April 13, 2010

Tribalism and our current political debate

I read this reminded of a conversation at Around the Keg concerning a book on the origins of "evil" that magically finds the source in liberals like me. I asked the group why so many people see Obama as some evil and horrible President. I understand, after all, disagreeing over his policies, but what possess people to say that he wants to undermine our national defense on purpose? Or wants to destroy our economy on purpose? Hell, as much as I disliked Bush, I never really assumed that he was this incompetent on purpose.

Anyway, here is an interesting take on this kind of opposition:
"Yet if there is a common strain running through the unusually vituperative debates of the Obama presidency, it's that the opposition becomes intensely tribal in short order. We could be talking about health care, economic policy, or a Supreme Court nomination, and before long, conservatives will be arguing not just that the administration and its supporters are wrong but that they are the Other -- an alien group with whom there can be no compromise."


Smitty said...

It's an interesting take on it...but it still doesn't get to why.

The "why," I suspect, is what we discussed at ATK; that the party no longer in control wants so badly to be in control that they can't just disagree. They don't have a leg to stand on. No, instead, they have to make it evil. It's not a different idea, it's a harmful, evil idea and they're doing it on purpose. You may not like "our way," but at least we're not evil and want to destroy America (so they say).

steves said...

I still don't know either because I have no real contact with these people. I know plenty that are passionate about some conservative ideas, but I don't know the folks that are using the "E" word.

BTW, I am not suggesting they don't exist, but that I just don't know any and can't claim insight. If I had to guess, I'd say there are just some people prone to simplistic ways of thinking and are easily duped by rhetoric.

steves said...

Smitty, I do think they have a leg to stand on. Obama has mediocre approval ratings and the public also has mixed feelings about healthcare and some of his other policies. They are just choosing a stupid way to oppose him and are pissing away an opportunity to make an intelligent rebuttal. To be fair, there are some intelligent responses, but they are few and far between.