A Strange And Disturbing Conversation…

It’s baaaack!

Yesterday I did a pro bono ethics presentation for a local lawyer group. During the lunch, which, as usual in such situations, I never got to eat, I was seated next to a lively, intense, talkative young man, like the rest of my audience, a corporate counsel. The discussion was oddly tentative for a long time, which the lawyer’s body-language suggesting wariness and his verbal choices suggesting unusual care. He was probing for something, and I couldn’t tell what. What was it that they vibe reminded me of? Poker? A job interview? Suddenly I realized what it was: the conversation had the tenor, though not the implied subject matter, of those awkward conversations I recalled from parties and encounters where a new male acquaintance was trying to figure out a) whether I was gay and b) whether, if I wasn’t, he could trust me enough to say that he was.

In this case, however, the young man was probing to see if I hated President Trump. I don’t know which comment of mine put him at ease, but suddenly it all poured out. This lawyer and Haitian-American immigrant was an enthusiastic supporter of the President’s policies and leadership style. Once he was certain that I would not look at him like he was the spawn of Satan for daring to express such a view—which he explained extremely logically and eruditely—we had a fascinating discussion, covering illegal immigration, the news media’s bias, the “resistance,” racism, muscular foreign policy leadership, the 2016 campaign,  and more.

However, the fact that simply expressing support for the elected President of the United States, even limited support, indeed even the absence of affirmative contempt, is considered such a perilous social stance that citizens are afraid to express it among their peers demonstrates the monstrous—I think that’s a fair adjective here—intimidation and speech suppression that has been perpetrated by the Left since the 2016 election. Hate is such a powerful emotion that even when it is unjustified, the threat of it being focused on you now keeps Americans from openly expressing their opinions. This is a thought and attitude control strategy, weaponizing the Cognitive Dissonance scale (above) to achieve power and control. If you have this position, we will hate you. Be warned. The message goes out in a thousand ways, especially on social media, but in face-to-face encounters as well, with family, in the workplace, and in social situations.  Some—I think a surprising number–have the strength to resist it as the unethical compelled political conformity tactic that it is. Still, many capitulate, at least in public.  The tactic is even turned on experts and analysts with integrity as well, as in this Politico essay about Alan Dershowitz, which carries the message that a good liberal should not be making the case that the criminal law is being abused and civil libertarian principles discarded as the Left attempts to undo an election by any means necessary. The effectiveness and intimidating weight of the implied threat of shunning is acknowledged by what one blogger describes as the “Trump Bump”—“that little obligatory hiccup in which the speaker on any given topic must pause to make a pejorative reference to Donald Trump before going on, in order to establish his or her bona fides as a good person. “

Well, the Cognitive Dissonance Scale works in all both directions, on all values.

I place those who would intimidate me or any other American citizen out of expressing an informed opinion, showing respect for the institution of the Presidency, and resisting a campaign of personal destruction and disinformation  at the muddy bottom of the scale, along with the totalitarians whose tactics and values they appear to be embracing. That, as Dr. Festinger informed is, pushes those positions they deplore up into positive territory, far higher than they might otherwise be.

24 Comments

Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Social Media, U.S. Society

24 responses to “A Strange And Disturbing Conversation…

  1. JP

    “spawn of Satin”

    Freudian slip?

  2. Other Bill

    I wonder whether this phenomenon is going to render polls predictive of absolutely nothing. I sure keep my opinions to myself these days. These are not normal times, for sure. Hah!

    • That’s EXACTLY what it means.
      Morons.

    • Willem Reese

      I think it was already at work in the last election. I have no way of proving it (take a poll? ;-] ) but it seems that while some people were visible and enthusiastic Trump supporters, many just kept their heads down (including when answering polls), and then voted for him. They may still avoid giving away their position to this day. If it were just a matter of a roughly even divide of opinions among the populace, it might not be so bad, but when a great majority of media appears to agree with, and ready to bolster, only one set of views, it can drive many of those with differing views into guarding when and where they express them.

