A few days ago on Facebook, in a thread about (what else) politics that I can’t find again, someone was lamenting the fact that everything is political anymore. His point was that everyone in the political arena is more concerned with leveraging the proper angle for their own agenda, rather than dealing with matters as they come. I tend to agree with him – all the incentives in politics are in the vein of exploitation. If you ride a wave of popular outrage – no matter which side of the aisle you are on – you can increase the loyalty and tribal identity among people who agree with you by perpetuating the ire. Solving the underlying problem is somewhere down the list of priorities for many in politics. And why wouldn’t it be? If you put out suggestions, people will pick them apart as going too far, and other people will decry them as not going far enough. And God help you if you try to find a middle ground between the Right an the Left – you’ll be considered a heretic, and nobody will love you.
Again, all the incentives in politics are towards exploitation, not problem-solving. Keep that in mind.
When everything is political, people who AREN’T political get weary of politics. It starts invading areas of their lives that they thought were safely walled off, like sports, or hobbies, or shopping. Regular people don’t WANT to be forced to stake out a political position over football, or where they vacation, or which store they buy their toothpaste from. Keep that in mind, too.
So all that said, consider this story from Germany:
A German rape victim admitted in an interview with Der Spiegel that she lied about her rapists’ ethnicities because she wanted to avoid sparking a backlash against refugees. – Mediaite
Reread that sentence.
Then read it again. She lied about the perpetrators, and she admitted to doing so for culturally-sensitive reasons.
Normal people, apolitical people, don’t understand this at all. This woman politicized her own rape in order to protect a narrative that she was devoted to. Regular people who aren’t slaves to an absurd ideological narrative do not accept this as normal. And believe me, there are plenty more people out there who are normal than who are that kind of hyper-partisan.
Now, this woman will tell you that protecting the narrative was important because of the possible consequences for telling the truth. “What really hurts me is that it is a fact that the sexist and over the line incident that happened to me will inevitably lead to more aggression and racism,” she said, according to the article.
What goes unremarked on, and the thing about which she apparently had LESS concern, was the possible consequences for her LIE. Without accurate information, police would be unable to catch the perpetrators, leaving them free to commit more attacks on women. So much for Sisterhood. So much for justice. This woman had a hierarchy of priorities, and the truth wasn’t anywhere near the top. You could say the same for women here in the US who perpetrate false claims of rape. The political ramifications are far more important to them than the actual facts of any particular case. Their service to the narrative is paramount.
So, what do you do about that? I don’t think we can let that go unchallenged. We can’t let that thinking become more normalized. Behind all of the politicized narratives there are real people being hurt, and real values being subverted in the service of a seriously flawed ideology.
The guy I mentioned at the beginning of my article was right – everything IS being politicized at an alarming rate, and all narratives feed someone’s agenda. Is it WRONG for people on the right to ‘make use’ of this story for their own purposes?
I think we HAVE to make use of it, and try to keep that madness from spreading. The right didn’t politicize her rape – she did. But I also think HOW we do that will determine whether we make headway in winning over regular people or driving them away. (And we DO have to win over regular people, make no mistake, or they begin to adopt these views and narratives merely by being leftwashed, but that’s a subject for another day.)
So when I talk about this story, I will be focusing on the things regular people care about.
I’ll ask whether she’s heard the story, and ask what she thinks about it. I’ll listen to the answers, too, before focusing on the points I want to make. I’ll listen for openings, but I won’t charge into the subject until I’ve heard her out.
I’ll focus on the lie, the central issue of the story, without starting a separate conversation about migrant issues in Germany. Not because the migrant issue isn’t important to the story, but because this type of agenda-based narrative loyalty isn’t limited to an environment with lots of migrants from Islamic countries. We see it here too. So I’ll focus on the idea that the woman didn’t tell the truth, and talk about whether that’s ever acceptable. HINT: Regular people don’t think so.
I’ll focus on her betrayal of other women, and stress how her lies put other women at risk. If she isn’t honest with the police, how can they prevent this from happening to other women? Her lies throw other women to the wolves. We’ve seen efforts like Slut Walks and Take Back The Night marches attempt to change how victims of rape are seen and assisted and supported. Those efforts boast of being about solidarity with women. Yet the unquestioning support of ‘Jackie’ in the UVA case EVEN AFTER HER STORY WAS PRETTY THOROUGHLY DEBUNKED makes it clear the agenda is more important than the facts to many advocates of women’s issues. These aren’t real feminists, and I’ll make sure to drive that point home. I might even employ the word ‘fauxminism’ instead, just to underline it.
If I have the opportunity, I’ll focus on parallels and related cases here, such as campus tribunals that forego due process and how they actually make women less safe. I’ll show that they attempt to sweep alleged attacks under the rug by removing accused (but not convicted) attackers from campus without a conviction. This in-house handling of the matter, rather than allowing law enforcement full ability to investigate attacks, endangers innocent men AND shunts the guilty ones down the road, perhaps to another campus to prey on other women. In addition, it serves universities in keeping their crime stats lower on paper.
Finally, I’ll ask each of the regular people I talk to what they think we can do to support real victims, how to prevent more women from becoming victims, and how to protect innocent men from being ruined by lies that these fauxminists tell to advance an agenda.
I’ll be fully prepared to introduce the subject, and be familiar with the details
I’ll ask for her opinion on the story, before offering mine
I’ll keep the discussion on the main topic I want to discuss
I’ll keep her attention and engagement with the emotional angle (betrayal of women in this case)
I’ll back up what I say with related evidence that she might not have heard or thought about
I’ll solicit thoughts about solutions, instead of just stirring up outrage and moving on
Everything IS becoming political. And while that’s a shame, conservatives should not hold back engaging in conversations about conservative views out of fear of adding to the politicization of everything. What they SHOULD do is plan for these discussions, and plan to discuss them whenever possible in terms of ‘common sense’ rather than in political terms. Knowing the details, focusing on regular people’s language and reactions, and steering discussions towards solutions will go a long way in having political discussions that don’t leave them feeling that YOU are the one who’s politicizing everything. That may open doors for more discussions, and more chances to influence people who aren’t political 24/7.
Give it a try.