Friday, November 27, 2020

“The ethical is not halfway”

Rebecca Solnit, “On Not Meeting Nazis Halfway”:

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito just complained that “you can’t say that marriage is a union between one man and one woman. Now it’s considered bigotry.” This is a standard complaint of the right: the real victim is the racist who has been called a racist, not the victim of his racism, the real oppression is to be impeded in your freedom to oppress. And of course Alito is disingenuous; you can say that stuff against marriage equality (and he did). Then other people can call you a bigot, because they get to have opinions too, but in his scheme such dissent is intolerable, which is fun coming from a member of the party whose devotees wore “fuck your feelings” shirts at its rallies and popularized the term “snowflake.”

Nevertheless, we get this hopelessly naïve version of centrism, of the idea that if we’re nicer to the other side there will be no other side, just one big happy family. This inanity is also applied to the questions of belief and fact and principle, with some muddled cocktail of moral relativism and therapists’ “everyone’s feelings are valid” applied to everything. But the truth is not some compromise halfway between the truth and the lie, the fact and the delusion, the scientists and the propagandists. And the ethical is not halfway between white supremacists and human rights activists, rapists and feminists, synagogue massacrists and Jews, xenophobes and immigrants, delusional transphobes and trans people. Who the hell wants unity with Nazis until and unless they stop being Nazis?
I wince when I hear Joe Biden say that we must come together. But notice: every description of “us,” of American culture, that he presents makes no room for hatred, racism, or delusional thinking. I think — or hope — he’s showing considerable political intelligence in a dangerous time.

comments: 4

Linda Sue said...

Excellent, Ate this post in giant spoonfuls. Acknowledgement of "feels" from the hateful, recognizing them as valid, digs deeper holes, obviously- Grateful for Biden- so grateful!

Michael Leddy said...

I’m glad I could share this excerpt. RS’s essay deserves a large readership.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting, very good article.

You may have seen this one already, but found it useful as well in a similar vein:

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks, Anon ., I hadn’t seen that one. For anyone to know just where the link goes, it’s too an essay by Rana Dasgupta, “The Silenced Majority.”