Email dialogue about ideological polarization

From: Friend#6

Subject: The Case against Revolution with Ayaan Hirsi Ali

This is so important.

From: Ray Gangarosa

Hi Friend#6

This video is good as far as it goes — but you must realize that irrationality and mob rule is not just a “leftist” phenomenon. 

On that basis, I find it very unpleasant to be lectured on these matters by conservatives. 

The videos you send me express opinions that conservatives have cornered the market on rationality, but I think Trumpism demonstrates conclusively that they have given up their principles in favor of power politics. Thus, I conclude that now the only moderates in America are progressives and the only free press that disseminates real, unbiased news is the progressive media. 

My family and I have lived overseas in countries dominated by militias — even in Beirut during the Lebanese civil war — so I know the alternative is unacceptable. 

I agree that some progressives are too far to the left, but no more so than many or most conservatives are too far to the right. 

There is far more moderation in the Democratic party today than there is in the Republican party, especially under Trump. 

Black Lives Matter has a valid point — the cumulative effects of slavery, Jim Crow, the Ku Klux Klan, lynching, voter suppression, etc., have had a corrosive effect on black wealth, culture, and prospects — and these suppressive effects remain in the Republican party. 

It’s easy to see how this African intellectual doesn’t suffer from those limitations and sees them as an outsider. She is in a good position to tell American blacks to snap out of it and get with a plan that works. 

It’s disingenuous for other conservative commentators, especially whites, to insist on a meritocracy when minorities start with one-tenth the wealth, little broadband access, and confrontations by white supremacists marching with swastikas, Nazi songs, and slogans “We will not be replaced” every time justice gets a small foothold, typically under a Democratic administration. 

There is memory in civilization and it has objective manifestations, so it’s just too convenient for conservatives to say, “Let’s ignore it” or sheepishly admit, after years of self-serving suppression of constituencies who won’t vote for them, “Mistakes were made, so let’s just start over.” If Republican legislators don’t repudiate racist constituencies and don’t tell them to fuck the hell off, we can assume that conservatism is willing to ally itself with white supremacy to maintain power. 

The black middle class in America has been beaten down by repeated massacres and lynchings since Reconstruction, so it’s no wonder that an unconstructive fatalism has been baked into black culture — yet still, voter suppression, mass incarceration, and economic exploitation continues in multiple forms under Republican policies. 

While lynching seems to be universally condemned by all sides, a few black males have been hanged in recent weeks, and their families have denied that they were suicidal. 

Conservatives rant and rave about liberals’ political correctness and snowflakes and mob rule, but they’re just as guilty — no, even much more so — of the same sins. 

The hypocrisy of Republicans — who hound Democratic administrations endlessly on trumped-up charges but tolerate egregious misconduct, never-ending and outrageous lies, and grossly antidemocratic actions among their own ranks. 

Our democracy has been under great strain since Trump took over — I think, left to his own devices, he would install a dictatorship and Republican legislators would let him do so. 

Speaking of mob rule on the right, a lot of public health practitioners are being harassed, even with death threats, by rightwing extremists who are indignant that epidemic control infringes on their businesses (bars, restaurants, casinos, stores). 

The other thing that galls me and other progressives is the tradition of dirty tricks in Republican politics, now still egregiously evident in blatant gerrymandering, voter suppression, incessant lies and propaganda, and the worst excesses of negative campaigning. 

I consider Bernie Sanders to be as stupid and ignorant on the left as Donald Trump is on the right, but the difference is that Sanders is not explicitly and overtly evil. Trump is a sociopath who lacks empathy and is willing to throw anybody under the bus to advance his political fortunes. 

I think Donald Trump is so intentionally divisive that he is worse than anyone or anything on the left. 

Since Newt Gingrich, the Republican party has become as tribalistic as the United States has ever been during my lifetime. It’s amazing to me how conservatives shift from negative campaigning of overt character assassination to claims that they are the only party capable of reasoned, rational thought. 

