Perspectives: How to change minds – lessons from the Prop 2 and Kavanaugh controversies

Stock image, St. George News

OPINION — The past few weeks have provided compelling lessons in how to advance an idea in our society. We’ve also seen some clear examples of what not to do.

Many of us were surprised last week to hear that proponents and opponents of Utah’s medicinal cannabis initiative, known as Prop 2, had reached a compromise that would satisfy both sides. That such a consensus could be reached on what had become a highly contentious issue is remarkable, to put it mildly.

To put into perspective what came out of those meetings, we first must understand the history behind the effort to protect legitimately ill patients from criminal penalties for therapeutically using all or part of a plant.

For the past 5 years, efforts to provide patients with access were met with unyielding opposition. State legislators, medical lobbyists and LDS church leaders were unwilling to consider the injustice that was taking place.

Every bill that was brought before the legislature was either killed in its infancy or otherwise kicked down the road to avoid dealing with the issue. The sticking point always came down to a complete unwillingness to relinquish even a nanometer of state control.

Fearful fantasies of drugstores-without-walls on every corner were conjured up as justification to avoid facing the reality of how bad laws were treating innocent patients and their families as criminals. Most of the opposition could be summed up as authoritarianism masquerading as preening rectitude.

The goal of Prop 2 is to limit government power from being used to criminally prosecute sick people who could find therapeutic benefit in using cannabis or its derivatives. Many who strain at the gnat of the exigency to limit a portion of bureaucratic oversight are blissfully swallowing the camel of absolute government oversight which currently exists.

It was only after the Utah Patients Coalition overwhelmingly succeeded in gathering enough signatures to place an initiative on the ballot that opponents finally realized that the tide of public support had turned. Public support was growing for rolling back the bureaucracy and expanding patient access.

With the writing on the wall, opponents, at last, recognized that advocates for Prop 2 had taken the moral high ground. To their credit, these opponents came to the table and were able to work out a compromise that would satisfy the needs of patients without throwing caution to the wind.

One of the main reasons this turnaround came about was because of the diplomatic and reasoned way that the leaders of the Prop 2 effort went about making their case.

I saw firsthand, during the time that I worked with Connor Boyack at Libertas Institute, how taking the high road is the key to persuading your opponents to reconsider. When their opponents resorted to highly distorted and underhanded tactics, Boyack and others in the Utah Patients Coalition continued to calmly debunk and inform rather than engage in disingenuous fearmongering themselves.

Since self-determination is at the root of this issue, the Utah Patients Coalition efforts were reminiscent of a quote from Leonard E. Read’s essay “The Essence of Americanism” that stated:

The philosophy of freedom is at the very pinnacle of the hierarchy of values; and if you wish to further the cause of freedom, you must use methods that are consonant with your objective. This means relying on the power of attraction.

Contrast this approach with the bullying, blunt force hysteria and mob mentality that typified the opposition to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Protesters disrupted the confirmation hearings in ways that would have produced shame in a tantrum-prone toddler.

They stalked the halls of the U.S. Capitol and staged noisy protests for any senator who caught their eye.

Sen. Orrin Hatch was accosted by a group of angry, shouting women who cornered him near a staff elevator. Hatch was patient and unruffled but quickly realized that the protesters didn’t wish to converse with him so much as they wanted to shriek at and intimidate him.

When Hatch shooed them away with his hand while inviting them to come back when they were willing to talk with him like adults, the protesters unleashed their inner chimps to the point that his security detail had to threaten to arrest them. What these protesters actually stood for remains unclear.

Did the protesters change the minds they hoped to change?

Perhaps we should ask the newest Supreme Court justice how that worked out.

Jeffery A. Tucker beautifully sums up why attempts to achieve social harmony through governmental force so often fail:

The real answer is to live and let live and embrace the kind of legal order that instantiates that principle. It’s the only path to the harmony … so many others seek. The alternative is to keep tearing each other apart in a great struggle to control the whole.

There’s a lesson here for anyone who’s paying attention. Take the high road, even if it takes a bit longer.

Bryan Hyde is an opinion columnist specializing in current events and liberty viewed through what he calls the lens of common sense. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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50 Comments

  • bikeandfish October 8, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    So just to clarify, comparing your opponents to chimps and tantrum- prone kids is the high road? You seem to struggle with your own advice.

    The kernel of truth to approaching political opposition with dignity can work. But it is also limited. Its funny to me that men like Hyde somehow coo over armed occupation of federal land including high speed evasion but they are highly critical of other forms of protest.

