The Animus Required to Re-Write History
Daniel Johnson

Listening and questioning — high ideals worthy of being in the definition for “liberal.” I think I’ve become skilled at them, so maybe I can offer a constructive response. (Hopefully responding doesn’t count as not listening.) Politically I’m a conservative libertarian; that doesn’t indicate that I deny the problems you point to, but I have different ideas of how to address them.

I plan to vote against Trump (i.e., for Hillary, as much as I abhor her policies) because I agree that he is deplorable, and representative of a historical and persistent disease rooted in, among other things, “racial animus.” That disease is most obviously present in the “conservative” voter bloc; primarily, I would argue, among people who subscribe to conservatism not because they believe in it as such but because it is the most convenient vehicle for expressing their animus. More than the Left, these people are my opponents because they divert what might otherwise be constructive policies to further their separate agenda. Because of them, I am represented in government by no one, or at most an insignificant minority.

I’m responding mainly because you’ve pinpointed my most fundamental disagreement with the Black argument, which I’ve put a lot of work into understanding. I note that work not to gain brownie points, but because I couldn’t give a very constructive response without it.

“Understand that my anger at existing underneath the thumb of racism does not mean I have to prove to you that it is legitimate. You have to prove to me that you care enough to relieve my anger by listening and questioning yourself.”

I don’t believe any conversation works this way. You attempt to deny us on the Right the agency to make up our own minds, to browbeat us into agreeing with you. By the “liberal” ideals of thought, this is very illiberal. But I agree with you that this is the next obstacle to overcome in order to have a constructive conversation.

(I do like that you provided a Left-friendly term to express the idea that I normally call racism; thank you. Now I hope I don’t start seeing claims that racial animus is institutional by definition. People who move the arena of language in order to gain a linguistic advantage irritate me.)

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