In addition, Fox News has become a propaganda vehicle that violates virtually every standard of truthful journalism. 

For example, I’ve been monitoring MSNBC and Fox News for coverage of the story of bounties that Russia paid to the Taliban for killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and it amazes me that the conservative media cannot admit that Trump is beholden to Russian interests for 2 billion dollars in financial support he received that rescued him from bankruptcy over a 30 year period — especially that, given Putin’s training with the KGB, such a favor would come with kompromat. The only reason we don’t have direct evidence of Trump’s duplicity is that he has concealed evidence that would follow the financial trail that would condemn him. 

The proof of conservatives’ hypocrisy is obvious: If any Democratic president was guilty of the slightest hint of things that Republicans let Trump get away with all the time, or if a Democrat even considered whining the same excuses that Republicans let Trump get away with, Republicans would wage scorched earth politics to the ends of the earth. 

My theory of civilizational design identifies a septet of civilizational sins that Donald Trump commits on a daily basis: ignorance | stupidity || corruption | exploitation || duplicity | treachery || existential threat. 

There is no comparison between the egregious, consistent hypocrisy of Republicanism and the fringes of progressivism that the rightwing press blows out of proportion. 

By the logic in this video, I make the same conclusion that, for the good of the party and the nation, the Republicans need to lose. 

It’s wrong, or at least premature, to say the same about the Democrats — I think Joe Biden will exert a much-needed and long-overdue healing presence. The far leftwing of the Democratic party is not representative of the progressive movement. 

It’s offensive to me that Fox News would produce this video criticizing mob rule on the left, interviewing an African scholar who has good ideas and valid observations, without addressing its own monolithic propaganda that fails to recognize the far greater sins of conservatism. 

I look forward to never-Trump Republicans swooping in to clean up the smoking ruins of a party that Donald Trump will leave in his wake. The focus of my blogs will be to give them all the support I can. I would like very much to intersect the intellectual conservative tradition that you so ardently espouse, because I think the Republican party since Newt Gingrich has almost completely left it behind. I see the role and future of conservatism far better than any conservative scholars that I’ve seen or studied. 

Best wishes, 

Ray G

From: Ray Gangarosa

Postscript: I saw a critique of the movie Mr. Jones in the National Review at entitled “Covering for Stalin”. I purchased the movie and watched it closely. Although the atrocities depicted were (so far) much worse than the tyranny confronting us now, the movie could just as well have described Republicans covering for Trump’s antidemocratic inclinations. The left does not hold a monopoly on tyranny, as the world could have appreciated in the 1930s and 40s between the dueling totalitarianisms of Hitler and Stalin. Despite its inclination to see things only through its rightwing lens, even the National Review should be able to appreciate that point. George Orwell’s Animal farm could just as well be written about a fascist state as communist tyranny. 

Ray G

From: Friend#5

Ray G,

Well written. However you write the “video is good as far as it goes.” In the first several seconds of the video, Ayaan Hirsi Ali writes, “What the media also do not tell you is that America is the best place on the planet to be black, female, gay, trans or what have you.”

I am proud that America has become a more welcoming society for those traditionally oppressed, but it to say America is the best place in the world to be female or these other categories is not rationalism, but chauvinisim. New Zealand, Canada, Germany, Finland, and Sweden are a few examples of the intellectual bankruptcy of Ali’s statement. 

Perhaps the reason why the media I read, such as The Economist, does not “tell you,” is because it is not true. Anyway, I find it a better use of my time to read rather then watch videos. I stopped watching this one after 6ix minutes.



From: Friend#6

To: Friend#5

I appreciate your insight as a world traveler. 

Ms Ali was a black oppressed woman who had forced genital mutilation. She escaped from black on black violence , found her way thru western education, became a politician in Scandinavia , married a white Brit . And settled in this land founded , based And fought for on self reliance and freedom.

My world is smaller, much smaller. But I know truth , which is about respect of self and caring for others, the core of our profession. I encourage you to listen.



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