The Silent majority has been silent too long. To the detriment of the country, false ideas and dogma have gone unchecked and unchallenged for the purposes of maintaining civility and good relations with our family members, neighbors, co-workers and friends. As such, we have given what Ayn Rand called “the sanction of the victim” to these polices. Our own Civility is being used as a weapon to silence us, while the opposition holds itself to no such standards, engaging in personal attacks on any person that dares challenges the veracity of liberal dogma in public.
Any liberal you argue with will be incapable of even considering the possibility they are wrong, but perhaps others, hearing you are no longer willing to be silent and provide your tacit sanction to activities that compromise your inalienable rights, may be inspired to break their own silence. Liberals consider argument an exercise in sidestepping the dispute , casting blame on opponents and rhetorical cleverness, and are not interested in finding truth as much as trying to insult or frustrate you into silence. A liberal is never trying to "win" an argument by establishing and proving a case for the truth, and you must keep this in mind when engaging them. If you seriously want to change a liberal's mind, you should consider a rock. If you want to shame a liberal, you should give it up - as they have none and no framework with which to instill it. The purpose here is to cause them enough psychic damage and pain that they are reluctant to demonstrate their unique combination of arrogance and ignorance in public for fear of being forced to think about what they are saying. Ground Rules: Understanding the Mindset of the Statist
The Statist Mindset basically consists of two elements, which re-enforce and bolster each other. The First is an over reliance on “intentional orientation”, the second is adherence to Centralized Group (or tribal) ethics. Intensional Orientation
Linguist S.I. Hayakawa defined a mental phenomenon called “Intensional Orientation” in his book Language in Thought and Action. Intensional Orientation is characterized by a tendency to :
- Being Unaware of Contexts
- Tending toward automatic reactions
- Confusing levels of abstraction
- Being conscious of similarities, but not of differences
- Relying on Definitions (other words) rather than reality to explain the meaning of words
ALL humans suffer from an Intensional Orientation to one degree or another, and on one subject or another: It is the state that an advertiser hopes to induce and exploit while making a commercial: It is an attempt to foster an automatic emotional response based on the connotative associations of words. Remember “Buying the World a Coke?” Coca-Cola was trying to associate their brand of soda with the positive connotations of friendship and world peace. Statists appear to be very vulnerable to this approach and have been conditioned into such a response whenever any political subject is mentioned. They are firmly convinced that they should “Buy Democrat
” (or “Progressive”, or “Liberal”, or “Obama” ) because they are convinced they are a “good person” and associated with “good people” when they support the Brand’s Agenda. Linguist George Lakoff even wrote a book called Don’t Think of an Elephant
which is basically a marketing guide for “Progressive” Ideas in which he posits various “frames” that attempt to induce an intensional orientation in the listener. If the listener accepts the frame, they accept the assumptions implicit in the frame. The most famous of these is the idea that the Government performs the role of a Parent, and its job is to "care" of people - despite the fact that the Declaration, the Constitution and the Founders soundly rejected that idea. Intensional orientation keeps the listener unaware of the concrete and relevant differences being proposed, thus allowing the relevant facts of the dispute to be dismissed a priori. This is why a Statist will claim he “feels” he is right, without being able to rationally explain WHY he is right (or even understand why the latter would be desirable). All the Statist is looking for is a “warm fuzzy” feeling, and they truly have never seriously thought about the issue at hand, nor challenged the assumptions underlying their beliefs. If it becomes obvious that one brand is failing, the Statist just switches to a new Brand. For instance they may claim “I am not a liberal, I am a progressive”, without ever wondering what concrete differences in policies would be implied. (Answer: Virtually None) Centralized Group Ethics
Liberals advocate a centralized, top down, economic system largely because they advocate a centralized, top-down, ethical system. As a result, the desire for an individual right of conscience is a complete mystery to them. For a liberal, ethical behavior is determined by the tribal or group leader - and then enforced only by the group's agents. The driving force behind this ethic is a desire to find “freedom” from personal and moral responsibility for their own actions, and to transfer the responsibility for decisions and/or the consequences that arise from them to the group, which hereafter assumes the (moral) responsibility for everyone decisions and achieving a “fair” result for the community. To a Statist, the only real sin is not adhering to the “state sanctioned” morality. For instance, when the Statist announces that everyone “deserves respect” they are in fact announcing that no one is entitled to form or express an opinion not sanctioned by the community. University Speech Codes, Sexual Harassment Codes, Hate Crime Legislation and “political correctness” are all attempts to make “being offensive” a crime and thus punish those who deviate from the automatic reactions desired. Dissent is variously characterized by the Statist as “racist”, “sexist”, “hateful”, “greedy”, “mean” etc. These are all ad-hominem attacks to diminish and dismiss the speaker in an attempt to avoid confronting the opinion. The same can be seen in the plethora of different regulations, punitive taxes and other controls that Statists propose to make sure the populace “does the right thing” as determined by the “State.” In many ways the Statist is trying to create a safe, Kindergarten-like environment with a uniform set of ethics, rules enforced by a "nurturing" leader, and a uniform set of results in which "everyone gets a cupcake." Its a tribal or herd mentality which implicitly denies individual initiative, rights, or achievement, and like every Nazi coin, declares "Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz" ("The community comes before the individual") Liberals are only willing to "Live and Let live" if you join the tribe and live the way the tribal leaders demand.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. " -- C. S. LewisTake Away the High
