If for no other reason than pinning this here makes it easily available for my own personal future reference (which is what these "Web Logs" sorta used to be about) I wanted to put up a particular comment from my own comment section.
But for it to make any sense to future generations, I'll will need to first put up the context in which it was made, then the comment itself, then a few thoughts.
An Anonymous commenter asks...
Anonymous said... I hate the ever expanding global surveillance State and want to do use the democratic process to stop it or at least curtail it. I'm even willing to move. Should I move to California so I can help reelect democratic senator Diane Feinstein or should I move to South Carolina so I can help reelect Lindsey Graham?
driftglass said... "I hate the ever expanding global surveillance State and want to do use the democratic process to stop it or at least curtail it."
I agree. Emphatically.
And if that is your issue -- your only issue -- then you are doing better than me. I'd like all of that plus I'd like to live in a state and support politicians who do not surveille women by jamming ultrasound wands up their vaginae because Jesus tells them to or work overtime to strip workers of their rights including their basic right to have a private life off the job. I'd like to live in a state and support politicians who do not allow private corporations to collect your personal medical history and then use it against you. Who do not permit extraction industries to dig up and then burn the country. I'd like to live in a state and support politicians who do not think every psychotic has the right to own as many bazookas as he wants. I'd like to live in a state and support politicians who do not actively interfere in American citizen's right to vote. Who do not think science should be driven out of the public schools along with those nasty union thugs who teach our children. Who do not treat LGBT citizens as subhuman freaks that do not deserve the same, basic rights as we hets.
The comment in question (with emphasis added):
I have not yet found the formula that lets me reduce my entire constellation of concerns down to one issue...and then to condemn the entire system for not delivering on my one issue to my exact specifications.
Coldtype said... I'm gratified that these are the kinds of politicians that you would prefer to support Drifty but how do you reconcile this with your support for Obama? This the man who has arrogated to himself the "right" to indefinitely detain or kill anyone on earth including Americans without due process based on secret evidence? Everything on your list of preferences is nullified by this entirely.Imagine it: I'll work to ensure the rights of women, I'll bring forth effective legislation regarding gun control, and my administration will not erect barriers to your right to marry whom you choose regardless of gender, but if I determine it prudent I'll have you killed and you will have no recourse.
Right there -- "Everything on your list of preferences is nullified by this entirely" -- is the core of True Believer thinking.
This is why it's often so hard for us to make any sense of each other; why some who are on the often very real front lines of, say, voting rights or reproductive rights or civil rights find people like the Greenwaldians so infuriating. I genuinely do not mean to single out or pick on any one person in particular and I do not doubt that commenter Coldtype is perfectly sincere. But this is such a concise summary of the kind of dismissive vocabulary -- this "Your concerns are soooo adorable. And maybe I'll get around to giving a shit about women's/ worker's/ children's/ voter's/ minority/ LGBT rights once everyone drops everything and does exactly what I want them to do exactly as I want it done right now" attitude -- that rolls so effortlessly off of the tongue of the True Believers that I wanted it topside for discussion.
First, because something in the wiring of the True Believer apparently makes them incapable of understanding or caring that this kind of approach often succeeds only in alienating the hell out of people who otherwise might be supportive of their position.
Second, it strongly reminds me of the same sort of paternalistic, knee-jerk elitism that, for example. constantly relegated the concerns and contributions of women to permanent second-class status in both the civil-rights and antiwar movements. Fuck equality, babe: we have a War To Stop!!! Now get me a fucking sammich!
Third, being blind to why anyone would take offense at being told A) their causes are trivial and, B) that they are fascist assholes for not lining up with the One True Cause 100%, the True Believer often compounds the problem by reading the alienation that their own condescension and patronizingly Manichean worldview has created as some kind of counterrevolutionary disloyalty. To which they respond by doubling down on the scorn-heaping and the "Worse Than Cheney! Worse Than Nixon!" shouting.
It is currently a free country and we are at liberty to do and say pretty much whatever we please, but if you are trying to build a coalition to shove the government or the media or public opinion in a particular direction, treating the legitimate concerns and interests of everyone else as the yapping of ignorant peons who don't know their place in your revolution will not win you any allies.