September 4, 2011
How to "Outargue" (Frustrate, Stifle, Drive Away) a Radical Right-Winger - the Good Liberal's Guide to Successful Debate Avoidance
In 2005, I was a regular participant on a Yahoo Japan political topic bulletin board. After a couple years of debate (non debate) with internet liberals, I began to observe the debate-avoidance techniques of the liberal mind.
I learned a lot from those master non-debaters; the number of methods they had devised to avoid, sidestep, and duck the actual exchange of ideas is breathtaking and impossible to catalog. But I can demonstrate a few of the most used tactics.
So for the rest of this post, I must channel Farley Resistance Gompers -- former community organ-sizer and current head of the Union of Progressive Youth Opposing Unconstitutional Reactionary Speech, Neo-American Zionist Infiltration, and Capitalist Hogtying of Internationalist Monetary Policies. (One of our lesser-known liberal/Progressivist change agents, to be sure, but overrepresented in the only field that counts for the left side of the aisle: unparalled fundraising for Obama 2012's "Project Vote" campaign -- an eerie echo of the recent past.)
We understand that a number of you feel upset and nervous when confronted by racist, sexist, homophobic and transgendophobic, violence threatening, harassing, rampaging, extremist right-wingers (in urgent need of anger-management classes) in a so-called "debate." Not to worry; we at UPYOURSNAZICHIMP have refined a number of tried and feelgood techniques to avoid such unpleasantness, which can leave you with frustration and hurt feelings.
Please memorize these tactics and begin employing them immediately; you may not "win" these "debates," but at least every casual spectator or internet lurker will think you have -- which is the same thing, of course.
Phase One, red-state baiting for beginners: Never argue -- sloganeer
As an entry-level Progressivist, you cannot possible win an argument against those sneaky, lying liar, right-wing nutballs. It's like "arguing" with a talking dog. (They've never even heard of the Vision!)
So for the time being, the most effective way to stymie one of them and leave him/her/indeterminate grabbing for the supplementary oxygen is to memorize a few short, catchy slogans and phrases... then repeat them aggressively and relentlessly:
- No blood for oil!
- War is not the answer!
- Give peace a chance!
- The survivors will envy the dead!
- Freeze now!
- No peace without justice!
- All you need is love!
- A woman's right to choose!
- End poverty now!
- Health care is a civil right!
- Food for all!
- Land for use!
- Heal the wounds of Gaea!
- Hope and change!
- Yes we can! (or Sí se puede!, depending)
- Four legs good, two legs bad! (or two legs better!, depending)
Or if you're not sure what the secret Klansman is on about this time, try the universal vanilla comeback suppressor:
- Hey hey, ho ho, Western Civ has got to go!
At the same time, it is more effective if you pepper your jingoisms with a few complicated but meaningless statements that feign deepness, such as:
- You can't hug your children with nuclear arms.
- If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.
- The majority is the minority; black is the new white; women are the new men.
- When Obama's polls are going down, that's the exact moment they're skyrocketing!
It doesn't matter if even you yourself don't understand what you are saying, so long as you confuse your opponent (since you're unable to convince the radical Right of the joys of liberalism, or indeed anyone of anything).
The important thing to remember is never argue. Don't answer any questions. A mere Progressivist acolyte like you cannot possibly explain the inner profundity of your shallow and contradictory slogan: unity is in the contradiction, the opposite of a great truth is equally true. If anyone asks, announce that it is self evident, and the fact that they even have to ask such a question proves they're too stupid to understand the answer.
"You don't even understand such a simple thing? It's sooooo obvious. You just don't get it!" Then MoveOn to your next demand.
If the opponent won't let you go, escalate to personal attack, such as "Why do you hate poor people? You just want to see children blown to pieces! You seem to have a real problem with people of color -- racist!" That will shut most opponents up. (Possibly because they simply find you intolerably offensive -- but WTF, a win is a win!)
Phase Two, journeyperson level: The Ten-Million-Questions intermediate technique
Once you have sloganeering down pat, try the next level. But before attempting this technique, pick your opponent very carefully: If the he/she/indeterminate is actually knowledgeable, this tactic can backfire on you.
Pick an easily riled or frustrated Fascist Republican who is not used to to liberal Progressivists, one who values so-called "objective truth" and thinks he/she/indeterminate is really good at research. The key is to use their willingness actually to look things up on the internet (at your demand) as the ultimate paralysis beam. Here's how:
- Whatever your opponent is actually saying, pretend you've never heard of such an outlandish idea. Goad him/her/indeterminate into actually pasting a link; when he/she says "here's the proof right here," you're halfway there.
