More Than Ever, We Need Compassion and Understanding

Gabriel Katz

Gabriel Katz

Gabriel Katz is a senior mathematics major at Worcester Polytechnic Institute interested in the NBA, politics, history, and statistics. He is on Twitter

Related Post Roulette

26 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak
    Ignored
    says:

    Well said. Not sure lots of people will listen but it’s good people are saying it.Report

  2. Avatar Doctor Jay
    Ignored
    says:

    I want to give a hearty “yes” to this, and to illuminate a point about friendship. Friendship, to me, can encompass differences of opinion. Whereas so many of the relationships one sees online are based on ideological conformance. If you stray off any certain path, or express dissent, you are likely to get scolded or berated or even shunned or banned in some places. Bear in mind that one’s manners speak very loudly here – how you say things matters a great deal.

    I find this is affecting me, driving me away from certain gatherings and into further isolation. I feel mostly powerless to do much about it. I have one suggestion – cut back or eliminate most social media, which promotes engagement at the most superficial level. But that doesn’t exactly counter isolation, does it? So maybe I don’t know what to do about it.

    Let’s be clear. I’m still angry about the Merrick Garland situation. It is compounded by Sen. McConnells brazen reversal. There was no principle involved, just power. We will have a president who lost the popular vote appoint three justices and have them confirmed by a Senate in which the controlling party got fewer votes than the “minority”. This is minority rule. It is anti-democratic. It is wrong. The country is supposed to work on majority rule, but with minority protection. This is not that. The Electoral College never worked the way the founders envisioned.

    So, how to reconcile that with a desire to connect, and to lift up and support my fellow Americans in this time of pestilence and trial? I don’t know. I’m going to go play Satisfactory.Report

    • Gabriel Katz Gabriel Katz
      Ignored
      says:

      We seem to have very opposite political leanings. I am a movement conservative who is anti-Trump, but throughly conservative nonetheless (and in fact dislikes Trump because of my conservative values). I have (mostly in jest) mused that the entire country might be better off if we had a peaceful national divorce (which is not practical, I know) that allowed the right and the left to build separate countries as they see fit. I honestly am not sure how you and I resolve our differences, or how our “sides” resolve their differences, or how we get to a point where those shocking statistics on partisanship are no longer true. I just know that calling you evil, thinking the world would be better if you died, and engaging in violence when I do not like the results of an election is not the answer.

      Some of my closest friends and family members hold views similar to mine, but I have very close friends and family members who hold views dissimilar to mine. I definitely have seen times when political discussion has worsened those relationships, but I am convinced that ending close personal relationships because of politics would not improve our political culture in the slightest. This article was as much an attempt to encourage myself to be engage in good faith as it was for anyone else. I think it is really hard to actually engage in good faith in situations where those around you have no interest inn engaging in good faith. Much of what I have learned has been to try and pick my battles, and to even pull away from those conversations when I am personally not in the emotional state to have a good faith conversation.

      I obviously don’t really have good answers, but thanks for reading the piece!Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    In the abstract and ideal, sure I agree. But I think we need to do a through examining of what it means to not demonize your political opponents and the conditions under which this is possible. Unfortunately, the conditions seem to only exist in a society with a broad consensus and possibly when fighting is over largely abstract issues. It is easy not to demonize your opponents when arguing about percentages for top marginal tax rates.

    This is not the situation of the United States. The situation in the United States is that one party is a broad and diverse coalition of left to moderate voices and the other major party is a nihilistic death cult that cares about nothing more than power, enrichment, and shit posting memes that own the libs, combined with a large dose of perpetually bad-faith argumentation.

    There is a certain kind of liberal that seems to think conservatism and reactionary politics is a matter of education and not identity. This liberals seems to think that with proper education and argumentation, all bigotry and prejudice will melt away with all the neatness of a sugary after-school special, Disney cartoon, or a West Wing episode. This is not the case. Adrian Vermeule was a nominal Episcopalian when he started his law professor career and since then has become a true believing Catholic reactionary who seems to think we can and should create a Catholic theology in the United States. Michael Anton at the Claremont Review of Books similarly believes that the white Christian America (as he sees it) is under existential threat and needs defending. The Republicans of 2016 and 2020 stand behind a person whose vile tendencies are so apparent but they seem as the lord savior protector of White, Christian America and will stand by him no matter what. He could take every bit of gold in the Federal Reserve and high tail to Moscow with Mitch McConnel in tow and they will still support him.

    I’m Jewish. Based on your last name, I assume you are also Jewish. It is not my responsibility to hug a Nazi. Hugging a Nazi is not going to melt hate away. It is likely to get me stabbed in the abdomen with a hidden knife.

    This site is a good example at times of the asymmetric nature of how much slack right-leaning or reactionary people can get to maintain the pretense of open debate between differing views. There are posters here who do nothing but post bad-faith nonsense about how Nazis are now going to vote for Joe Biden because Richard Spencer announced he was done with Trump. In previous years, they probably would have harped endlessly on how Democrats are the real racists and/or Nazis were left wing because of the Socialist in Nationalist Socialist. Yet they get tolerated and indulged because “well golly gee we need a broad range of voices and if these are the voices on the Republican side, these are the voice on the Republican side.”

