Feature

Polarization: The Enemy of Freedom

Gregory A. Munford, 10/10/2017

8 Red (and Blue) Flags of Polarization

We, as Americans, love freedom. We don’t walk in lockstep. We disagree—often deeply about important issues that need resolution. But to find those resolutions while still respecting and sustaining the freedom and rights of all who disagree means we have to figure out how to resolve our disagreements without burning down the house. Polarization burns down the house. It closes down rather than opening up paths for finding acceptable resolutions by igniting emotions, arrogance and contempt rather than inspiring thought, humility and respect. And in the course, diminishes the chances for making any progress for any side. So while polarization may feel like a righteous champion of freedom and right (if you happen to agree with it), it is in fact just the opposite — a stick jammed in the spokes of the democratic discourse of freedom. Here are some of the common ways it does it.

8 Red (and Blue) Flags of Polarization

POLARIZATION…

  1. SEDUCES with loaded, heated language and childish name-calling that appeals more to emotion that reason.
  2. BLINKERS by using cherry-picked facts, and ignoring or mocking opposing arguments and evidence rather than actually addressing them.
  3. TRIVIALIZES by focusing on “straw-man” issues whose value in re-enforcing biases is clearly greater than their substance.
  4. BULLIES by being making you feel like a dupe or a traitor if you even listen to the other side.
  5. FLATTERS with language and a tone that makes you feel like an insider, who, of course, agrees with them because you “get it” …just like they do.
  6. FRIGHTENS by portraying the other side as not just wrong, but a dangerous, evil enemy, replete with wicked hidden agendas.
  7. “KLANS,” that is, plays the “us vs. them” identity politics game of associating the other view with groups or people (implicitly) “inferior” to “us.”
  8. “TRIBES” by using the knowing winks and nods of sarcasm, coded language, words in quotes (suggesting they’re misleading) and innuendo which you, as a member of the tribe, of course, will understand without explanation or justification.

When reading an editorial, check this list and ask yourself:  is this advancing an intelligent resolution through the persuasive, rational arguments of advocacy…or simply fueling the fire of conflict through the divisive, emotional manipulations of polarization?


THE WEEK IN POLARIZATION, 10.09.17

 The aftermath of the horrific mass murder in Las Vegas shows once again how polarizing the issue of gun control is—and how counter-productive polarization is. Gun controllers accuse gun advocates of not caring about life. Gun advocates accuse gun controllers of not caring about liberty. Both sides say their position saves lives. Neither side backs down nor considers the perspective of the other. And no one dares “break ranks” to explore their potential common ground of reverence for life, love of freedom, and grief over the loss of Jenny Parks, 36, kindergarten teacher, mother of two, and the other 57 victims of the Las Vegas killing grounds. So the strutting “us vs. them” standoff of bullying, blinkering, flattering, fear-mongering and righteous indignation continues…along with the slaughter. It’s easy to deride this as “just politics.” But this is polarization not politics. Real politics is the art of resolving conflict through discourse rather than violence.  So perhaps it’s time take the politics of this life-and-death issue seriously enough to tune out the polarizers and open our minds and mouths and ears and imaginations in a sincere effort to listen and learn and move things to a better place.

More guns mean more crime
This statement seems as obvious as “more eggs mean more omelets” or “more cars mean more traffic.”

We’re going to take on the NRA and show that we care more about lives than they care about guns
Every time there’s a mass shooting in America, conservatives immediately tell those of us who dream of a safer world that it’s too soon to act on this latest tragedy.

Jimmy Kimmel tells Republicans to pray to God for forgiveness after Las Vegas massacre
Late night host Jimmy Kimmel told Republicans that they should pray to God for forgiveness because their obstruction of common sense is getting innocent people murdered on a daily basis.

‘We cannot wait’: John Lewis blasts trump for refusing to talk about gun violence
Civil rights icon and Democratic Rep. John Lewis blasted Donald Trump on Wednesday, saying now – in the aftermath of the unspeakable violence in Las Vegas – is exactly the moment we should be talking about how to prevent future gun-related massacres.

