The political left has just as much infighting as the right… they are just better at keeping it tucked away behind closed doors and presenting a united front to the public.
Conservatives tend to have their fights publicly, creating a media-amplified illusion that Democrats are orderly and united, while Republicans are chaotic and unruly.
This sort of public infighting isn’t limited to elected officials or even the longstanding divisions that amount to Establishment/Rino vs. Tea Party/MAGA infighting.
We sometimes see the knives come out between people who are normally friends and fellow travelers in the camp of robust conservatives. We really ought to know better.
Not long ago, we saw this dynamic at play in the dust-up between Steven Crowder and the Daily Wire.
Without going into the particulars (plenty of people have taken sides, as any social media search can attest), the general idea of the dispute went something like this.
It all began when Steven Crowder came to the end of his relationship/contract with The Blaze. He and several members of Daily Wire had known one another for a long time and had counted each other as friends. Jeremy Boreing had a term sheet drawn up in the latter part of 2022 and sent it off to Crowder. Crowder and Boreing were not even in the same ballpark on terms.
The timeline after that is murky. It included, in some order, the registering of a website ‘Big Con’, the unannounced recording of a conversation between friends, and the public release of both the terms of the offer and some parts of that recorded conversation.
You know what came next. People take sides. They make accusations. Divide themselves into good guys and bad guys. Then come the obligatory ‘dead to me’ statements among conservatives.
All this plays out while the left looks on and laughs.
They know that we can only pay attention to a certain number of things at any given time. We’re too busy attacking one another to notice whatever mischief they are getting themselves into now.
Here’s how things COULD have played out differently, drawing from the wisdom of scripture as a guide.
We’ll start with 2 proverbs that could help the peanut gallery stay out of this trap in the future:
The one who states his case first seems right until the other comes and examines him.
Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears.
We could save ourselves a lot of collateral damage if we would just stay out of conflicts we know nothing about. Even the ones we THINK we know something about look a lot different if we actually have the ‘rest of the story’.
Now, what about the Crowder/Daily Wire part?
Leaving aside details of the proposed terms of employment, which everyone else seems to have had an opinion about, there is the deeper question of how to handle a business conversation between friends. Some observations:
1) Business deals and friendships operate by different rules and considerations.
Friendships are governed by an understanding of personal relationships between people with a priority on what is good for each other in a cooperative sense.
Business deals are different. Win-win situations are ideal, but that ideal s only achieved if other elements of the negotiation are successful. In that process, each party is expected to negotiate, seeking the best possible benefit they can receive while giving up as little as they can to acquire it.
Here is the secret sauce of the e-e-evil capitalist system that socialists can’t wrap their heads around: where there is a Venn diagram overlap between what either side wants to gain, and what each side is willing to give up to get it, you have a successful negotiation.
In that scenario, both people walk away as winners. Of course, those circles don’t always come close enough so they can overlap. When there is no Venn diagram overlap, there is no transaction. Both people still walk away as winners who have investigated an opportunity and decided it does not serve their best interests.
This is where the participants in the negotiations must decide what to do next. It is the inflection point in which this simple disagreement exploded into a massive distraction.
Help in navigating this sort of disagreement can be found in the words of Jesus, Matthew 18.
Christ is speaking about relationships between believers, but the principle applies to other relationships more broadly. Don’t share every grievance with the world. There is a process. Let it play out.
If you have a dispute with Jimmy, go find Jimmy and sort it out. In this case, both parties could have made a series of counter-offers until they either made an agreement or decided there were no terms available that could satisfy both parties.
Stop there and part as friends. No harm, no foul.
Some more complex cases involve wrongdoing — this could range from an insult to some kind of actual harm. The next step of escalation toward a solution involves friendly arbitration. A neutral party tries to help both parties find a point where they can be reconciled, have their relationship restored, and move forward.
The third step is an appeal to a mutually-binding authority, letting that person or body decide how to resolve it so they can be reconciled, the relationship resolved, and both parties move forward.
Sometimes even that won’t get you to the reconciled/resolved/forward stage. What next?
The ‘gentile’ or ‘tax collector’ looks like a harsh response, but it isn’t, really.
Gentiles and tax collectors were treated as non-persons in the eyes of the culture Jesus was addressing. You don’t carry on a flame war against someone in one of those categories. You don’t look to shift public opinion away from them and toward you. They travel in completely different circles.
One of Jesus’ contemporaries would never do such a thing. They would simply walk away from gentiles and tax collectors. The person — and that conflict — isn’t worth the emotional bandwidth it would take to process it.
Imagine how much happier the world might be if more of us followed that as a guideline.