Facts Over Feelings by Shane Warren

As someone whose Facebook Newsfeed reflects his obsession with American politics, the ads Zuckerburg’s machine spits my way tend to be the sort of to-the-point banners that demand people who either  “support the 2nd Amendment” or “Want to Dump Trump” to “like immediately!”.

In other words, the ads are low-rate clickbait.

That being said, I think one type of click bait deserves some further analysis. Picture it— a stern-faced man in a suit stares directly into your eyes. With a smug smile that says “I know what I’m talking about”, he is a perfect compliment to the  bold-faced lettering which warns “I only care about FACTS, not your feelings.”

Except the warning isn’t really a warning, is it? Instead, it’s a signal to the target audience that they can expect a refuge from “snowflake SJW leftists” who think their petty feelings override empirical reality and the ever-sacred right to Free Speech. “Yes”, the banner seems to caw, “If you follow me, I’ll take you to a place where the liberal fascists can’t silence you with politically correct garbage. We don’t use buzzwords. Only facts and common sense are allowed here. If that sounds good to you, join me, and we can fight the evil together.”

To some, this narrative may seem poignant. After all, some people on the Left don’t seem dedicated to elevated discourse.  Students at colleges across the United States are interrupting the speeches of Conservatives who present a different worldview than the one they’re used to. Black-clad protesters are smashing Starbucks windows, despite the fact that Starbucks takes care of its employees and gives them the opportunity for educational advancement. The American Flag is burned by some of the people who insist our President is anti-American.  When our country is in such chaos, isn’t a movement for facts and common sense needed to restore order before it’s too late?

If you answered yes to that question, I have a question for you: If you believe in facts so much, why in the name of Siheyuan Sauce would you place your bets on the right?

Seriously. I know someone who points to a picture of chromosomes and courageously quotes 8th grade biology to state that there are only two chromosomal sexes looks like the pinnacle of common sense, but other than that hot button issue, how exactly are typical Conservatives any less thick-headed, unscientific, and safe-space demanding than the supposed “SJW’s” right-wing personalities like to mock with wonton abandon?

Think about it. With our current healthcare system, America spends more per person on healthcare than any other country in the world. Despite that fact, at least 18,000 Americans a year still die from lack of coverage. Our lifespan is rocketing towards being the lowest in the advanced world, our infant mortality rate is the nearly the highest, and healthcare is the most expensive around. We are also the only major country that doesn’t guarantee universal healthcare.

While any health care system would come with flaws, the fact of the matter is that the only advanced economy in the world without universal healthcare also has the most expensive healthcare with some of the least favorable results in the first-world.

The thing is, this really isn’t a high-minded philosophical pursuit. It’s common sense. People don’t choose to get sick. It’s a fact that you can live a perfectly healthy lifestyle and still get cancer, accidents, and other illnesses. It’s also a fact that sick people are not able to contribute to the economy, adequately take care of their children, or learn new skills as easily as the healthy. Yet when it comes to a matter of lives and common sense, the same Conservatives who cry “Your feelings don’t change the facts!” spew buzzwords and anecdotes about other health care systems failing despite the fact that ours is, by most measures, the worst in the advanced world.

It doesn’t stop with healthcare. Consider the idea of a Muslim Ban. Despite the mainstream media’s successful campaign to paint terrorism as an ever-looming shadow that strikes fear into the daily lives of Americans, the fact of the matter is that zero refugees since 9/11 have committed a terrorist attack on American soil.

Furthermore, the odds of dying from terrorism are significantly lower than choking on food, dying in a car crash, or being accidentally shot by a native-born American.  Despite these facts, the right-wing still insists that we exclude entire nations of people from our country because they “may pose a threat”.

To people who cry foul at the site of a safe space, censorship, or language policing in the name of feelings, just what do you find appealing about excluding entire nationalities and/or religions from our country? Because exclusion makes us feel safer? Isn’t “go away, you scare me, I don’t care about the facts” the very foundation of political correctness gone awry?

I know you know it’s true.

A Matter of Character

Let’s take a deeper look into our President. If he had purple hair, an undercut, hipster glasses, and a t-shirt about Tumblr, would his words still seem “plainspoken” and “direct”? Or would they be the pathetic word salad of a narcissist who can’t stand the site of criticism or the fact that logic doesn’t stop being a thing just because he says so?

This isn’t just about Trump. How many other right-wing pundits are just snowflakes in scientists clothing, shrieking about exposure to different cultures and modes of belief? How rigorously do you think they apply the scientific method when they cast doubt on the thousands of independent studies confirming the reality of man-made climate change?

Is it possible that they turn you against those “irrational Leftists”, because they know if you didn’t fall for the culture war,  you’d agree about universal healthcare, campaign finance reform, infrastructure investment, and regulating the big banks more often than not?

Maybe you wouldn’t. All I’m saying is, it’s worth some pause for reflection.


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