It is one of the greatest frustrations in modern life: trying to argue with a Leftist. It is not merely that the political and/or ideological principles are wildly divergent. The means and, indeed, the very goal of the disputation is fundamentally different. The non-Leftist employs reason and facts to persuade. The Leftist feels empowered by their self-anointed and subjectively defined “greater good” to employ any and all means, fair and foul, to win.
A brief glance through the mists of history reveals the origin of this schism.
Whereas the ancient philosophers believed logic, facts, and truths were required for a reasoned, cordial discussion leading to “the good,” the later school of Sophistry believed the object of a debate was to prevail – period. In short, it was the difference between the philosophers’ mutual quest for “good” versus the Sophists’ personal lust for domination.
Flash forward over a few millennia to one’s latest frustrating disputatious encounter with a Leftist. Assuming you aren’t on campus and are prevented from speaking, you advance opinions and/or public policies based upon reasoned arguments replete with facts and precedents. In return, as your Leftist antagonist grows increasingly irate, some variation on the following sequence occurs. The Leftist tries to refute your arguments with erroneous, bumper sticker talking points courtesy of the regime media. The Leftist avers your “facts” have been (falsely) “debunked.” Your Leftist antagonist decries you as a fascist insurrectionist hater of [insert group]; and, their reservoir of intellectual ability exhausted, the Leftist emotionally shuts down and unilaterally declares victory.
Naturally, this rankles you; and oft times you share your aggravating experience to politically like-minded individuals; and you vow to never bother arguing with a Leftist again. Still, you realize that one cannot avoid arguing with a Leftist, because they politicize even the most mundane aspects of life. Equally, such arguments are necessary to convince those who have yet to make up their minds on the issues of the day. However, one can reorient their expectations and practices when contesting a Leftist.
First, one should always explain what the Leftist is doing in their argument. This is especially important when listeners are around who have yet to make up their minds on the issue(s) being debated. Note when the Leftist engages in ad hominem attacks, misinforms and disinforms, appeals to emotion, erects strawmen arguments, uses circular reasoning, has been debunked and by whom, etc. No, this will not make the Leftist see the light and admit the error of their ways; but it will help persuade others of, if not the soundness of your position, at least the disingenuousness of the Leftist.
Secondly, and of paramount importance, listen to the Leftist not primarily to refute their ostensible points. Focus on the strategic end the Leftist is ultimately trying to accomplish. In arguing with the Left, too often one gets stuck in the muck of details and/or defending oneself against their scurrilous attacks and, consequently, fails to carry the larger issue being contested. Knowing of your reliance upon facts and precedents and of your concern for your public reputation, the Left tries to twist these strengths into weaknesses. So, while you’re busy defending yourself and fact-checking both your argument and theirs, the Leftist is off to their next Big Lie in the service of their secular, collectivist god of the “common good” (which, in reality, might be “common” but certainly isn’t “good.”)
True, knowing and explicating both your facts and argument and your Leftist opponent’s is necessary – indeed, it is what differentiates us from the unprincipled modern Sophists. But it cannot be emphasized enough that this is not the practice nor the aim of the Leftist. It is solely to win and, thus, advance their heinous agenda for our free republic.
This is why the Left unabashedly propagates their Big Lies, such as “Russia-gate” and the Hunter Biden laptop being “Russian disinformation.” As Jonathan Swift wrote in 1710 in The Examiner:
“Besides, as the vilest Writer has his Readers, so the greatest Liar has his Believers; and it often happens, that if a Lie be believ’d only for an Hour, it has done its Work, and there is no farther occasion for it. Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it; so that when Men come to be undeceiv’d, it is too late; the Jest is over, and the Tale has had its Effect…”
Regrettably, then, the Left spreads Big Lies not merely because of the paucity of their arguments and the failings of their policies. The Left spreads Big Lies not merely because they will likely never be held to account for them, due to their lapdogs in the regime media being complicit in and abet these deceits. There is a more practical for the Left’s Big Lies, past, present, and future, as the late Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid boasted, “It worked, didn’t it?”
Let us consider a text book case of a politician who successfully lied to abet the passage of a disastrous piece of legislation. Yes, in the wake of a letter from former intelligence officials advocating the continuation of the collusion between government and Big Tech corporations to continuing censoring on-line speech, right on cue to enter stage Left came ex-President Barack “You Can Keep Your Doctor” Obama, who chimed in his support – which should surprise no one, as this cabal to stifle the free flow of dissident information was crafted and practiced in his administration and continued under the present one.
It would be easy to take the bait and delve into the semantics and minutiae of what Mr. Obama and the letter’s signatories deem “extremism”, “disinformation,” and “misinformation.” Instead, one should simply note Mr. Obama and these individual’s past production and promotion of the very “disinformation” they claim to want to stop. Then, noting the timing and the surrounding political environment, denounce that, for the first time, a former president is demanding the big government and big corporations control information to aid his party’s prospects in the impending mid-term elections. And, firmly and finally pierce through these Sophists’ pandering of paranoia to safety obsessed neurotics and remind one and all that it is tyrant who wants to control information and speech and, thus, dissent; and that is why nothing is more extreme than a censor nor more dangerous than censorship.
Truly, time is of the essence. The Left wants government and Big Tech to think for you; and they will say and do anything to prevail. Therefore, when confronting these and their fellow brazen, morally unmoored collectivists, best to dispense with superfluous arguments; uncover the essence of the Leftist’s aims; and unburden the limping truth so it may prevail over the sophists’ Big Lies; and speed the renewal of our free republic.
As he describes himself: The product of a misspent youth, the Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (M.C., Ret.) is a guitarist, author, occasional radio co-host, and recovering politician. He is a former U.S. Congressman from Michigan having represented that state’s 11th Congressional district from 2003-2012.
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