Skip to comments.Arguing with the Left: We Are Doing It Wrong!
Posted on 09/17/2014 9:32:45 AM PDT by Heartlander
If you have ever tried arguing with a liberal, leftist or progressive, at some point you have inevitably come away frustrated by your apparent inability to win an argument, despite proving conclusively the other side is objectively wrong. The subject doesnt matter, it could be the failure of Obamas foreign policy, the IRS targeting scandal, tax policy, (lack of) Global Warming, or helping the poor. There in fact is a literal parade of liberal/leftist social policies and issues that have been unequivocal, abject failures, yet no matter how many facts and figures you can marshal, your argument falls flat, and your opponent remains completely un-swayed. Have you ever wondered why this is?
Best-selling thriller-author Robert Bidinotto offers an explanation:
One of the most valuable insights I discovered in recent years is how Narratives trump everything else — including what most of us would call concern for “practical results.”
For example, consider liberalism. Have decades upon decades of liberal policy failures deterred liberals from being liberals? Have the trillions of dollars blown on welfare-state programs since the “New Deal” and the “War on Poverty” made a damned bit of difference in curing poverty? And has that failure convinced “progressives” that there is something fundamentally wrong in their worldview and approach? Have the horrendous historical consequences of appeasement policies stopped today’s politicians from appeasing international thugs and terrorists? No?
Then why does anyone assume that liberals gauge the value of their worldview by the standard of its PRACTICAL CONSEQUENCES?
Practical consequences are ALWAYS trumped by the advancement and protection of one’s core Narrative: the fairy tale that gives one’s life meaning, coherence, and moral justification.
When I linked last week to Simon Sinek’s seminal 18-minute talk, “Start With WHY,” it became obvious to me that he was saying exactly the same thing that I have been saying, in different language, with a different emphasis.
Sinek points out that customers are not attracted to a company primarily because of the merits of its products (i.e., the results of its policies); nor are voters attracted to politicians primarily because of the merits of their policy prescriptions and “eight point plans” (i.e., the goals of their policies). They are attracted because — as he puts it — “People don’t buy WHAT you do; they buy WHY you do it.”
People do things — e.g., vote for you, buy your products, donate to your cause — that prove, affirm, and reinforce what they ALREADY BELIEVE. They act to conform to and confirm their deep-rooted beliefs.
In other words: They act in conformance to their CORE NARRATIVE. Doing that makes them feel good about themselves. And they would far rather feel good about themselves than actually achieve any of their stated practical objectives. It’s not about the objectives at all. It’s about THEM.
Consider some other examples.
- That’s why the leaders and officials in entire communities in Britain turned a blind eye to, or even rationalized, the mass rapes of thousands of young white girls: because they were wedded to a “multiculturalist” worldview, and — above all — didn’t want to think of themselves as “racists” or “anti-Muslim bigots.” THAT — affirmation of their Narrative-driven self-images — meant far more to them than the fates of thousands of young girls.
- That’s why ObamaCare can meet absolutely NONE of its promised practical objectives (universal coverage; lower premiums; cost controls; “keep your doctor”; “keep your existing policy”; etc., etc.) — yet NO LIBERAL is calling for its abolition. It was never ABOUT those practical consequences, and still isn’t. It’s about protecting a Narrative about the role of government in our lives.
- That’s why temperature records can show that there has been NO, nada, zero, zip “global warming” over the past two decades; yet the diehard true believers in “manmade climate change” continue to blame everything — from Ebola outbreaks to sinkholes to allergies to campus rapes (REALLY!) — on “global warming” that IS NOT OCCURRING. In doing this, they are really professing how absolutely they are wedded to the Narrative (as old as the ancient “myth of the Golden Age,” and the Eden myth in Genesis) that Evil Man is destroying the pristine natural environment. That Narrative IS their notion of “reality”; thus, any inconvenient truths that clash with it are simply ignored or explained away.
