Saturday, June 30, 2018

the Farce of July

Man-on-the-street interviews are used by both the left and the right as a way to demonstrate the embarrassing stupidity of the general populace. If both sides of the political aisle are right about how dumb we are as a people, then that's pretty depressing. Here's Will Witt (a rightie, if you must know) going around a California beach to ask sun-worshipers about the significance of 1776 and why we celebrate the Fourth of July:

My problem with this tactic is that it hands your opponent the very same rhetorical weapon: if, for example, you judge my country by its stupid people, then I'm free to judge your country by its stupid people (as an American, I get this a lot from from unself-conscious non-Americans who are utterly deaf and blind to irony when they try to engage in this "judge the bumpkins" scheme). Where does that leave us, then, in terms of dialogue? All we've managed to establish is that both of our countries contain a disconcerting number of uneducated (or even outright obtuse) citizens. That doesn't strike me as a fruitful path to anything constructive... although, optimistically, your side and my side can at least agree that both of our camps contain some real idiots—a realization that itself ought to be a recipe for humility.

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