Friday, March 18, 2016

Stop Kicking That Dog. It's About to Bite (An open letter to liberals about their hatred.)

I'm writing this during the 2016 election campaign. However, it’s a concept that has been a long time coming and -- quite frankly -- the potential for violence scares the hell out of me. Stop and let that sink in for a moment ... violence professional ... expert on the subject of violence... scared of the degree and intensity of violence we’re potentially heading for. 
That’s qualifier #1, qualifier #2. I need to say this so you can really stop and consider the point I am about to make: I am not a Trump supporter (nor, in fact am I fond of any of the leading three candidates.) So there is no political agenda underlying this post. (I’m registered ‘independent’ and identify myself politically as a ‘pragmatist.’) Having said these two things: 
What seriously concerns me are the conditions that have given rise to Trump's popularity. 
And part of that popularity can be laid at the doorstep of self-described liberals and their aggressive behavior. Now before you get defensive, I fully acknowledge that conservatives do this behavior too. But 
 A ) If a behavior is wrong, then it is wrong no matter who is doing it. 
B ) Screaming they do it too doesn't help fix the problem (a.k.a. help everyone stop doing it). 
The point here the rise of the popularity of Trump -- and it has a lot to do with anger of his supporters. Why are they angry? Well start with the liberal position has kicked that dog one time too many. People who -- often in the names of their feelings, compassion and superior beliefs -- insist on insulting, condemning and giving themselves permission to spew hate speech about those who dare think differently than they do. The scary thing is how often 'anger' is used as justification for kicking that dog that is now growling and baring it's teeth at the kickers. They don't realize that dog (Trump supporters) are about to bite. 
Here's part of the problem, the kickers are lying to themselves about it. See one of the more interesting aspect of tribal behavior, is you need an 'enemy' to help identify who you are (and why your tribe is superior.) Your group is 'right' and those evil rotten horrible bastards deserve anything you do to them. What's more is your status in the tribe is not just confirmed but increased for kicking that dog. In other words you get Brownie Points -- inside your tribe-- by shouting out what stupid, ignorant hateful, greedy and evil bastards those other are. 
Which hey, if you were truly isolated in an echo chamber wouldn’t matter. But you aren’t. That signal is getting broadcast and others are receiving it -- including those you are spitting on. Yet at the same time, we've been conditioned to believe bald faced hatred isn't a good thing -- especially in this giant (supposedly non-tribal) egalitarian, super-tribe called the United States. Great idea, except that is not how the primitive, tribal part of our bigger brain works. This leaves us in a bit of pickle. On one hand huge amounts of our self-identity is based on embracing open minded egalitarianism at the same time, we're wired to be tribal and bigoted against 'outsiders.' And that is what political polarization is, tribalism 101.
The challenge is to work -- hard -- at overcoming the hateful, bigoted part. And it's a hard challenge because it's so easy to slip into that simplistic primitive part and use rationalization and self-justification to deny we’re there. How do you feed that part (spit hate and venom) and still self-define yourself as 'not a hater? Why you rationalize your behavior and justify it using rhetoric, cherry picked facts to support your beliefs, you use (and pass on) limited and selective sources of information that pander to your primitive, tribal hater. And you do this pretending that you're being intelligent and informed in your contempt for those who think differently than you do. It’s not hatred, it’s a legitimate and rational response to what those rat bastards have done...
