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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Conservatism and Twitter -- Useful but thin on substance

I like Twitter to a certain extent. It has opened up a world of information to me on a variety of subjects and sites like Twitchy has used it to great effect. Nick Searcy has been using it like a sledge hammer against the left and Iowahawk may be the best conservative humorist in 140 character increments.

But it has its problems, one of them being that it is nearly impossible to properly defend and define conservatism on any number of issues or to get in a substantive argument with a liberal without resorting to the irrelevant or the trivial.

Take this article I read on feminism and the fifties:
...anyone who has debated women’s issues with a militant feminist has been witness to a thoughtless remark about “the 1950s.” It is a dumb and extraneous bludgeon to use in arguments related to birth control and abortion; the issue regarding the contraception mandate, for instance, is not whether we should “return to the 1950s” but whether or not it is ethical or constitutional to force people to pay for other peoples’ birth control. Similarly, debating the morality of abortion has nothing to do with the fifties and everything to do with whether killing an unborn child should be legal or not, and whether or not we should support the killing of unborn children with taxpayer dollars. These are vital political and philosophical questions, and ginning up fears about “the fifties” is a great way to avoid actually engaging the issue; it works, presumably, because the 1950s are so visceral and stand out so clearly in Americans’ minds—the gleaming chrome and aggressive schmaltz of the time are recognizable to any American, as is the tiresome trope that feminists invoke whenever the argument gets difficult.
Democrats always take the easy road in their arguments. Find something that fits on a bumper sticker and use it to paint your opponents with a very broad brush. Liberals trade in the visceral. Argue about whether or not women should have the government pay for their health care and you want to go back to the fifties. If you think affirmative action is an unfair practice and doesn't stop racism but simply rewards based on skin color as opposed to penalizing as in yesteryear, you are a racist. No need for further argument, you've been dismissed.

I have neglected to comment on the Nevada Rancher because I always bristle at breaking the law rather than changing it. It was predictable though, as soon as this guy made dumb comments on blacks and slavery, he became the face of conservatism, the tea party, Republicans, and anyone else who opposes Liberals. It didn't matter that he was one crazy old man, we all think like that now.

So when I saw this tweet from Markos "DailyKos" Moulitsas, I had to respond:
Predictably a liberal scurried to point out the most relevant portion of the tweet:
Ah yes. My spelling typo. So now you rendered all my points moot because I made a spelling typo. 1) We are all not Cliven Bundy, nor do we want him to shoot anyone. 2) We are not racists and bristle at Bundy's remarks, and 3) We have no issues with Latinos, only that they broke the law to get here.

All my points in any liberal's mind can be refuted thusly: 1) Yes you are, you warmongers. 2) Racists, you're lying about bristling. You hate blacks. 3) See point 2 and substitute "Latinos" for "blacks."  While we're at it, we'll ridicule you personally for making a spelling typo. Don't argue, destroy. Don't persuade, coerce.

I half-heartedly tried to engage him but gave up pretty quickly. He had his mind made up, we are all racists and love this guy. Conservatives to the liberal are all the Montana Freeman. Yes we really want is to dismantle much of what's been created that's outside of the constitution. Yes we feel there are too many regulations. But we want to persuade, not bludgeon and not force. We want to work within the law, not outside it, contrary to what some well-publicized yahoos would have you think.

So twitter makes it difficult to try to refute these things. Here I am in a very wordy article again trying to explain what we really believe and where we stand. Sure there are differences here and there but we are not this monolithic movement controlled from on-high. We are individuals working towards a common goal. Since Liberals love the top-down approach and look down on the peons, the idea of it rising from the bottom is foreign to them.

So how do I convey that in 140 characters? It's impossible. It's also not very emotional. So conservativism, properly conveyed requires some thought and some time. It's also not going to grab you emotionally, if anything it would diffuse initial emotions. Logic has a tendency to do that.

So while I use Twitter to publish my articles and gather information, I have already become disillusioned with its use on a daily basis. It usually either gets the choir to confirm my biases or gets my opponents to make irrelevant, emotional, and/or pointless insults rather than any useful dialogue.

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