Quite a while ago, I came across this image:
While it is easy to characterize them as strawmen, I have met people who actually hold most of the positions described here or at the very least positions that are highly similar. More recently, I came across this piece, by a libertarian, lamenting how often people in his movement are characterized as heartless or as not giving a fuck about the poor. The thing is I have met and am even aware of some high profile libertarians who go a long way to give rise to this stereotype. While I acknowledge that their particular brand of libertarianism is not the most well thought out or consistent out there, it does do a great job of attracting the wrong people to the movement.
The phenomenon of walking talking stereotypes appears in other movements as well. I knew an outspoken liberal, who actually believed the government really should come and take everyone’s guns away, and that the Fox News Channel should be forced to remove the word “news” from its name. While, I agree that their broadcast should hardly be considered news, I think the later action would be a major violation of our right to free speech.
It has also come to my attention that New York’s mayor Bloomberg and his petty, yet ineffective regulations make him a political straw-man who is actually in office, That said, while I have met many walking liberal stereotypes, I have yet to have met many of these:
Maybe they are out their, or perhaps it is a reflection of the odd way progressives are viewed by others,
The conservative movement is probably the worst however about electing people who should be nothing more than exaggerated stereotypes to office.
I’m thinking Todd Akin, with his thoughts on legitimate rape and Rick Santorum, with his vocal opposition to oral sex and birth control, or George W. Bush with his massive exercises in international, interventionist empire building. These types of walking stereotypes are an embodiment of every stupid, ignorant or fascistic republican stereotype ever created.
So what should be done with real life people who all embody the negative stereotypes associated with one’s political ideology? I say educate them, so they will be stereotypes no longer (but more robust defenders of their philosophy), utilize them (for they are easily mobilized), but keep them away positions where they will spread the negative stereotype, and above all don’t elect them to office.