Meaningful Distinction:

Patrick S. Lasswell Look outward for something to accomplish, not inward for something to despise.
pslblog at gmail dot com
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Why You Are Losing the Election

An acquaintance of mine who is quite Left recently re-established contact with me by sending me a blog post of a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who took issue with President Bush's leadership. I emailed back a link to the overwhelmingly positive response by Guard troops heading to Iraq when Bush greeted them on their plane as it refueled in Maine. I also sent links to two other bloggers who had done tours in Iraq, were critical of Bush on a variety of topics, but could clearly distinguish Kerry's failures as a candidate. Over the course of a few emails, my acquaintance completely misunderstood what I was trying to tell him. He denounced Roger Simon for slamming various news sources, regardless of the validity of the critique. I did not correct him in his misapprehensions because by then it had become clear to me what the problem was; if he actually took the effort to understand me, he would have to admit that he was wrong.

From Rather's denouncement of bloggers as partisan operatives to any number of idiotic comments I have seen on articles I have posted elsewhere, there is a pattern of willful incomprehension on the Left. If understanding makes you wrong, choose not to understand. If the numbers show that your candidate is losing, fail to understand the numbers. If Christopher Hitchens shows your behavior contemptible, rail against Hitchens.

I suspect that what I am seeing is a cultural artifact peculiar to the Left. Generations of accepting propaganda that excused Soviet brutality have made cognitive dissonance a primary cultural identifier. You simply cannot be part of the Left culture while maintaining intellectual integrity. This has made the peoples of the Left a perfect tool for acquiring political power, as long as nobody pays attention to the facts.

In the information age, the ability to ignore facts is no longer a survival trait worth having. What we are seeing is the collapse of a failed culture that tied its identity to an unsustainable characteristic. In the lifetime of my mother, we have seen the death of the cultures of the isolationist Right and the racist Dixiecrats. Cultural failure happens, and what matters is how you deal with the transition.

Governor George Wallace, for all his many faults, crimes, and sins, is probably one of the best examples of how to recover from a failed culture. He re-examined his life and changed to make things better. This is not the end of the world, even if your friends are telling you to believe it is. Establish your friendships on the basis of how they help you thrive, not on their adherence to party dogma, especially if that dogma is suicidal.
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