Making the enemy’s argument

Now I feel dirty. Last week I was playing devil’s advocate with Joe, making the left’s arguments the best I could, seeing what he’d come up with in response. I think it’s important to have the ability to argue the points of the other side at least as well as those True Believers (useful idiots) that the power brokers rely on to maintain the rank and file. It is my thesis that once you can do a good job making the left’s case, you’ll have a better understanding of the fundamental differences in world views, and can then focus on those differences and bring them to light efficiently.

I wrote this last week, but hesitated to post it. Well here it is anyway;

Joe; Secondary or even tertiary point: Everyone can express an opinion. But until you express it in numbers which actually represent
the benefits and costs you haven’t proved anything beyond that you can string words together and form sentences.

Me; You want to limit the manner in which I may speak. People are not numbers, nor are they statistics. The starving people of the
world, the hopeless and the desperate, do not need statistics to know that they are hungry, and neither numbers nor your fake intellectual arguments for “freedom” will feed them.

Joe; Primary point: Government is force. At the most basic level it is the power to kill people that oppose it. Who granted and where
and when did government get this power to compel the whole of society to work for the “common good” instead of protecting the individual ability to make their own decisions and chart their own course in life?

Me; Yes; government is force, and you are as willing as anyone else to see that force used, so long as it is used to further your
ideals at the expense of other’s ideals.

Who granted, and where did you get the power to decide that people should NOT work for the common good, that they should instead be concerned only with themselves at the expense of everyone else, at the expense of the entire planet, and at the expense of everyone in the future? You are ignoring the grave and destructive consequences of that which you advocate.

Joe; It is immoral to force another to do their bidding for the good of another when their previous actions harmed no one. Your
“greater good” argument is nothing but a weak justification for slavery by another name. Advocates of such a society deserve all the scorn, revulsion, ostracizing, and political as well as physical resistance due any other slaver.

Me: You free-marketers use some form of this argument frequently, but is a false and blatantly hypocritical argument. First; who gave you and your cronies the exclusive power to define for everyone else what is and is not “moral”? It seems you are manipulating that definition to suit your own selfishness and convenience. You often use your “morality” as a weapon against people you wish to suppress, causing them harm.

You are perfectly willing to use force to protect your property and your comfortable way of life, even to the point of owning guns yourself and training to kill people, and yet you complain when government uses force, in a democratic republic which you claim to advocate and which is merely doing the will of the People? Could there BE a higher, more virulent form of hypocrisy? No, Sir; don’t tell me you’re against using force while you simultaneously brag about walking around with a loaded gun. “Disgraceful” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

An don’t speak to me about capitalism having “harmed no one”. The “free market system” (a disgusting term) of greed and opulence for the few is in fact, to put it in your own words, “forcing some to do the bidding of others” as people trapped in poverty are forced to work as wage-slaves for the people with the money and property. Further, when a more powerful corporation puts a smaller one out of business (because they never understand when enough is enough and they always want more more more) they have harmed that smaller business and everyone who depended on it for their sustenance. They’ve been put out onto the streets, and you claim “no harm”? The extent of your denial is fascinating, and very telling. Explain that to the family that’s in bankruptcy court because the parents lost their jobs due to “free market competition” from a Big Box store chain. Capitalism is constantly harming other people, and in many, many ways, and yet you blindly hold it up and cling to it as though it were the greatest thing ever.

Yet I can forgive you– You’ve been conditioned all your life to believe this gunk, and it’s extremely difficult to overcome one’s life-long programming without some kind of shock to initiate the process of waking up from one’s materialist fever. Well I have news for you. I’ll have the courage to say it if no one else will; you had better start waking up because your time is running out– You represent the past whereas We the Citizens of the World represent the future.
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I think that pretty well represents the mind of the useful idiot. I could go on and on of course, and adding more layers of complexity, more erroneous assertions and accusations, and appeals to envy, anger, victim mentality and other emotion is all part of the game, but that’s a good sample. Those at the top of the political power food chain benefit greatly from this kind of thinking and its proliferation, but they don’t believe any of it for a second. It’s a tool. A big part of the game lies in putting the freedom advocate off his game with endless accusations and insults, never allowing any issue to come to resolution. The crazier the assertions, sometimes, the better– Whatever it takes to hijack someone’s emotions thus throwing them off balance, while taking advantage of any self doubt or insecurity, with the oft used grand finale of putting the capitalist into a pathetic minority, opposed to a glorious and energetic majority. It works extremely well on young people of course, and so they have been a perennial target. We usually fall for it too. Republicans (the ones who may not actually be Progressives) fall for it practically 100% of the time.

