Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Coin Toss

One of the biggest mistakes people make is not understanding the nature of the game they are playing; thinking they are playing by one set of rules when in fact real game is being played by an entirely different set of rules.

Leftists very commonly assert that that non-leftists have to offer a fully fleshed-out alternative to the status quo before they can offer criticisms of the current faddish idea of the Left. When you try to explain to them that the validity of an idea has nothing to do with the validity of any competing ideas, they stare at you blankly.

This is correct and I agree with it, but it is beside the point. The Left is not playing by the rules of logic. They are not engaged in an academic debate over ideas, they are engaged in political competition, a competition for power and influence and they are willing to use whatever means of persuasion will work regardless of whether they are logically valid. It doesn't matter whether you like this or not, you have to adapt to your adversary's tactics and strategies. You can't defeat the Left with logic, you can only defeat the Left with perpetual activism and organization and by using whatever rhetorical tactics will work. If you don't have the will to do that, then get used to losing.

Yes it is true that you can examine the validity of a statement, assertion, argument etc without being obligated to offer an alternative. But again this isn't a classroom, this is political competition and policymaking and so yes it is necessary to have an alternative when you criticize a policy. Policymakers want solutions to problems. If you want to successfully compete then you will develop policy options along with your criticism.

This reminds me of one of my favorite Bill Cosby bits:


Dan tdaxp said...

The Right is equally dangerous. [1] William F. Buckley was right to expel them from the conservative movement. [2]


phil said...

Hey Dan, thanks for the comment. I agree, the variety of extremisms that have been emerging on the right since last November is disturbing. However this is not the 50s-early 60s where someone like Buckley could exercise influence over a fairly limited movement that was just getting formed. Today no one is in a position to be expelling anyone. I would also suggest that Buckley himself deserved similar treatment for his support for segregation which he later conceded was wrong. That contributed to the perception among many that conservatives are all racists (a friend of mine said that to me the other day). The Left is very savvy and opportunistic and they have taken advantage of this for their own benefit. This is something that conservatives have never been able to successfully counter, in fact they seem to be determined to keep giving fuel to the Left's fire.