Friday, January 17, 2020

Pushing Buttons

     Yesterday's post got a link from Instapundit.  The predictable Instalanche followed, and wow, the glory days of blogging were back!  Thanks to Insty and everyone who read.

     Many people commented on my two examples, on Facebook, at Instapundit and in comments submitted here.  I didn't publish any of the ones that came in here, because in order to make the point, I played a bit of a trick on readers: neither example was factually accurate.

     Oh, they're close, and what's more, they're commonly treated as if they were true by some people, some of the time -- and they push buttons.  So far, no one refuting or correcting them has done so on the cold basis of the historical record; no one has cited any actual sources.  But everybody commenting about them had a little heat behind what they had to say and a few were downright angry.

     Many commenters went immediately to extreme cases -- communists vs. (or in cahoots with) nazis, people being marched off to gulags or lined up against walls and shot.  That's not how politics works in this country, at least not in my lifetime, and that's not what I was writing about; I stated the parameters quite clearly early in the essay.

     There were a few "see, this is how women are, it's all emotion, they can't be objective" reactions,* and one saying I was blaming everyone for not being creatures of cold logic.  There was even one ticked-off "Speak for yourself!" (And for who else would I be speaking?)

     Your emotions are involved in your political behaviors.  Pride, fear, love, loathing, anger and happiness are in play -- and they will bite you where you sit down if you're not aware of them.  Likewise, the other ordinary people in your world have their emotions all bound up in their politics.  Each of them has one vote, which limits the actual electoral villainy they (and you) can get up to.  You are not going to reason them out of their dearly-held political beliefs, nor can they do the same with you. 

     You want to change people's ideas?  Be a good example.  Be someone they look up to and want to emulate.  Involve their hearts as well as their heads.
* Yes, the male of the species is the sole repository of reason and rationality; for a good example of this, observe them watching a hotly-contested sporting event.  Ahem.

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