How To Be Right: The Art of Being Persuasively Correct (2015)
USE THEIR SILENCE TO SPEAK VOLUMES
Priorities expose the differences between left and right. As a righty, you tend toward the big-ticket miseries (as I label them): Islamic terror, tyrants, radical regimes, toxic ideologies, deadly criminals, vicious gangs, romantic comedies. These are just in my neighborhood. But it’s part of our genetic makeup, apparently. As conservatives, we tend to make it a priority to protect what we have from the onslaught of evil. It’s not a bad priority, in that it really is the only priority. It can make you seem a bit paranoid, like a well-armed hoarder in a panic bunker (me in my retirement years). But let’s face it: because of this demeanor, you’re the guy everyone is going to flee to for safety. When the world’s crumbling, I’m running to my Green Beret buddy’s house, not mine. And my house has better wine.
Meanwhile, the left focuses on smaller outrages and infractions (appropriately titled “microaggressions”), and finds an amazing measure of joy and solace in punitive actions. If you say something on Twitter that violates their tender sensitivities, they will do what is necessary to get you to apologize, to get you suspended, to get you fired. This is their form of exercise. This is what brings their lives meaning. Meanwhile, of course, in other countries people are raped, enslaved, executed, beheaded—for simply existing. Only in the greatest country in human history could so many obsess over such marginal offenses. Problem is, the big risks haven’t gone away. Not really.
As the old saying goes, the best way to turn liberals into conservatives is to mug them—with reality. Sit them down and go over their priorities. Don’t dismiss their priorities; just align them properly so they can see what truly matters.
KEEP YOUR OUTRAGES STRAIGHT
It’s Not Sexism—It’s Racism!
New outrage bubbles up over a word, a joke, a misplaced comma. Recently a woman created a video of herself on the streets of New York, claiming she had been catcalled more than a hundred times in twelve hours. I watched the video. Nearly all the catcalls were “hey” and “nice.” The woman seemed to walk in areas where minority men were standing around. She didn’t go to Saks or Equinox. In that same month, a woman was stoned to death in the Middle East, with her father leading the execution—for some adulterous infraction. In the same month, Boko Haram had kidnapped and enslaved dozens of women. So, yeah, catcalls suck. But they don’t rate, compared to true evil. Unless of course you don’t have to worry about primitives like Boko Haram—thanks to evil conservative institutions like the American military and the police. Then “raising catcalling awareness” becomes a human rights issue that The Hague should really look into.
It’s Not Tolerance—It’s Censorship!
As I write this (drunk and in boxers), a silly controversy brews in Berkeley (yes, redundant, I know). Thousands of people have signed a petition to get Bill Maher’s commencement speech canceled. The wusses behind the petition are upset over Maher’s criticism toward Islam, the only religion, he says, “that acts like the mafia that will fucking kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture, or write the wrong book.” He’s been called a bigot for this view, by a sweaty Ben Affleck, on his HBO show, which is hilarious given that Islam is not a race.
Liberals also continue to demean Christians for adhering to their beliefs against gay marriage. These are people who may be wrong—but they aren’t beheading anyone over their misconceptions. At least, not since the fifteenth century. I’d say that’s progress. Strange that “progressives” don’t appreciate the distinction.
On the left, the folks who are yelling the loudest are the same people usually silent about true religious intolerance around the globe. Remind them that we have Christians being massacred for simply not believing in Islam. We have assorted other religious types (and even Muslims) being slaughtered over doctrinal differences by ISIS.
The question you must always ask the liberal: why are you angry about this, and not about that?
The honest answer would be:
One: It’s easy. You can sign a petition, and still get to the sit-in without really doing anything that strenuous.
Two: It’s cool. The low-priority outrages—chasing some lunkhead white Christian or an insensitive celebrity—create buzz and attention that you would normally never get elsewhere. It’s more fun, too, because everyone the lib knows hates those people.
Three: It’s safe. Far less dangerous to call out a group of devout Christians than ISIS. It made Marilyn Manson’s career. He burned Bibles on tour—but never a Koran. That’s actually a compliment for Christians, though the world’s saggiest Goth has no idea why.
It’s Not Environmentalism—It’s Class Warfare!
Concern for the environment expresses itself in many ways. Almost all of them border on the insanely apocalyptic. The reason: there is no pushback. We’ve learned that if you want to keep talking without interruption, claim you care for the planet. No one will stop you. Even if you’re doing it in traffic, during rush hour. While bowing a cello.
No one bothers to prioritize environmental dangers. Well, almost no one. Bjorn Lomborg does it, but few listen because what he says violates the dogma presented by the panicky priests currently running the climate change religion (also, his name is Bjorn).
What are most climate change crazies silent about?
Lomborg points out that if we agreed to the Kyoto Protocols, it would cost about $150 billion a year (or 120 Hillary Clinton speeches), which he calls “a bad deal” (this from a TED talk back in 2005). As he points out, “All models show it will postpone warming for about six years in 2100. So the guy in Bangladesh who gets a flood in 2100 can wait until 2106.” (They’re patient, the Bangladeshis.) In sum, “We’ve spent a lot of money doing a little good.”
Lomborg points out that for half that cash, you could solve “all major basic problems in the world.” That is, “clean drinking water, sanitation, basic health care, and education.” We could even find a cure for Russell Brand.
His key point: free trade. “If we could get free trade, and especially cut subsidies in the U.S. and Europe, we could basically enliven the global economy to an astounding number of about 2,400 billion dollars a year, half of which would accrue to the third world.” (The other half would go to Mark Cuban, I suspect.) He says that within five years that could quickly pull some 300 million people out of poverty. Roughly the population of Manhattan.
Hey Media, Which Is Worse? A Jihadist or a Scientologist?
1. liberated from painful experiences
2. drug-free life
3. fate of women in the religion