Sunday, May 20, 2012

We (don't) hear voices.

There is a remarkable difference between “voices of dissent” and “dissenting voices”.

Within a group of self-described socially progressive individuals, I commented that their understanding of an issue was inaccurate – wrong on the facts.  This group summarily shut me down, effectively ending a conversation that so desperately needs to be had at this time and in this place.

This group, who considers themselves “voices of dissent” were very uncomfortable with the appearance of “dissenting voices” within their ranks.  They quickly mobilized the closed-minded tactics deployed by those whom they normally oppose to simply shut down the conversation.

This is one of the plagues of progressives.  We are terrible listeners and even worse judges of who is on which side of a discussion.   I often feel that the joke “Don’t let a few facts get in the way of a good story” applies more to progressives than it does to conservatives.

We need a new liberalism:  one that doesn’t just oppose the dominant opinion in favor of whatever its exact opposite is, but rather one that works for incremental gains within a flawed system.

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