    • Happy Commenter October 8, 2018 at 6:42 pm

      No comments necessary! No relevant point was made! hehehehe!

  • Robert October 8, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    I agree with bikeandfish’s comment above. While the Democrats may have acted poorly sometimes during the Kavanaugh proceedings they took a backseat to the Republicans who, with a few exceptions, acted horribly.

    • Carpe Diem October 9, 2018 at 12:46 pm

      You wanted a 7th FBI investigation? You got it. BTW currently the leading 2020 Democrat POTUS candidate is Creepy Porn Lawyer Avenatti, who was kind enough to completely bomb all accusations with his Pie in the Sky claims and demands.

      TYVM

  • Redbud October 8, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    Kavanaugh is innocent, bikeandfish just won’t accept it. That’s ok though because those of us with common sense know the truth. Calling a bike, a fish, doesn’t make it a fish.

    • Happy Commenter October 8, 2018 at 9:06 pm

      I feel sorry for b&f”s dog…

      • Happy Commenter October 9, 2018 at 7:21 am

        Because b&f can’t tell when a dish is empty!

        • bikeandfish October 9, 2018 at 9:55 am

          Seriously, John, did you forget your login to your primary account or did it get banned?

          • Happy Commenter October 9, 2018 at 11:12 am

            Who is this john? It’s really over your head isn’t it?

        • bikeandfish October 9, 2018 at 12:59 pm

          Well, of you aren’t him, then y’all share the exact same online trolling genes.

          • Happy Commenter October 9, 2018 at 5:15 pm

            Wow, just WOW…Keep chasing those unicorns.

          • bikeandfish October 9, 2018 at 6:25 pm

            You should spend some time reading comments before June this year. Y’all behave identically. He disappears and then you appear shortly after. Could be a coincidence but the similarities are uncanny.

          • bikeandfish October 9, 2018 at 6:28 pm

            And yes, you are a troll. Your principle comments this thread:

            “Because b&f can’t tell when a dish is empty!”

            “I feel sorry for b&f”s dog…”

            “Keep riding that blue wave frozen veggie”

            I haven’t seen one comment dealing with the oped, just petty insults.

          • iceplant October 9, 2018 at 6:47 pm

            That’s all John has… petty insults. I’m kind of surprised his comments are allowed. I’ve said less bad things that don’t get posted at all. It’s curious how his nonsense gets approved. Maybe someone is taking pity on the poor chap. Sad.

          • Happy Commenter October 9, 2018 at 9:52 pm

            Triggered by a phantom…Blind to facts…good for indoctrination I see!

          • iceplant October 10, 2018 at 3:22 am

            Keep trying to convince people you’re not who you are, John boy. We already know better.

    • bikeandfish October 8, 2018 at 10:24 pm

      Odd comment. We’ll never know if he’s innocent as its a he said/they said. Not sure how that relates at all to this oped though.

      • Happy Commenter October 10, 2018 at 1:30 pm

        Innocent until proven guilty… No proof, therefore INNOCENT, it’s not really that hard!

        • bikeandfish October 10, 2018 at 4:31 pm

          Legal cases, yes. This wasn’t a legal case. We judge innocence outside court all of the time. Plenty of guilty people out there who never saw their actions tried in court.

          But nice try.

          • Redbud October 10, 2018 at 8:29 pm

            True but your statement doesn’t make Kavanaugh guilty.

          • Happy Commenter October 10, 2018 at 10:05 pm

            Sorry, but crying and false accusations don’t make him guilty. B&F robbed a bank..Your’e guilty by your own standards.. hmmmm Lock her up!

        • bikeandfish October 10, 2018 at 11:28 pm

          Redbud,

          We are on the same page then. My first comment on the subject stated exactly that:

          “We’ll never know if he’s innocent as its a he said/they said.”

          For me, as someone who has spent significant time hiring people, I wouldn’t remotely forward a candidate that had so many allegations against them especially with a questionable work record that was being hidden (Bush year documents, especially those regarding ultralegal wire tapping of American citizens). I wouldn’t do so to protect the company, its mission, customers and fellow workers. Its just not worth the risk. Why doesn’t the senate enact a higher standard for the SCOTUS than most companies do? Its not like we are low on qualified candidates that don’t come with such baggage.

          • Redbud October 11, 2018 at 6:16 am

            Good for you. I wouldn’t want to work for a company that discriminates against people who have had false allegations made against them through no fault of their own. By the way, if anyone can prove Kavanaugh raped anyone, not just Ford, I fully support his prosecution. What if some woman from your younger years falsely accused you of rape? Would you now be a risk to your company, and step down from your position? Kavanaugh’s “baggage” is a figment of your imagination.