      Online, it’s apparent in conversations involving issues like firearms. It’s not unusual to see people stating (and many others agreeing) that they now lie or refuse to answer polls relating to gun questions.

      • None of their damn business that I have a machine gun, shotgun, or grubbing hoe at my house. Strangers asking me such are asking to be lied to, or ignored.

        My political views? I keep quiet unless asked, simply to avoid the scene a stranger might cause. Having to shoot an unhinged Hillary progressive takes too much paperwork and court time. Plus they will take my gun for a while, and I will have to choose on a secondary option, of which I have too many good ones to make such a choice easy. A real bother.

  3. Isaac

    A lot of us can’t stand Trump, but are forced by the insanity of his opposition to defend him, and then must fear being taken for his fans.

    Will I vote to re-elect Trump? That’s up to the Democrats and who they put up against him. (And anyway I live in California where a vote for Trump is the same as not voting.)

    • I will never vote Democrat … their careen to embrace totalitarianism has assured them of that.

      Republicans are rapidly making me less inclined to give them my ear on many topics of national concern.

      I’m still content with them at the State Level. At this point, elections for me are between Republicans and Libertarians…

      Are there any Whigs lying around?

  4. Paul Compton

    “In this case, however, the young man was probing to see if I hated President Trump. I don’t know which comment of mine put him at ease, but suddenly it all poured out. ”

    I find it interesting that a lawyer attending a PD hadn’t bothered to google the speaker.

    Isaac: ” (And anyway I live in California where a vote for Trump is the same as not voting.)” No, it’s really not, Isaac. Hillary won the popular vote ‘n all anyone? Part of the reason she won the popular vote so handsomely is that many people in unwinnable electorates didn’t bother to vote because it ‘is the same as not voting’. It really, really, isn’t.

    Cuts both ways of course.

    • Sadly, most lawyers don’t care enough about ethics programs to take the time to Google me…and given the number of high traffic jerks who have flamed me in the past, that’s fine with me.

  5. Chris

    However, the fact that simply expressing support for the elected President of the United States, even limited support, indeed even the absence of affirmative contempt, is considered such a perilous social stance that citizens are afraid to express it among their peers demonstrates the monstrous—I think that’s a fair adjective here—intimidation and speech suppression that has been perpetrated by the Left since the 2016 election

    Alternate theory: it demonstrates how bad of a person and leader Trump is.

    • How does THAT track? Someone refusing to express hatred for a leaders demonstrates how bad a leader he is? No wonder the Left is soiling itself, if that’s what passes for logic now.

      • Chris

        Someone refusing to express hatred for a leaders demonstrates how bad a leader he is?

        That’s not even close to what my comment says.

        • Jack wrote, “However, the fact that simply expressing support for the elected President of the United States, even limited support, indeed even the absence of affirmative contempt, is considered such a perilous social stance that citizens are afraid to express it among their peers demonstrates the monstrous—I think that’s a fair adjective here—intimidation and speech suppression that has been perpetrated by the Left since the 2016 election”

          Chris replied, “Alternate theory: it demonstrates how bad of a person and leader Trump is.”

          Jack replied, “Someone refusing to express hatred for a leaders demonstrates how bad a leader he is?”

          Chris replied, “That’s not even close to what my comment says.”

          Actually Chris, aka CST (Chris the Stupid Troll), what Jack shared is a reasonable interpretation of what you actually wrote when taken in context with the conversation. An intelligent English teacher would actually know this fact but a biased English trolling teacher with self-validating motivation using misrepresenting tunnel-vision to cherry pick things out of context would naturally be blinded to this fact.

          Stop digging CST.

