Choosing Their Own Refs

Why I Avoid Arguing with the Far Right (PART 1)*

I used to try to debate things with the far right. There are some OBVIOUS things that I thought we could agree on. There have been SO MANY times when their “leader” said far-fetched to RIDICULOUS things, that I thought, “surely we can agree on some obvious facts.”

Then I came up against the far right SIMPLISTIC attack on the media, (the “mainstream media” or “MSM,” to those in the know.)

Their attacks got a huge boost when Trump took them up and attempted to re-purpose the term “fake news” to apply to any media critical of HIM or his agenda.

CHOOSING THEIR OWN REFS:
Though imperfect,  the media has as their most important function the reporting of FACTS. Good media outlets make us aware of what’s happening in the world. They work as ARBITERS of what has has happened and help us to EVALUATE CLAIMS–especially those made by public figures.

This is analogous to referees telling us whether a ball was inbound, resulting in a score, or out of bounds, resulting in some other outcome.

REFEREES ARE SO ESSENTIAL TO COMPETITIVE SPORTS THAT ONLY AN IDIOT WOULD CONSIDER DOING WITHOUT THEM IN ANY CONTEST OF SIGNIFICANCE.

A similar dynamic is at play in the sphere of public policy. Objective information is so important in business that people GO TO JAIL for falsifying facts.

We don’t get to choose our own facts in public policy any more than we get to choose our own refs competitive sports.

OF COURSE, all referees are not created equal. Some don’t like certain types of people, or even inadvertently treat folks differently based on criteria that should be irrelevant. In the modern world, these referees are sometimes disciplined or removed.

CHOOSING NOT TO ACCEPT REFEREES THAT RULE IN A WAY YOU DISLIKE WOULD BE RIDICULED IN MAJOR SPORTS.

————————————————————
It deserves to be rejected in public policy discussions of fact.
————————————————————

THEREFORE:
I try not to waste my time with people who, for example, won’t accept OFFICIAL AND OTHER LEGITIMATE pictures of inauguration crowd sizes that show a significantly smaller crowd at Trump’s inauguration compared to Obama’s first inauguration. (Common sense confirms the “referees,” as well, in this case. It just wouldn’t have made any sense for such a controversial figure–one who lost the popular vote, for Pete’s sake–to have more people at his inauguration than the first African American president of the USA. The latter actually DID have a sweeping victory, winning the popular vote by 10 million voters and the Electoral College 365-173.)

* Similar logic applies to people of other persuasions who think “alternative facts” applies to preposterous propositions, and

I <3 a "Conservative"

My “conservative*” family and friends (mostly family?) are some of the most, honest, decent, hard working, full of common sense, tolerant, generous people that I know. I daresay in the world.

We disagree, sometimes strongly, on some policy issues. Sometimes I think they are full of sh… let’s say “beans.” Yet, we respect each other’s integrity in disagreement.

I share these thoughts because sometimes the decency and character of people who disagree with us is called into question. This is done by all sides.

*NOTE: “Conservative” is in quotes because the term is used too broadly today. How does it include people who are supportive of LGBTQ rights as well as homophobes, for example?

Gun Violence, “What’s Changed?

In the wake of recent mass shootings there are renewed calls for improvements in gun regulations. Opponents have often taken to pointing out that people in the United States have always had guns and the proportion of gun ownership has remained relatively constant. “Guns haven’t changed, our permissive society, poor parenting and violence in entertainment and video games have changed. These are the real causes of increased gun crimes.

Two points are raised by this argument. First, sure parenting and entertainment have changed. Let’s do what we can to improve this problem. We must remember that the Amendment BEFORE their treasured 2nd Amendment protects makers of entertainment and video games from most government regulation. Changes in this realm will be mostly by voluntary means such as boycott, advocacy and education.

Second, as is often the case with treasured narratives, this one ignores MANY changes not so convenient for the views of most “conservatives:”

  • The social safety net, including family connections, has been incredibly frayed;
  • Lack of stability due to economic conditions has increased tremendously;
  • Suburban development, responding to mobility and other factors, including market forces have led to social isolation;
  • Insecurity in many realms–from jobs to healthcare to housing costs.

Popularity of Semiautomstic weapons

One other change should not be overlooked: the popularity of semiautomatic firearms, especially rifles in recent years.

While people may be more prone to assault for emotional or mental health reasons due to a number of factors, the popularity and easy access to semiautomatic weapons, especially rifles seems to have increased the volume of death and injury from the attacks.

https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2017-11-07/how-the-ar-15-assault-rifle-became-one-of-the-most-popular-guns-in-america

Why “United We Govern?”

There is much that we agree on:

  • Sensible gun laws that respect the Constitution AND keep deadly weapons out of the hands of criminals and people with mental illness.
  • That we treasure the variety of America’s “melting pot.” This is true for many people who want secure borders. [Hopefully, folks will look beyond buzz words that “trigger” some folks– left or right.]