If the whole focus of your life is on getting everybody else to agree with you on every detail of your politics and adopt your plans for a perfect society, then you’re setting yourself up to be at war with most of the human race most of the time.
Which means an awful lot for the Angry Left to get angry about.
March 26, 2015
Why Is the Angry Left So Angry?
[While this is a good start I think there is more to it than this.
Having spent a lot of years dealing with someone and their family who were angry much of the time I came to realize that anger was the primary means of communication for them. If you didn’t get angry they would not pay attention to what you were saying. I remember an instance where I coolly and calmly told this person, probably a dozen times over the course of a few days, that what they were doing was hazardous. They would agree, say they wouldn’t do it again, then, frequently, within a few seconds do it again.
Eventually I lost my cool. I yelled. They apologized, said they wouldn’t do it again, and they didn’t. Within a year I found myself getting angry with them with almost no provocation. They taught me to get angry to communicate. I finally realized this and starting thinking about what was going on. I then thought back to the first time I met this persons family. I was at the front door and the living room was chaos. Various people yelling at the same time and no one appeared to be listening to anyone else. My friend, happy to see me, walked through the chaos with a big smile. They were oblivious to the yelling and anger of everyone else.
The entire family communicated via emotions. The actual words weren’t that important. There were many times I would see different people in a conversation were talking about entirely different things but didn’t realize the other party to the conversation was “on a different channel”. Other times what they said was self-contradictory. It didn’t even make sense. Pointing this out to them was interesting. They would laugh and say it didn’t matter. I became sort of a joke to them because I couldn’t understand them. They made no sense to me but they were entirely happy with their babbling to each other and didn’t see what why I had a problem with it. “Oh, Joe, we’re just talking.” is an actual quote which came in response to my confusion about something not making sense.
When the topic of discussion was something of significant importance and it involved me I would sometimes insist they pay attention to reality and make sense. This would result in a fight. The claim was that “I had to get my own way.” But it wasn’t my way. It was forcing them to be congruent with reality and the laws of physics.
We see similar things with the left/progressives. They think they have accomplished something by holding a candlelight vigil. They demand a higher minimum wage and higher employment rate no matter how many time it is demonstrated you can’t have both for very long. They demand enhanced background checks because President Regan, Jim Brady, and a bunch of kids were shot—even though the shooters did, or would have, passed the proposed background check.
They use “hash tag diplomacy” and declare victory when bullets are the only viable option to effect change. They throw “reasons” like, “stand your ground”, and “war on women” around because they know our society requires at least some lip service be given to “reasons” even if the facts don’t support their claims. They don’t understand reason and resort to making reasoning noises. They cannot even tell you how to determine truth from falsity.
Emotion is their currency and their reality. If they feel something is true then, for them, it is true. This was driven home to me when I extreme frustration I once demanded, “How do you determine truth from falsity?” They calmly told me, “It depends on how I feel.”
I have been repeatedly told and after many decades of trying everything else I’m beginning to believe the proper approach to these people is to not get emotional. That is their “battle space”. When you get emotional it makes them happy because you become one of them. Then any emotion they care to use is justified because you are already emotional. Insist they be rational. They can’t. They only have emotions. Point out their logical and factual errors and refuse to accept their emotions as currency.
We do not share a common basis for communication or for determining reality. We share the same planet but they are in a different world. So of course they get angry with us. In their minds we are aliens in a turf war with them.—Joe]
It really gets funny when they go on, about how “reality based” they are.
Just ask then about GMO foods, hilarious.
Joe, it’s an interesting premise, and one that I’ve seen in action as well. So the question for us is, do we need to change our tactics? As a rule, pro-gunners tend to be analytical, calm and collected. Do we need to diversify our tactics? Just for the sake of discussion, what if the “menacing, threatening” tactics that the antis accuse us of became reality? What if we lined up in armed rows, got a parade permit, and goose-stepped down main street – scaring the living bejesus out of the antis?
We constantly note that the blathering left is constantly accusing gun owners of how dangerous and out of kilter we are – yet, confusingly, get in our faces with commentary that just might result in us shooting them if we really were that trigger happy. As you note – it’s the outpouring of emotion that they crave. If they actually thought for two seconds that, “Hey, I’m about to confront an armed, trigger happy sociopath face to face – I might get shot!” would they engage in this behavior? Of course not – they assume that everyone just blows smoke like they do.