Where we often fail is in forgetting that the ideal of freedom appeals to people’s strengths and potential, whereas the leftist tactics appeal to our weaknesses, our emotions of envy, insecurity, fear, anger and so on.

Therefore it’s an entirely different argument with an entirely different set of appeals, with virtually no overlap. What works for the Dark Side cannot, will not, work for human freedom.

16 thoughts on “Making the enemy’s argument

  1. So the question is, then, what tactics work best against that sort of emotional monster, that feeds and human weakness, that thinks everyone is as fearful, weak, greedy, and lazy as they themselves are? How do we reach them before the frozen flounder of reality beats them to death, or we are lead to the camps by the useful idiots one step ahead of said idiot?

    • That certainly is the question, and well put. I don’t claim to know the answer.

      The game of the Dark Side is to capitalize on our weaknesses (frustration, resentment, anger, our ability to be intimidated, our desire for peace even at a high price to our honor and dignity and so on) so I ask the question; what is the antidote to all that?

      Light doesn’t struggle with darkness. It dispels it by its mere presence.

      I once had a guy screaming at me, his face right up into mine, and I was fairly sure he was going to punch me in the face just then. There were no witnesses for a good mile.

      I did however have some respect for the man. Maybe that was why I didn’t get upset in the least, or turn or flinch or take any defensive or offensive position, neither physically nor rhetorically. I would have stood there and let him punch me in the face and I think he knew it, because he immediately calmed down and we had a productive conversation based on common interests, and a plan afterward, which I tell you was carried out to resolution.

      Now you can’t do that with a sociopath or any truly crazy person or one who wants nothing but to destroy you. The sociopath will continue to try to run you down and take advantage of you in subtle ways as long as you have any kind of association with him, and another kind of crazy person will do physical violence. He wasn’t crazy, it turned out, and so I was lucky in that instance.

      The antidote in that case, and I think in a lot of cases, is complete calm, steadfastness and honesty. You can’t fake it though.

      Irritation, frustration and anger (all facets of the same thing) will kill you when you’re all alone and it will poison any relationship and escalate any confrontation. It’s the weapon of the Enemy and we cannot wield it. I’ll refrain from mentioning the fires of Mount Doom in which it was forged.

      How often have we heard the phrase; “something came over me”? Well if that something is irritation, frustration, anger, fear or suchlike, then you’re done for. If it’s calm awareness then you win, even when it may not look like it. It puts you way ahead of the game, inside the enemy’s decision loop. The enemy knows this and will do anything to prevent it, by calling up your emotions.

      Other people would disagree though. They need negative strong emotions to be motivated. I say those people are very quickly burning themselves out.

      I don’t know where calm, detached awareness comes from or how to summon it when needed. The enemy knows how to get people going, getting them upset or afraid, angry or embarrassed or uncomfortable or off balance and that’s it’s one and only strength. It really isn’t even all that good at it either, if you think about it. It has a small “vocabulary”, a short playlist, and it’s kind of dumb. It needs us to feed it, in more ways than one.

      And maybe (maybe) there’s a long-winded and rather cryptic answer to your simple question. The opposite of them pointing out our weaknesses is us pointing out the enemy’s strengths. In other words it’s truth. Again though, this doesn’t apply to the truly crazy person, so you probably have to kill the mutherfucker and hang him upside down from a pole in the town square, or beat his ass so hard (one way or another) that he won’t ever want to even see you again, much less have to face you, for the rest of his miserable stinking life.

      Another part of it is the absolute willingness to experience pain and suffering for what’s right, even if it means you lose everything, your friends hate you, or you die face down in the sewer, penniless, naked, cold, despised and alone. I don’t know if I can do that. There’s not a politician alive who can do it, or at least not yet, and so that leaves the rest of us wretches.