          • bikeandfish October 11, 2018 at 11:32 am

            Except, as you said Redbud, if we can’t condidently claim innocence or guilt than we can’t claim they are false allegations either. Consistency is important.

            And we make conservative hiring decisions all of the time without evidence. Employers use alot of gut feelings to judge applicants. Its not discrimination to recognize allegations against an individual when making hiring decisions. Its no different than using the positive character assessments of references. Its part of developing a whole picture of the person and hiw they could influence the organization.

            Same goes for Kavanaugh. His promotion to the court under such intense allegations will influence the courts reputation in the public eye. Two of the justices are now seated with significant allegations of sexual harassment and assault. All the while there was a list of 15 other candidates without that baggage or substantiated concerns about his willingness to undercut personal liberties for the federal apparatus. That baggage isn’t hypothetical. Some of us have actually read his opinions and essays and researched the erosion of civil liberties under Bush, whom Kavanaugh served.

            Per hypothetical allegations against average joes… nice try but its not that simple as Trump wants us to believe. #metoo has been going on for a year and the slope hasn’t become slippery yet.

            And once again, its not about prosecution of Kavanaugh. Abd Ford’s testimony was about a forceful attempt at rape, not actual rape. Your constant shifting of the burden of proof to such a level is a sign of a bad faith argument.

    • iceplant October 9, 2018 at 2:15 am

      “those of us with common sense know the truth.”
      Thankfully, none of us are interested to know what you consider common sense.

      • Happy Commenter October 9, 2018 at 7:43 am

        Redbud knows what it is. Keep riding that blue wave frozen veggie!~~~~~~~~~~

      • Redbud October 10, 2018 at 8:42 pm

        I believe innocent until proven guilty. Most other people believe that too. I don’t need anyone to take interest in my comments because they’re already on the same page. You’re drunk on your own ignorance but that’s ok. Party on!

      • Happy Commenter October 10, 2018 at 10:06 pm

        You should buy some of that “common sense” you speak of…

  • Carpe Diem October 9, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    Here I thought the comments would be focused more on the Prop 2 fiasco. It seems that it was just last week the COJCOLDS or Mormon Church or whatever they cant decide to call themselves, was still in conniption mode over MJ, now they want the State to be in charge of handing it out.

    Why would anyone trust them? BTW it was about 16 years ago they went through a similar name change demand… It lasted a year or two. I reckon this one will fade out as fast as well.

  • commonsense October 9, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    Don’t you think that extreme protests are evidence that liberals can’t prevail in a civilized world of discussion and majority rule. They have tried to manipulate the democratic process in their favor for years by dead people voting, miscounting votes, no voter ID and allowing illegals to vote. Their latest is allowing felons to vote.

    When all of this subterfuge fails then extreme protest and obstruction is used. It is so desperate and so predictable. I like the Obama quote: “if you want to rule then you better win an election”.
    Don’t try to rule by mob protest, bullying or intimidation.

    • iceplant October 9, 2018 at 6:32 pm

      “dead people voting, miscounting votes, no voter ID and allowing illegals to vote. Their latest is allowing felons to vote.”

      Do you always rely on conspiracies to make your point? Or are you just talking nonsense so you can read your own comments in order to boost your ego? What a complete and total load of lies you just dumped out.
      Do you bother to fact check anything? Stop getting your “alternative facts” from Fox News. You can’t be taken seriously.

      • Happy Commenter October 10, 2018 at 10:01 am

        Since you say ” Stop getting your “alternative facts” from Fox News” why don’t you take your own advice and stop repeating them like you thought of it, what a hypocrite you are.

      • Happy Commenter October 10, 2018 at 11:20 am

        BTW, nobody referenced any “Fox News” talking points but you! Shut off that idiot box!

        • iceplant October 10, 2018 at 2:04 pm

          He doesn’t need to make a direct reference.
          Those of us who watch and listen to all news outlets, including Fox, know that he’s parroting what Sean Hannity says on a near-daily basis. I keep my ear to the radio and I listen to Hannity periodically. I swear to you that what commonsense said is what Hannity says, almost word for word. This is nothing but pure propaganda.
          And you better be able to recognize that kind of propaganda or it will eat your brain alive.

  • commonsense October 9, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    iceplant are you aware that Dems are opposed to voter photo ID? Many blue states have no voter ID. Look it up.

    Dems in some states also want prisoners and released felons to have voting privileges.

