conservative trinketing

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Jeremy Sherman explains how the Right uses trinketing as a psychological trick to galvanize its base:

True righteousness, like true bravery or true love, will cost you. You have to put risky, expensive effort into it or else it's just lip service. We each have limited effort to expend. How we expend it is the true expression of our priorities. [...]

But between true righteousness and mere lip-service there's a bargain alternative: Token righteousness. Pick some easy, trivial issue and crusade on it pretending that it's the highest priority, the most epic concern. With token righteousness, you can pose as if your bravely, lovingly saving the world without having to prioritize the truly daunting threats to it.

"You can collect a whole charm bracelet of trinket issues," he writes, "to make yourself feel like you're covering all the marks of righteousness:"

Here's one for justice, one for care, one for compassion, one for bravery. Collect enough and you can pretend you're world-encompassing.

"It's telling that the right chose to call being anti-abortion being pro-life," he points out, "as though protecting fertilized eggs is all it takes to protect life:"

That's the point. Armed with their mighty trinket charm bracelet, they never have to think beyond their trivial causes. They use their trinkets to pivot debate. You bring up a priority and they shake their wrists at you at you saying "yeah, but what about this?!" pointing to one of their misplaced token priorities. [...]

They don't have the moral equivalent of legal standing on most of these issues. They're not directly or indirectly oppressed by any of the threats they jingle. They have to exaggerate the threat to them personally to gain any credibility. That's why you get this perverse argument that their right to not be offended is a higher priority than a gay person's right to marry.

"Trinketing is a powerful way to galvanize the right's token righteousness," he concludes, "even if it has nothing to do with addressing the world's true woes."

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on July 2, 2018 12:18 PM.

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