- And that’s why Obama golfs and fundraises while the world goes to hell, and while ominous threats against America mount. His moral/political Narrative is rooted in the belief that America was founded in the evil of slavery; that its capitalist system is immoral; that its Constitution only cements all of that evil in place; that America, therefore, has been a dark force internationally; and thus, that his primary job is to “fundamentally transform” this country and paralyze its ability to act (i.e., cause trouble) internationally.
The terrible CONSEQUENCES of pursuing this Narrative do not matter to him in the least. He measures his “success” by a completely different calculus: merely by the intensity of his commitment to “fundamentally transform” America. As long as he keeps undoing the Constitution and the free market system, he believes he’s on the “right path.” And that’s why, while his entire agenda collapses around him in practical terms, he remains smugly arrogant and condescending toward all critics.
His diehard supporters and leftist followers are the same way: not in the least contrite, no matter what disasters they visit upon the nation. They take zero responsibility for those disasters. Their Narrative exonerates them, and twists facts to blame it all on their enemies.
That is why they can watch, in passive, blithe bemusement, while Russia starts to gobble up territory in surrounding nations; while China continues its massive navy-building binge; while ISIS maintains a safe haven in Syria while proclaiming its intentions to launch horrific attacks on the American homeland; while Iran, a hotbed of militant Islam, builds its nuclear weapons; while nutcase North Korea continues to expand its nuclear arsenal; while millions of individuals — undoubtedly including foreign terrorists — pour across our borders into America without so much as a criminal record check, and are aided and abetted by the Regime in being scattered all over America, then subsidized.
It’s all about, ONLY about, reinforcing and implementing the Narrative. Nothing else — NOTHING, no matter how bad — matters.
I believe Mr. Bidinotto is on to something here. I have often remarked how liberals/leftists/progressives are generally impervious to facts, all they seem able to do is regurgitate the accepted talking-points on the issue at hand, then blithely go forth and pull the handle for the guy with the (D) next to his name on election day. It had never occurred to me to think about this in terms of how the left sees themselves, and their relationship with the narrative or story they want so desperately to be true. So desperately in fact they will completely ignore or disregard reality itself if it gets in the way of their belief in the story. The narrative truly does trump all. And, its something we on the right lack. It is why we have such a hard time winning at the polls, why despite the complete and continuing failure of their policies and issues, so many people continue to blindly support liberal-democrats. It explains why so many like to repeat the calumnious propaganda about people on the right all being greedy, racist homophobic war-mongers who hate children and want old people to live in the street and eat cat food, all despite the complete lack of even the tiniest bit of first hand proof or evidence supporting these stereotypes. Its all part of the narrative.
I believe this phenomenon is also related to the most frequent criticism of the Republicans going into the mid-term election in November: they have no plan. You can hear this repeated over and over again in the conservative punditry: the Republicans have no plan, they are giving us no reason to vote for them. Of course this may not matter in terms of the outcome this election, the Democrats having failed so abysmally and being so unpopular, simply being the other guy may be a perfectly viable strategy, this time. But what about the long game? It’s not that we on the right don’t have a plan, it’s that we don’t have a narrative.
I am not saying we should stop arguing with the left, pointing out their failures, or exposing the utterly fatal flaws in their policies and issues. There will always be a place for debate, and it remains important, but I think at this point its clear this is not enough. We need a counter-narrative, a story, about why we are right, and more importantly, why they are wrong. And we need it now.
Not only are they Narrative driven, liberals invent “facts” as they are needed to support that Narrative. Just look at so-called AGW. Not only is there NO scientific consensus (there is NEVER scientific consensus) but AGW isn’t even a Scientific Theory.
But if you cite those, leftists just say “nya nya nya I can’t hear you” — and it isn’t my job to teach science these idiots.
They deal in unicorns and emotional possibilities.
We deal in factual probabilities that have predictable results.
Newt and Dick Armey gave us the “Contract with America.”
Mitch gets democrats to vote in a Mississippi runoff while John Boehner takes another drink.
