Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Conor Friedersdorf Creates an Outrage-fatigue Backed Security Filled with Assertions not Backed up by Facts

Confederate VP Stephens' statue in US Capitol.  
To paraphrase Conor's quasi-famous article on Occupy Wall Street:

It's much easier to decide that it's wrong to create an outrage-fatigue assertion filled with statements you know are not backed by fact so that you can sell it to readers who aren't aware that you're bullshitting by intentionally picking the misleadingly stated false equivalence most likely to be proven to be slanted toward your particular philosophy.

In today's article, Conor makes his observation that "most" Americans are sick of partisanship. He doesn't  mention the fact that, for the most part, it is the right that has big problems with facts. Let's start with the fact that the right-leaning Conor ignores: GOP approval has hit a 20 year low, with 33% rating them favorably, and 58% unfavorably.

Despite this basic fact, Conor says that Sonny Bunch's lament resonates with him...
"I don't worry too much about growing partisan gridlock," Bunch goes on, "but I do worry somewhat about an America in which each half of the country hates the other so viscerally that they won't even interact." I agree that there is cause for concern. But I also think it's a mistake to conceive of the problem as halves of the country pitted against one another, because I think and hope that many more Americans are uncomfortable with the attitude Bunch describes than embrace it.
No, Sonny and Conor, half the country doesn't hate the other half. 58% of the country has a negative approval of 33%. Connor says he thinks and hopes that many more Americans hate the bickering than participate in it, but he offers no evidence.. Maybe the polls are skewed... Who knows? Without evidence to support his thinking and hoping, we're all just supposed to assume, along with him, that his equivalence is correct?

Later in the piece, he tells us, again without any evidence to support his assertion:
Politicized people are much more common in politics than they are in the general population.
Perhaps. But is this because non politicized people have left politics in disgust, as Connor suggests, or is it because they're in politics which means, by definition, that the are politicized? Either way, I don't see him offering any evidence for his assertion, which is enough to make me suspect that he's some kind of partisan trying to stamp some crap-filled political security AAA before he tries to sell it to me.

But wait! Connor has more outrage-fatigue-based securities to sell us!
The biggest advantage the politicized being has is that no one wants to vocally disagree with someone who seems to have no compunction about trying to destroy everyone who disagrees with them.
I don't want to destroy everyone who disagrees with me. Just the ones who want to destroy the world, lie us into wars, force the old and poor to die instead of giving them health care, and perhaps a few other horrific things. Mostly I want the wingnuts who have been so disastrously wrong about so much to keep talking so we can all hear and analyze the ignorant shit they're trying to sell us. The advantage I have, as a politicized being, is that only the craziest of the wingnuts will vocally disagree with me when they don't have the facts to back up their assertions.

I am politicized because I have watched the right, time and time again, be disastrously wrong about things. For me, it started with the attacks on Clinton, which were way out in right field, and undeserved. (If left wingers slandered Reagan or Pappy Bush with accusations of murder, they either didn't get nearly the mainstream press coverage that the accusations against Clinton did, or there weren't any). But when Bush lied us into a $6 trillion dollar war, or told us that tax cuts to the rich would create millions of jobs, or that there was no housing bubble, that was all Bullshit. Are the right wingers politicized because liberals lied us into similar disasters or because they're defensive, embarrassed, and bitter that their ideology has proven so disastrous?

In the case of Global Warming, where the evidence is clear that we are headed toward the biggest human created disaster in the history of the world, is Conor suggesting that I should be nice to the people who are actively trying to bring on that destruction? Should we have been nice to the tobacco executives who lied and bribed their way into profiting from millions of deaths? Should we have been nice to the people who were actively lying us into a war that killed and maimed millions?
Do I blame liberals who spent their time during the Bush Administration calling out policies they found deeply wrongheaded and ignoring Olbermann's excesses? No, I totally understand their priorities. 
I'd like to see what Conor thinks is excessive from Olbermann. Considering that we were lied into the biggest national security disaster in American History that cost $6 trillion, maimed and killed millions, and destroyed our world reputation and future ability to influence events in the middle east, it's good to see that he doesn't begrudge those of us who got "politicized" because of Iraq a little in-your-face response to the warmongers who lied us into it.

Isn't the proper response to someone preaching politics of death and destruction (or hatred and bigotry) to get in their face and challenge them? Do we really make "most" Americans turn on American Idol when we challenge the Bullshit that will lead to more death, poverty, disease, destruction, bigotry, hatred, war, and suffering? From what I've seen in the polling Americans are sick of war, angry at those who lied us into it, and would welcome a little more forceful resistance to another war-backed-security fraud.

American history is chock full of heroes Americans admire because they stood up for what they believed. Even a racist bigot like Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens, who helped start a war over his belief that white people are superior to blacks, has a statue in statuary hall in the US Capitol, not far from Rosa Parks'. Standing up for what you believe, and doing it forcefully, is how we move the conversation forward on issues of great importance. Had Rosa Parks quietly and politely argued with the bus driver, I doubt she'd have gotten much attention. If Alexander Stephens had politely argued for a compromise on slavery, it might have been a long time before the centuries long war on black people suffered a severe set back.

In my almost 5 decades on this planet, I've found that people respect people who stand up for their values, especially when they back up what they say with facts. If the right wing would like to earn some respect from me, they should try it for a change.

1 comment:

Scott Supak said...

My tweet:

@conor64 laments half of country hating the other half. #GOP approval = 33% | disaproval = 58%.


Conor answers:

@ssupak Actually I explicitly say that half the country doesn't in fact hate the other half.

Here's Conor, being "explicit":

"...it's a mistake to conceive of the problem as halves of the country pitted against one another, because I think and hope that many more Americans are uncomfortable with the attitude Bunch describes than embrace it."

Given that the attitude Bunch describes is "visceral" hatred, I'd say Connor deserves a nod here. He did, indeed, "think and hope" that most Americans don't viscerally hate each other. Duh. The point is that Conor seems to be arguing that they don't really hate each other, a lot of people are just politicized. But this leaves the whole idea of "halves" out of it. Which is my point in that one tweet. It's not halves who hate, or dislike, or disapprove of each other. It is a large and growing majority of Americans who are sick and tired of the people who lied us into one disaster after another, refuse to apologize, and now obstruct and obfuscate on every action, or even proposals of possible actions, to fix the problems they created.

For example, a recent poll showed more than 90% of Americans support full universal background checks for gun purchasers, and it won't get done.