How To Have A Political Conversation With Someone Who Thinks You’re A “Liberal Snowflake”

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Consider this a starter course in combatting the stereotype and having your voice heard.

For young left-leaners, the 2016 election and its aftermath have spawned more improbable horrors than a B slasher movie. The most benign of them, comparatively speaking, is the coinage (or resurgence, depending on who you ask) of the insult “liberal snowflake.”

Of course, there are stigmas attached to every political group–liberal, conservative, and moderate (lol what’s that?). The “liberal snowflake” stereotype is no different. It attempts to undermine the opinions of individuals by creating an exaggerated facade of sameness. The liberal snowflake is sheltered, neurotically sensitive, and detached from the “real” world. Therefore, he or she (but frequently she) can have no valid ideas.

On one hand, “liberal snowflake” is no big deal. Sticks and stones or whatever. But it’s still infuriating to have a political discussion with someone who is thinks you’re 1) uninformed, 2) too coddled to know how uninformed you are, and 3) going to break into tears at any moment. The next time you’re talking politics and someone starts liberal snowflaking you (it’s a word, just go with it), you may want to have some responses prepared. Here are few examples to get you started:


 

What They Say:

“You’ll change your mind when you’re older when you figure out how the economy/government/world really works.”

What You Can Say:

“Well, since our political beliefs stem in part from our life experiences, it’s possible my circumstances may change and I’ll adjust some of my opinions in response. But I don’t agree that I don’t know how the economy/government/world works. I particularly like reading [insert name of political/economic theorist/journalist]. Who do you read?”

At this point, the person you’re talking to may mention someone you’ve read too. If so, continue to engage in discussion. If not, admit you’re unfamiliar and ask for a book recommendation. It’s important here to mention the name of a particular writer, not a news organization. As we now know, all liberal media is “fake news” anyway. (Sigh.) The goal is to actually get around to talking about ideas and not just media bias (which is about as new as dying of Bubonic plague btw).

 

What They Say:

“You’re so sensitive!”/”I’m sick of everyone being so PC!”

What You Can Say:

“I can see why you think I might be overly sensitive, but I believe that words are powerful and shape how we think about the world. Regardless of intent, the use of identity-based epithets or slurs suggests that a group of people is less worthy of respect and dignity than others. I don’t agree with that. Perhaps by reducing the use of prejudiced language, we can reduce the prejudice perpetuated by it.”

If the person you’re talking to presses or wants to hear more, you might consider talking about the re-appropriation of identity-based slurs by oppressed groups. When members of the oppressed group use the slur, they remove its power and change its meaning. This wouldn’t happen if the word were truly harmless.

 

What They Say:

“You preach tolerance, but you’re not tolerant of my ideas.”

What You Can Say:

“I’m sorry you think I’m not tolerant of your ideas. I’m not insisting that you agree with me or think the way I do. We live under a government that protects our inalienable rights–life, liberty, and property–but there is a trade-off. We can’t exercise our rights to the point that we infringe upon the rights of others. Being tolerant doesn’t mean letting people do whatever they want. If the government had to tolerate the complete exercise of these rights, no one would ever got to jail, even if they steal or murder. People can think and say what they want, but I will always oppose legislation that I believe allows one group to exercise their rights to the detriment of another.”

If you’re interested in learning more, the Bill of Rights Institute has great resources online for understanding the Constitution and the political philosophy underlying it. It also might just give you some hope. We’ve had setbacks, but America really was founded on a belief in the dignity and goodness of all people. Hopefully, one day we’ll live up to that ideal.

 

*drops mic*

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