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Monday, July 25, 2022

Charity & Empathy


Silverfiddle Rant!
Charity and empathy have been drained from national dialog, as have candor, goodwill, and attempting to understand an opponent's point of view in the most favorable light possible.  Anti-Trumpers, mostly on the left, made an attempt to understand Trump voters after his victory, but the project was soon abandoned when it was clear there was no hay (or money) to be made helping Americans understand one another.

Now comes Bret Stephens of the New York Times with a sincere apology to Trump voters.  He is still adamantly anti-Trump, but he apologizes for smearing and insulting those who voted for El Donaldo.
I belonged to a social class that my friend Peggy Noonan called “the protected.” My family lived in a safe and pleasant neighborhood. Our kids went to an excellent public school. I was well paid, fully insured, insulated against life’s harsh edges.

Trump’s appeal, according to Noonan, was largely to people she called “the unprotected.” Their neighborhoods weren’t so safe and pleasant. Their schools weren’t so excellent. Their livelihoods weren’t so secure. Their experience of America was often one of cultural and economic decline, sometimes felt in the most personal of ways.

It was an experience compounded by the insult of being treated as losers and racists —clinging, in Obama’s notorious 2008 phrase, to “guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them.” No wonder they were angry.
He also blames progressives for abandoning persuasion and instead high-handedly cramming their (however noble) culture wars down our throats:
It’s one thing for social mores to evolve over time, aided by respect for differences of opinion. It’s another for them to be abruptly imposed by one side on another, with little democratic input but a great deal of moral bullying.
Please go read the entire essay.  We can all learn from articles like this, if we allow ourselves some self-reflection, and perhaps try to take a more charitable view of those we disagree with.  

66 comments:

  1. Charity and empathy works both ways. If the cult is going to act like a$$holes, then that's certainly going to be how I treat them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, the vicious, as opposed to virtuous, cycle...

      Delete
    2. Part and parcel of this is not looking at the entire "other side" and calling "the (fill in the blank)"

      There are a-holes on all sides, and I'm not defending them and neither is Stephens.

      Delete
    3. CI, Do you consider every last person who voted for Trump, "the cult?"

      Delete
    4. @SF - I think you already know the answer to that question - of course not. And I think you've certainly seen & heard those who I'm referring to.

      Delete
  2. One guy is growing up and I should read his essay?
    I already take a charitable view of other opinions, except those that belong to them that would imprison or enslave me, or empower those that would.

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  3. Brett Stephens doesn't think he was wrong about Trump or his supporters, just in his "tactics" for engaging with them....

    A final question for myself: Would I be wrong to lambaste Trump’s current supporters, the ones who want him back in the White House despite his refusal to accept his electoral defeat and the historic outrage of Jan. 6?

    Morally speaking, no. It’s one thing to take a gamble on a candidate who promises a break with business as usual. It’s another to do that with an ex-president with a record of trying to break the Republic itself.

    But I would also approach these voters in a much different spirit than I did the last time. “A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall,” noted Abraham Lincoln early in his political career. “If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend.” Words to live by, particularly for those of us in the business of persuasion.


    Is he willing to admit that the 2020 election was the most INsecure election in history and grant Trump some "caritas"? Not at all...

    -FJ

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    1. He just wants to be able to "patronize" and attempt to influence Trump voters more effectively. He doesn't give a sh*t about addressing the circumstances that generated their anger... he just wants his formerly unquestioned influence back.

      Delete
    2. Maybe he'll "sugar coat" the bugs he feeds us, instead of simply making us eat them.

      Delete
    3. All points well taken. I see this as a matter of tone and tenor. It's obvious we are not all going to agree on everything, that would be impossible.

      Still and all, it is important during these disagreements, how we characterize others and how we talk about them.

      Clearly there are idiots on all sides, who don't deserve the same amount of respect as people on the other side who hold considered opinions. Obviously there's a lot of gray area there, but we have got to cool down a lot of how we talk to and about one another.

      Delete
    4. There can be apologetic tones and tenors, but if the words they're applied to don't match them, they're not credible. The words don't match.

      Morally speaking, no....

      I'm not wrong. I'm "immoral". 'F him.

      Delete
    5. I see him say that it is morally permissable to lambaste you, I don't see him say that you are immoral. But even if he intended it the way you read it, why are you surprised or offended that your opponents might think you immoral? Don't we accuse each other of that all the time? I see it happen so routinely in both directions that I gathered it was part of the cut and thrust of lively debate. If that's not the case then gosh, all of us from every side need to take much better care of each others' feelings.

