of violence over the years, combined with his need for control which got opposed by my refusal to be controlled uncritically.

    There are good reasons to try to see people who disagree with you as human. Not the least because no one in the history of the human race has been genuinely convinced of a position after being called literally the devil (hint: that’s another glorious exchange someone might not have realized lays in the father-son dynamic). Those good reasons aside, wading into someone’s family dynamic to insist that argument applies to their situation is callous at best, and maliciously negligent at worst.

    5 votes
    1. [4]
      unknown user
      Link Parent
      Even when that very person has asked for it? I mean why do you send a letter like this? just to have the guy say "you doin' good bruh!"? This person sent a letter to a newspaper looking for advice.

      Those good reasons aside, wading into someone’s family dynamic to insist that argument applies to their situation is callous at best, and maliciously negligent at worst.

      Even when that very person has asked for it? I mean why do you send a letter like this? just to have the guy say "you doin' good bruh!"? This person sent a letter to a newspaper looking for advice.

      5 votes
      1. [3]
        BuckeyeSundae
        Link Parent
        Yesh, hamfisted advice that doesn’t really allow for the complexities of one of the oldest relationships a person can have? That’s not good advice. It’s preaching about the sanctity of family...

        Yesh, hamfisted advice that doesn’t really allow for the complexities of one of the oldest relationships a person can have? That’s not good advice. It’s preaching about the sanctity of family regardless of the pain the other person might’ve caused.

        Just because someone is your father doesn’t mean you must have a good relationship with them. We’re stuck with what we got. And for some of us, that’s sometimes a lemon.

        6 votes
        1. [3]
          Comment deleted by author
          Link Parent
          1. [2]
            Loire
            Link Parent
            Unless we are counting the pain experienced by the father that his child turned into a bleeding liberal the abrasive Republican father, liberal child relationship typically goes one way. Yes they...

            Unless we are counting the pain experienced by the father that his child turned into a bleeding liberal the abrasive Republican father, liberal child relationship typically goes one way.

            Yes they made an assumption, no chastising them on that assumption is not fertile ground for debate.

            2 votes
            1. BuckeyeSundae
              Link Parent
              I didn’t get a chance to see the comment you’re responding to, but I wanted to affirm that I don’t necessarily think the pain necessarily has to be one sided. The nature of the letter writer’s...

              I didn’t get a chance to see the comment you’re responding to, but I wanted to affirm that I don’t necessarily think the pain necessarily has to be one sided. The nature of the letter writer’s perspective is necessarily left leaning, but that doesn’t mean the relationship’s pain is only felt by one side. I trust the disintegration of that relationship is a pain point for all the parties involved, which need not be just the two we see any details about. Shit’s complicated. That’s how families usually are. How can someone easily sum up decades of interaction? It’s hard stuff better suited for therapy.

              1 vote
    2. [2]
      Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      I don't think the writer is pretending to know the complex nuances underlying this particular relationship. I think, rather, he's telling the reader to remember that there are complex nuances...

      I don't think the writer is pretending to know the complex nuances underlying this particular relationship. I think, rather, he's telling the reader to remember that there are complex nuances underlying any relationship. It's not "I know the complexities of your relationship", it's "your relationship is complex".

      Sure, the writer veers off at the end into platitudinous commands to "love your dad because he’s your father", but the majority of the advice is more along the lines of "your dad is a complex person and is not just his political views" - which is kind of what you're saying about your father. You're agreeing with the writer: people are more than just their political views, and a father-son relationship has more nuance to it than just political differences.

      5 votes
      1. BuckeyeSundae
        Link Parent
        I see why you might think that, but this author isn’t saying much of anything about the letter writer’s relationship with his dad except that he should choose the side of love and that he should...

        I see why you might think that, but this author isn’t saying much of anything about the letter writer’s relationship with his dad except that he should choose the side of love and that he should reconcile “because he made you.” Most of the response is about how the world is in his mind, not about the complexity of any relationship.

        I would be more sympathetic to that view if there was anything at all to hint at the author’s recognition that pain is pain and that political disagreements might be masking deeper tensions. Instead, it’s just a preachy essay about how partisanship is destroying the world.

        5 votes