How NOT to Argue With Liberals

Heeeeeere's Didact...

I'd like to say that I've been away due to a very busy work schedule, but frankly that's not really true; it's mostly due to chronic laziness on my part that I really haven't posted anything much of late. That should change in the near future, now that I've fully caught up on the last season of ABC's "Castle".

(What?!?! Nathan Fillion is EPICally awesome, and you know it. Ever since the days of "Firefly" and then "Serenity", I've been a big fan of his acting work, and all I can say is that his work in "Castle" is both brilliant and hysterical.)

Rampant fanboyism aside, I have been keeping an eye (well, sort of) on the news. This particular bit of liberal moonbattery caught my attention recently:
We used to all agree, if you’re in America, that if a person keeps their nose clean and works hard at it full-time job, they should make enough to be able to raise a family. It was the rationale for the minimum wage. 
But billionaires like the Walton heirs have fought to keep the minimum wage at a level below what could be called a living wage for decades. And so, instead of paying their workers well, the Walton heirs take so many billions out of the company themselves that those six individuals own more wealth than over 100 million Americans combined. 
The minimum wage in 1968, which in today’s dollars would be about $10.25, was at least a starting point to a livable wage. 
Raising our minimum wage to where it was 1968 would lift millions of people out of poverty, and reduce our welfare and food stamp rolls. And it would not mean that burgers or goods Wal-Mart would be more expensive; it would mean that the billionaires would have to bake only hundreds of millions instead of billions. 
Nobody who lives in the richest nation on earth and works hard through their life should have to live in such grinding poverty that it impacts the ability of their minds to function. This is a moral crisis for America. 
If the only way a business can run is by paying below poverty wages and relying on taxpayers to subsidize the company by supplementing their employees food and living expenses with things like food stamps and section 8 housing, that business should not exist.
The conservative follow-up to this bit of idealistic, hare-brained stupidity is, quite frankly, rather limp:
More concerning is Hartmann’s historical fantasy that “we used to all agree, if you’re in America, that if a person keeps their nose clean and works hard at it full-time job, they should make enough to be able to raise a family. It was the rationale for the minimum wage.” I agree with the former, hard work ought to be rewarded. But actually, the original rationale for the minimum wage was to serve as a protectionist and eugenicist strategy by vested labor unions to suppress employment of new immigrant groups. Frankly, ignoring the harmful effects of the minimum wage while staunchly advocating for its increase is a form of race and class complicity unacceptable for anyone with a reliable Internet connection (See: Bernstein and Leonard 2009 and Leonard 2009). 
True liberals would be better to devote attention to social processes causing unarguably harm to the poor such as the war on drugs, our overzealous criminal justice system, mass incarceration, our failing public education policies, and immigration controls.
This is, as far as I can see, a textbook example of how to lose an argument with a liberal. And the sad part is, liberals practically hand libertarians and conservatives the methods by which to destroy them in their own words. The problem is that K-selected libertarian and conservative types, for whatever reason, simply cannot use those methods- not without time and training, it would seem. Fortunately, thanks to the work of men like Anonymous Conservative, that is no longer the case.

Over the last week or so, I spent a great deal of time reading through Anonymous Conservative's primer on touching the amygdala and how one can use it to reframe an argument with someone of the unicorns-and-rainbows persuasion of political thinking. I strongly recommend that you go forth and read the entire thing, it is well worth your time. Then, come back and re-read those Daily Caller pages again, and what I am about to write will make far more sense to you.

You see, the liberal brain operates on a set of beliefs and ideas that have no bearing whatsoever on reality. They have zero grounding in logic, little understanding of history, and probably negative understanding of basic economic truths. That is why progressive societies always and everywhere devolve into tyranny (another post on this subject coming up soon)- because liberals simply cannot understand the consequences of their actions.

Why, then, do they keep seeming to win arguments against people who are better informed, more logical, more grounded than they are? Simple: they resort to emotional arguments, not logical ones. The human brain is an odd construct, one that, as Nassim Taleb points out very nicely and repeatedly in Fooled by Randomness, simply does not handle real-world risks and probabilities very well. This also means that it is extremely susceptible to putting far too much value on extremely improbable events and far too little value on extremely likely events.

The way to outmanoeuvre a liberal is therefore not to resort to logic and facts. It doesn't matter how much you bombard a liberal with facts- he will doggedly stick to his position and refuse to acknowledge the truth of your arguments, mostly because liberals themselves very often do not even acknowledge the concept of a Higher Truth. (It is no secret that atheism and liberalism are tightly correlated; there aren't many atheist conservatives out there, after all.) The way to win such an argument, therefore, is to resort to the same method of out-grouping that liberals themselves use.

