Refuse to wrestle in the progressive mud.

We humans have a natural impulse to fight fire with fire.  When it comes to politics, we have a tendency to think the move that has worked against us will work in reciprocation, but it isn’t always so.  Often, in the long run, a maneuver or tactic that advances the opposition’s cause does so whoever wields it, because it is fundamentally the opposition’s tool.  Evil always serves the cause of evil, even (or especially) when the good think they can benefit from it.  Water is the antidote to fire, not more fire.

It’ll take me a moment to explain why, but this is where my mind goes when I see commentary from progressives like this:

AlexKithes: John Brien is a danger to our state and our communities

Putting aside interpersonal histories and visceral reactions to emotional issues, a curious thing is going on here that merits some thought.

Progressives want to celebrate transgenders. Conservative legislator Jon Brien is here highlighting an anti-Christian school massacre executed by a mentally ill girl who thought she was trans. In response, progressive activist Alex Kithes insists that Brien is the danger, and we have no reason to doubt that this is Kithes’s sincere reaction.  Similarly, progressives want to celebrate Palestinians (and Muslims, generally). When people have highlighted the anti-Semitic massacre in Israel on October 7, Democrat politicians — and especially progressives — have proclaimed the danger of backlash against Muslims.

In both cases, an interesting question arises: Is this a deliberate strategy of narrative distortion, or is it a natural reaction based on core political sympathies?  Or is it both, maybe for different people?  In the case of narrative distortion, one cannot respond in kind with contrary distortions because it pushes the truth even farther out of sight.  And in the case of political sympathy, one cannot respond with hostility, because it reinforces the core political allegiance.

Broadly speaking, for harmony in the human community, the antidote must be truth offered with expanded sympathy.  We must be less concerned about the political significance of narrow groups because when we find the higher-level group of which we’re all a part, we respond to each other as individuals.  And when that is our perspective, we can identify root causes.  We don’t stop our analysis by concluding a person did something because he is part of Group Y, and that’s what Group Yers do.  Rather, we ask what it is about Group Y that leads to such actions, and we realize that we might do it, too — maybe even that there’s something justified about it, whether or not we think it is being done well.

Here we see the essential problem of Leftist thought, which insists that everything must be political and that people must be divided into groups for the sake of a comprehensible narrative. We also should see that the solution to the Leftist problem is not to ensure that our group is the stronger one in an exchange of punches, because that cedes ground that we very much need to hold for the long run.

It’s like a boa constrictor. Pushing in one direction might gain the victim a small bit of motion in a particular direction, but the snake makes gains everywhere that the victim relaxed for the sake of the push.

For a full illustration of the point consider Rhode Island progressives’ promotion of the latest white supremacy sticker sighting, this time in Cranston:

  1. Left-wing state senate candidate Arthur Flanders posts pictures of two white-supremacy stickers that he claims to have come across on a Cranston bike path (before and after he attempted to destroy them).
  2. Turning Point RI jumped in to suggest (via quotation) that the sentiment of one of the stickers was unobjectionable: “It’s OK to be white.”
  3. Progressive podcaster Bill Bartholomew took the opportunity to prove his moral superiority by “flagging” the post while insisting that he has “basically ignored the juvenile RI Turning Point crew” (leaving unstated that he basically ignores all conservatives, whatever their maturity).
  4. Progressive UConn journalism professor Mike Stanton expressed his ideological allegiance with Bartholomew and followed up with this explainer from the Anti-Defamation League:

The phrase “It’s Okay To Be White” is a slogan popularized in late 2017 as a trolling campaign by members of the controversial discussion forum 4chan. The original idea behind the campaign was to choose an ostensibly innocuous and inoffensive slogan, put that slogan on fliers bereft of any other words or imagery, then place the fliers in public locations. Originators assumed that “liberals” would react negatively to such fliers and condemn them or take them down, thus “proving” that liberals did not even think it was “okay” to be white.

That’s quite an insight, and it has the air of a confession.  Just so are all the days of remembrances, the series of This-That-Or-The-Other-Group Months, and the assorted identity weeks that seem to mark a perpetual time of commemoration of progressives’ favored groups. Promotion of this calendar is an obvious provocation seeking any objection activists can flag as evidence of “white supremacy” and the full platoon of haters.  We’re all supposed to be celebrating Group Y this day/week/month; if you refuse to do so, it must be because you’re a bigot.  In the case with which I began this post, Kithes simply thought Brien took the bait (although I’d suggest Brien outsmarted him).

The only way to win this game is not to play.  As the saying goes, you shouldn’t wrestle with a pig, because you’ll only get covered in mud, and the pig likes it.  Such are progressives.  They obviously want hatred, fighting, division, untruth.  They thrive in that environment.  Don’t let them have it.


Featured image by Justin Katz using Dall-E 3 and Photoshop AI.

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