In An Era of Republican Bad Faith, The Left Must Respond In Kind

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It is important for an ethical person to immediately call out bad faith. But the Establishment refuses to do it...

Here’s good truth: bad faith is real. In a normal world, it saves time to assume your opponent is operating in good faith. But American politics is a far cry from rational.

Join me on a trip down memory lane. In the ‘70s, the conservative movement hacked the reigning liberal orthodoxies. The mandarins of the right understood how liberal culture worked. In particular, they identified three weak spots of liberalism, and two had to do with fear. One, liberals feared being identified with leftism. Two, liberals feared populism.

And three—most importantly—liberals based their right to rule on being reasonable and open-minded, whatever those words are supposed to mean.

The first two weak spots explained how to scare liberals. But the third spot worked best of all. It showed the conservatives how to make liberals love them, or at least tolerate them.

The Far Right learned to dress up their policies according to the polite fictions of media, academia, and think tanks. They learned to mutter “just asking questions” before proposing to measure skull shapes. They fooled liberals once, and have not stopped fooling them since. As a result, any right-wing hack without obvious marks of bodily disease can pass serious muster in Washington.

The user goes on to say—and AOC would agree—that Ocasio-Cortez isn’t some kind of singular political genius. She’s nothing more than an elected official with the ability to describe objective reality. The Right and the media and the pundits treat AOC as if she was turning air into rat poison. How debased our politics have become. You open your mouth and utter clear, factual, declarative statements in a calm voice, and all of a sudden you’re a dark wizard.

What AOC and Rashida Tlaib are doing is basic. They’re not blindly assuming good faith where good faith is unwarranted. That’s their killer app.

See, what passes for “good faith” these days is nothing but reciprocal class courtesy among the urban professionals. Everybody under fifty understands this. Most young Americans can recognize bad faith. We see it all around us. That’s why the clash between generations—between complacency and truth, between the real story and the official narrative—has been striking to watch.

Did you watch AOC’s interview? Where in the seventeen hells of Henry Kissinger does Anderson Cooper get off asking if Trump is racist? Jesus, man, does the sky hold water? AOC’s simple statement traumatized Cooper. You could see the light of the Hamptons waning in his eyes.

Look, we can discuss philosophic and legal terms for what “good faith” means. But let’s throw out the gumbo and drill down. In essence, acting in “good faith” means this: you play a game with the understanding that everyone else is playing the contest fairly. When you argue in good faith, you assume the other party is actually interested in debate, not tricking you. However, when it is obvious that the other team is cheating, when they playing with demonstrable malice, then you are not required to play in good faith. ...

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