Liberals are unable to find meaning or fulfillment through individual pursuits. For one reason or another they become Eric Hoffer's True Believers
, investing their entire egos into the Liberal brand. Statist policies offer the liberal the chance to absolve themselves of responsibility for personal decisions, by associating themselves with an “elite club” of “nonjudgmental”, “good people” who are “saving the world." They thus eliminate personal risks, including the risk of being judged by others for thier own poor personal performance or talents. “Good Intentions” in line with those of the tribe become the standard by which they should be judged, with actual behavior or accomplishments being the responsibility of the “state” to dictate and produce. Setting such a low bar for acceptance allows the Statist to feel accepted, important, secure , and superior. Such high self-esteem, which would either be unavailable and/or unguaranteed to them if they were responsible for and judged based on their own decisions and results, is granted to them by the group. Its should be noted that many Statists are very successful with their individual decisions and accomplishments, but these accomplishments are not central to whom they perceive themselves to be, perhaps because they came too easy to them, and they narcissistically assume the same is true of other successful people. To a liberal, a successful personal performance only raises the expectations of others that their future endeavors will also prove successful. The liberal always desires the option to be judged based on intentions, as insurance against the day their performance should falter. Psychologically, successful liberals still require the safety net, and feelings of acceptance of meaning provided by the tribe. Group culpability for results justifies this behavior and intensional Orientation insulates the individual from the real-world effects of this ethic.
"There are many who find a good alibi far more attractive than an achievement. For an achievement does not settle anything permanently. We still have to prove our worth anew each day: we have to prove that we are as good today as we were yesterday. But when we have a valid alibi for not achieving anything we are fixed, so to speak, for life" --Eric Hoffer
As previously stated, the goal of a liberal during a debate is never TO FIND THE TRUTH, but to protect and enhance their image of self-worth. A statist troll will return to a Conservative discussion board time and again as a form of daily affirmation
. Like an addict, the Statist will resist any attempt to take away the emotional highs and self-worth they get from being a “statist.” (Liberal, progressive- etc) As long as the words on the board do not make him FEEL better than his own words, he knows he is “superior” to those on the board, no matter how many times the logic he uses is shown to be in error, or what an ass-hat he proves himself to be. .
Thus is important to try and prevent the Statist from getting their emotional high and self-affirmation, by challenging every assertion they make that allows them to (make) believe they are superior, caring, non-judgemental or saving the world. This can most easily be done by challenging the Fundamental Assumptions of their world view with Statements that flatly contradict them. Sarcasm, Ridicule and Parody are useful tools in this fight, as uncivil as they may be. The Liberal tribe is really like a huge High School Clique disparately trying to follow each trend and be perceived as "cool" - the popularity and acceptance of their ideas play a huge role in their self-esteem, and a public challenge that openly mocks them is going to be most effective. However, BE CAREFUL TO ONLY ATTACK THE POLICIES AND NOT THE PERSON THEMSELVES. In all likelihood the liberal's ego is so invested in the ideas that they can't tell the difference and will feel they are being personally attacked, but others can see and hear the difference. Ad-Hominem is the liberal's standard retort, and it is best to leave that to him as his exclusive domain.
Because the liberals ego is so invested, no meaningful discussion can be had about the differences between Statist and other beliefs. You should not even attempt such a discussion as long as the Statist continues to seek self-affirmation rather than the truth. The purpose of the engagement is to force a repeated cognitive dissonance between the liberal's ideas and the reality that contradicts them. Usually the best that you can hope for is achieving a state where the liberal is reluctant to speak up in mixed crowds, but that is a start. "Debate"
This isn't "debate" in the normal understanding of the word, but an attempt to get the liberal to explore his own "reasoning" It is important to “play dumb” and ask questions as if you are begging to be educated by the enlightened sage before you. You must resist lecturing or trying to educating the Statist. You understand a lot more about what the Statist believes than they do, they are at a huge disadvantage emotionally and mentally, and they need to come to an understanding of their own ideas through trying to explain them. Dr. Thomas Sowell has presented five basic questions which can be used for this purpose
- At What Cost?: What are the Tradeoffs involved? What must we give up in order to get this other result? Do you think there is such a thing a Free Lunch? For example: Do you think Socialized Medicine is Free? Who pays the Doctors?
