Retreat to tribalism
Deborah Hill Cone's tale of reformation highlights a problem in contemporary politics — a retreat to tribalism. Hill Cone is far too ready to ascribe bad intentions or a lack of care to right-wing views.
Whether you are a “left-wing” or “rightwing” person, this sort of thinking is unfortunate, and does nothing to cultivate an effective society, nor political process. All it does is engage in a selfcongratulatory exercise of identifying oneself as one of the good people, and ostracising all the bad, differently minded people. Yes, beliefs may be sincerely held which are nonetheless incorrect, but we should be careful in how readily we conclude that the other side's politics must be informed by something as damning as a lack of care or love. Solutions to complex social, economic and political problems are almost never as simple as the various “sides” would have us believe, and lying to oneself that they are is a road to despising our fellows, locking ourselves in a bubble, and becoming frustrated and furious that these problems, supposedly curable simply by caring more, are never fully solved.
As it is, Hill Cone's screed is little more than homework in identifying how awful “right-wing” people are compared to “leftwing” people (though she ironically shuns the latter term as unhelpful), and how the repentant author was once a bad person, but fear not, has rejoined the ranks of feeling human beings again.
Neither “right-wing” nor “left-wing” people need to “confess” for some sort of wrongthink, nor do they need to “reform” as though they were some sort of degenerate; except perhaps at the most extreme ends of the left and right spectrum (which share more or the same faults and flaws than they would like to admit). We need evidence-based policy which relies on rigorous science to propose actual solutions. Where people's politics fly in the face of clear evidence, then fine, demonstrate their idiocy. You will find those opportunities few and far between, though, and they will have little to nothing to do with a lack of love or care. Curtis Barnes, Dunedin.