But let’s look at the associated behavior. Not the reasons why you think it’s justified, but the behavior itself. First you convince yourself that dog deserves to be kicked. Then you give yourself permission to let fly. You ignore the pain you’re inflicting. But, more than that, you’re not ‘abusing that animal,’ you’re showing others what’s wrong with how it thinks and behaves. You’re going to beat that animal until it learns the error of its ways. And you’re surrounded by people who are cheering you on.
Well, to quote Rooster Cogburn “Drop that switch, LaBoeuf. Put it down, I said. You're enjoying it too much.”
Now in case you missed the True Grit (1969) reference, those lines were spoken with a cocked pistol aimed at the fella with the stick. Now being as the story of True Grit takes place in late 1800’s, no matter how angry and self-righteous as LeBoeuf was in his attack, he realized he would indeed be shot if he continued his behavior. That’s an idea many people who give themselves permission to attack and spew hatred about those disgusting others, have lost sight of. 
Indeed their anger is far, far more important than the anger that their actions are creating. Or, to go back to the original analogy, it doesn’t matter that the dog has turned around and is baring its teeth at you. As such you might not want to keep on kicking it. If you do, what’s going to happen is not just pretty predictable, but obvious to everyone else except you.
I am truly and deeply concerned by the growing potential of a backlash. I see Trump’s popularity -- including it growing every time the media plays favorites, protesters shut down a Trump rally and hateful articles are posted on social media -- as a serious growl. A growl that people -- who have long used their anger as justification their kicking that dog -- are ignoring. Speaking as a violence profession, a person who has spent over five decades studying and trying to understand violence, I ask you. Hell, I implore you... 
PLEASE don’t. 
Now I’ve long made a distinction between liberals and progressives (I liken the difference to the same between Catholics and Inquisitors.) I have many self-identified liberal friends -- who themselves are often victimized by progressive zealots. The problem is that growling dog doesn’t. The often passive support of zealots by more moderate liberals (and this includes not standing up to them from fear of being targeted by them) makes you smell the same as the abusers; at least to that dog that is about to start biting. 
Please, stop throwing kicks. Stop encouraging those who are throwing kicks. And most of all, don’t be silent when someone is abusing that dog. Don’t let these folks keep on kicking the dog because -- even if you claim you aren’t doing it (or you only do it a little bit) -- if that dog starts biting you’re going to end up in its jaws.
And yes, I also encourage people of a more conservative bent to go out and do the same about the barking moonbats of their ‘tribe.’ Acknowledge they’ve been kicked 27 times too often, but the consequences of giving in to that anger are too dire. 
Am I singing kumbaya? No. Not really. We as a nation have forgotten that you have to fight to stay in the middle otherwise the extremists of your side will take over and get you into fights with other groups. 
At the very least, quit posting hater stuff on your social media wall. If you feel real strongly about it -- knowing that you have to fight to stay in the middle - try standing up now and then to the extremists in you own ‘tribe.’ You’ll discover first hand why those other dogs are ready to bite.
I don’t know what the backlash will be, nor can I predict how far it will go or what measures will be put into place to quell these issues. But I assure you, none of them will be good. I’ve lived through riots of self-righteous angry people and they are not fun. But long before things get to that point, there has been stewing and carefully nursed anger building. You may think that anger makes you powerful, but when that smoke in the air is your city burning it’s not a good thing. In fact, it’s kinda too late.
(And yes, I speak from experience about coughing from that kind of smoke.)