      Are you cheered up yet? They say it’s a sin to be gloomy.

  2. So…. were you guys in the same room having this discussion – or is this just a sequence of monologues?

  3. Joe’s statement “It is immoral to force another to do their bidding for the good of another when their previous actions harmed no one. ” begs the question. It presumes to define morality by his opinion of morality. It isn’t self-evident. Spock and the Socialists can just as easily say “It is immoral NOT to force the other to do my bidding.”

    Note that Joe eats meat. Certainly slaughtering a mammal for food counts as force and violence.

    • Ignoring the mammalian meat issue for now…

      It appears to me equal rights are axiomatic. Given that then the use of force except in the defense of self or others is contrary to equal rights.

      That is rather brief, but should be a good starting point to build upon. Do you find that self-contradictory or easily defeated by the statist mindset?

      • “It appears to me equal rights are axiomatic.”

        The Levelers, Marxists, et al have always agreed, and often used similar language, so no arguments there. Thank you for supporting the Progressive position.

        “Given that[,] then the use of force except in the defense of self or others is contrary to equal rights.”

        Again; the dedicated Marxist would have no argument there. Virtually everything the Marxist wants falls under the definition of defense of self and especially of others. When Wal Mart for example puts up a Super Center right next to an optometrist’s office, a hardware store, a drug store, a computer store and several others, they can put them all out of business in one fell stroke. Thus those smaller business must be defended from the harm inflicted upon them by Wal Mart, and so on and on and on, and we all, and all of those future generations yet unborn, must be defended against environmental damage and global climate change caused by greed and over-reaching for continuously higher standards of living for a few at the expense of everyone else.

        Man; you guys are easy prey. You talk about harm as being the defining benchmark, and so you fall right into it. How many times do you try to stamp out a flaming bag of poo that someone keeps placing on your doorstep before you realize that you’re just getting yourself covered in shit?

        You build a house right next to mine, destroying the nice view that was one of the reason I bought my place, and you have destroyed my view, thus reducing the value of my property. I should be able to defend myself against the harm you’re causing me. You put up billboards, “blocking up the scenery, breaking my mind” and spoiling the landscape, and you’re causing everyone harm. You put up a jumbotron video billboard along a busy interstate and you’re distracting drivers, thus causing physical harm. Someone must rise up and defend the Little Guy from such harm. I could go on for a month, non-stop, about all the harm caused by people exercising what you claim are “rights”. The Marxists have gone on, non-stop- for around 150 years and they’re not running out of material. The Levelers were around in the middle 1600s, and they didn’t have have any trouble making examples of such harm.

      • “Equal rights” is a short-hand that is easy to misinterpret.

        One intentional misinterpretation would be that we have equal rights: I won and you lost. My right to enslave you trumps your right not to be enslaved, because you have to work hard, and the government redistributes your earnings to me. Sure, we have equal rights to not be enslaved – I exercise my right by teaming up with my buddies, and you don’t exercise your right be cause you can’t.

        If you mean “equal rights” to mean that no person should enslave another, and coercion is wrong, that is not axiomatic. A majority of Americans believe in Solipism, the idea that their rights trump yours (and anyone else’s). They internalize any slight against someone they identify with as a slight against them, and they are the enemy of anyone who disagrees with them.

        I can respect an appeal to God in defining “equal rights”. But if you leave God out of the argument, then “equal rights” is begging the question.

        If I explictly reject the idea that you are my equal, and I refuse to accord you equal rights, or any rights that are within my power to strip away: Why should a godless Solipsist care whether you can protect yourself? How does that help me? Maybe I get some small economic benefit from your hard work, but maybe the risk of you having justifiable cause to shoot me outweighs that benefit. Why should I fear to loot your home, or loot your bank account, or raise your taxes, just because you and millions of other people have the ballot box, the soap box, and the ammo box?

        The ideology of Capitalism is that what is good for the individual is good for the whole. As a parasite unwilling to thrive by my own hard work (and quite desiring to thrive by the status quo), how is my interest served by letting you ‘cling to your to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations’?