- As Compared to What? What is your basis for comparison? Are the underlying assumptions realistic? Is the analogy used excluding key points of relevance? What are your expectations based on? For Example: How many Soldiers do you expect to die in a war, if you think 5000 is a large number?
- Do You have any Hard Evidence of that? What can you tell me that supports that information? Why do you believe that to be true? What Evidence convinced you that is the case? Example: What evidence convinced you that Global Warming is caused by Man?
- What Happens Next? How does that Changes the incentives presented to the affected Parties? What do you expect the effect of that will be? How do you suppose the system will react? Example: If you raise the minimum wage, what do you think the reaction of small business owners will be?
- Who is to Decide? By what process should that be decided? Who has the best knowledge and experience to make that decision? Do you see any dangers from letting them make that choice? Example: Do you think is right that government should be mandating winners and losers based on the color of their skin?
This is a tedious process, but being convinced of their own superiority and the righteousness of their ideas, the only people that liberals can take seriously are themselves.Core Assumptions of the Statist Worldview
The list below covers the Main assumptions the Statist holds, each bolstering the other. Fundamentally it is these assumptions you must break down and/or make explicit before any real debate over policy can be had. It is these core assumptions that allow the Statist to discard any idea, fact or opinion which conflicts with their view of the world. In your questioning you must challenge these beliefs as they emerge using statements like those in italics below. A question can be used, but stating these as facts will have a stronger effect against the emotional buzz and self-esteem the Statist is trying to generate through your debate, and encourage them to think rather than feel. Sometimes the statist will disagree with the statement, at which point you should allow the topic of discussion to become one of the core assumption just challenged, continuing to use Dr.Sowell’s questions as you explore the new topic. However, more often than not , the Statist will agree with the statement but fail to see how it is relevant to the argument. In this circumstance you should continue to use Sowell’s questions to point out the context and relevance of the Statement. You should NOT try to explain or demonstrate the relevance yourself. Remember the only lecture a Statist will take seriously is the one THEY ARE GIVING.Faith In Government
: Statists believe that any problem confronting mankind can be “solved” through the use of the State, and therefore all States should be Unlimited and Parental in Nature. It is a form of utopianism that takes as faith that the only factor preventing a Utopian society is the presence of “the wrong people”, who must be coerced into the proper behavior by a governmental parent. This leads to an expectation of “perfection” and “efficiency” in government programs and actions that will lead to peace, security and safety.
Response: The Humans are not in charge, and can only pick from the choices available.
Ask them questions that explore the concept of a trade-off made with imperfect or incomplete information, especially when the choice is between the lesser of two evils. Moral Relativity
: Having transferred the burden of deciding "right" and "wrong" to the “state”, the moral codes decided by different states must be considered morally equivalent.
Response: Would you send your Daughter to live under Sharia Law?
In the Statists world, right and wrong are contextual and based on what tribe or group you belong to, but due to their Intensional Orientation, they can’t recognize the different contexts. Pointing out that they do have values and judgments ( even if they are largely determined by the group) that differ from those of other groups, sets up a cognitive dissonance when challenged by another tribe (or culture’s) set of values. Reality is Optional
. Liberals believe all personal opinions, no matter how well supported by facts or evidence in the real world , are of equal value. There is no "Truth" - only your truth and their (tribe's) truth, and since you don't belong to their tribe, ( and are therefore evil) your "truth" can be dismissed and ignored. Actual Reality and objective truth is undervalued or dismissed as a constraint on what is possible or what you can believe. This is usually expressed using statements that ask hypothetical questions (Wouldn’t it be “better” if…), statements using the words “should” Or “deserve”, or an attempt to declare the opinions equal by claiming “we just see things differently”
Response: Reality Cares Nothing For your Feelings.
You need to confront them with the idea that 2+2 does not equal five, and a person holding that opinion is probably going to fail their math exam regardless of how much they FEEL they SHOULD or DESERVE to pass it. Popularity/Expertise is Truth
: For the liberal , the tribal leadership is the arbiter of truth, and decides which opinions have value and which do not. For the democratic statist, the prevalence of an idea or its credentials are indicative of its veracity or righteousness. The common fallacies of Appeal to Popularity and Appeal to Authority are the basis for how a liberal decides to accept information.