    California refuses to turn over voting records to the commission on voter fraud.

    Numerous cases of voter fraud have been documented including use of deceased citizens identity.

    But, the point is, extreme protest and obstruction comes from failure to win using persuasion and majority rule. Mob rule has no place in America.

    • iceplant October 10, 2018 at 3:25 am

      Are you aware that everything you say is Fox News talking points?
      Are you aware that I can fact check everything you say and refute it?
      Thanks for playing, Sean Hannity. I’m not interested in your propaganda.

      • Happy Commenter October 10, 2018 at 8:55 am

        hahaha!

      • Happy Commenter October 10, 2018 at 12:15 pm

        Why do you make so much noise and never say anything relevant?

    • bikeandfish October 10, 2018 at 9:02 am

      The voting fraud commission was a partisan joke that was disbanded. You do realize it disbanded weeks after a judge mandated the committee share its documents with democrats, correct? And that Trump’s claims about widespread fraud never had evidence, correct?

      Its ironic to me that those on the right were so worried about “due process” and “corroborating evidence” for a sexual assault claim against Kavanaugh but have no such mandate when it comes to Trump’s fake claims and desire to infringe on the fundamental right of citizens.

      Do you also realize we are one of a few republics/democracies that deny voting rights to felons for life, correct? At what point do ex-inmates get a second chance to be citizens again or do are they expected to be punished for life? You do realize how many of these felons commited petty crimes in their late teens and twenties that have now become functioning, average citizens, correct?

      And why are states that lush voting ID laws closing DMV offices selectively in predominantly minority neighborhoods? Are you aware of the strong American legacy to disenfranchise minority voters? Seems awfully familiar. Wouldn’t states that demand voter IDs want to make access simpler and to be honest free to legal citizens? Instead we see the opposite. Its almost like its not about fraud at all.

      • iceplant October 10, 2018 at 2:08 pm

        Don’t hit these cats with facts. They can’t handle the truth.

        • Happy Commenter October 11, 2018 at 7:43 am

          YOU HAVE NO FACTS!

        • bikeandfish October 11, 2018 at 11:18 am

          Now he’s using all caps.

          Gotta love the screaming of a user who is calling for others to use facts when all he does is flame out with petty, tired insults.

          His John Bingo card is filling in though: MSM, fake news, etc, etc.

  • commonsense October 10, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Mexico requires photo ID in order to vote but California doesn’t .
    Dems are so desperate for votes that anything goes. Check out youcanvote.org and it instructs illegals on how to vote.

    In a democracy the winning side gets to rule. Dems want to bypass that and govern by mob rule.
    Like Obama said “if you want to govern then win an election” Republican did just that.

    • iceplant October 10, 2018 at 2:32 pm

      Hi, Sean. Keep touting that propaganda so I can keep calling you out. LOL!

    • iceplant October 10, 2018 at 3:58 pm

      Except this isn’t Mexico. It’s the US.

      • Redbud October 10, 2018 at 8:43 pm

        Exactly, this is the US so we should have high standards. We should follow the law. You want to live here, that’s fine but there is a process.

        • bikeandfish October 10, 2018 at 11:21 pm

          I think that is were we diverge. Some of us value justice and liberty over law, when we see unjust law undermining the others. If/when states show sn interest in voter ID laws that don’t disenfranchise citizens than we can talk. That requires free or federally subsidized IDs that are readily available to everyone. It means concerted efforts to help people register and get IDs. And it means making election day a mandatory holiday so lower income Americans don’t have to choose between working a job(s) and voting. Instead, right now, what we see is a rush to purge legitimate voters in the name of reducing insignificant voter fraud. We see states removing facilities that provide IDs from poorer, minority neighborhoods.

          And of note, I have yet to see analysis or studies that show voter fraud having any meaningful influence on elections.

          What we do see are several conservative states taking advantage of a weakened Voting Rights Act with a POTUS more than willing to fan the flames of unfounded conspiracies.

          • Redbud October 11, 2018 at 6:21 am

            Justice and liberty comes from following the law. Those who oppose our nations laws should leave, or be sentenced to death for disrespecting our flag.

          • bikeandfish October 11, 2018 at 10:01 am

            Actually justice and liberty are above the law, always have been. Law should striveto be justice and never infringe on personal liberty but all too often it does.

            Our flag is a symbol subservient to the people. Symbols are never more important than personal liberty. Its why our constitution supports free speech so explicitly.

            Your views are getting more extreme by the day.

          • bikeandfish October 11, 2018 at 10:02 am

            *strive to be just

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