Our narrative is liberty and personal responsibility. Liberty is essentially a “nothingness”. It is an absence of tyranny and abuse. It’s a hard sell to those who have not yet lost it.
I continue to wonder exactly how much hardship and pain it will take to wake up enough Americans to what is really happening.
The GOP has no one in the Leadership who can articulate any benefit to free enterprise, the rule of law, sanctity of contracts, security of borders, or any of the principles enunciated in the Declaration or the Constitution. They are not familiar with them, they do not believe them, they do not understand them. To the GOP leadership it is a foreign language. We cannot expect them [and most of us don't] to be able to argue a case in a language they cannot speak.
The writer had a great "narrative" of his own, until he said that. Christians believe that the Genesis accounts are monumentally germane to the problem of combating liberalism, socialism, communism, elitism, progressivism, enviro-wackoism, abortionism, multiculturalism, and the like. Christians' worldview includes the reality of original sin, God's judgment, along with His powerful, remediating mercy. Liberals deny it. So do libertarians.
Well and good to disbelieve Genesis, as is the writer's prerogative. Not so good to gratuitously include his disbelief in an essay addressed, at least in part, to his Christian-right allies in this, a greater cause: developing a uniform narrative that would appeal to voters (since they seem to value narrative so highly).
Here's your narrative, and it must be harped stridently: "Obama, Hillary, Pelosi, et al, are trying to dismantle the Constitution. They are driving us toward civil war." Maybe that would get someone's attention. We would be called mean-spirited; but guess what? We already are.
I do it the easy way. The minute I am told a lie by the rat I call him out. Then I call him an idiot.
Alinsky said that is a rats biggest fear. So I use it as often as I can. When I am called a bully, I call him a little sissy.
They hate it.
For them what is scientific is science as a mean, as a magic bullet to satisfy their essentially corrupted self indulging thinking.
The PC narrative that we have to prove to government is essentially theocratic, no less outrageous than a Pope declaring himself sinless and Jesus.
Again, they all want to believe in that magic bullet pipe dream that fixes everything but in fact is a big charade. They care not to understand science but to use it. Capitalism is a way of living, to them it is a mean to get money, and thus they project their using capitalism onto the capitalist.
Winning an argument for them is a democratic things, it is not an attestation of what is right or wrong, just sheer force of numbers and other means.
Many liberals I met were completely crushed and mocked by a group, and only when peer mocked and crushed that way did they respect the argument. They never follow the justification, they only follow what is least painful to them.
Conservatives avoid bad business because it is bad, liberals boycott business because they want to attack and extort what is not willing to support their parasitic thinking.
Mitch gets democrats to vote in a Mississippi runoff ......
Mitch didn’t persuade the Dems. to vote. The Dems voted on their own to defeat the more conservative candidate.
)Unless that’s what you were saying).
I continue to wonder exactly how much hardship and pain it will take to wake up enough Americans to what is really happening.
Even if hurts them on a personal level, most will never comprehend why.
Bump for later
You are right. When I read the Genesis comment I almost stopped reading but I didn’t. Christians believe the Bible is the written word of God and that God has the final say so in all that happens on this earth whether liberals believe it or not. While I would like a good “sock it to them” response to some of their nonsensical beliefs, I believe the final decisions will be God’s. In the meantime, I will stand up for freedom, the Constitution, the United STATES of America and do my part to save our American way of life.
Not deep enough. The inner city people vote Democrat because they think they’re good people? Nope. Look deeper. It’s fear. There are a corps of smart, greedy people running the Democrat Party. The majority of the Democrat voters are people who are afraid. They are afraid that if they don’t vote Democrat, they will starve (inner city). They are afraid that if they don’t vote Democrat, their standard of living will decline (union members). They are afraid that if they don’t vote Democrat, they will lose their jobs (government workers and university professors). They are afraid that if they don’t vote Democrat, there will be too many people in this world (abortionists and all Democrats). Fear is at the core of the Democrat Party. The leaders of the Republican Party are too stupid to understand and use that fear.
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