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    6. I'm not the one arguing for "evolved morals" based upon as-yet-unrealized technologies and future scientific health advancements. He can call me "immoral" after he has the technologies and advancements in hand (cures for AIDS, MPXV, Covid and credible proof that 2020 was a fair and square election, and not some partisan show trial). Until then... his "righteous" moral position is unjustified and his assertion of "moral" rights naught but brazen chutzpah.

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    7. All assertions of moral rights are brazen chutzpah, regardless of how radical or traditional the particular assertion may be. But let's leave the gentlemens' bums to one side and concentrate on the 2020 election. I think Trump is morally wrong for bringing such a noisy, inciting case with so little legal merit. I think his followers are wrong simply for their lapse in judgement in following him. Not a moral fault necessarily, but a fault nonetheless.
      Was there genuine election fraud? Maybe. More than usual? Who knows. All the more reason to disapprove of Trump's antics for muddying the waters so much. We could have usefully looked into this, but that's impossible now. This circus is so damaging, that I believe there *is* a moral case for tutting at everyone involved in prolonging the misery, even innocent supporters, not that tutting would do much good. Which I believe is Stephens' point.

      Delete
    8. Jez,

      Well said.

      "We could have usefully looked into this"

      America has become expert at doing everything the wrong way.

      Delete
  4. Silver, I read the Stephens article when it first came out, along with most of the other "I was wrong" articles published by the NY Times. They were all good, though I thought his was the most contrite, not for his underlying opinion perse, but for how he expressed it.

    And that is the crux of it for me.

    People can have differing opinions on whatever they want. And those opinions can be wrong. But how we treat people, how we address people, when we believe them to be wrong, makes a difference.

    I think all of us go overboard sometimes, myself included. Heck, you can read some of the comments already posted here today for evidence.

    But adding to Stephens' honey analogy, perhaps the Apostle Paul says it best... "consider others better than yourselves..."

    At least for people who claim to want to be about Jesus, that is, or should be a defining passage. Whether we like it or not, and even whether we are any good at it or not.

    Because when we consider others better than ourselves, it demands we treat them with respect, rather than the ridicule Stephens used in the original article.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I read this article a few days ago. 3 times. And again today.

    I get the anger of those feeling abandoned, workers scraping to make ends meet, etc. etc. while the elite are worry free, enjoy better schools, well insured, etc. etc. and living the good life.

    But what I find phenomenal is that not only was Trump a money handed spoiled rich kid and a life long grifter and con man who preyed off the less fortunate, but he told people struggling in advance that he'd screw their eyes out if elected. He told them on stage in a live debate that stiffing contracted workers out of their pay for successfully building his casinos was "good business". He told American workers their "wages were too high". He forewarned them of the elite billionaires he'd place to continue to prey off of them.

    And once elected, he made good on his promise by placing anti-worker wage-theft people in key positions. Billionaire Besty Devos never sent her kids to a public school yet there she was. He offered budgets that would end SSI and Medicare. John McCain was the dead man walking that stopped him from millions of the non-elites loosing health care. He skimmed $1.5 trillion from COVID relief to transfer to the high browed yacht club. He signed into law a huge tax break for his elites. The guy PROPOSED TAKING WAITRESS'S TIPS.

    I was talking to a friend who's a business agent for the United Steel Workers and he told me several Union workers were mad as hell at him for NOT putting a 2020 Trump sign on the lawn at the hall. And this was AFTER he stacked the NLRA with anti-union appointees, the extensive long list of damage done by that board, and the long list of anti-worker EOs.

    Union iron worker or the Pizza Hut delivery guy or dish washer at Bob's Grill, Trump has promoted the interests of the elite corporate executives and shareholders over those people while practically living on a golf course and/or at Mar-a-Lago.

    And that's just a small tip of the iceberg.

    And today's so-called conservative party is promising to throw a 10 year $1 trillion dollar tax on them, if given the chance.



    ReplyDelete
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    1. It is debatable what is responsible for it, but wages went up, and jobs increased under Trump. That is the reason why working people voted for his reelection.

      We can argue over the economics, and what is true motives are etc, but those are the plain facts.

      Also, many good liberals have pointed out that the Democratic party has become too overly educated, upper-class, coastal elite, pushing every social agenda imaginable, and that they simply do not speak to working people anymore. I leave it to people on the left and to working people to speak for themselves on that issue.

      Delete
    2. Gee, Big Tech is getting a $21b chip tax cut from Congress. And Nancy's husband's already invested. Trump bad...

      Delete
    3. Also, many good liberals have pointed out that the Democratic party has become too overly educated, upper-class, coastal elite, pushing every social agenda imaginable, and that they simply do not speak to working people anymore.

      Absolutely spot on. I don't think the GOP is much better placed to fill that vacuum, but the analysis on the Democrats is correct.

