This parody video of a TED talk has pushed its way to the front of my mind several times since I first saw it a few weeks ago:
The crescendo is the most profound part, when the faux “thought leader” closes thus:
How ’bout we end with a question, a very big question: What if everybody in this room decided to come together and agree with what I’m saying? Look at a picture of the planet again. That is a world I want to live in.
You might recognize the “very big question” as precisely the tone that has infected our ruling classes and aggravated so many of the rest of us. It’s the tone of the Rhode Island Foundation and its Nail Communications video. And it’s the tone of these comments from Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo responding to recent shootings, particularly of policemen in Dallas. These three paragraphs came to me (for some reason) as the first item on Rhode Island Education Commissioner Ken Wagner’s “Memo to Friends of Education” newsletter today:
It is time to say enough. Enough violence. Enough hate. Enough tragedies. It is a time for healing, time for peacefulness, time for unity.
Let’s commit to being a community that rejects violence and poverty, and embraces diversity and civility. I believe we can be bolder. I believe that our families, neighborhoods, state and country can do better, and I believe we can move forward together.
Today our emotions are raw. We are all filled with a mix of shock, anger, frustration. If anything good can come of these horrific killings, let’s replace these emotions with respect, unity and action to bring about a more just, equal and peaceful Rhode Island.
We absolutely should embrace diversity and civility, but the myopia that leads progressives to adopt the “come together and agree with me” tone may arise from their core belief that we can’t really be diverse. “Diversity and civility” is just rhetoric as empty as the presentation in the parody video. They don’t believe, for example, that some private business in some far away state should be permitted to conduct its business in a way with which they disagree — whether the wages that it pays, the materials that it uses, or the projects that it’ll accept.
They’re religious zealots who believe they have uncovered the truth of the universe (although it might change with their fashions) and think we all ought to be cordial while they force us to live as they prefer. Their civility is that of the persecutor who calls you ma’am or sir while closing the door of the dungeon behind you.