    These are not people who can be reasoned with or hugged into liberalism.Report

    • Gabriel Katz Gabriel Katz
      Ignored
      says:

      We seem to have very opposite political leanings (though we do share a religion). I am a movement conservative who is anti-Trump, but throughly conservative nonetheless (and in fact dislikes Trump because of my conservative values). You commented that people are conservative because of a lack of education, and I actually think that is the point of the piece in some way. Do you really think that I am conservative because I lack education? I know that you may not agree with my world view, but can you at least see the underlying ideological point of conservatism even if you disagree with conservatives’ political and policy aims?

      I honestly am not sure how you and I resolve our differences, or how our “sides” resolve their differences, or how we get to a point where those shocking statistics on partisanship are no longer true. I just know that calling you evil, thinking the world would be better if you died, and engaging in violence when I do not like the results of an election is not the answer.

      You mentioned how hugging a Nazi is not going to melt hate away. I actually disagree with that premise. It certainly won’t fix the world, but Bethany Mandel has written a very moving piece on The Forward about befriending Nazis that I will link to below. I am not going to ask you to agree with or approve of what Nazis say or to leave yourself defenseless, but you should understand why they decided to become Nazis (I.e. what was going through their head when they decided that Nazism was the best political ideology). Mandel’s piece details how friendship actually has convinced people to abandon white supremacy and Nazism.

      You talk about hugging or reasoning people into liberalism, and that is certainly a reasonable goal when discussing politics. One (implicit) point of the piece is that a person’s inherent value isn’t determined by their politics, and that you don’t have to swing at every pitch (I.e. engage in every political discussion). I wrote the piece as much to convince myself of that as you, and I definitely have failed at this, but I just see no other way fix our current broken political culture. I am just certain that more anger, contempt, and strife won’t be the solution.

      Regardless of our disagreements, I want to thank you for reading the piece.

      https://forward.com/opinion/380510/we-need-to-start-befriending-neo-nazis/Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    Comment in moderation.Report

  5. Avatar Swami
    Ignored
    says:

    ” We need to engage our political opponents with compassion and understanding instead of dehumanization, contempt, and hatred.”

    The problem isn’t the “other” party (whichever party you consider the other). The problem is the very nature of the party system. Party systems flourish by indoctrinating their members into a common mindset and tribe and by dehumanizing those not within the party. We are dealing with a group cohesion thing based upon and actively manipulating our primitive tribal genetic coding.

    The two parties aren’t going to like and respect each other more tomorrow than today. To hope they do is to misdiagnose the sickness. They are going to demonize and dehumanize each other more and more over time, while simultaneously indoctrinating their own members into believing more extreme and absurd ideas.

    Yes, the “other” side of the political fence involves an absurd cult. Both parties recognize this obvious truth while simultaneously ignoring the fact that their own side is an absurd cult too.

    The way out of this mess, the ONLY way out, is for some of us to start realizing that we need to reject these tribal party belief systems.

    The path to social harmony is to personally reject the party belief system. If you are a part of a political team, you are part of the problem.Report

    • Avatar greginak
      Ignored
      says:

      Plenty of countries have parties w/o the same level of animosity. In fact the US has not always had the same level of animosity while having parties. Even if parties are the problems that does seem to be how how our system works so i’m sure of the solution.Report

    • Avatar George Turner
      Ignored
      says:

      The trouble with your theory is that Republicans don’t go through any brainwashing. How could they? They have no real voice in the media because Democrats took over almost all of journalism and turned it into a propaganda wing for the Democrat party. Conservatives don’t have any say in entertainment, either, and few there are have to keep their political beliefs secret lest they get blacklisted, unless they become successful enough to become untouchable, like Clint Eastwood. On social media they can’t speak out or Twitter and Facebook will ban them. In education, they can’t even show their faces on campus.

      They also generally don’t think that Democrats are evil, just misguided, naive, inexperience, or uniformed, or living in one of those happy little communities that still have competent, normal, good-hearted Democrats in charge, as opposed to crazy coastal revolutionary Marxists who underwent Ivy League brainwashing in racism, guilt, and self-hatred – the “woke” disease.

      It’s not the party system that’s the problem, because historically it was common for members of the opposite parties to share a bed, or if they were young, share a bunk bed. Conservative parents were used waiting for the liberal kids to grow up. Liberalism was a stage, much like childhood, even to Democrat parents who were confident their boy would one day take down his Grateful Dead posters and join the UAW, like his pop.

      But then you toss in post ’68 post-modernism, cultural-relativism, intersectionality, and wokeness, and what you get is a very severe and judgmental mass-hysteria that demonizes all non-believers as moral degenerates, existential enemies of progress who must be eliminated (Marxism always includes that idea). And so the woke people, caught up in a moral panic, descend into a purity spiral. They get more violent as the afflicted get more desperate, feeding on each others’ outrage as their movement’s antics drives increasing numbers of normal people run for the hills – to stock up on food and ammo.

