Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Evil of Banality

It’s no secret the political left has continually demeaned and vilified the Tea Party and other rising conservative groups ever since their inception a mere one and a half or two years ago. So it is ironic to see that in the most recent attacks on the Right, the Left has accused the conservatives of creating a “climate of hate” so potent it infected the crazed brain of the killer responsible for the Tucson massacre. The solution to such violence, conservatives are assured, it a renewed effort guaranteeing civility of discourse in order to temper the hateful political climate. The thermostat of political discourse is to be set at a serene 70 degrees; or, like Goldilocks preferred porridge, neither too hot nor too cold, but just right.

Lofty calls have gone out for all parties to rise above the passions of political partisanship, to elevate discourse to a more dispassionate and reasonable plain. But the new manifesto of the Left calling for dispassionate discourse is either a deliberate and calculating gloss whereby its true intentions are withheld so that its real agenda may be implemented without opposition or even detection; or it is a serious, debilitating inability to recognize and articulate the bases of one’s policies and the execution of those policies. In either case, the pretense of those who call for all to become dispassionate observers and commentators when it comes to politics (and religion) is just that: a pretentious charade of calculated banality which merely conceals ulterior motives and goals.

Simply put, there is no possibility American politics can be dispassionate, so the calls for toning down or eliminating passion are a cover for something else.
That “something else” is as follows: radical progressives’ tactics of vilification combined with calls for civility and peaceful bipartisanship are twin prongs of a strategy meant to discredit and ultimately to silence the opposition.

Conservatives do well to pick off charges of hate mongering and disassociate themselves from linkage to carnage such as the Tucson massacre; demanding evidence as well as refuting false accusations. At the same time, such charges must not succeed in their chief mission, which is to vitiate the opposition by putting it continually on the defensive while allowing the Left to set the agenda, linguistic or otherwise.

Conservatism must not lose the impetus of their offensive strategies such as attention to the debt, out of control spending, increasing socialization of the US, the erosion of federalism and the rest of the Leftist agenda.

Conservatives need to recognize the diversionary tactics employed by the liberal Left are meant to keep the conservative movement constantly on the defensive. They need to realize the attacks meant to keep them on the defensive are coupled with a more subtle strategy; namely, the most recent call to civility. The goal of radical progressives, who seldom--if ever-- follow their own advice, is to vitiate the conservative protest against the overreach of the federal government, to water down the recent victories in the election of 2010 and to keep conservatives constantly responding to the accusations of the Left, thus vitiating conservatism’s attempts to reform the US political system. The idea is to rendering conservatism so meek and mild, so intimidated, soft spoken and banal that it becomes utterly ineffective as a political reform movement.

In short, in the end, the constant calls for "civility" are a thinly disguised means for silencing protestors.

At this point, it is important to make a distinction between gratuitous incivility and moral outrage. Human discourse, if it is to be meaningful, abides by generally recognized rules of civil behavior. Such rules exclude profanity, name calling, and unjustifiable personal attacks. Also excluded are slander, rumor mongering and sexually and racially charged innuendoes.

But the left, and sometimes "moderate" or liberal Republicans, have sought to extend the rules of generally recognized civil behavior to include strong expressions of moral outrage. Many times the attempt is made to define genuine moral outrage as incivility; or worse, racism. To that end, members of the opposition from the left often have sought to silence conservatives by attempts to make the Tea Party and other conservative groups speak the language of the left, to accept the left’s terms of debate, which are almost always put in the context of race, victimization, political correctness and multi-culturalism.

To put it another way, progressives have certain doctrinal assumptions as the bases of any dialogue and seek to rope in and corral opposition by requiring the opposition to speak the language of the Left and to define moral issues according to progressive priorities. That is one reason, for example, the left most often resorts to the constantly repeated and by now often the merely rhetorical trope of racism. [A caveat: The reduction of the term by making it ubiquitous and all encompassing has been tragic for minorities, as the dilution of racism’s true meaning weakens justifiable attempts to confront and eradicate genuine cases of racist behavior.]

Limited linguistic tropes combined with attempts to control and neuter language are hallmarks of radical ideologues. Linguistic limitations characterized by banality can be as sure a means of repression as permitted inflammatory rhetoric characterized by faux rage and canned reactions to “insults.” Both are linguistic mechanisms designed to enforce conformity by molding thought patterns according to ideological tenets. Make everyone call each other “citizen” or “comrade,” and you’re already half way there to thought control. Enforce a stiff arm salute every time the dear leader’s name is evoked, and you have already pacified the public. Make everyone in the congregation use God neutral terms, and you have already succeeded in conforming established church doctrine to your agenda.

Ultimately, the Newspeak language of a given ideology becomes the advance sub-military attempt to enforce conformity and to achieve the banal egalitarianism ideologues desire.

It is therefore imperative for conservatives to refuse to accept the Left’s attempts to define political dialogue by linguistic manipulation which seeks to expunge language of “hostile” terms, thus re-defining political debate. Conservative groups must not allow genuine moral indignation to be redefined as incivility. Moral indignation arises from recognition of evil. In turn, recognition of evil requires strong language, strong confrontation and strong action.

It’s worth noting the prophets of ancient Israel and Jesus Christ all used strong language to define and to confront the injustices and societal ills of their time. Conservatives should encourage one another to follow those illustrious examples. By so doing, they will avoid falling prey to scurrilous attacks which keep them always on the defensive and to attempts to silence them or force them into conformity by false charges of “hate speech” and hypocritical, spurious calls for "civility."
Conservatives must speak boldly and truthfully to the evils of society, refusing to abide by the Left’s terms of debate. They must articulate clearly and precisely their short and long term goals, realizing that vigorous articulation and proclamation of truth is the first and most necessary requirement of any political movement pushing for reform.

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