This isn't as weird as it sounds. Nor does it necessarily have to be dishonourable. Let's take the example of the minimum wage mentioned above in the Daily Caller article. Thomas Hartmann makes a powerful (but badly flawed) moral argument for a minimum wage, completely ignoring the fact that minimum wages lock out minorities from the job market, especially young black males. It is a known fact, readily available from the BLS's own statistics, that the Great Recession (really Great Depression 2.0) has hit young black males worst of all; the unemployment rate within that demographic ranges from 25% to 50% in certain very hard-hit areas. This trend has held firm throughout American history; as Arthur Laffer pointed out at a conference about 3 years ago, blacks are the last to get hired and the first to get fired in virtually any economic downturn over the last 50 years. If you think about it for even 2 minutes you will quickly see why, and it has very little of anything to do with racism.

So let's use this to put pressure on the liberal argument in favour of a minimum wage (which I adamantly oppose as a small-government, free-market libertarian). The way to approach this is very simple. All you have to do is point out what a heartless bastard your liberal friend is for wanting to lock out young black men from the job market- an ironic turn of events given how often liberals accuse us of being heartless and uncaring. (I would recommend wearing that label proudly, by the way; you'd be surprised at how differently people see you once they realise that you don't give a damn what they think of you). After all, that has been the exact result of the enactment of ever-higher minimum wages over the last 7 years. You can then point out that even the most ardent liberals in Congress somehow recognise this fact; after all, why else did Nancy Pelosi have to close a loophole for tuna canneries in American Samoa- given that Del Monte, which has significant business interests there, has its headquarters in San Francisco, which just so happens to be Mrs. Pelosi's district? Why, then, does your liberal friend hate black people? Doesn't her desire (yes, a lot of liberals happen to be female, I know I'm stereotyping here) to lock out black people from the job market reflect some deep-seated element of racism that she should know better than to express in public?

Pointing out the rank hypocrisy of liberals, combined with a deft manoeuvre designed to exclude them from in-group attention- the very thing that the liberal psyche so desperately craves- has a pretty interesting effect upon them. I've not had nearly as much success as A/C at destroying the fragile liberal ego, but even I can attest to the fact that liberals, when confronted with the severe inconsistencies of their own ideologies, become unable to maintain their composure. When confronted by a calm, methodical, relentless attack on their positions, combined with a ruthless dismantling of their own innate assumptions of moral superiority, the liberal mind simply ceases to function properly, and the liberal in question often has to leave the room- or worse.

This is not merely theoretical conjecture. I once had an argument along similar lines with my aunt, several years ago. This is partly why I don't see her very often; she cares about me very much, but I have no patience whatsoever for her stuck-up friends or her harebrained ideas about how the world should work. We were sitting outside a restaurant after a nice dinner and she brought up the subject of the "living wage". I asked her to define a living wage; she skipped around the issue. I tried attacking her ideas with facts and logic; she went straight into classic liberal emotion-mode and accused me of "insulting her intelligence". If I had known then what I know now, and if I had been in a circle of her liberal friends, I strongly suspect that I would have managed to out-group her. I would also have burned- no, dynamited- that relationship, but, well, let's just say that it wouldn't necessarily have been a great loss.

And that is the important part about arguing with liberals. To achieve maximum effect and force, one has to be in a crowd of them. r-selected types love to exert their moral superiority in their own echo-chamber of friends and acquaintances; K-selected types have no such luxury, being in general a fairly nuclear and extremely territorial bunch who stick to those we know and trust, and there aren't many of those around. This means by necessity being willing to speak up in a crowd- no mean feat for deep introverts and for many K-selected types who seek, above all, simply to be left alone. But, if you can apply what A/C teaches you in his series- I would also strongly recommend looking at Vox Day's inimitable methods of tearing apart his liberal critics- then you will likely win arguments pretty quickly. I warn you now, though, that this is the perfect method for losing "friends" and alienating people, so be prepared to pay the price that comes from refusing to go along to get along.

Certain ideas are worth defending. Certain creeds are worth the sacrifice. The ideas of independence, self-reliance, and free association are "still the newest and most unique idea[s] in the long history of Man's relationship to man." Are you so willing to let them fail and be forgotten? Or are you willing to stand up and be counted among those who would defend these priceless ideals, even at great personal cost to yourself?

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