  1. Hope you don't mind that I share this. It is very insightful and shares a great many things I feel as well. I am an avowed extremist. I am extreme when it comes to liberty and freedom. Thus I align more with the Libertarians than anyone- Most economic freedom as well as social/personal freedom. I also decided a LONG time ago I can no longer support voting for the lesser of two evils. So while my vote will not directly elect anyone, I also understand that the Perot effect may intact allow evil to be elected. In recent past elections the total amount of evil, IMHO was small when compared to this round as I think they are all at least a magnitude of order worse than ANYTHING in the past 30 some years.

    1. "I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice; and let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

  2. Remember that movie "Gangs of New York"? Yeah, that's pretty much where we're going.

    I voted for Obama, and that got me fracking just a couple of miles from my house & work and oil drilling off the coast (California is the 3rd most fracked state in the nation)--- I gotta worry about my water and I gotta swim thru sludge when I surf,

    so much for Hope & Change.

    2016 I'm voting for Trump. Because Bernie won't win or if he does won't have the power to get things done & Hillary will just have more fracking. Hell no to Ted Cruz, because between a big mouth and a Bible thumper, the Bible thumper's always gonna crazier, hands down.

    I'm independent but have always voted Democrat in the presidentials, I'm voting independents and Democrats like me, pro-Trumps, will be able to keep things in line. Hope against hope, right? But will try.

    Thanks for the article.

    1. * gonna (be) crazier
      * I'm hoping (not voting) independents

    2. Keep kicking mate, keep kicking.

      And then wonder why those "bible thumpers" shot you and kicked your carcass into the ditch.

      Between bible thumpers and west coast libs I'll take the bible thumpers any day. At least they have *something* that draws lines for them.

    3. Who's that Joel Osteen?

  3. I belong to a minority where we routinely get murdered in the USA, not for what we do, but what we are. A minority where there are bills in 22 States to prevent us from using restrooms, labelling us perverts, pedophiles, rapists. A minority that has large, professional, well-rounded groups running courses on how to most effectively persecute us.

    Every one of us knows personally someone who has been slain. Yet we face a credibility problem, we can show the FBI reports, the facts, the figures, but how can such a bizarre situation be believed?

    One thing Activists like myself have learned. It is far, far too tempting to fight fire with fire, to fight lies with lies. Nietzsche said it best - "Those who fight monsters must beware they too don't become monsters thereby."

    I've seen it far too often. Those who oppose our existence are equally convinced of their own moral righteousness, hence the torture/rape/murders.

    However, we *are* a minority, a tiny one. The large-scale "violence" that only involves beatings and property damage rather than killings is probably even more harmful to society at large, even though no funerals are involved. Yet.

  4. @ Billy Oblivion

    "Keep Kicking" "Shot and body in a ditch" Way to go Bill! That'll show them haters what it means to rile a Christian! Do you really not see how the above letter cuts both ways? The Author's repeated call is to "fight to stay in the middle" and that both extremes are wrong. Your reply above exclaims: "Screw the Middle, and to Hell with reason, GIVE ME VENGEANCE!!" Way to stay classy Bill. The Author is describing the dangers of taking your position Bill, not it's virtues.

    1. I think he was not directly threatening, he was replying to a hateful response with the same explanation as the main author's essay: stop or it is going to be bad.


  6. It appears the slippery slope has overtaken our ability to recover. Civil war is upon us, by design. It can't be stopped.

    The Founders predicted an "urban vs. rural" war in this country. It was one of their motivations for the electoral college. Also many provisions in the Bill of Rights.

    Political power consolidation to the urban takers against the rural maker, is what has lead us down this socialist/communist slope.

    South Africa is a great illustration of what kicking the dog results in. Also, what a dramatic shift in tribal political power results in.

    Obama was a massive shift in tribal power here and his "tribe" has gotten power lust and are kicking like crazy. Sadly, they are a minority (race and political tribesmen) and the dog they have been kick is very large and strong, though slow to anger...until now.

    We can only hope that the "bite" is big, fierce, quick and complete. Get it over quickly and completely, so as to mitigate the damage and destruction. Sadly, a false hope, I fear.

    Human history and human nature will not be denied.

  7. Sorry, but I disagree. The rise of the xenophobic hysteria that Trump pushes and his supporters applaud is about the fear of "them folks over there having what I got" - pure and simple. I think it's short-sighted and way too easy to blame "self-described liberals and their aggressive behavior." And the folks who "insist on insulting, condemning and giving themselves permission to spew hate speech about those who dare think differently than they do." sounds a whole, whole lot like the current GOP contenders and the sorry lot that didn't make the cut.

    I don't see anyone other than Trump and Cruz talking about banning folks or patrolling neighborhoods where "there there Mooslems (insert eye-roll here) live." I don't hear talk of building walls to keep people out, calling an entire nation of folks rapists and drug dealers or references to folks who look like me called one all-encompassing, homogenized term like "The Blacks" (which is pathetically derogatory) from the anyone else at all. Seriously.

    Guess we will just have to agree to disagree on this one.

  8. This applies elsewhere as well. It isn't just domestic stuff.

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