Friday, June 10, 2022

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.

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Tel Aviv, June 9 - New research suggests that whereas your political fellow-travelers represent myriad, diverse views, and that fringe elements attract only ridicule and criticism from the overwhelming, decent majority, the other political camp kowtows to the radicals in its midst who have hijacked the agenda at that end of the political spectrum and as a consequence, voting for anyone from that half of the political map effectively places the government under the control of dangerous fanatics who will destroy everything of value.

Scientists studying political phenomenology have discovered evidence that only your opponents get defined by the most extreme among them; you and your close allies, however, know how to distance yourself from unhinged, racist, violent, or otherwise objectionable voices that overlap with parts of your vision, and only dishonesty could account for those who associate you with those objectionable elements. Your invocation of the other side's extremists, however, captures the essence of that entire camp's ideology.

"It's uncanny," remarked lead study author Tenn Denschuss of the Statistics Department at Tel Aviv University, the study's lead author. Your positions, rhetoric, and behavior, he confirmed, remain "beyond reproach, untainted by coincidental association with unsavory fanatics whose tactics and bigotry give them more in common with the thugs on the other side," whereas your opponents' positions "grow out of  suspicious closeness to, and sympathy for, some of the most destructive forces and movements of the last two centuries, which they fail to denounce with sufficiently convincing vigor."

Denschuss observed that the phenomenon holds across multiple angles of political difference: disputes over policy or vision in the realms of public health, democratic processes, security, bodily autonomy, criminal justice, racial tensions, separation of religion and state, the environment, regulation, taxation, income inequality, international relations, military policy, infrastructure, free enterprise, freedom of expression, and what restrictions, if any, apply to individual liberties, among other areas.

"This looks like a pretty robust phenomenon," he noted. When you hold a certain position, "it inevitably stems from a well-reasoned, coherent analysis of data, using supportable assumptions and the right mix of empathy and incentive." On the other hand, when those who disagree with you espouse their positions on any of these issues, their analysis, if even worthy of the term, "suffers the fatal flaw of ulterior considerations, distorted ethics, and undue influence from radicals whose extreme agenda will inevitably generate larger and more problems than their favored policies ostensibly aim to solve, while in fact in they were honest, those fanatics would admit they aim not to address the issue but to seize power and impose their agenda while suppressing dissent."




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