What Do You Want Me To Do?

When talking about politics I hear two things from Americans. The first is always, “well, what do you know?” And it turns out I know quite a bit. Enough to pass on to the next level. The question then is, “What do you want me to do?”

Which is funny. Because the very first question was to assert knowledge of the system above mine but the second was to demand I present some magic wisdom to fix the system.

The answer is I don’t really know. I do know, for sure, that everything the on left, or progressive side, of the American debate has been failing to gain any traction. The guttural and visceral appeal to the base notions of the right wing has slowly, over the course of decades, dragged the country further towards what isn’t a conservative position, per se, but suits the political coalition at play.

If I had to venture a guess I’d say that the political spectrum is largely misunderstood. The left and the right are represented poorly. Traditionally Communism has been on the hard left, while Fascism has been on the hard right. Which puts America, and Western nations someplace in the middle. But I don’t believe this the best way of considering the political spectrum.

I’d suggest a spectrum that puts Libertarianism/Anarchy on the far left, and Authoritarianism/Communism on the far right. Or flip them if you’d like. Who cares? It’s an arbitrary spectrum. The point is that the real political spectrum is to find a middle point between authoritarianism and libertarianism we can live with. Communism is considered, traditionally, far left, but, ultimately, it requires a heavy hand of authoritarianism to make it work. Similarly, libertarians typically expect the basic essentials of a well run infrastructure to have the freedom to not hire women.

(Hire more women, jackasses)

Obviously, neither of those extremes are good. At all. We need freedoms. We need some structure. Too much of either is probably going to end up poorly.

So, what do you want me to do? Three things really. First, consider how you really feel about where you might sit on the spectrum I’ve proposed. It’s not perfect, but I don’t think it’s dumb, and it may help align how you think about things. More importantly, it may help how you argue about things. And that’s the second thing — talk to people. Talk to everyone you can no matter how obstinate. Avoid the framing that the American bifurcation of ideals sets upon you. Try to frame your arguments with regards to the spectrum I presented. The third thing — make it count. If you don’t believe it, and you can’t sell it, nobody will buy it.

Does this work for me? Sometimes. Often when it’s not an affront to someone’s self-identity. But otherwise, no, not really. I’m heavy on the third, and assume too much of the first two. But, hey, you’re reading this so maybe that’ll help.

What do you want me to do?

— Abandon the Democrat/Republican upbringing. It’s not a real thing.

— Consider, carefully, where you are on freedom vs. governance.

— Governance is not a bad word. It’s a bunch of you doing what they can do.

— When talking to others try to break out of their Democrat/Republican pattern.

— Share your thoughts, not your talking points.

Does it work? No, not always. Some people are more invested in what they’ve done that’s been proven not to work than they are in rethinking the problem. That’s true everywhere though.

But, what do I want you to do?

Fix it.

That’d be great. Thanks in advance.