      Delete
    4. "It is debatable what is responsible for it, but wages went up, and jobs increased under Trump. That is the reason why working people voted for his reelection."

      That, as I've given the BLS numbers many times, isn't actually true. Rather, it's something Trump claimed many times at his Klan Rallies and backed up by his campaign crew at Fox News.

      And I'm only considering his first 3 years as COVID was circumstantial. Those 3 years fell short of Obama's last 3 years.

      Job numbers saw a steady growth from Oct 2010 to Feb 2019 with 20K job growth rather than the expected 180K (a full year before COVID). Manufacturers were shedding jobs in the last quarter of 2019 and banks were starting to tighten up on home loans.



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    5. The GOP doesn't have a good track record on anything. They are not fiscally responsible, they are not small government, and like the Democrats, they are beholden to the corporate interests the fund them

      Delete
    6. "Also, many good liberals have pointed out that the Democratic party has become too overly educated, upper-class, coastal elite, pushing every social agenda imaginable, and that they simply do not speak to working people anymore."

      And

      "Democrats are the worker's friends... LOL!"

      Dems may not be much of a friend but the GOP is the working class enemy. I again state their admission of imposing a $ trillion tax and gut SSI and Medicare if elected.

      I think Dems and labor unions took the working class for granted for the above reason. A worker voting for a Republican would be like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders and therefore Dems felt content.

      Delete
    7. What are the Democrats, Chick Filet or Popeyes?

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    8. Think the peasants will go along with your ESG Recession, or will they lock the Democrats in the Bastille with the Marquis de Sade come November?

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    9. Ronald. Looks like you will have to go and tell all of those working-class people who claimed they had bigger paychecks that they were wrong.

      Delete
    10. You wanna see that charitable thing in action?
      I'm not gonna respond to Ronald.

      Delete
    11. ‘’ Ronald. Looks like you will have to go and tell all of those working-class people who claimed they had bigger paychecks that they were wrong.’’

      That’s a hard crowd to convince that something Trump told them may not be true.

      Some of numbers are copy and paste but 2 reports from the Economic Policy Institute show the working class seeing a slower wage and income growth under Trump than they did in the Obama years.

      The U.S. Census Bureau survey data shows that median household income grew at a slower pace – by an annual average of 2.1% – during the president’s first three years in office compared to the last three years of Obama’s presidency when annual average income growth was 2.6%. (Capital & Main published an analysis earlier this month of another U.S. Census Bureau survey showing that median household income growth was slower in 26 of the 50 states during Trump’s first three years in office – 2016 to 2019 – when compared to the three years leading up to his presidency, 2013 to 2016.).

      There’s plenty more but again, this great economy under Trump is merely something Trump persuaded people to believe rather than it actually ever happened.

      There’s a reason that that most every credible historical analysis placed Trump 2nd worst U.S. President ever. It’s because he scored very high in one category, his ability of persuasion.

      Delete
    12. It's all how you slice and dice it. So, in summary, Ronald, you are telling all those working people that the bigger numbers they saw on their paycheck weren't really bigger numbers.

      Sounds like more left-wing progressive Hockum




      Delete
    13. And all those Trump year 2.1% median increases disappeared in one Biden year with 9.7% inflation...

      Delete
    14. Is your specious reasoning a product of your cantankerous nature or simply a need to genuflect at the Mango alter?

      Wages have consistently gone up in most every profession under every president. I can't think of a single time where workers didn't see bigger numbers on their paychecks from the beginning to the end of a 4 year span..

      What actual numbers prove is that those numbers, along with job creations, went up less under Trump.

      Once again, Trump really never produced any great economy. He was simply riding off the coattails of his predecessor and TELLING people he did. And economic cracks were starting to appear prior to the COVID shutdown.

      This, as I've said many times, is another example of Trump era gullibles not only not knowing what is true and what isn't true, but they don't care.

      You yourself know the BLS numbers as we've discussed it many times but here you are, not only ignoring what is true but actually selling some great Trump economy which you surely know is not true.

      Delete
    15. Specious-Mecious Bidenflation killed all the Trump wage gains... and THEN some!

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    16. Farmer,

      Ronald probably thinks Biden created all the job growth since he became president.

      Delete
    17. If deflecting by fabricating my thoughts on Biden's job creations and/or nodding to the asinine concept that Biden is the culprit of global shortages and global inflation is comforting to you and earns you your usual self congratulating "win", I suppose I can be "charitable" and "emphatic" of whatever it is that drives people such as you.

      If it's therapeutic to you, you got me again.

      Delete
    18. Actually, empathetic. I've already been as clear as I know how.

      Delete
    19. Well, that's some progress, SF, he didn't try and blame all the Bidenflation back on Trump.

      Maybe there's one Democrat (Biden) in his Book that's not "infallible".

