Friday, January 14, 2011 :::
So you want more civil public discourse?
Here's how you can help.
A Mind That Suits agrees with the Left on one thing: political discourse has become polarized beyond any reasonable degree. However, he is not terribly convinced that this has not been driven by the Left’s increasing appetite for control of our daily lives. There is no civil response to “gimme,” and only one reasonable one: “You can’t have it.”
That said, our opinion leaders often seem like cheerleaders. Although A Mind That Suits is unapologetically conservative, there are many times when he feels as if he belonged to the fabled 20 percent in the middle.
Applying his humble mind to the problem, he sees one solution. Self-criticism is helpful, but it is often self-serving. How about if each side were to propose a limited set of statements and actions that were unreasonable and based on misinformation?
Note the word “limited.” Neither side has to apologize for existing. Conservatives do not have to apologize for being opposed to the expansion of the state, nor Leftists the desire to address certain social ills through government action. Those are philosophical stands that define each side.
Another important rule: no "single-facting." A single statement or action by one single person is not interesting. The statement or action must be regarded by all as typical of one side or the other.
No, what both sides need to apologize for are statements or actions that are, to a disinterested observer, unwarranted. On the Right, A Mind That Suits will start the ball rolling with a a few suggestions of his own. He solicits suggestions from his fellow conservatives. He will analyze them, and weigh their merits, with but one standard, "What would WFB, Jr., think? He will then publish a list for public consideration.
So here goes. If you a liberal, leftist, progressive, social democrat, or democratic socialist, you should apologize if you have said or done any of the following:
1) Attributing Jared Loughner’s alleged crimes to the “climate” created by conservative leaders before any facts were available.
2) Continuing to attribute Loughner’s alleged crimes to the “climate” created by conservative leaders long after it became clear that Loughner lived in a world of his own and bore a grudge against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords since long before anyone outside Alaska had heard of Sarah Palin.
3) Calling Sarah Palin’s utterly ordinary use of the metaphor “to target an opponent” sinister.
4) Repeating the rumor that Trig was actually Bristol Palin’s child, and not then-Gov. Palin’s.
5) Calling Tea Party participants racist.
6) Calling the Tea Party participants ill-informed.
7) Objecting to the use of the word “socialist” without explaining what you think it means and why it doesn’t apply to nationalized healthcare.
8) Denying that the ultimate aim of many Democratic Party leaders and activists is a “single-payer system,” i.e., nationalized healthcare, despite massive documentation that that is exactly what they want.
9) Calling principled opposition to Barack Obama’s policies “racist.”
10) Calling principled support of the Constitution a “fetish.”
11) Not knowing anything about the Constitution or the history of its formation into the form that binds our government now.
12) Pointing out the “three-fifths” clause as if anyone who supports the Constitution either had never noticed it or secretly supported it.
13) Saying that “without regulation, people would be free to do anything they want,” as if even Ron Paul didn’t believe in reasonable regulation.
14) Failing to read for pleasure and personal enrichment anything that you disagree with to the right of your own beliefs.
15) Walking away or growing noticeably bored the minute anyone mentions any conservative at all.
16) Calling anyone who disagrees with you a “liar.”
17) Going red in the face with anger just because someone disagrees with you.
That’ll do for starters. Any other suggestions, temperately worded and backed up with facts and examples, will be considered. See the email in the column to the right.A similar list from the Left will have to follow the form on this one. Do not demand apologies from anyone for merely existing. List only comments that are generally characteristic of your own group..
Have at it.
But be nice.
::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 4:15 PM