Friday, December 2, 2016

Arguing away fascism

I am beside myself with anger, but the words come from within.

Still. There are people claiming Donald Trump and the fascists he represents should be defeated by making a "better" argument, rather than reducing the ability for their argument to be heard. I can't help but rail against this idea, with words.

Because how do you argue with Trump? How do you argue with someone who lies, has his lies spelled out and picked apart in their component atoms and continues to tell those lies without shame, without the body language that should show he is aware that he is lying, without any concept of consequence, without any respect for the world that the rest of us have to live in or indeed the structure of reality itself? How do you argue with someone who argues that he has always been against the war on Iraq and argues that he's for the war on Iraq at the same time?

How do you argue with contradiction?

The fact is, hate speech works. It has real and measurable effects against people. It poses a clear and immediate danger. There's been science done about this. It's no more defensible as free speech than shouting fire in a crowded public hall is. People will believe any lies that are repeated enough. Some people. Enough people to do harm.

The fact is, democracy works only if most people believe that it should work. This graph, assuming it's not the product of Russian hackers or people who don't actually know what democracy is, tells us that the "better argument" does not in fact exist. If you think more people should be able to do what they want, be who they want and go where they want, then the argument that those are good things for our society to pursue is a good argument; if you don't, it isn't.

If you don't read books, there's no argument that will teach you empathy. If you don't believe that reading books teaches you empathy, there's no argument that will convince you of this demonstrated fact. If you don't believe demonstrated facts are more useful than your gut feeling in making this world where we're stuck together, there's no argument good enough to convince you. If you think you can have a world where you get rid of people you don't like, then all of human history is not good enough to convince you you're wrong.

Maybe it's only snobbery to think we can, to use Grant Morrison's device from back in the turn of the century, "steal back the illusion" with anything better, any elegance rather than boorish yelling and intimidating and brutalizing the opposition into shutting up. They sure seem to think so. They sure seem to work hard to leave us no other choice.

So I'm making a comic where the main character can't lie. It may be more constructive than making the argument "Trump's lies are going to get a lot of people killed and that's bad" and repeating it enough times that it becomes a good argument.

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