drillkicker wrote:Opinions can only be dangerous if they're suppressed. People should listen to the alt-right instead of dismissing it, because the latter is the best way of strengthening a political movement. Political thought is turning into a collection of different echo chambers that are driving each other more and more into extremism and that kind of situation makes everything dangerous.
I completely agree with the echo chambers analogy. Listening to each other is something we have to do more.
However, I don't think many have chosen to dismiss the alt-right in the same way as the alt-right seems to dismiss people of other political stances. When I am debating with someone, I listen to his or her opinion, and highlight the misinformation in their arguments (which there always seems to be plenty of in alt-right arguments), and then back up my opinions with evidence. However, typically, instead of giving me a logical rebuttal, alt-righters almost always just ignore what I've said and dismiss me with some ad hominem
attack. I only choose to dismiss the alt-right now that I think I have a clear picture of the what it is as a political stance: a stance without a leg to stand on.
Also the alt-right had exploded in size during the last year or so, which tells me a lot of people are listening to them, just not critically.
It is surprising to me how quickly the movement gained traction, but I think people really wanted change, and when the liberal governments didn't provide it, they turned away from them in a big way. It's comforting to think the opposite may have happened had Bush Jr. become president after Obama—but I don't think so. There is a strong undercurrent of prejudice in the alt-right, which leads me to believe the main reason it exploded is that bigoted people were tired of hiding who they really were in the face of the ever-growing liberal demographic and something (I don't know exactly what—possibly the liberal media gradually becoming just as blatantly partisan as the conservative media) made them think their values were threatened now more than ever before. Fear is definitely a driving force for the movement, that's why there's so much vehemence in the face of the hard evidence that undermines their position. Another thing that suggests fear is the illogicality and desperation in their arguments. There are so many claims of liberal conspiracy and propaganda from them, and yet they hypocritically ignore their own, rather conspicuous conspiring and propagandizing. If those aren't great examples of the argumentation tactics of people in great denial and desperation, I don't know what are. And we've all seen this before, of course—religion being the biggest example. People that are motivated by fear (in the case of religion, the fear of death) to believe something that has no base in reality or logic, must, when it is challenged, defend their belief in ways that avoid foregrounding the need for evidence or by fabricating evidence. The effectiveness of these alternative argumentation tactics rests in one's ability to divert attention from the whys
—from the evidence (or lack thereof) that backs the beliefs. One of the main alternative argumentation tactics is one that Trump uses a lot: the I believe (/ you should believe) blank because others believe it
tactic. Continually passing off the burden of proof to the next person serves two purposes: indefinitely delaying the need to prove something you know you cannot, and placing an emphasis on subjective credibility rather than objective truth. Religion used this tactic to great effect when it was on the defensive because they had amassed a large number of believers very early on by referencing selected history and myth during an age when great reverence was given to such things, guilt-tripping, promising eternal reward, and suggesting that not only can someone believe something without proof, but that doing so was somehow more pure than insisting on having proof. Now, alt-righters can't use those methods to as great an effect, so, mostly, they either fabricate proof (which works well is this post-truth world as people generally don't bother to fact check or don't care about facts, period) or merely attack and/or dismiss their political opponents, avoiding altogether the matter of defending their own views with evidence.
The patriarchy is in its death throes, and it's not going to go quietly. The only thing we can do is wait it out, as there is precious little intelligent debate to be had with them.