Notice that today’s political discourse no longer consists much of rational argument, attempts at persuasion, or intellectual analysis. Instead, it consists largely of social pressure, attempts to make people want to belong to a socially-approved group, appealing to social status, shaming non-conformists, and signaling in-group attitudes.
As an example, here is the response of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) when asked about her promise, if elected president, to approve of no judges who would question the Roe v. Wade decision. From Philip Klein, Kirsten Gillibrand compares judges who don’t agree Roe is settled law to racists and anti-Semite,, in the Washington Examiner:
“I think there’s some issues that have such moral clarity that we have as a society have decided that the other side is not acceptable,” she explained. “Imagine saying that it’s okay to appoint a judge who is racist, or anti-Semitic, or homophobic. Asking someone to appoint someone who takes away basic human rights of any group of people in America I think that we have — I don’t think that those are political issues anymore.”
She concluded, “I believe that for all of these issues, they are not issues that there is a fair other side.”
So being pro-life is “not acceptable.” Opposing the killing of unborn children is the moral equivalent of racism. A position that should not even be stated, like anti-Semitism. Another socially unacceptable belief is not accepting homosexuality; that is, being “homophobic.” On these issues, she says, there is no “other side.” The rightness of the killing of unborn children has been completely settled and is a matter of the utmost “moral clarity.”
I appreciate how her colleague Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NB) responded:
Slandering pro-life Americans as, in effect, Klan members and Nazis is a way of crushing debate. It’s a way of saying that these people — people like my mom, who prays outside abortion clinics; people like my daughters and my wife, who’ve spent a lot of hours volunteering at a crisis-pregnancy centers; and people like the overwhelming majority of the Nebraskans that I get to represent — . . . are so morally repugnant that they don’t deserve a voice. They don’t deserve to be treated like human beings. They don’t deserve to be engaged in debate. They’re not people that you could possibly have reasonable conversation with them.