      Delete

  6. In my lifetime I’ve seen it move from black people, to gay and lesbian people, to Muslims and Latinos. Right now it’s transgender people. The Republican’Ts just hate and hate and hate and hate; they complain about being cancelled when people say their hate is no longer acceptable!

    Republican's continue to support “Lost King of Babble-On” (trump). Some day he will be gone. You will not be judged by your choice of political party; but you will be judged for your total lack of honor, decency, humanity, morality, and ethics. The taint of your dishonor will remain.

    No half measures. Hold Republican'Ts accountable.

    Vote Blue in 2022. And once more in 2024

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    1. I'm not sympathetic to the animals on Dr. Moreau's Island and keep insisting his medical license be revoked.

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    2. It's not Dr. Moreau's ethics, but mine that are questionable.

      Delete
    3. I wonder what Thamus would say about Dr. Moreau's ethics...


      Plato, "Phaedrus"

      SOCRATES: At the Egyptian city of Naucratis, there was a famous old god, whose name was Theuth; the bird which is called the Ibis is sacred to him, and he was the inventor of many arts, such as arithmetic and calculation and geometry and astronomy and draughts and dice, but his great discovery was the use of letters. Now in those days the god Thamus was the king of the whole country of Egypt; and he dwelt in that great city of Upper Egypt which the Hellenes call Egyptian Thebes, and the god himself is called by them Ammon. To him came Theuth and showed his inventions, desiring that the other Egyptians might be allowed to have the benefit of them; he enumerated them, and Thamus enquired about their several uses, and praised some of them and censured others, as he approved or disapproved of them. It would take a long time to repeat all that Thamus said to Theuth in praise or blame of the various arts. But when they came to letters, This, said Theuth, will make the Egyptians wiser and give them better memories; it is a specific both for the memory and for the wit. Thamus replied: O most ingenious Theuth, the parent or inventor of an art is not always the best judge of the utility or inutility of his own inventions to the users of them. And in this instance, you who are the father of letters, from a paternal love of your own children have been led to attribute to them a quality which they cannot have; for this discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the learners' souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves. The specific which you have discovered is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth; they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality.

      PHAEDRUS: Yes, Socrates, you can easily invent tales of Egypt, or of any other country.

      Delete
    4. So, what's the riskiest disease vector of monkey pox on world heatth? Sodomy.

      Hmmm... perhaps it should be outlawed... think?

      Goodness no, let's allow Dr. Moreau to invent new cures...

      Delete
    5. We now have "medically curable" (or at least "treatable, in the case of AIDS) values. Thanks Dr. Moreau.

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    6. The "edumacated elites" must put their edumacations to work, creating problems to be solved and former solutions to be scoffed at as morally "beneath" them.

      Delete
    7. Otherwise they wouldn't dare call it "progress".

      Delete
    8. ...but hey, who doesn't want butt sex?

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    9. "Forbidden things have a secret charm."

      -Tacitus

      Delete
  7. Heh. Democrats operate on the principle that, "Floggings will continue until morale improves."

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  8. SF, I'd read this when it came out....as most of us know, Stephens is no liberal but definitely 'lefter' than some of us....you said "We can all learn from articles like this, if we allow ourselves some self-reflection, and perhaps try to take a more charitable view of those we disagree with. " I wish people on both sides would heed those wise words....

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  9. I read this and saw th interview and felt it was condescending. An elistist whinning he is elite. Who does that? He does not care about us and is fooling none of us.

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    Replies
    1. As others have said, this is probably more about him positioning himself to where people on the right will read and listen to him. Still, good message.

      Delete
  10. You can always count on AOW who is the apologist- in- chief to Donald Trump, and his voters. And Chief Silverware who is still adamantly a Trump Lover. High Priest to the Trump Sheep but he apologizes for Trumps smearing and insulting those El Donaldo had previously Insulted, or called those ignorant names

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    Replies
    1. I was going to zap you for an off topic comment but it was so hilarious, I had to keep it up.

      You obviously have reading comprehension issues

      Delete

  11. I haven't checked the AOW blog for a while. It usually blames all the troubles this country experiences on the "DemocRATS!" LOL!
    It seems as if they haven't followed the J6 hearings because they'd be forced to see how wrong they've been in NOT condemning their HERO, and what the insurrectionists did to the Capitol building, and how their hero, Trump, tried to overthrow a free and fair election, and tried to KILL his own vice president, and illegally install himself in the presidency.

    But...but... but..the DemocRATS are ALWAYS what's wrong with this country!!!! LOL!

    Cultists don't even know that they're in a cult! And, man, that blog is crawling with Trump cultists!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That comment carries all the weight of a left-wing anonymouse

      Delete

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