Let me tell you something about liberals: we really are decent people.
The problem is that regressives aren’t. Not only that, but regressives are so indecent as to hide their own indecency, or apologize for it by making up claims of liberals somehow being just as bad. In any case, they’re trying to get people to ignore their massive misdeeds somehow, usually by bringing up liberal misdeeds that are somehow equal. This often has the effect of regressives and their defenders focusing entirely on squishing a mouse when there is a Tyrannosaurus rex standing right behind them.
Well, let me tell you a story about false balance. Or, rather, two stories that are part of a narrative.
(Note: The rest of this post assumes you’ve read the relevant links I’ve posted. Any questions involving stuff explained in the links will be disemvowelled and mocked.)
The first has to do with the skeptical community, specifically the continuing fallout from the event known as Elevatorgate manifested in the form of the debacle involving harassment policies and TAM. Specifically, it involves a part I hadn’t linked in my original TAM post, involving a song performed at TAM.
The song is a prime example of false balance. The actions of the rabid anti-feminists are well-documented. Their tactics have been identified and deconstructed. They have proven themselves to be despicable human beings.
And yet, in the comments for the aforementioned song, someone piped up and quote mined out four lines, mumbling about the “overall message” of “can’t we all just get along”. By this time I was obviously getting fed up with the false balance (having seen more than enough over the past year) and thus deconstructed it harshly, calling out the quote mining.
What sent me over the edge was when someone else chimed in saying that the quote mining was somehow a minor point. I flew into a rage, launching with all barrels and a cruise missile marked ‘Gabby Giffords shooting’ — that bit, I will admit, may have been excessive. I did not get a very favorable response and tore into it as tone-trolling, but at the end of it all I was unsure of whether I’d been right in ripping into the false balance that hard. What I did know was that it gave the regressives an out, and I was sick of that.
Handwringing over “fairness” in the most picayune matters hamstrings the left. Politics is warfare, not a self-improvement exercise. You will simply never get some people on your side and the best you can do is marginalize their ability to do others harm. Other people who unwittingly abet them need to be brought up short, because they are causing harm indirectly.
Politics is warfare.
We’re not discussing as equals. We liberals think we’re correct, but we’re willing to change our minds in the face of new evidence or rational arguments, and we recognize that we must be bounded by those rules (which also govern ethics) in order to be right.
Regressives don’t merely think they’re correct. They think they’re right — period. Anything and everything they do is right. Anything done to forward their conclusions is right. Evidence and logic are just tools to be manipulated to the cause of that which is right. Hell, they even call themselves “the right” (except for the libertarians who don’t want you to know they’re just as regressive as the other privileged righties). And if evidence and logic fail? Bah, that’s just one tool; the next step is to just make stuff up, and if that fails then just pound the opponent into silence with words.
Which brings me to my second story. Yesterday, I was counter-demonstrating with some fellow pro-choicers in Vancouver. I was standing a bit away from the group, holding a sign that on one side said “Trust Women” and on the other said “End Rape Culture Now”, when a man came up and started to gaslight me, playing with plausible deniability by being indirect: “you’re not impressing women”. I did not have much of this before I told him to go away, and then moved away myself, turning my back, but he kept it up, to the point of calling me a faggot.
You can read the rest at the link, because at that point I began to have an anxiety attack and was just focused on defiantly staying there until the asshole went and got the bus he said he was waiting for. I tuned out most of the rest of what he was saying, and afterwards I had to leave to calm down. As of this writing, I’m still not fully back from it (which is bad, because it’s making me act highly irrationally), and I’m hoping that work this week is slow enough to allow me to recover. At any rate, it severely impaired my functioning for the rest of the day; when I returned, I felt extremely out of it and could barely hold another sign; it wasn’t until after we left that I was mostly able to function again.
Mostly. The tirade could hurt anyone by trying to make them feel alone (which is a soft spot for any of us, since we humans are social animals), but it hit me particularly hard because for all intents and purposes I am alone. The best friends I have are all online; the best people I’ve met in real-life are all the pro-choicers that I’ve only met this week or last at the demonstrations. If you want to know what my social life is like, just listen to How Soon Is Now? by The Smiths. Hearing that invective threw me completely out of balance and made me lose my carefully-patched comfort, so that the rest of the day I was simply floundering and wondering if I wasn’t making some sort of misstep here or there, or focusing too much on my problems, or boring other people, or doing any of the other things I do that people don’t like but I can’t seem to help.
All because I was trying to say that people should trust women. Because of that, someone else felt that it was okay to render me unable to function. I did their best to make them not see it — but that’s all I could do.
Politics is warfare.
And remember what I said about him trying to stretch plausible deniability? The “pro-life” protesters do it too. Take a look at this picture I got (before the anxiety attack):
Yeah. That’s totally not telling men that they have some sort of right to hold their wives or girlfriends hostage, or anything like that, in order to “save them from abortion”. Not at fucking all. Nope. Totally fair.
Politics is warfare.
And the reason that regressives want to conceal this so badly is because they need to scramble and bully, while we liberals are just asserting our rights and the cold, hard facts.
Whose side are you on? The bullies, or the bullied?