The shooting in Orlando has revealed that our country is more divided than ever and that the state of discourse has descended to unprecedented levels. This tragedy highlights it again, but it’s been this way for ages.
We no longer grant the benefit of the doubt to those we disagree with. It is no longer possible for us to simply disagree with another’s point of view or to think he is wrong, but still a good person. No, if you disagree you are a hater, you are evil, you must be punished, you must be destroyed.
This should be disturbing to anyone dedicated to a functional political life. The reduction of political beliefs to emotional impulses makes living together impossible; all that’s left are permanent tribal clashes. When the possibility of consensus, which depends on persuasion, is abandoned, because one side decides that the other is beyond persuading, the only recourse is force. As it applies to the contemporary Left, that should sound more than a little familiar.
Yet, it’s not just the Left who are engaged in this type of thinking. There are plenty on the Right who engage in similar thought-free, emotional invective. Even your choice of TV show or sports team can result in piles of hatred upon your head.
Plus we have the tyranny of sideline experts who feel completely qualified to determine error and fault in every circumstance. Whether it’s the Orlando shooting or the kid who fell in the gorilla pit or the kid snatched by the alligator at Disney World, the internet outrage mob winds up to declare fault and blame before the bodies have grown cold.
After 9/11, the blame game was set aside, even for a brief time. This past Sunday, the echoes of the shots had not yet stopped ringing before it started. It’s bad.