        • Alternatively worded,
          do you accord equal rights to an open enemy? Someone who hates you generally and specifically, in ignornace and knowledge, who would rejoice in any harm small or great to you and your loved one, who bends all resources against you,
          do you as a matter of principle accord your honest enemy equal rights?

          Would you defend your avowed enemy his rights to free speech, press, religion, assembly, arms and due process in full measure to your own? Even as your rights are illegally infringed and gnawed, do you hold to your morals? Is impartiality the same as indifference, or is there any point you’d succumb to putting your finger on the scale in your favor?

          • An excellent question. I think that for me, the answer is yes, until they take active force against me. When they declare their intentions by their actions directly, and with unjustified force, then, perhaps, stepping on them is appropriate. We incarcerate even murders, rapists, and thieves. But when defending ourselves from direct hostile actions, their right to life ends where our right to self defense is exercisable.

          • You can defend yourself and others without hate and without cheating anyone out of their rights.

            Once someone has openly declared war against you (assuming you’re innocent) and demonstrated the willingness and ability to carry it out, they have by their choice and actions forfeited much of what we call rights. You can and should acknowledge their inherent equality and rights up to that point, then kill them, or otherwise do what is necessary to secure your freedom and the freedom of others.

            This is all in keeping with the idea that we are all created equal and have equal rights. It means becoming an aggressor is your means of self destruction.

            Ideally we’d be able to convince others that aggression is something to avoid, but that’s not always possible. Nor are we all innocent, and so it becomes fairly easy to justify aggression (initiation of force) by pointing out the many and obvious failings of others. Nor is aggression always so obvious and overt. It often comes by stealth, disguised as virtue.

            So along with all the rest of this stuff, we MUST have the power of rational, cool discernment, further tempered with patience, love and forgiveness.

  4. I found the dialogue reenforcing of my own beliefs. Government is indeed force and no ideology is going to change that. Those on the Left of the spectrum drone on about equality and fairness except they never practice their own preachings. Fairness and equality would clearly recognize the individual and the individual’s obligation to themselves and their own beliefs. This would allow for ALL Peoples to act as they see fit,without coercion or penalty. As long as other individuals suffer no physical harm from it. Each individual would have the ability to advance their causes among those of the like minded to the fullest extent of their powers, likewise for those of other ideologies. The single most important ideal is the lack of force and coercion, it is evident that those on the Left side of the debate neither understand the principle and are unwilling to treat others in “equal ” manner as the one it demands for itself. Until the Left garners a modicum of honesty there can be no productive dialogue.

    • “Those on the Left of the spectrum drone on about equality and fairness except they never practice their own preachings.”

      Disparage those “preachings” all you want. No one is perfect, and yet even so we can aspire to the ideal of perfection. Sometimes we need a little help to nudge us in the right direction. That’s all the Progressives are asking.

      “Fairness and equality would clearly recognize the individual and the individual’s obligation to themselves and their own beliefs.”

      There you go again, uphold selfishness as a lofty ideal, while ignoring the harm it can cause, while also ignoring those other people who’s beliefs are very different from yours. You want your beliefs upheld and forced upon others (preemption laws for example). You cynically contradict yourself in attempting to deny the left’s beliefs and their ability to put their beliefs into action through democratic processes.

      “As long as other individuals suffer no physical harm from it.”

      There you go, using that word “harm” again. Only now you limit it to physical harm. What about financial harm and even financial ruin? That doesn’t count, suddenly? Emotional trauma doesn’t count either? In any case, as I outlined in an above comment, your ideal of “liberty” results in countless examples of very real, tangible harm of all endless varieties, coming from the exercising of what you claim are “rights”.

  5. “You are perfectly willing to use force to protect your property and your comfortable way of life, even to the point of owning guns yourself and training to kill people, and yet you complain when government uses force, in a democratic republic which you claim to advocate and which is merely doing the will of the People? Could there BE a higher, more virulent form of hypocrisy? No, Sir; don’t tell me you’re against using force while you simultaneously brag about walking around with a loaded gun. “Disgraceful” doesn’t even begin to describe it.”

    To take a page from Ayn Rand, even though I do not like the rest of her philosophy, we are against the INITIATION of force, not against the use of force.

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