  6. Jack wrote, ” However, the fact that simply expressing support for the elected President of the United States, even limited support, indeed even the absence of affirmative contempt, is considered such a perilous social stance that citizens are afraid to express it among their peers demonstrates the monstrous—I think that’s a fair adjective here—intimidation and speech suppression that has been perpetrated by the Left since the 2016 election. Hate is such a powerful emotion that even when it is unjustified, the threat of it being focused on you now keeps Americans from openly expressing their opinions. This is a thought and attitude control strategy, weaponizing the Cognitive Dissonance scale (above) to achieve power and control. If you have this position, we will hate you. Be warned.

    I think this statement might be a little more accurate; If you don’t publicly share our position then we will hate you, Be warned.

    Without going into too many of the details, I can testify as a witness to how this hive-minded hate consumes people. What I think we are dealing with is all consuming mob mentality.

    As some of you know, I’ve been a volunteer tutor for K-12 and even a few under-grad college students in a predominately black inner city neighborhood for quite a while. A little over a month ago I walked out of the place I’ve tutored for years due to what Jack is talking about, I’ll never return to that environment.

    For years I’ve pretty much stayed away from political discussions with people there so things can remain focused on tutoring the students, this has generally worked but the environment has been changing a lot making it a challenge to focus on the task at hand. The tension has been growing for a few years but it’s especially changed over the last year and a half. The level vitriol aimed directly at me has been increasing and the visible hate has been growing and a lot, some of that is because I won’t join in with their anti-Trump or anti-Republican hate fest. Because of that, and their other obvious bigotries, I’m now being constantly labeled a Trump supporter, a racists, a sexist, and worse. Here’s how their minds work; over the last year and a half I’ve told them outright a few times (because they just won’t leave me alone) that I didn’t vote for either Trump or Clinton and their opinion is that any vote not for Clinton was a vote for Trump; be honest, can anyone tell me where we’ve heard that kind of thinking before? Some of them have actually stated that not voting at all was a vote against Clinton and a vote for Trump; no I’m not kidding.

    It’s been a rough six months or so. Since my focus has always been on the students I’d been hoping that the light at the end of the tunnel wasn’t an oncoming train; I was wrong.

    The reason I left was not the vitriol, although I’ve been seriously thinking of stopping because of how the environment has been changing, it was the escalation from the hive-minded vitriol to actually inciting a physical confrontation. After putting a rapid end to an attempted assault I walked out the door with a trail of people consumed with their hate yelling all sorts of things at me. I got in my car and drove away knowing that I’d done everything I could do; I’m at peace with it. By the way, the look of disbelief from some of the kids towards their parents that evening was absolutely priceless and gave me a small spark of hope for the future.

    Since the environment had been growing worse over time I’d been on my guard but I’m just getting too old for this kind of shit.

    I did received a couple of phone calls within a couple of days of me walking out asking me to return. They were told that they (all of the adults) are the ones that created and enabled a disrespectful, hateful, hostile, and ultimately “violent” environment and there is nothing they can do that will get me to return. If they want their child tutored by me then they can put forth the effort to drive their child to my home, and come back after an hour and pick up their child, I’m not providing a waiting room for any parents.

    Yes, I’m a hard man but I have never given these people any reason to hate me and no any reason to think I’m racist, I’ve been very intentional about this. These people have been hyped up by their peers in their environment and prodded on by the overly hyped sensationalized media to absolute illogical hysteria. I’m guessing that most black inner city communities are sitting on the same kind of powder keg.

    It’s my opinion that this nonsense is not going to end well.

    • COTD, in my humble opinion.

      I am sorry you had to deal with such heartbreaking circumstances, Z. At least you are at peace with your decision.

      I would not want these people to know where I live, as the progressive violence escalates I think attacks on the homes of their perceived enemies are possible. Please be alert and take steps to protect yourself.

    • For what it’s worth; Foreseeing this day was eventually going to arrive, I didn’t leave the K-12 students high and dry, I’ve been getting some help from previous high school students, some now in college, to help tutor the younger students.

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