Sunday, May 02, 2010

Extremism in Politics

I had an interesting experience in a comment thread on another blog yesterday, in that I was accused of “parroting right wing talking points.” I’m not sure that the specifics matter, really, but I was claiming that amnesty as part of immigration reform was not without some negative aspects. I didn’t claim that it should not be included, and tried without success to clarify that point; but apparently making any negative comment about it at all is tantamount to rejecting it altogether.

I’d welcome comments and input from my regular readers as to how likely you think it would be for me to be “parroting right wing talking points” on any topic. Maybe I don’t understand my own political positioning as well as I think I do. I'm probably not a "left winger," but...

“Progressives,” who seldom have the courage to call themselves liberals any more, are quick to condemn conservatives as being extremist, rigid, and dogmatic. Perish the thought that progressives might engage in any of those qualities themselves, and yet altogether too often they do. They will brook no negative comment about Obama, no matter how slight, because he is the great liberal hope for their cause. They will not entertain the thought that any liberal progressive cause might contain any less than completely desirable elements, or that they might result in any less than entirely and completely wonderful ends.

The world, and the policies that shape governance, are not black and white; they consist of myriad colors and infinite shades. Good acts do not always end in good results, and even when they do there may be some illness mixed in with the good results no matter how pure the intention of the actor. It is simpler to see only the black and white, to “do good” and ignore the inadvertent harm that comes along for the ride.

Compassion requires being able to see all the shades and colors.


bruce said...

This is ripe for commenting...

First, you paraphrase and/or quote talk shows, media outlets, blogs, etc. in order to give the reader the background on your opinion(s). I would not call this "parroting". You occasionally agree, but more often disagree, and most often condemn the hyperbole, hysteria, and lies that come with said talking point. And to be fair, you also frequently condemn leftist / progressive extremes as well.

Progressive sounds better than liberal, like it means moving forward or non static, or whatever. Like 'undocumented immigrant' sounds better than illegal alien. I could get all technical with semantics, but it's the same thing in the end.

I agree with Jayhawk insomuch that I do not like extremes of either side. There will always be differences of opinion (and degrees thereof), and we must work together to solve the problems and improve the conditions we face. No single person or group has a lock on what's right.

Arthur said...

What, my Uncle Bill "PARROT" somebody? I don't think so. All the more so if he agreed with them!

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