Friday, April 15, 2011

The Politics of Negativity

When you sow the seeds of discord, you should not be surprised when you reap a harvest of bitter fruit.

The perpetuation of negative political rhetoric, hate speech, and a constant negative spin on information creates an environment where those who wish to ingratiate themselves with the powers that be feel they are at liberty to ‘sock it to them’ in their informational approaches to rivals or those who hold different views. The problem with creating such an environment is that it’s akin to the project in the U.S. several decades ago to plant kudzu, a pernicious vine, alongside highways to cut down on the amount of mowing that maintenance departments had to do. Kudzu took to the rich soil of the southern U.S. like ducks to water, or flies to rotten meat. In short order, this green monster had crowded out all other vegetation, spilled over into nearby fields and onto the roadway, and had to be cut even more frequently than the saw grass it was intended to replace.

Negative communication, intolerance, and all the nasty things that we normally associate with them, are like that. They quickly crowd out temperate speech and rational discussion; the atmosphere becomes toxic, poisoned with the venom of hate speech and insult. Those who want to demonstrate their loyalty to the ruling elites often engage in these practices as a means of showing their allegiance. Things can spin out of control all too easily, leading to results that are not intended. The targets of our intemperate speech can strike back; in fact, often do strike back, leading to a vicious circle of recriminations and petty arguing that accomplishes nothing.

The politics of negativity does nothing to improve the world in which we live. Those who engage in such tactics contribute to the perpetuation of backwardness of their nations, keep the cycle of violence and repression going, and clearly demonstrate their lack of any real idea or philosophy. Like violence, negative rhetoric is a tool relied upon to level the playing field by those who lack anything useful to offer.