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Randsplaining, defined

Last summer I came across a brilliant new term whose origins I've been searching for as part of my recent obsession with/analysis of libertarian conservatives. The term is "randsplaining," which is defined in the following way (and which can be accessed via twitter, here: https://twitter.com/MotherJones/status/241318627326980096):

randsplaining. verb. the act of a rich person confidently telling the poor what's wrong with them.

Perhaps even more than Sirico, Paul Ryan's public statements are suffused with examples of randsplaining. I'm not in the habit of giving advice to my political combatants, but here's a point to consider: the strategy hasn't worked very well thus far. Most of us that aren't part of the one percent don't like to have our alleged defects -- in particular, the fact that we're not rich -- trotted out and criticized. Being poor is difficult enough. Being castigated -- by the wealthy no less -- for being poor is unconscionable. There's something disturbingly Calvinistic about the process as well.

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I presume it comes from "mansplaining," yes? But other than that I can't help trace the emergence of its usage!

[insert the your opponent's name here]-splaining is a unfortunate, fence-building neologism that does little beyond contributing to our already out of control polarization.  It is a cheap rhetorical gag that works well in firing up the blogsphere and Twitter base--but it is also a sure sign that the person using it has no intention of seriously engaging the person at whom it is directed.

Perhaps we could benefit from the wise words of America's Matt Malone:

"Ideologies, which are alternative metanarratives, invariably involve an “other,” a conceptual scapegoat, some oppressor who must be overthrown by the oppressed. Only the Gospel’s radical call to peace and reconciliation justifies a radical politics....But if truth is ultimately a person, who is love, then no statement, however factually accurate, can ultimately be called truthful if it is not spoken in charity. This is precisely what it means to say, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal”(1 Cor 13:1)."  http://www.americamagazine.org/issue/pursuing-truth-love

"[blank]-splaining" resounds and clangs with exactly the kind of ideological polarization that Christians are called to avoid.

Perhaps we should recognize that Ryan says Rand was the reason he got into politics. And that she found Christian charity repulsive. The statement you signed criticizing him for that is quite good on that point.

I love that statement and have publicly defended it.  My points above still stand.  "On All of Our Shoulders" lauds Ryan at several points, takes his arguments seriously, and attempts to respond in the spirit of Christian charity.  In other words, it is on a fundmenally different trajectory from those who use words like "Randsplaining" to demonize and dismiss.

Rand was an ardent advocate of abortion.  If "Randsplaining" is a "brilliant new term" to with which to legitimatley skewer people like Paul Ryan on economic grounds, can we also say that it may equally be applied to those who support abortion rights?    

Demonize? I don't understand. Are you the same Charlie Camosy who repeatedly called Obama "the most pro-abortion-rights president ever"? [Edit: Our new site makes it more difficult to seach the blog, and I don't have time to run down the original version of this quote, so I have edited it to reflect something that I did find, after some searching through the archives.]

Grant, I don't ever recall saying that...in part because I currently don't think of Obama as pro-abortion...so it is hard for me to imagine that I once did.  At any rate, if I did say it (5-6 years ago?), I was wrong to have done so.  And for reasons similar to someone saying today that Ryan is a "Randsplainer."  It does not take the person under the critique seriously, and instead contributes to polarization and misunderstanding....and, for that matter, to disunity in the Body of Christ.

If we ever want Ryan and those with his views to listen to our critique, this kind of cheap point scoring rhetoric doesn't work.  It is a noisy gong.

Paul Ryan is not a child.  Not even close.  He is a grown man who willingly placed himself in a position of significant power in what is arguably the most powerful legislative body in the history of the known galaxy.  He has options few of us mere mortals have.  He also has responsiblities few of us mere mortals have.  One of those is behave constructively when called to task for speaking publicly claiming the moral high ground with blatently obvious contradiction and then publicly dening he did so.  His love affair with the utterly bleak and hedonistic nonsense charitably called a philosophy associated with the endlessly depressed Ayn Rand is such a case. 

That any grown person could seriously require tolerating such duplicitous nonsense is beyond understanding.  Catholicism is based on the life and teachings of Christ.  What aspect of that bit of insight suggest adoration of survival of the fittest, a world view Ryan is more than happy to defend.

And no, it is neither wise nor charitable to blandly accept arrogance from a grown man. If Ryan's compulsion to be perceived as the smartest fellow in the room requires Objectivism than let him at it.  His stunningly boneheaded attempt to connect that notion to Christ just won't do.

Mr Gallicho,

I think it is a factual statement to say that Obama is "the most pro-abortion rights president ever". It is not calumny to state this. Does it soften the sting to say that he is the most "pro-choice" president ever or that he is the most "pro-reproductive rights" president ever?   I'm sure President Obama finds abortion tragic, but that doesn't mean that he is not fully supportive of abortion rights. He promised Planned Parenthood in 2007 that he would sign the Freedom of Choice Act. Thankfully he didn't champion the passage of this bill. Yet, his recent speech to Planned Parenthood was disheartening.  

I like how the artist  left all the Andre the Giant bits on that sticker.

 

 

 

"I'm not in the habit of giving advice to my political combatants, but here's a point to consider: the strategy hasn't worked very well thus far."

 

In the same spirit might I suggest that "randsplaining" is not likely to catch on, even among the Left.  However brilliant it may have seemed last summer when you first encountered the dazzling new concept, it cannot compete with the effectiveness of the more tried and true, simple and direct straw man caricatures.

Whatever you call it, when Paul Ryan labels large groups of Americans "takers" and suggests the poor forego government aid to "build character" instead, I don't detect much interest in either avoiding "polarization" or engaging in cordial give-and-take with those who disagree.  In fact, considering the kinds of things he has said and written, I'd say calling it mere "Randsplaining" is charitable indeed.

" --- It does not take the person under the critique seriously, and instead contributes to polarization and misunderstanding....and, for that matter, to disunity in the Body of Christ.

If we ever want Ryan and those with his views to listen to our critique, this kind of cheap point scoring rhetoric doesn't work. It is a noisy gong."

Substitute someone arguing in favor of abortion or marriage equality, and then carry on with this spirit of equanimity.