Outspoken sociologist Dr Jarrod Gilbert has written a piece that needed writing for The Herald – Jarrod Gilbert: Continuing curse of blinkered believers
I need to talk about political tribalism, this phenomenon that so often mocks the principles that uphold our democracy while chipping away at its foundations.
Such an unwavering devotion to one political party means nothing done by that party can ever offend the diehard supporter. Any action that threatens to rattle a devotee’s true belief is responded to with the rationalisation that the sneaks on the other side would have done ten times worse given the same circumstances.
When this happens objective notions of right and wrong vanish, and what is left is a sickening reverence.
While I could look at the hardcore Green voters who lashed out at the media for the demise of Meteria Turei, without question the most egregious example was the defence by blinkered National supporters of Steven Joyce’s $11.9b fiscal hole claim. One such supporter was Bill English, a man who to this point I have only ever written positively about.
Whether of not Joyce set out to cause mischief, or he simply misread the books and embarrassment and pigheadedness meant he was unable to back down (the latter theory I favour), we’re all aware that a swath of leading economists came out and debunked what he said.
What did Joyce do? Deny, deny, attack, deny, deny. And, of course, many of his people defended it, made excuses, or misrepresented the evidence.
All good people should have called that nonsense out in unison.
To the tribalists who didn’t I ask this: if Labour had made the same accusation against National and not a single economist supported it, would you have reacted the same way?
No. Of course not. And that’s what defines you as a moron.
What ugliness awaits us now that this brazen low has been established? Where is our ambition for a democracy that exists on open debate and the exchange of ideas?
Wherever our allegiances fall we must not allow ourselves to be the foolish. The integrity of our system must stand before our desire for our team to win. Let us be a country that exhibits the best in politics and doesn’t embrace the very worst.
Hey Nat voters – how do you justify voting for the party of dirty politics and lies?