House Republican rejects gun control, compares assault rifles to trucks
Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) compared military-caliber firearms to trucks, and the risk of mass shootings like the one that resulted in 59 deaths and more than 500 injuries in Las Vegas on Sunday to the risk of getting run down by a vehicle

Rhetorical question: What’s a bigger priority for Republicans, children’s health or the NRA?We need gun control,’ Ariana Grande claims
Pop singer Ariana Grande called for stronger gun control following the Las Vegas mass shooting Sunday.

Republican leaders say ‘there’s not much we can do’ about gun violence. There is.
…“There is a lot to learn from this,” said Republican Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval. “It was a cowardly, despicable act I am very angry about. There’s not much we can do, but we can learn.”

New gun safety bill is so undeniably sensible even some Republicans may support it
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), along with more than 20 high-profile Democratic co-sponsors, introduced a bill Wednesday that would outlaw modifications known as “bump stocks” that can be used to modify semi-automatic weapons to fire at the rate an automatic weapon would.

How could anyone deny the need for tougher and more stringently enforced gun laws in the wake of the Vegas slaughter?
How can anyone not realize that more, stronger, and more strongly enforced gun laws are absolutely necessary in the wake of last night’s Vegas horror, the largest mass-murder committed with guns in modern U.S. history?

Tightening gun control could prevent more tragedies than you think
On Tuesday, conservative radio host Erick Erickson claimed that the media was skewing statistics on firearm-related fatalities in the wake of the Las Vegas concert shooting on Sunday night — which left at least 59 dead and more than 500 injured — in order to make the situation seem worse than it was 

Don’t tell the left: More guns means fewer homicides
Another mass shooting this week….And as predictable as sunrise and sunset, politicization of tragedy by the left.All-out war against the NRA begins after Las Vegas massacre
Left-wing politicians, activists and journalists are using the worst mass shooting in modern American history to attack one of the nation’s oldest civil rights organizations.

The 3 massive lies Jimmy Kimmel told about guns after LV massacre…
Americans were shocked and horrified by the utter carnage wrought in Las Vegas when a murderous gunman in the Manadalay Bay casino-hotel opened fire on a densely packed crowd at a country music concert below him Sunday night, killing 59 people and wounding more than 500 others.

The left pushes gun control with emotion, not facts
Now, when I mentioned the politicization of this, the full mad dash is on for gun control. Now, what does that mean? What does the left really want? Ill tell you what they want. They want the confiscation of every known weapon in this country.

Radicalized establishment to expand gun control
The globalists are coming after the Second Amendment

Even 538 admits that sweeping gun control doesn’t stop mass shootings
Like with any mass shooting that happens in the United States, the central conversation shifts almost immediately to what our lawmakers in Congress can do to restrict the sale and purchase of firearms beyond what is already regulated.

NRA slams liberal hypocrisy over Las Vegas massacre
National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre reacted to Hollywood’s and the left’s “hypocrisy” on gun control in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre.

The left pushes gun control with emotion, not facts — but one stunned liberal journalist learned the truth
Now, when I mentioned the politicization of this, the full mad dash is on for gun control.

Leftists despicably use Vegas massacre to further their agenda
It has always bugged me how fake news media helps Leftists portray themselves morally superior, more caring and compassionate than the rest of us.

Gun control in Europe is almost total. It hasn’t stopped mass shooting attacks like Las Vegas
Within hours of the horrible attack in Las Vegas, before we knew most of the relevant facts about the tragedy, gun control advocates were calling for more gun control.

Expert: Liberals don’t realize gun control punishes blacks, poor people the most
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., center, calls for gun control legislation June 16, 2016, on Capitol Hill in Washington, in the wake of the mass shooting at an Orlando LGBT nightclub.

Democrats commit more firearm crime than Republicans
Stats show liberals are more likely to shoot someone than conservatives

We can do better than this.