I’ve been thinking about why my views tend to get such strong reactions from people. I’m generally polite and good-tempered with the people I meet, I’m not a Holocaust denier or 9/11 truther, I’m certainly no anarchist or anything of that ilk, I have nothing in particular against anyone of any race, and when I’m in someone else’s forum I try as much as possible to word things in an exact and polite way. So why does everyone, on both sides of the (American, at least) political aisle tend to end up angry beyond belief at the end of any long conversation with me on the topic of politics?
If I had to guess, it’s because I question, not just foundational political assumptions, but the foundational assumptions of people’s fundamental belief systems. I’m essentially telling people that not only are they wrong on this topic, they’re wrong about everything; they’re basically trapped in the Matrix. And no matter how nicely you word it, or how carefully you argue it, you are essentially calling someone else utterly ignorant or oblivious of the world around them. No wonder they get insulted.
And it’s more than that. I question the foundational assumptions behind our liberal government, namely, equality and fraternity as political ends in and of themselves. People have had it beat into their heads, have been utterly convinced, that denying those two things basically makes you Hitler, somebody left with no good argument against something like the Holocaust, or even – as has been leveled at me – a “slave in spirit”, a lesser man, a person who wishes that all of us would just be good little slaves to our cruel tyrant overlords. Supposedly, this is the logical endpoint of my beliefs. Given that, a certain zeal is to be expected from people who disagree with me, because obviously anybody making the sort of arguments I am must be evil.
The melting pot discussion is a pretty good example of what I’m talking about. I use Italians as my go-to example when talking about this because I’m descended from Italians and that makes it harder to level “Well if it doesn’t apply to YOU…” objections at me. But nevertheless, I am theoretically on the same side as people who think that, say, Irish shouldn’t have been let into the country (I have done next to no research on this and have no opinion on it, but I don’t think there’s a problem in PRINCIPLE banning the Irish from becoming citizens). People with Irish ancestors, who might have fought in wars, who tried to raise their children to be good Americans, are going to react to this opinion with anger, fair or unfair. It’s naive to think that you won’t get that reaction.
On the previous thread Cane Caldo said this to me:
On Wright: Some people don’t argue in good faith. His mischaracterizations of others’ comments are so frequent, and so gross, that I am convinced that he can’t. Perhaps that deficiency gives an earnestness to the characters in his books.
First, if you go through Mr. Wright’s comments you’ll find it surprisingly difficult to find something that looks like an outright lie directed at a specific person; at best you’ll find him making blanket statements about broad movements that are unfair, or debatable comments about history. But besides that, you need to remember that – as he basically admitted after the Big Monarchy Rumble from a few months ago – I’m the sort of guy probably a good 90% of Americans have never dealt with before. My views are so utterly alien to most of American society that I think his reactions to me or views like mine being so off-base is perfectly realistic. I’m a new breed, not just to him, but to MOST people.
And it’s worth noting that I will have this discussion on Wright’s blog, but I won’t have any sort of similar discussion on Vox Day’s. Right now it looks as if I’m siding with Vox over Wright, and indeed I am (at least in broad strokes) on the very specific issue of America’s status as a melting pot/proposition nation. But Vox’s alt-right views also lean heavily on the idea of liberty as a foundational principle of government and free speech as an important aspect of American society. I reject both of those things completely. How do you think that discussion would end? With hugs all around and a pat on the back? Me neither.
So I guess the answer to the question is threefold:
- I represent a view that is hostile to everybody else’s in contemporary America
- I press the point when it’s probably a better idea for me to back off
- I can be a real dick
So I really shouldn’t be surprised anymore when I manage to royally piss off somebody else I respect.