How we view impact and intent is one of the most staggering differences between progressives and conservatives.
Progressives believe that actions, or impacts, define the morality of our work. We believe, if our actions harm others, then what we did was wrong. This law hurts people, restricts their rights, gives them less access to resources; let’s change it. Conservates tend to believe that intent is more important than impact. For them, they can support any action if it is in service of their morality. For instance; they think gay people are morally wrong, and so restricting their rights and resources is justified. They believe police are protectors and authorities and so any action they take to protect is reasonable.
Note: I am not saying Democrats or Republicans. Plenty of Democrats have a conservative mindset; the difference is the moral framework they believe justifies the action.
An example of the difference in how we see impact v.s. intent is how we view Trump. Progressives judge Trump based on what he has done. This can lead to a lot of frustration when we talk to conservatives as they do not appear to care or see that it is his actions that make him evil. This is often because Trump says that his actions are in alignment with their shared moral stance. Any actions he does are justified because he supports the morality they view as correct. He can do anything, be anything, and it will be condoned because he says he intends to make the kind of world they want. Conservatives believe evil is justified if it is for their righteous cause.
It is also a common abuse tactic. When your abuser punishes you, and they say are doing it for your good, or that it hurts them more than you. They feel justified in being abusive, and do not even think of what they are doing as abusive, because it aligns with their moral framework.
MAGAts are not going away. Ignoring the white supremacists amongst us is just sweeping dirt under the carpet… it is going to come out again and again until we clean it up. We have to recognize our role in creating a better future.
Now I am not suggesting for a second that we be kind to Nazis or white supremacists. I am not suggesting we find unity with oppressors.
I am suggesting a more intelligent plan of attack.
I am suggesting that we understand the culture of white supremacy and conservativism enough that we talk in a language they can understand. Our tactics for holding conversations with conservatives often fail because we do not get how they think. This is why it feels like shouting at a brick wall. This is why it is so flabbergasting that so many of them still support Trump.
We will continue to have an authoritarian society if our sense of right hinges on any particular moral framework rather than its effects on our people. We will continue to allow: racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, and more; if the morality of the group in power justifies such actions. To stop authoritarianism and conservatism, we have to change how we, as a community, talk and think about intent and impact.