I just recently came across a dialogue on Facebook which I think is a good illustration of something.
So there's this guy named David Blackwelder who is currently running for Sheriff of Wake County -- which is home of Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina, and one county over from where I live here in Durham. I'm glad he's not in Durham, but as a North Carolinian I feel it's important to push back on malicious nonsense from someone who may end up in a position of power in my state and who, like most Republican politicians, isn't someone who should be in charge of a lunch counter, much less a police force.
On June second, he responded to a Facebook post by Raleigh City Council member Saige Martin with a comment calling on Martin to apologize for a remark in which Martin called out a fellow council member's privilege. Blackwelder referred to Martin's use of the phrase "white straight male" as "racially insensitive, heterophobic, divisive language".
Now, let me pause for a second and explain something.
I know how right-wingers like Blackwelder operate. They're not making honest arguments; they don't care about the truth. What they're looking for, when they say stupid stuff like this, is a gullible mob they can control, and acolytes to help them nurture and build that mob. They don't have to believe what they say, they don't even have to think that anyone else would believe it; what matters is whether they think people can be brought to believe it, and whether that belief can be used to motivate coordinated action.
The fact that they do this creates a system where willingness to repeat certain approved stupid things becomes a signal of loyalty -- and that's definitely not loyalty to truth or justice; it's a signal of obedience, of allegiance to whoever can say the right stupid things.
This is why I call them "errorists": they use deliberate misinformation as a means to power.
So, back to what that Blackwelder guy said -- he may or may not actually believe that calling white people out on their privilege is racist. He may or may not understand that what he's saying is ridiculous. In fact, if you read through his comments in that thread, it seems pretty clear he doesn't really know what the words mean.
What he does know is that he's using progressive language to attack progressives -- which is pretty much the adult-passing version of "I'm rubber and you're glue". It's a way of preventing any further meaningful discussion -- raw meat for anyone who is cheering along with him, and gasoline for the rage of anyone who cares about truth or justice. It is the opposite of communication -- he's building a border wall between himself and reality, to keep reality safely out.
Now... I'm not trying to say that Blackwelder is any worse than anyone else on the authoritarian Right; it's mainly that his tactics here offere a useful example of how they operate, and why people still vote for them even though they have absolutely nothing to offer.
Calling Saige Martin's comments "divisive" is just part of the "ha ha we can throw your words back at you" joke that right-wingers like to play: they are clearly trying to pre-empt the possibility of understanding between their sympathizers and the rest of the world. They throw words like "divisive", "racist", and "insensitive" at anyone they disagree with in order to confuse the meanings of those words -- just as the ruling Party did in Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. Understanding between different points of view is the last thing they want. They want war -- because parasites are happiest when things are falling apart.
I'm also not saying Blackwelder or any other errorist is necessarily irredeemable, that this behavior is somehow an innate part of him. I am saying that his words need to be recognized for what they are not -- and what they are not is an attempt at honest communication.
We are now seeing the fruits of that kind of behavior playing out on city streets all over the world. The seemingly unstoppable escalation of violence by numerous US police departments, the sheer level of buffoonery and willful negligence coming from the President and his supporters, has outraged people from Minneapolis to Texas to New Zealand, while the Trumpists seem to keep finding deeper reserves of fascism to dig into. I don't know where it will all end up, how catastrophic things will get before matters resolve.
I do know, however, that the time is long past for listening to people who consistently use rhetorical tricks to bamboozle, people who demonstrate clearly their utter lack of interest in understanding the people they disagree with. They're using words as weapons, not as pleas for understanding.
And we cannot let them have their way. They have shown over and over again that they do not understand how civilization works. They know only how to get others to do their work for them -- how to "dominate", as the Trumpsterfire put it. They are like wood termites: they don't build anything for themselves; they just live on what other people have built, and tear it down, and start coming out of the woodwork when it's on the verge of the collapse they caused... and then they declare victory.
Maybe some people like the idea of life as a savage jungle where you can eat or be eaten, but that's not the kind of world most of us want to live in -- and that's not how we gained the freedoms that right-wing errorists claim to defend but are actually trying to destroy.