- Do not make the rookie mistake of commenting on any "evidence" your opponent presents! Never argue the contents; ask another seemingly related question that is in fact a complete left turn.
- When he/she responds to question two, ask question three. And four, five, fifty. If you've done it right, he/she/indeterminate will be reduced to doing nothing but answering your insipid and meaningless questions.
- Wash, rinse, repeat until your opponent forgets what they were talking about. If both your opponent and the readers forget the original point of argument, you've won!
For example, if the extreme right-winger says, "The purpose of the Iraq War was to democratize Iraq from the very beginning," you say, "Then how come Bushitler never said any such thing?" After a day or two, he/she/indeterminate posts one of Bush's old speeches; you immediately demand, "What about all the missing WMD he talked about that never existed? What does that lie have to do with democracy in Iraq?"
As he/she/indeterminate posts some nonsense about WMD, you're ready with a few more Herculean research projects:
- Why were we so upset about Saddam Hussein having WMD, when we were the ones who gave it to him in the first place?
- Why did we attack Iraq, when they had nothing to do with al-Qaeda or 9/11?
- Since we created and funded al-Qaeda and the Taliban in the first place, isn't 9/11 our own fault?
- You claim we were attacked by Arabs, so why don't you demand we attack Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, and all those other Arab countries? You're a hypocrite!
- If Iraq was a threat to the whole world, why didn't we organize a coalition, like Clinton did against Serbia?
- If only three thousand Americans died in 9/11, why did we kill 600,000 innocent Iraqi children, women, and civilians? Doesn't that make us worse terrorists than al-Qaeda?
- And the Israelis have killed a lot more than 3,000 citizens of Palestine; shouldn't we invade Israel?
- Why did Bush include North Korea in his goofy 'axis of evil'? Just because they weren't white?
- If Saddam Hussein was so evil, why didn't the first Bush overthrow him when he had the chance?
- Who gave us the right to cram "democracy" down everyone else's throat? (The scare-quotes are a bonus, as the radical right-winger will probably spend an extra ten minutes orating (or three screens posting) his "explanation" of why scare quotes are unpatriotic.)
- If you want democracy, why did you overthrow Saddam Hussein and the Taliban, who were both democratically elected?
- Instead of spending trillions of dollars on wars all across the planet, why couldn't Bush use that money to end all poverty on Earth?
When your opponent finally grows weary of wasting his time and energy "researching" his right-wing trash-mags to prove his point and stomps off in a huff instead... you win!
Phase Three trifecta, the expert at the internet: Selectable amnesia, paralogia, and creative paraphrasing
If you can master this technique, you're a full brown Progressivist activist; please apply to Ezra Klein for your membership card to postJournolist. (you will receive the real name after you send in your dues... your union dues; and yes, we really do know how much you still owe!)
The first tactic of Phase Three, selectable amnesia, seems as if it would be easy; but you might be surprised how hard it is to remember to forget:
- Before the Iraq war, nobody was talking about any connection between Sadam Hussein and Bin Laden. How convenient of you to suddenly discover it now!
Choose to forget the fact that media all over the world had been discussing those connections since 1998. Don't forget -- remember to fuhgeddaboudit!
Among these three tactical techniques of Phase Three, selectable amnesia will always be your workhorse: No matter how many times certain facts are proven, no matter how many times you're forced to back away from the ideologically pure position and admit the existence of a fixed "reality," tomorrow is always another
day month year. "Yeah? I don't remember you ever posting that so-called evidence. You're making it up!")
Paralogia, the second tactic of Phase Three, means responding to argument or interrogation with a complete, logical non-sequitur:
- You claimed that Saddam Hussein attempted to buy yellowcake Uranium; but Ambassador Joe Wilson reported that he was completely unsuccessful in those efforts. That completely debunks your charge that he attempted to buy yellowcake!
Creative paraphrasing is the third tactic of Phase Three; if Mr./Ms./Indeterminate Hard Right Turn points out that Bush said, "We cannot afford to wait for Iraq to become an imminent danger;" you paraphrase thus:
- When Bush claimed Iraq was an imminent danger to the United States, that was a flat-out lie, an impeachable offense! Why wasn't he prosecuted? Did Dick Cheney pull strings? Be honest, now!
