Lately, I've had a theme going on with these posts lately: I point at the seemingly perpetual, incoherent rage among "progressives", I note how seemingly widespread it is, and I ask what conservatives - or hell, just plain non-"progressives" - are to do about it. I haven't offered up much on that front except to argue that 'reasoning with them' mostly isn't an option. These are not people amenable to sitting down and discussing things with those who disagree with them, at least not when it comes to issues rather than methods. They regard political or cultural disagreement with visceral hatred, an indication that they are dealing with subhumans who are to be wiped out culturally, or through the machinations of the state, end of story. You cannot reason with people for whom a mob mentality is a way of life, and hatred is a default attitude towards simple dissent.
And I admit, I've wondered if the proper response to such people is tit for tat. "Progressives" draw power - real political, gets-results power - not just from their outrage, but from the mob's resistance to reason. People who can be reasoned with can be talked down - they may well be convinced they should go away empty handed, because what they wanted was unfair, or a bad idea. Mobs are not reasoned with - they are either crushed or appeased, and appeasement is usually the default response because it costs less up front. On a certain level, they've figured that out, and the smarter ones have decided to therefore keep the rage machine going 24/7 whenever possible.
So why shouldn't conservatives do the same?
I've had trouble putting the 'why we shouldn't' into words until very recently. In fact, on the surface? It seemed like the only response we could offer, at least if we wanted to survive. Let's misread and misrepresent our opponent's intentions, their desires, their meanings. Let's try to match anger with anger, let's crucify a progressive for a single verbal misstep, or anything we could dishonestly paint as a misstep. It works for the "progressives." It may work for us. Is that not reason enough, if we're dealing with enemies who are historically bloodthirsty when they get into power? It makes sense on the surface.
But I don't think it's desirable, and I don't think it would work. It's not just that there are downsides to that kind of thing (progressives, when lacking an enemy, tend to eat their own - and let's not forget the obvious practical, policy-related downsides of refusing to admit the possibility of being wrong.) I have a strong suspicion that conservatives in general aren't psychologically suited for perpetual, hair-trigger outrage. For most of us, a state of calm is a desirable thing. We're after something other than revolutions and the excitement of perpetually chasing down dragons and threats - our collective natural response to heretics in our midst seems to be to expel them and get on with our lives, not ceaselessly hunt for them. Even when we're faced with threats, we tend to react by building walls. If our neighborhood becomes threatening, pitched battles are a last resort - we're more likely to leave for more peaceful locales. Put short, we don't have the progressive love of rage and outbursts. We don't "trigger" so easily, or with such animation.
So no. Even if it could be justified in a sense, I don't think conservatives would be wise to mimic the progressives. We would be outgunned on that front.
At the same time, we can't just ignore this anymore. We cannot just roll our eyes at the rampaging rage-machine when it's gotten as big as it has. So if we can't match rage with rage, then what's left?
I tentatively have an answer, and I'll post about it later. But for now, I offer my current analysis up for consideration and response.