Your Opinion: Response to Eveler on 'differences'
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Robert Eveler wrote a poetic letter published here on April 6. He made a number of comparisons between what he perceives are conservative actions and those which are liberal. I got the point that all positions he labeled Democratic are bad. Very bad!
I was reminded of Bob Dylan’s lyrics from “With God On Our Side.” Mr. Eveler’s litany had the tone of a conservative’s moral rectitude and superiority.
I am sure that when people feel morally superior they are not inclined to consider other points of view.
For the Evelers of the world, politics is not about public policy. It is about claiming the moral high ground. It is about a righteous war. But most of all it is about the calming thought that you are listed among the faithful.
This kind of thinking and believing is not limited to conservatives. Many liberals/progressives know the assuredness of their moral position.
Like Christ they see themselves administering to the needs of our most vulnerable and afflicting the comforts of those in power. Many progressives enjoy the knowledge of their intellect versus the “ditto-head” mentality of the other side.
Moral posturing is a building block of mass movements. In 1951 a non-academic writer published a widely heralded book called “The True Believer.” In the late ‘50s, disgusted with the righteousness of the John Birch Society and earlier Joseph McCarthy, President Eisenhower referred to Eric Hoffer’s book in a letter to a terminally ill veteran. The veteran was looking for some guidance in a confusing world. Hoffer had written “Faith in a holy cause is to a considerable extent a substitute for the lost faith in ourselves.”
He also stated, “We can be absolutely certain only about things we do not understand.” By mentioning Hoffer, Eisenhower was basically saying do not be taken in by the carnival barker no matter how self-assured he proclaims himself to be.
In Mr. Eveler’s letter he gives us the catechism of a “true believer.” Although I dispute all that he says, I did not “delete” his message as he suggested. In fact, I am suggesting we all look closely at what he has said and determine if this is how we want to talk to each other. For those of us who want a better world, I hope we can find a more constructive way to talk to each other.