Response: Reality is Not up for a Vote
. The general idea is to get them to realize that reality is unaffected by the number of people who wish for a thing. Nor is truth guaranteed by the credentials of the person making the statement. Some questions about Galileo and the Scientific Consensus he dealt with is usually enough to get the point across. (What did they call experts in Galileo’s Time?) A majority of Scientists agree Man Made Global warming is real and dangerous? What do you suppose convinced them - the large amounts of grant money availale or the actual data? If the latter, why do they not talk about the actual data to skeptics instead of claiming consensus?I am Free-Thinker
: Part of being in the Statist Club is maintaining the illusion that they think for themselves. It would be more accurate to say that they feel only for themselves.
Response: Most Free-Thinkers understand and can explain multiple sides of an argument, even if they don’t agree with any of them.
You should then ask them for a demonstration of this ability. Most liberals have never heard a conservative opinion in their lives, and if they have,they dismissed it out of hand as evil, racist, old or a combination. As this section indicates, expressing and supporting their own argument is usually a bit of a stretch. I am a Good Person
: A liberal is unable to differentiate between themselves and the beliefs they hold. Their “good intentions” are sufficient to make them a “Good Person.” Often this evolves into a form of elitism in which the liberal believes themselves morally and intellectually superior to those who disagree with them
Response: A Person who had Good Intentions would care if their intentions resulted in deleterious effects
. Since nearly all Statist policies have the opposite effect of their intended purposes, it is usually an easy matter to ask questions that demonstrate bad things have happened as a result of the liberals hubris and support, and that, as a result, the Statist has supported racism though Affirmative action, has reduced Personal Freedom by advocating more government regulation, has lost people their jobs because they supported a higher minimum wage. In general you are trying to give the Statist a sense of the Law of Unintended Consequences.People are Generally Good
: A liberal assumes that people are good (have good intentions) in general, largely based on their idealistic vision of themselves. This leads them to believe that all mankind can get along in peace, and that every thing they want, would be naturally wanted by all "right thinking" people. Its a form of malignant narcissism that was probably introduced and nursed via a Public School. Distasteful, but sadly, this person was probably raised this way, so go easy.
Response: If Men were Angels, we would need no Government.
Madison’s quote flies in the face of the Statist logic. A liberal requires the State to impose Utopia and this is inconsistent with the idea that people are generally good. Of course, the liberal also beleives that they can "make people better" - a notion that is easily disabused using the Communist attempts in the last century as an example.
The central theme behind all of the italicized Statements consists of two basic ideas : “Man Is Fallible”, and “Reality is the Ultimate Arbiter of Fact”. If these two assertions are wrong, then the Statists world view makes far more sense.
"The study of history is a powerful antidote to contemporary arrogance. It is humbling to discover how many of our glib assumptions, which seem to us novel and plausible, have been tested before, not once but many times and in innumerable guises; and discovered to be, at great human cost, wholly false."--Paul JohnsonCommon Diversionary Tactics
Because a Liberals never try to “win” an argument, they will do almost anything to be on the offensive and discuss anything BUT what they believe. They are interested in proving their opponent to be morally and/or intellectually inferior to themselves, not that they are factually correct. Consequently they tend to employ diversionary tactics to enable them to do that. It is your job to keep them on track, and not enter the ratholes. A list of common ratholes is below.
- Comparing Feelings/motives: The First thing a liberal will do is try to compare feelings/motives. Remind them Reality Cares Nothing for their feelings, concede that they are a better ( person than you, suffered more than you, fill in area of superiority here) , and because of that you respect their opinion, and ask them if you can now discuss their opinion on the topic at hand.
- Nomenclature: The Intenstional Orientation of the Statist will cause them to concentrate on manipulating definitions to narrow them or use a different context as if that will change the reality that the words represent and which is being discussed. (Be especially aware of words like “liberty”, “freedom”, “equality”, “inalienable rights”, “responsibility”, “limited Government.” ) Make sure they define terms, and ensure they stick to the definitions. Often they will claim your nomenclature is “mean” (remember they are only hearing/reacting to the connotative meaning of your words) You should denotatively describe, using as many references to the real world as possible, what you are talking about when using a term, and ask the Statist to give you a term that is acceptable to them, all the while reminding them they are the one who appears unable to adapt and deal with the diversity of opinions. After all , they are demanding to select which words you are allowed to use in describing your own viewpoints.
