Shame and blame will never convince. At most, they foster anxiety. But they will never work at changing minds.
That’s the dilemma American “liberalism” or leftism finds itself in. For years, up through and including the Obama years, it tried to motivate people with shame and blame.
Other people don’t have health care. You do. Shame on you. That’s why you have to support Obamacare and all forms of socialized medicine.
Other countries pay higher taxes. You should too. Shame on you for wanting to keep your money. Shame on you for defending the right of others to keep theirs.
Racism is evil. Unless you support anything and everything America’s first black president wants to do, you’re a racist. How could you oppose him and not call yourself a racist? Shame on you!
Everywhere you turn, it’s shame and blame.
Remember when Obama was president and there was an ISIS-inspired attack? An astute reader of my columns wrote that he always felt guilty and ashamed after listening to an Obama speech following such an attack. Somehow it always boiled down to shame and blame. “As an American, you’re bigger and stronger than everyone else. Shame on you, making others feel smaller. What did you expect?”
Going forward, in fighting Donald Trump’s probable bid for reelection, shame and blame are all Democrats and leftist types have. All they know how to do is make you feel bad about yourself as an American, as a successful person, or as someone who admires or wants to defend the rights of successful people.
Even if Donald Trump were not President, virtue and success would always be the opponents of the leftists. Why do you think they hate capitalism so much? Capitalism requires virtue. Nobody makes a billion dollars without some kind of virtue – or self-responsibility, ingenuity, self-discipline, or otherwise standing out from the crowd in some sense. These are the qualities leftists seek to shame and blame because – well, because it makes people feel low about themselves and feeling low about oneself leads one to surrender power. And Democrats crave power above all else.
Some kind of nationalist reaction against the shame and blame of the Democrats, particularly after Obama’s psychologically petulant regime, was inevitable. It doesn’t mean nationalism is exactly the answer. Individualism, individual rights and liberty are the answers. They’re the only way out of this mess, and they are the only answers we will ever have, along with the underlying premise of reason.
Nationalism seems valid only in the sense that America once stood consistently for these things, individualism and individual rights, and any nation who upholds them ought to be proud of itself. You’re right to feel proud as an American, not because you happened to be born here, but because of the fact you uphold the right things – reason, self-responsibility, individualism, private property and liberty. Great qualities make an individual – or society – great. You’re good or great if you uphold them, and anyone is free to value them.
Human beings are not automatically reasonable by nature. But our natures require the exercise of reason. That’s why shame and blame will never work in the long run.
Democrats and leftists have to decide what they’re for. They’ve got to stop attacking people who disagree with them for the mere act of disagreeing. When they do so, they only show how hateful and small-minded they actually are. All they’re telling us is that personal attacks and insults are all they’ve got. I suppose this seems easier than taking the time and trouble to identify what you’re really for. Of course, if forced to identify what they’re really for, they would have to come out with things like Communism, fascism or other forms of restrictive government that have failed so many times before, and that are just plain wrong.
No matter what becomes of President Donald Trump, Democrats will never get anywhere via shaming and blaming. It’s how they got where they are. With no apparent ownership of this fact in sight, even when they win elections you can expect no inspiration or worthiness from a band of shamers and blamers.
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