Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Sunday, July 02, 2023


People are reacting with outrage. "To what?" you might ask, eyes eagerly searching for confirmation of your own beliefs.
The answer is: extremes. We might not agree with a moderate take on the other side of a dividing point, but we won't be outraged by it. Outrage drives action. If the action is consumption of my product, then I want you outraged. Creating discomfort is promoting my product. If I have an online publication, then the proof that it works is when you click on my news story or collumn, and how long you stay with it before moving on.

Notice how headlines are almost always more inflamatory than the actual text of the news story or collumn. It's worth noting that even before online publications, it has almost always been such that the writer is not the editor who composes and posts the headlines. Now, with the headlines being the link to the page, they're even more inflamatory. Add in that many people don't read the texts of the stories, choosing only to get their "news" or information from the headlines alone, and you can end up with a skewed view of the world. That's on all of us.

So The Other Side is never presented as somewhat opposed to your desires. No, they are presented as polar opposites in the greatest extreme. Conservatives are portrayed as militant white Christian Nationalists who are obsessed with guns, and pray for a Christian theocracy, at the expense of other peoples' rights. Liberals are portrayed as Marxist perverts who want to destroy the law and the lives of decent people, and will stop at nothing until it is against the law to be armed or to pray. Do such people exist? They sure do. Are they sometimes the loudest voices in the room? Sadly, yes. Do they truly represent even a scant plurality of the people on their side of the midpoint? Not in the least.

But outrage sells clicks. And attention gets votes. And the current political environment rewards extremism. How do you stand out? Show that your opponent is either the actual devil, or (if the opponent is vying for the same party's nomination) fails to pass the purity test. The latter uses numerous invocations of the "No True Scotsman" fallacy to convince one and all that the other candidate for nomination just isn't really an example of the party, because they're too moderate. This ignores the fact that, in fact, they ARE an actual living, breathing member of that party. The most common example that I see of this is the term "RINO."

I'm sure that there is a ton of stuff about which North* Carolina freshman congressman Jeff Jackson and I disagree about. (It is worth keeping in mind that a South Carolinia Democrat is not like a California Democrat.) But his middle ground comments are interesting in how refreshingly mundane they are. Here's what he has to say on this topic of outrage:

I'm asking you to stomach your bile, and to take a minute to watch him pull back the curtain on his colleagues. It's pretty revealing. Sound up.

* Edit

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