Political Discourse in the Early 21st Century

by Charles Miller on February 10, 2020

A Conservative:

I oppose accepting refugees because I think we should severely restrict people of certain ethnicities/religions entering the country, but this argument is never going to run with liberals.

A Liberal:

I believe we have a moral responsibility to accept refugees because we are a wealthy country, and they are fleeing great hardship, some of which we played a part in causing, but this argument is never going to run with conservatives.

Conservative:

I know! What about Breakfast at Tiffany’s?

Liberal

I think I remember the film, and as I recall, I think we both kind of liked it.

Oh, you mean what if we find some kind of common ground to argue instead?

Conservative:

Right.

Liberal

OK, well you're a conservative. That means you believe in limited government and low taxes and stuff. Here's a bunch of articles that show our current refugee policies cost more than it would just to let them in and give them a place to live while we determined their status.

Conservative:

I don't believe you. Here are a bunch of counter-articles disputing that claim.

Liberal

Dude, half of those are from Breitbart but I guess… here's a bunch more articles refuting the articles you sent me.

Conservative:

I still don’t believe you. Convince me some more.

Liberal

What standard of proof would you accept?

Conservative:

Honestly? I'm not reading anything you’re sending me, I am just Googling the titles and finding pages on right-wing sites that disagree with them, because I don’t care enough to engage your argument seriously.

Liberal

Isn't that, like, a little hypocritical? Do you suddenly not care about economics?

Conservative:

If you found out that accepting refugees cost more than rejecting them, would you change your mind?

Liberal

No but that’s not the… I guess it is.

Conservative:

Anyway, we have to be tough on refugees because if we aren’t, how many more will be exploited by people smugglers and die trying to get to our country? Those deaths will be on your hands.

Liberal

You don't believe that either, do you.

Conservative:

No, but if you don’t waste your time arguing my point you lose the moral high ground, and I can talk endlessly about how you are only pretending to care about refugees so you can virtue-signal your fellow latte-sipping socialists.

Liberal

And meanwhile we both get to avoid uncomfortable discussions about what we really think.

Previously: #FirstSevenLanguages (Director’s Commentary)