Monday, 30 May 2011

Why we should be nice to people, especially those we don't like.

Since joining this ragtag bunch of misfits known as the left wing, I have noticed a rather unsavoury trait that seems to plague it, and I'm not talking about that the songs suck compared to the fascist songs I used to listen to although they do, but rather the fact that for an ideological wing that seeks to promote love, equal treatment and whatnot, some elements seem rather prone to preaching hatred.

While admittedly, this isn't as much of a problem in the mainstream left as it is in those rather unpleasant SWP types that plague the area near my university library, it is still there under the surface.While I enjoy a good satirical joke, I do tend to shy away from the more vulgar ones that are based more on the depiction of Conservatives as a kind of goblin in a cave, grabbing as much money as they can regardless of how it affects others, in a manner rather worryingly similar to old Jewish stereotypes. While I do concede, some members of the Conservative party are rather unsavoury characters, at the same time many of them are most likely rather nice people who the only difference between us is political persuasion. Granted some may counter this by pointing to their political persuasion and screaming "EVIL!" in a voice that would give a banshee a headache, while some of the less crazy elements of our ragtag bunch of misfits would eruditely point out the flaws in the Conservative ideology and use this as elements of their unsavoury nature. I will address these two approaches separately.

1. To the partisan Banshees: Be quiet, you are making the rest of us look bad.
2. To the erudite: If they seek to pursue a program, based upon their ideology, that will result in a negative outcome, remember "Hanlon's Razor" which states that we must "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.". Remember that our opponents are, like us, human and are as such capable of being swayed by facile arguments.

Finally I have a few reasons as to why we should be nice to people, even if they are mistaken in their view of what the correct course of action is.

1. It makes them more likely to listen- This is rather a simple point, as I'm sure all of you are more likely to listen to the views and points made by someone who is polite to you than someone who calls you evil. If we are to convince people as to why they should follow a more left wing ideology then we have to start treating them as human beings.

2. It's kind of a duty- A key part of left wing ideology pertains to the idea that poor people are just as good as rich people. Our argument is undermined if the left, regardless of where on the income scale they are from, has reason to be seen as a rabble.

3. Its nice- While manners may at time seem rather "Victorian", I would prefer to live in a society with them than without. Just its a good thing to hold the door for people, to let the elderly have your place on the tram and to help people when they drop things, it is also a good thing to be friendly towards other people, regardless of ideology.

(note: I do aim to do a bit less moaning about how we need to get our shit together in my next blog, and a bit more advocation of economic policies)

These two great gentlemen are dedicated to a proposition which was true in my time, just as it's true today. Be excellent to each other. And... PARTY ON, DUDES!  - Abraham Lincoln. (Kinda)

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