- Stereotypes and “Groupdividual" : To a liberal all generalizations or statistical data are False. In the strictest sense, this is correct, IF the statement is improperly applied to an individual member of the group discussed. This is often an attempt to shut down any discussion of differences in group behavior, which, according to the Statist, should have no effect on outcomes. A generalization is based on an average or general behavior. To say the average of a group of numbers is 3 is NOT to say that ALL of the Numbers WERE 3. Most would say that was implicit in the term ”average.” The Statist confuses the levels of abstraction, in order to accuse you of (immorally) applying a generalization to an individual. At that time suggest that the Statist is applying their OWN STEREOTYPE in asserting that you would commonly apply statements about a group to an individual unfairly. You should offer to help the Statist get over their own unfair biases and assumptions by offering to use qualifiers like “Most Asians do Better than Whites on Standardized Tests” or “Most Democrats support Affirmative Action” even though such qualifiers are implicit in the nature of a generalization.
- Changing the Subject: The Statist will often attempt to change the subject from their beliefs to your beliefs as early as possible. This is usually accomplished by an attack on some policy you support or by the actions of some leader on “your side.” and deployment of the Tu Quoque (You too!) fallacy. For example: “I don’t see what so bad about Socialized Medicine, Bush and the Republican passed a massive prescription drug program.” Don’t let them push your buttons and get distracted. No matter how true of false the statement they made is, remind them that right now they are explaining their “enlightened” view to you so you will have the opportunity to gain from their insight. Beware of attempts to make your position morally equivalent to thier position and do not defend behavior that breaks the principles you are trying to demonstrate. Bad behavior is never Justified by more Bad Behavior. Your tribe (be it the GOP, Ron Paul Libertarians, or the Hell's Angels, is not ( and doesn't have to be) perfect. This is best illustrated by the liberal assertion that Christians are Hypocrites because they don't follow the ways of Christ perfectly and at all times. This is the difference between repentance of sin, and boldly declaring there is no such thing. Liberals believe that "their side can do no wrong" and must believe so because of the top-down structure, and its a weakness. Learn to exploit it.
- Ad-Hominem : The liberal just starts calling you names in an attempt to get you to defend yourself, and get the topic of conversation away from themselves. At this point it is probably best to simply say “Maybe I am a <blank>, but I don’t see how that is relevant to our discussion. I think you are simply trying to dismiss what I am saying by convincing yourself that I am a bad person.”
- Holier than Thou: The liberal claims that it is not worth his/her time to explain anything to you, because you are too stupid, racist, mean, ignorant,etc to see that the obviously superior person is obviously right. Once you see this diversion the conversation is most likely over, and you “won.” (Congratulations. ) The Statist has figured out you are not going to let him get his daily affirmation from you, and hence tries to claim it anyway as he crawls into his impenetrable shell of dogma.
Following these tactics will undoubtedly loose you quite a few liberal "Friends" - however you should consider what "Friendship" means in a liberal context. Implicitly, a liberal believes that they have a right via government to impose upon you, manipulate you, steal from you and enslave you. They are interested in you only so far as you serve to bolster their own egos. Once it becomes clear that you will no longer allow them such gratification, they will drop you, with no more emotion or concern than they felt when they threw out yesterdays soda cup. They don't call it malignant narcissism for nothing. Most of them won't be worth the time or the effort, however if you have family you would like to not disown, this may be the right path for you.
"Phillip," Reardon said, not raising his voice, "say any of that again and you will find yourself out on the street, right now, with the suit you’ve got on your back, with whatever change you've got in your pocket and with nothing else." Second Order Statists
He heard no answer, no sound, no movement. He noted that the stillness of the three before him had no element of astonishment. The look of shock on their faces was not the shock of people at the sudden explosion of a bomb, but the shock of people who had known they were playing with a lighted fuse. There were no outcries, no protests, no questions; they knew he meant it and they knew everything it meant. A dim sickening feeling told him that they had known it long before he did. - Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged
Be aware there are a class of Statists who do NOT suffer from either Intensional Orientation nor adhere to the Top-Down Tribal Ethic - they are the ones who seek to define it. They adhere to the ethic of the "pragmatist". That "Truth" is whatever will advance your agenda that day. They seek only power. It is they who use Tax money to bribe people to vote for them because it is practical. It is they who hand out political favors for bribes because it is practical. They don't believe in right and wrong in any sense, merely that which benefits them now, and that which does not. It s usually this class that finds itself at the head of the party of "useful idiots" described above. They are cynical and derisive of any moral principle and self-serving to the last. Someone who has take their self-aggrandizement to this level is like a terminator; They cannot be reasoned with, they cannot be bargained with, and they absolutely will not stop.
"There is no safety for honest men but by believing all possible evil of evil men" --Edmund Burke