Thursday, August 18, 2005


If I only had a brain. FROM "THE ANGRY DEMOCRAT"
Liberal, Conservative, Democrat, Republican.
We throw these labels around a lot in our blogs, as well as in "real life", trying to trap each other in the broad definitions these terms imply.
But let me ask you this - do all Liberals/Democrats believe everything these labels imply? Do all Conservatives/Republicans?
I don't think so.
There are people who may be Conservative in nature but still be Pro-Choice, just as there a people who may be Liberal in nature and still be Pro-Life.
And this applies to just about every issue you can name.
But still we rail at each other saying - "You Republicans always going on about your guns" or "You Democrats always saying we must increase taxes."
There's a term for this, it's called The Straw Man Tactic.
The Straw Man becomes the embodiment of everything that side stands for, everything.
Both sides are guilty of this - if you label someone as the most virulent strain of the opposing ideology, then they have to spend all their time defending themselves as not being that. And that takes away their ability to state what they do believe.
I've read a lot of blogs the past month or so, both sides, and there seems to be a general feeling that the extremes from both parties are the problem, the Far Left and the Far Right. Everyone is saying that there should be more moderation in our thinking - and I couldn't agree more.
But while saying this, and writing about their own moderate views, almost invariably they attack the other side's Far reaches - the Straw Man.
It would be foolish of me to say we should abandon these labels, they've been around a long time and will continue to be around, but what wouldn't be foolish is to actually listen to someone called a Liberal, and see what he or she, as a person, really believes, and the same for Conservatives.
The Scarecrow in Oz only wanted a brain, we have them already, let's use them.

Addendum - Let's try a little exercise.
State a Straw Man position the "other side" would use against you and say why it's not true in your case.
If you're chicken, feel free to post as anonymous or just make a general comment about what I said.


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