Libertarianism almost never have a moment, which is unfortunate for the law and politics of the United States but very handy for reminding libertarians that we do not have a normal political view in this country. Yes there is something Deep libertarian sentiment In American ID, and yes, polling shows a remarkable cross-partisan convergence at times A libertarian position or other. But generally, any self-aware libertarian must know that most of our countrymen do not think as we do, or they would not be absent from the motivation of good reason and bad governance.
But for modern Americans who sit comfortably on the left or right, who typically enjoy major partisan alignments, this self-awareness and reliance on persuasion can be overwhelming. More difficult to maintain. It certainly seems to be lacking in two buzz media stories from last week: open letter The New York Times Complaints about contributors The paper’s coverage of trans topics and Revelations about the Fox News host Found in court documents from a defamation case. Cases of opposite but mutually detrimental ways of abandoning persuasion in dealing with the ideological non-cooperation of the American public.
The times The letter takes issue with the handling of “transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people” in newspaper reporting and opinion sections alike. of logic What to think about trans identity and how to address its presentation in medical settings is a matter of completely settled science that, until now, should be completely excluded from public debate. The signatories claim that their position is “unremarkable, even ordinary and certainly not qualified times‘Intensive investigation.
what is deserved times‘ Intense testing is controversial, I think, but so are the positions in this letter. This is not a moral judgment but merely a statement of fact: these views are as controversial in America in 2023 as they are in active debate right now. They are “ordinary,” perhaps, but not “unforgettable” and certainly not held by a supermajority of Americans.
this is all very we will be– Enrolled inside extensive Voting on The Subject for recent years. Americans’ positions on LGBT issues are evolving rapidly, but we are nowhere near the debate. actually, By one measureAverage opinion has reversed and is now trending more conservative.
It’s depressing to some, I understand, but a lot of depressing things are also true. And perhaps agreeing with the signers of the letter makes most Americans ignorant or hateful or both, but that doesn’t change the fact that there is disagreement. Public opinion is not always what we want. Declaring a view as normative does not.
Meanwhile, on Fox, prominent anchors such as Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Maria Bartiromo Obviously very aware that the public—or, more precisely, their The public—doesn’t share their view of claims of massive fraud in the 2020 election by former President Donald Trump and his allies like lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell.
document from A defamation suit was brought against Fox by Dominion Voting Systems, a voting machine manufacturer whose product was involved in alleged fraud, with the hosts fully aware that the theories pushed by Powell et al. was, In their wordsA “crazy” ideastupid” and a “false,” “complete nut.”
Yet, they allowed—even welcomed—Fox to advocate those theories on the airwaves because viewers liked it. Like Carlson keep it, “Our viewers are good people and they believe that,” though Carlson himself did not. Or, as Bartiromo agreed“It’s easy to get good ratings when you give your audience something they want to hear,” and “a peaceful transition” between the Trump and Biden administrations was not what they wanted to hear. Or Hannity: “You don’t piss off the base.” Why give in to futility and lies when you can take the lazy, greedy path?
The answer, at once quixotic and anodyne it may sound, is that it is better to take the ideas of billions of people in this country seriously. It is better, if we think that these ideas are wrong, to check them rigorously time to give A liberal hearing for the arguments of their advocates. It is better to acknowledge the difference rather than pretending to be the other side’s point of view or our own. Better to debate. And that’s good Try to explain Those who disagree with us to share Instead our thoughts.
Good is not always the same as easy, practical, political, or profitable, of course. Trying to convince can make you less popular. Being willing to argue or documenting someone else’s argument can lead to backlash. These are not always attractive options, or worthy of debate per format. We can always come along situational And relational Exceptions to the rule.
Yet the alternatives—denial about the state of public discourse or abandoning our best understanding of truth for convenience—are dire. They are worse for our own intelligence and character, and they are worse for public opinion. If we don’t have a majority view, then not claiming victory early or admitting defeat will bring about the change we want. Persuasion may not accomplish this, but it’s at least worth trying.