      Normal Democrats aren’t the problem, it’s the outrage brigades who’ve been taught that logic, reason, and history are merely tools of white oppression, and who are bent on purging all vestiges of “wrong think”Report

      • Avatar Slade the Leveller
        Ignored
        says:

        Irony at its finest.Report

        • Avatar North
          Ignored
          says:

          Heh, every accusation is a confession.Report

          • Avatar George Turner
            Ignored
            says:

            I’m pretty sure the right isn’t running around preaching intersectionality, demanding segregation, demanding an end to capitalism, threatening to burn down the entire country while busily burning and looting cities, going into restaurants and forcing people to make the fascist salute, and banning people from Twitter and Facebook. The left is doing all those things – almost daily.Report

            • Avatar North
              Ignored
              says:

              No, the right preaches integralism instead of intersectionality, though both the right and the fringe left are into segregation oddly enough. As for Twitter and Facebook, the right is fully in favor of private corporations doing whatever they want with their platforms. Unfortunately the right can’t seem to figure out how to run broadly popular social media platforms of their own and not have them overrun with Qanon loons.Report

              • Avatar Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                “the right preaches integralism instead of intersectionality”>/i>

                How often? Apparently enough to make it comparable to the left’s preaching of intersectionality. So it should be easy to cite a lot of officeholders, popular YouTube creators, and other prominent figures on the right who preach integralism. I’m always hearing that Trumpism is conservatism, so there must be a lot of integralist quotes from Trump. For every Supreme Court justice who extols the virtues of the wise Latina, you should give me one who explicitly calls for unity of church and state.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        Completely ignores the influence of religion, and talk radio…Report

      • Gabriel Katz Gabriel Katz
        Ignored
        says:

        Hi, I am also a conservative, and we probably have many of the same political views, but you made a comment here that I want to address.

        “They [Republicans] also generally don’t think that Democrats are evil, just misguided, naive, inexperience, or uniformed…”

        I literally cited a statistic in the piece that said that 42% of Republicans would characterize Democrats as “downright evil.” I also cited statistics showing that a sizable percentage of Republicans think the country would be better if large numbers of Democrats died and think that violence would be morally acceptable if the GOP loses the 2020 presidential election. Angry, hateful partisanship is a moral rot that is affecting both sides of this conflict, and we should not pretend otherwise.Report

  6. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    Compassion isn’t opposed to accountability, in fact it demands it.

    When people say things, or promote things that are hurtful or evil, we have a duty to denounce it loudly and to work as hard as possible against it.

    I don’t hate Trumpists. But their agenda threatens the freedom and dignity of millions of people and I don’t shy away from working as hard as possible to block them from power.Report

    • Avatar George Turner
      Ignored
      says:

      Yep. In the Balkans, the Catholics were so compassionate that they forced Muslims to accept Jesus before they slaughtered them, so that the Muslims would make it into Heaven. 🙂

      You see, the trouble is that the less evil there is, things like “systemic racism” that largely dissipated decades ago except perhaps in blue cities (with things like redlining and badly thought-out public housing projects), the more the human brain, when told to find examples of “the thing”, recasts almost anything into examples of it. The result is that now even math is “racism”. History is “racism”. Owning pets is “racism”. Showing up for work on time is “racism”. Everything is “racism”.

      Unless of course something is “sexism”. College campuses are an example of that. An American campus is the most pro-female acreage in the history of homo sapiens, and yet the women there are convinced their schools are more misogynistic than an ISIS-controlled town in Syria.

      These are examples of what would perhaps be described as “mass delusions”. Mobs driven by mass delusions are dangerous things that, at best, produce bizarre and horrible outcomes.Report

  7. Avatar Pinky
    Ignored
    says:

    I don’t know what it says about human nature, but threads on this topic always bring out the cornflake urinators. But by and large, there’s a lot of partisan good-sportsmanship on this site. I can think of a dozen sites that need this article more than we do.Report

    • Gabriel Katz Gabriel Katz
      Ignored
      says:

      I wrote the piece as much for myself as for anyone else. I have certainly failed at this in the past. I have learned the hard way that the way you say something is almost as important as how you say it. certainly have strong political beliefs (I am a passionate anti-Trump conservative with a libertarian twist), but I have really tried to not let my emotion overwhelm how I interact with those who have different beliefs in recent months. In the end, I think this is something that almost everybody could do better.Report

  8. Avatar Kristin Devine
    Ignored
    says:

    This is a wonderful piece Gabriel. Thanks for writing it.Report

  9. Avatar North
    Ignored
    says:

    No, the right preaches integralism instead of intersectionality, though both the right and the fringe left are into segregation oddly enough. As for Twitter and Facebook, the right is fully in favor of private corporations doing whatever they want with their platforms. Unfortunately the right can’t seem to figure out how to run broadly popular social media platforms of their own and not have them overrun with Qanon loons.Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *