Do you have principles you can’t explain?
Yesterday, I had a Facebook conversation with a Rhode Island Tea Party member. Like any conversation with someone who is into politics, I like to ask them what they stand for and what they believe politically. Then I ask them to explain why they believe what they do and all hell breaks loose.
I had this conversation with this person who is parroting what he heard from FOX News or other websites he follows, and I asked a simple question.
What are your principles?
He replied in a snarky tone, “American principles.”
My reply: What are American principles?
Then started the avalanche of extreme sarcasm and cynicism that makes these conversations even more excruciating and a waste of time — just what I wanted.
His reply was “American principles are the principles that you learn in the third grade.” I asked him to just simply tell me what are the American principles that he believes in, and I was told to go back to the third grade.
Then he started regurgitating the Declaration of Independence. By the way, I’m sure he was cutting and pasting his ass off as he was holding his truths to be self-evident.
Truth is never self-evident, President Jefferson (the man who penned the Declaration of Independent). Truth must be confronted almost violently and relentlessly. It wasn’t a letter to the king that made England decide to leave the colonies — he had to confront the truth of rebellion with bayonets and musket rifles. Piles of bones and blood were left as an acceptable sacrifice to the altar of truth, not a bunch of words.
In other words, Mr Tea Party guy, it’s wonderful to be a smartass to your friends and try to be intellectually impressive with your orations (or lack thereof). Just simply show me what your principles are. You need to sit, think, and type your way through a very simple and unassuming question that wasn’t riddled with pretext or subtext. I thought I was being direct, and I apologize if I wasn’t clear enough for your highly evolved mind.
Come to think of it — why couldn’t he simply tell me what his principles were?
Did he just want to impress his Tea Party and Libertarian friends by verbally dressing down someone who dared to ask what he believed in? Maybe.
Is he just a jerkoff? Perhaps, but for the interests of internet civility, let’s assume that he’s not a jerkoff. If he isn’t an asshole and he isn’t trying to impress his friends, then why can’t he answer the question?
Because he doesn’t have the first clue as to what American principles are and/or he doesn’t know why he believes them. To complicate the situation even more, let’s say he understand what he thinks American principles are — he can’t tell me why he believes them.
That’s how ideology works, ladies and gentlemen. All day long, he listens to news, reads books, listens to podcasts and or radio, and speaks to other people who are politically like him. Ideology works as a social mechanism that absolutely disciplines people’s thinking. It does the thinking for them, motivates them, and then they see themselves in the trenches screaming at those who oppose them.
He can’t tell me why he thinks immigrants are ruining the country, all he knows is that immigrants piss him off and make him afraid. By the way — same thing for liberals. On a nice sunny day, a Liberal could be jumping up and down that climate change is happening and we need to do something now. Everyone can believe in climate change, but do we know what to do about it? Do we even know the true ramifications of said climate change? Should I just turn up my air conditioner?
Meanwhile, do they understand why they think that way? Do they honestly believe it, or is it because Rachel Maddow or Bill Maher says so?
My point is that on occasion, perhaps we could all use a soul-searching session as to why we think the things we do. Are we even aware of what’s truly going on? Is there a deeper reason in our society and culture as to why it seems like our government and politics fail us?
Or should we just blame everything on politicians, immigrants and GMOs like usual?
More thinking and less believing, please.