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Looking ahead together

I can understand the rhetorical concern that someone might think “what way forward do we as leftists even see, if we wanna exclude millions of wrong-hearted backwards-thinkers to this extent? We’re not inviting them to dialogue, we’re not listening to them, we’re breaking up friendships with them. What’s gonna happen in the long term? Is it us vs them until one side is dead?”

I don’t actually see people raising this point a lot on the left; that might mean that people are really short-sighted, close-horizoned on this, but it might also mean that they’ve already figured this out:

One cornerstone for the way forward is when the larger societal convo is based on truth and reason and not infected with a bunch of denialist nonsensed.

Partly because we’re busy with solving real problems: when saving our burning planet is urgent, we can’t waste our time rehashing for the 94683rd time whether it’s even true that catastrophic anthropogenic climate change is something we need to address.

But also because if we dilute the truth with “giving equal time” to a bunch of lies, it’s gonna be harder for individuals to sober up and change their minds about this stuff, and break free from that worldview and rejoin us in the real world.

If you truly believe that lies and bullshit doesn’t benefit massively when it’s being presented as a serious and popular option, complete with a route to power, then we’re really not on the same page about that. Exposing their lies doesn’t have to mean handing the mic to them and giving them a round of applause.

Yeah, yeah, I realize that it’s a problem that the camps are mostly talking about each other, and reacting to each other’s takes about how poisonous the other side is, and that there’s a lot of bull in my own camp. That doesn’t mean the solution is to affirm some sort of faux balanced view, but it does mean that we need to do better on our end to not exaggerate or misinform about the other side.

I believe that whenever people hear us say something about them that’s obviously false, it entrenches them further and makes it much more difficult for the truth to land. And what’s obviously false about them is gonna be much more obvious to them than it’s gonna be for the leftie audience you’re trying to stir into engagement and clicks.

As an example from the other side, maybe all y’all remember when Obama said that “Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” The clip was edited to make it sound like he said that you didn’t build the business, when what he did say was that you didn’t build the infrastructure your business operates in. This got tons of clicks & outrage & airplay on right wing news, but among fans of Obama, who knew what he was actually saying, it only made the critics look dishonest.

So when our left-leaning media do the same kind of thing, and I do see that happening all the time, it’s only hurting us, not helping us. “But the right-wind media does it, we need access to the same toolbox!” It’s not a good tool, it’s a footgun. It’s entrenching them in their biases and positions.

Gatekeeping can also be a problem. If people can’t join the open and just society, they won’t, and the trenches will just get deeper until we all die in a fire. But being forgiving of people’s pasts is different from letting active & current brownshirts in to run roughshod.

TL;DR: Don’t platform them, and never resort to lies about them because that only strengthens them.