User:Woozle/How to Argue with a Liberal
As a conservative, arguing with liberals must sometimes feel like a complete waste of time and energy. You can make your point over and over again and yet find the argument inevitably circling back to the same places yet again, as if you hadn't said anything at all. It can be immensely frustrating. Yet I believe that a simple understanding of the different, "diverse" ways in which liberals think may be illuminating, and may come to the assistance of compassionate conservatives who believe in the importance of helping the "liberal mind" to gain a more fruitful relationship with reality. With the expenditure of a little patience, empathy, and understanding, you can convince even the most ardent liberal of the urgency of discarding his erroneous beliefs in favor of those that are more acceptable.
The first problem you will likely run into is that liberals are often very deficient in their sense of authority – that is, regardless of the fact that you may prove to them, conclusively, that a certain fact has been sanctioned by the very most appropriate official, or someone whose credentials are entirely impeccable, the liberal may look at you as if you had just suggested that the Pope should act as arbiter in a discussion about abortion.
If you are truly determined to try to pound some sense into a liberal's head, then, the only alternative at this point is to go to all the tedious trouble of finding some so-called "objective data" – only with these credentials attached does the carefully shuttered liberal mind allow new data to enter. This may seem like reinventing the wheel, as obviously the authority you cited has already done the research, found the facts, and evaluated them using the full benefit of his experience and education, in a manner that is obviously far superior to any analysis or understanding by unqualified individuals; it is simply a fact of the liberal mentality that he needs the crutch of believing that the truth you are trying to convey has been somehow anointed by having so-called "supporting evidence" attached to it. Without this ritual of purification, he simply won't listen. It doesn't matter if you are quoting the President himself; he has an obsessive need to question, and – like a dog which must circle three times before lying down – he cannot rest until that obsession has been satisfied.
A related problem is that liberals have no respect for tradition. To a liberal, it doesn't matter if a custom has existed since the dawn of Western Civilization; they are willing to discard tradition like you or I would take out the trash, if they believe it no longer meets their personal needs. In defending our civilization from having its very foundations undercut, then, you will once again have to reinvent the wheel, doing the work – which the principle of division of labor has taught us is best left to experts – of rehashing history and explaining, slowly and carefully, just how it is that up is up, the sky is blue, and homosexuality is an unholy abomination.
Another common mistake is to assume that a liberal will know when he is beaten. You may think you have scored a clear victory by not only citing the appropriate authority on each matter but utterly humiliating the liberal in the process – and yet he will keep coming back for more punishment.
What you must understand here is that liberals have no sense of dignity. They are quite willing to be humiliated and taunted in the service of their righteousness. Crawling through slime and offal does not offend them; living the lives they do, of course, many of them are quite accustomed to it.
However, although they are quite willing to subject themselves to it in the name of their many causes, they will typically become argumentative and difficult if they believe others can be blamed. In other words, you have to be careful: when you are rubbing a liberal's nose in his own mess, you must be sure not to let him see you doing it; otherwise it will cost you points. This is a common tactical mistake made by many fine conservatives who have taken on the often odious task of debating with a liberal, put up a good fight, found themselves victorious despite overwhelming odds and the complicity of the liberal media elite in clouding the issues – only to lose in the eyes of public opinion, on the technicality of having not "fought fair". Clever manipulations of logic which would clearly demonstrate your intellectual superiority to any rational opponent are seen, to the weak-minded liberal who cannot tolerate the existence of anything superior, as a form of "cheating". Thus, in the name of "fairness", you must fight with one hand tied behind your back at all times, deprived of your main weapon.
Another problem related to this is that liberals do not respect strength. They are innately weak and indecisive, and they instinctively work to tear down anything stronger or better than themselves. Like hyenas circling a wounded lion, they will nip and slash when you are not looking, until you finally succumb to their superior numbers. You will again hear the pathetic bleats of "fairness!" and "equality!", knocking your legs out from under you as you turn to face each new assailant.
Fortunately, you can turn this to your advantage. What you have to do can be somewhat humiliating, but I am afraid it is the only way: you must lower yourself to their level, go down among them, and behave as they behave. Only then will they accord you peer status, allow you provisional membership in their in-group, and accord you anything approaching the dignity of civil discourse.
You too must speak in terms of "fairness" and "equality", regardless of the obvious absurdity. Liberals live in a world where everything is as they wish it was, rather than how it really is, and they insist on setting any discussion in these terms; you too must chant these sacred words, or else be cast out as an unbeliever.
Fortunately, it is possible – though difficult – to rephrase a rational worldview in terms comprehensible to the liberal mind; I will now cover several key concepts, and translate them into liberalese:
- authority: liberals have no word for this; in fact, you will probably have to explain it to them in two different ways: (1) is "the acceptance that a person who has far more experience than you in certain areas might just possibly have an opinion in those areas which you should take seriously", and (2) "the acceptance that a person who has been chosen to make decisions in a certain area may make decisions that you don't agree with, and that those decisions must nonetheless be complied with." You can try to make the (seemingly obvious) point that a person "chosen to make decisions in a certain area" must surely be qualified to do so by virtue of having "far more experience", but of course liberals will not be content with this; lacking something of a sense of the abstract, and above all lacking in trust and faith, they must actually see concrete proof of all qualifications. As if that wasn't enough, they will often pick apart those qualifications, feasting greedily upon any inconsistencies they may find, until there is seemingly nothing left. While this sort of behavior can be very difficult to tolerate, it ultimately pays off when you find the "right" authority whose qualifications the liberals are unable to peck apart.
- tradition is more difficult; sometimes the best you can do is explain it as a sort of "scientific experiment" (another magical incantation known to turn locks in the liberal mind) supported by thousands of years of data. This can be a double-edged sword, however, as liberals will use some "scientific" mumbo-jumbo about "controls" and "eliminating bias" to claim that a tradition, rather than proving its rightness through the survival of its followers, proves somehow that we need "more data" – which is of course a liberal code-phrase for breaking the tradition and relaxing social standards.
- strength, as such, is a perplexing concept to a liberal; instead of respecting the need for strong leaders, they see anyone stronger or better than themselves as a threat, highlighting their own inferiority. They want a world where, as a well-known public radio personality once solemnly declaimed, "all the children are above-average", uniformly arrayed in their mediocrity. Probably the only way to convey the value of strength to a liberal is to ask them: What would happen if we had no strong leaders to command the soldiers holding back the wolf at our gate? What would happen if we had no strong farmers, to operate the machines which work our nation's great industrial farming complexes? What would happen if we had no strong auto mechanics, capable of winching the heavy engines and wrenching tight the bolts of the automobiles and trucks upon which we depend for our daily lives? I'm sure the liberal response to those points will be at least entertaining.
These are just a few examples of fundamental principles of our society which liberals apparently were not taught (or declined to learn) in grade school. With a little imagination, and some suitable bodily contortions (and perhaps with the aid of appropriate pharmaceuticals) you may be able to re-imagine more such words in liberal terms, thus making it possible – with a great deal of difficulty, and the willingness to sacrifice one's dignity for a greater cause – for liberals to be slowly and painfully raised up into a better understanding of civilization, which we can only hope may one day lead to a better world for all of us – in which authority, strength, and tradition are given proper respect, and liberals know their place.