Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Reblogged:Tribalism vs. Clarity

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Within an analysis of the last election, the following sentence caught my eye:
[T]he liberal positions won big in Ohio's two ballot measures to enshrine the right to an abortion and to legalize marijuana. [links omitted]
Liberal positions?

I support both of these, but I am not a "liberal" -- at least in today's twisted sense of the term that implies leftist.

Liberals might, however imperfectly, support reproductive rights and the freedom to ingest whatever one wants, but these are pro-liberty positions, and they contradict other "liberal" positions, such as decriminalizing petty theft or surgically mutilating children below the age of consent and without their own parents' consent.

Nevertheless, many people lump such disparate positions together, based loosely on which party campaigns on them at the moment, much to the detriment of their own understanding of politics and the advancement of any genuinely good positions they might hold, such as the "liberal" right to abortion or the "conservative" right for parents to raise their own children.

Two cases in point are evident from the very article under discussion, and they manifest in Democrats and Republicans seeing lessons for each other -- while getting the wrong message for themselves -- after each election.

Since this piece is by a leftist, we'll start with it. As I noted the day after the last elections:
When abortion becomes the major issue on the ballot, and there is a clear choice, being anti-abortion will lose any election not dominated by religious voters.
This article focuses on the educated, affluent voters found in suburbs and other similar areas. These voters are not particularly religious, but they also aren't particularly leftist, as attested by the fact that they delivered wins to Glenn Youngkin in the previous election cycle, and used to trend more Republican before Roe was overturned and Republicans were safe to preen about abortion (i.e., pander to religious voters) without having to face the consequences (i.e., voters suddenly having to worry about their daughters being forced to bring unwanted pregnancies to term).

The GOP is screwed with these voters unless it changes its position on abortion. The writer at Vox rightly sees this -- but then starts hallucinating as soon as the whole smorgasbord of other liberal positions comes to his mind:
School choice as bait for abortion restrictions? Reproductive freedom as bait for in-school grooming? Both parties are guilty of baiting and switching. (Image by Anne Nygård, via Unsplash, license.)
Abortion politics have played a huge role in this since 2022, but the shift in the suburbs and with more affluent college graduates predates the Dobbs decision ending the federal right to an abortion. In Virginia and Pennsylvania, politics around schools and education, gender identity, and crime all joined abortion as issues that voters kept top of mind. "In conjunction with abortion is the other layered-in kind of Republican social agenda that is just so repellent to the country," a Democratic campaigner in suburban Bucks County told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Voters in the largest swing county in the most important swing state uniformly rejected that." [bold added]
Read the bold and ask yourself how the author -- who discusses Glenn Youngkin earlier in the same piece -- is now coupling woke nuttiness about "gender" and academic egalitarianism, with abortion. It was the woke nuttiness that got Youngkin into office on the backs of the same voters who just took him down a peg over abortion.

(For the sake of showing that my point is subtler than just "economic" vs. "law and order" vs. "social" issues: If I might take the liberty of speaking on behalf of such voters, I will note here that I support the right of consenting adults to marry, period, for which "gay marriage" might be shorthand. This is not the same thing as supporting the woke "gender" agenda in elementary school. I find religious opposition to "gay marriage" repugnant and I am repulsed by efforts to "educate" children about "gender" that amount to grooming them. I am an atheist, by the way.)

When Democrats manage to frame getting borderline pornography removed from school libraries as "book banning," they can sometimes smuggle in a victory for that kind of nonsense, but it's a losing issue for them in isolation (among voters who aren't overwhelmingly "blue"), just like abortion is for the GOP.

And speaking of woke nuttiness and Glenn Youngkin, he provides the corresponding example of the other political tribe overplaying its hand after a win.

Youngkin was elected because the bloc of voters under discussion were upset about unnecessary school closures during the pandemic and did not appreciate "gender" propaganda being directed at their young children or their children being kept in the dark about academic awards for woke/DEI (i.e., egalitarian reasons).

That was his mandate, so what did he try to glom onto that in the last election? An abortion limit:
Virginia Democrats' success will spell doom for Youngkin's proposed 15-week "limit" on abortion, which would ban the procedure after 15 weeks with exceptions for rape, incest and medical emergencies. Democratic legislators in Virginia have previously used their senate majority to block bills restricting abortion access and they had promised to do so again if they maintained control of the chamber.
As one of these voters, I have come to dread every election because the Democrats are happy to construe my support for, say, reproductive freedom, as also support for, say mutilating underage children -- and Republicans take my concerns about, say crime and government looting (i.e., property rights), as license to ram their religious strictures down my throat.

Partisans on both sides seem oblivious to the idea of personal liberty, and quite eager to read overarching mandates for their own particular takes on tyranny into any vote I make. Anyone accusing this bloc of voters of moving into either party is delusional or attempting to be manipulative. Conformative fealty to a laundry list isn't clear thinking, if it's thinking at all.

-- CAV

Link to Original

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...