But – what would happen if, when engaged in such behaviour, the pro-2A recipient pulled out out a blue training pistol, shoved it in their face, and said “You’re right. I’m a dangerous, psychopath. And you’re now dead.” Just a curious thought experiment.
Doesn’t seem like a good idea. Right now we can defuse all those claims as obviously false and make it stick. Do stuff like that and the narrative will change to “see, it’s true, just look at this video”.
It’s already hard enough when people get killed by psychopaths and that is used as an argument against normal people. If normal people actually start to act like our enemies claim we act, it will get worse yet.
Dang! That is the most rational, coherent explanation of that mindset I have seen to date. Nice…
“Reasoning noises”; aka cargo cult science.
And these are the same people who look down on the people in New Guinea who worship John Frum
It’s an excellent essay, and as such it should be seriously edited for typos. Start with the first word, “Haven’t” which I believe you meant to be “Having”. There are several others. It looks like the auto-correct sorts of errors.
I fixed at least some of them.
You’re dancing right up next to my observation that there are two alliances at war with one another. Reason and emotion are decent definitions of the two, but others might use Heaven and hell, good and evil, sanity and insanity.
Some see emotion as all that defines all that it means to be human. I would say that that is the biggest and most destructive lie of all time, that emotion is that which separates us from our humanity;
“I don’t know what came over me”
“I was beside myself”
“I wasn’t thinking clearly”
“I didn’t know what I was doing”
These are all explanations for bad things, and they are all descriptions of being under the influence of emotion. Our problem is we get addicted to it, just like a drug. We seek it, just like a drug. There are people who push it, just like a drug. Try to take it away from people (by insisting on cool reason) and they’ll attack you, just like you trying to take an alcoholic’s bottle away from him.
AND SO; I offer this simple, easy exercise. Observe (and what’s easier than that?). Are you at any given moment motivated, controlled or influenced by emotions? Just watch it. Just look at it. Hmm – If you’re watching you, then who is you and who is doing the watching? Hmm?
The important difference, Joe, is that you have the rational toolbox, and you can at least identify the progressive’s emotional mode of communication. It might be a foreign language, but at least you recognize it for what it is, and recognize the futility of trying to convince them of anything with logic.
The progressives, on the other hand, are really confused by logic and facts, because they really don’t understand them. They don’t have the tools to engage in a rational conversation, and they don’t even realize that they are incompetent. (See stage 1 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_stages_of_competence)
I wonder if it would be possible to craft a devastatingly effective argument in the progressive language. It would probably be horribly unpleasant to translate facts and logic into candle light vigils, hugging owls, and hashtags. But it might be possible to win the hearts (if not minds) of huge numbers of progressives by helping them understand liberty and constitutional law in terms of fuzzy feel good whatever.
(Now I have to go wash my hands.)
Came here from American Mercenary. Great post!
While it is very true of much of the left, gotta say that it only takes a few minutes on sites like Breitbart or Daily Caller (to name but two), to see the same emotional argumentation in the comments section.
Even if I share the same big picture conclusion as the commenters, they cannot stand anyone challenging them on how they make their case. For them, the conclusion is the logic of the argument, and much of what they provide in support are “reasoning noises”.
Unfortunately, if both sides argue (and think) like this, our collective liberty is at risk, as they are easy marks for any charlatan who wants to feed them talking points and narratives.
Joe, you’ve definitly identified one of the key issues that makes it hard for large groups of people to agree, in fact I would go so far as to say that the different modes of communication you describe are largely responsible for the political divides we face and that many of our political “leaders” have learned, either by deduction or intuition, how to manipulate people into supporting them by attaching negative personal feelings with the opposition and positive emotions with themselves.
I’ve personally found the “remain calm” approach to be quite useful in surviving emotion laden conflicts but I’ve not seen it resolve any conflicts. Much like your story of the emotional communication friend, I once dealt with a shift manager in an overseas factory that would not pay heed to any caution or instruction. At one point he had a very close call in my presence. He just shrugged. Not having the vocabulary to dress him down in his own language, I struck him. Not hard enough to do damage, but hard enough to remember. I then pointed to what he screwed up and glared at him. From that point on he kept his hands off and let more capable people handle the task. Later he was his normal self around me, but the negative experience kept him away from what he once blithely blundered through.
I never advise lowering a logical argument to a physical or even emotional one, but the fact remains rhat when doind or saying something makes people feel bad about themselves, they tend to stop doing it.
Anyone who can do that can control the mob.
Well done once again, sir. Thanks for the story and the distilled insight.