When the enemy responds that Bush said we "cannot wait" until Iraq becomes an imminent danger, you paraphrase again:
- Darn right he couldn't wait -- he was just salivating to invade Iraq and steal their oil!
"No, no, no! I mean with all the murderous attacks, terrorist connections, and history of WMD, we knew Hussein would never stop voluntarily; it was better to attack sooner, before he had nukes or biological weapons, than to attack later and lose more American soldiers to a stronger Saddam Hussein!"
- You said it yourself: Bush was determined to conauer Iraq "sooner or later;" so he seized upon 9/11, politicized it, and launched a unilateral, pre-emptive strike on the pretext of a handful of lies!
By this point, the hypocritical reactionary will be gibbering and foaming at the mouth with frustration. So long as you cleverly mischaracterize everything he/she/indeterminate says, not only will none of the spectators have any clue what he/she/indeterminate is really trying to say, but you will also likely drive him/her/indeterminate away into the night/day/twilight... and the side of truth, justice, and the Progressivist way will rule.
Your Fascist, racist, sexist, genderophobic, running-dog, imperialist opponents will doubtless try to discriminate against and harass you by claiming you are avoiding debate because you have no arguments -- no evidence, no principles, no point. Do not allow yourself to feel hurt or inadequate.
The Progressivist purpose behind debate-avoidance techniques is not to make up for any supposed "deficiency" on our part; as keepers of the Vision, we have absolute moral authority and a collective intelligence we can tap into; this collective intelligence gives every liberal the functional equivalent of an IQ of 732!
(This is not an estimate; it has been measured in a study by the independent, bipartisan Center for American Progress, funded by the highly respected Open Society Institute, which has never been accused of partisanship. You don't have to take our word; Google it.)
The reason we use these beginner, intermediate, and advanced techniques for dodging debate is that we're so intelligent, so scary-smart, that (a) we don't want to take unfair advantage of the animal-like "intelligences" on the other side, and (b) it would demean us, the anointed, to stoop and "debate" criminals, liars, and fools who reject the spiritual Vision. We would become attainted by treating the dhimmi on the Right as if they were our "equals."
So take heart, fellow Progressivists and liberals; our refusal ever to stand our ground in honest debate is a feature, not a bug; it demonstrates our superiority and actually proves that our side, as expected, was right all along.
To quote one of our greatest philosophers of Progressivism:
(From "The Persecution and Assassination of the Parapsychologists as Performed by the Inmates of the American Association for the Advancement of Science under the Direction of the Amazing Randi;" p. 85, Right Where You Are Sitting Now, ©1982, And/Or Press, Inc. -- first printing.)
Hatched by Sachi on this day, September 4, 2011, at the time of 10:25 AM
The following hissed in response by: Baggi
There is something similar to this going on right now with the Jimmy Hoffa story.
As we all remember, a few months back Rep Giffords was shot by a crazed mad man. The media and the Democrats (I repeat myself) decided to blame this on the Tea Party and Sarah Palin. Specifically, on the rhetoric being used.
We all said this was stupid. That the tea party and Sarah Palin weren't using any rhetoric that hasn't been used throughout the past century in American politics and that the guy was a crazed, psycho killer.
Even so, President Obama gave a speech on the "new tone" in politics.
Fast forward to yesterday. Hoffa calls Republicans sons a bitches and says he's going to "take them out" with the implication being at the polls. But we all know that such talk belongs to the mafia in regards to killing someone.
No one the right thinks that Hoffa actually intends to start killing people, or was actually instructing people in Unions to start killing Tea Party members. Some might think he secretly wants that, but that is not what was meant by his rhetoric.
So Fox News and the Breibart sites report on his rhetoric. And they make the point that this doesn't fit the narrative of the "new tone".
The response from the left? They took his comments out of context, deceptively edited the tape, and that Hoffa was actually talking about "taking them out" at the polls.
Of course he meant taking them out at the polls.
But, like your post shows above, this is a very clever way to change the subject. Completely ignore what Fox News and Breitbart are saying, that this doesn't fit the new town, and make it about something else completely. How dare they say he meant what he said and wants to actually kill people.
Very clever. No wonder Soros pays these guys.
The following hissed in response by: Da Coyote
Gasp! You've either copied that out of the
ABC/NBC/CBS/CNBC handbook, or you should copyright it asap!
Brilliant, and (unfortunately) very true.
Because it appears to work.
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