Defeating the Left in argument

Thoughts on socialism and leftism generally

Re: Defeating the Left in argument

Postby Gavin » 14 Feb 2013, 22:37

Quite an apt title: "Champagne socialist Owen Jones fluffs his lines". Personally, I could just about tolerate the young lad under those amusing circumstances, but I must admit I found the combined sight of Alastair Campbell in the studio rather unpleasant. He and Michael Portillo are real politicians, of course. They've served time in the real world, and while I quite like Mr Portillo, I never liked Mr Campbell. He's the tabloid hack who was "propaganda minister" for Blair while he did what he did to the country.

Seeing people like him reminds me of when Ed Miliband walked past me in a side street at the Royal Wedding a couple of years ago. He was only about three metres from me. (I know, I should have! ;) He didn't so much as glance at the gathered crowds, who were behind cordons, even less smile. I still find it hard to believe that man might well be the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. It's like a kind of impending doom.

But on your core point, yes, I agree. It's helpful to have a firm grasp of economics, although the Left are very keen of bandying about statistics and, like Elliott, I don't have absolute faith in them.
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Re: Defeating the Left in argument

Postby Elliott » 15 Feb 2013, 12:16

Conservative: How has Britain benefited from mass immigration from the Third World?

Liberal: We've become a much more tolerant society.

Conservative: Tolerant of what?

Liberal: Duh! Third World immigrants!

Conservative: But if they weren't here, we wouldn't have to be tolerant of them, would we?

Liberal: Well, no.

Conservative: So the one way in which we've benefited from this change, is that we've learned to tolerate it?
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Re: Defeating the Left in argument

Postby Gavin » 15 Feb 2013, 12:41

Liberal:

"The starving poor of the UK are deprived. It's terrible the way they have to live."


Conservatives (can have a field day with this one):

"There need be no starving people in UK today and the so-called "poor" are millionnaires compared with the average person during the war or indeed the average person on planet Earth today."


"If they're so poor how come around my way so many of them have iPhones, massive great plasma screen TVs in their living rooms and enough money for cigarettes and alcohol? Even I can't afford those things."


"People are not forced at gunpoint to have children. They understand how they are made and they have them of their own accord. If they have them while they can't afford them, whose fault is that? It's theirs, but even so you don't need to worry yourself because the state looks after them."


"We live in a land of free enterprise. There is nothing to stop these people coming up with an idea, going to a bank, and making a go of it. Even near me a woman opened a sandwich shop. She is not an intellectual. She and her man work from 6am to 2pm every day serving the community - they're doing great [this is true]. You insult these people by suggesting they are incapable of determining their own futures."


"'Deprived' is a weasel word."
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Re: Defeating the Left in argument

Postby Nathan » 15 Feb 2013, 22:47

There's some excellent work here but I feel we ought to prepare ourselves for some unexpected comebacks, so I'm going to play devil's advocate here and try and do the liberal thing to throw a spanner in some of these conversations:

Elliott wrote:Liberal: Selective education is cruel, segregationist and disgusting.

Conservative: Don't the most intelligent deserve to be stretched as far as possible? Don't you feel guilty advocating that they be punished for being the best, and their potential be squandered?


Liberal: But what about the people who don't pass the test! What if somebody has one bad day and so you want to call them a failure and make them feel bad, that's monstrous!


Elliott wrote:Conservative: How has Britain benefited from mass immigration from the Third World?

Liberal: We've become a much more tolerant society.

Conservative: Tolerant of what?

Liberal: Duh! Third World immigrants!

Conservative: But if they weren't here, we wouldn't have to be tolerant of them, would we?

Liberal: Well, no.

Conservative: So the one way in which we've benefited from this change, is that we've learned to tolerate it?


Liberal: But what about disabled people and gay people? We have to be tolerant because what about them?

Elliott wrote:
Conservative: Isn't BBC3 just absolutely awful?

Liberal: Personally I agree, but the BBC's remit is to cater for all tastes, and I know that some people like BBC3.

Conservative: Idiots?

Liberal: Well, I don't like that word, and I suspect you're a bit of an intellectual snob, but yes: I think it's good that our national broadcaster caters to idiots.

Conservative: Do you think that people on housing estates etc., with no books in the house or whatever, should get a cultural diet from the State that keeps them in their low cultural condition?

Liberal: Talk about a loaded question!

Conservative: Not really. It's factual. Do you or do you not believe that the poor are incapable of improvement?

Liberal: I believe they are capable of improvement.

Conservative: So why should the State broadcaster be pandering to them, stopping them from improving, keeping them in a low cultural condition?

Liberal: Well, I don't believe in "low culture" or "high culture". Everything is equal.

Conservative: So what, then, would "improvement" look like? And also, if you believe everything is equal, why did you agree at the start of this conversation that BBC3 is absolutely awful?

Liberal: You're twisting my words. I don't know how. But you are, somehow.

Conservative: I'm not. Your ideas are contradictory, self-defeating and platitudinous.

Liberal: "Platitudinous"?! Where did you hear a word like that?

Conservative: Not BBC3.


Liberal: But people want to watch it! Are you saying all those people are wrong?!

Gavin wrote:
Liberal: Who cares about The Telegraph? That's just a right wing rag, no better than The Sun.

Conservative: Did you know it sells three times as many copies as The Guardian? [We phrase this as a question, so that the liberal must admit they didn't know or defend themselves in some other way]

Liberal: It doesn't matter how many it sells. It's still all right wing rubbish.

Conservative: Well, I agree with democracy and the opinion of the majority, personally. [Thus we embarrass the liberal on one of their core grounds] But I agree that the journalists are not always great. They are quite politically correct. I always jump straight to the comments. They don't censor as heavily as The Guardian. I believe in freedom of speech. Don't you? [Question. Always a question - play their game.]

Liberal: I hate hate speech!

Conservative: Yes, like the Islamic preachers and some of these feminists. Did you hear that Macy Gray said women are better than men recently? And Diane Abbot's comment on white people. Disgusting. [Use any stories you have, anything. Precisely quote people and things you have read on this forum]


Liberal: But that's different! We did horrible things to all those people like slavery! They only behave that way because people like you are so racist!

Elliott wrote:Liberal: A welfare state is a great thing. It is the institutionalisation of kindness.

Conservative: It's not kindness at all, because it's compelled. Do you fear that, un-forced, you wouldn't give much of your money to charity?


Liberal: But it's not people's fault that they're poor! Some people are disabled or lost their jobs because the Government got rid of them because they don't care while the bankers are being given millions of pounds - it's all wrong! You don't care if people end up homeless!
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Re: Defeating the Left in argument

Postby Elliott » 15 Feb 2013, 23:36

[ON SELECTIVE EDUCATION]

Liberal: But what about the people who don't pass the test! What if somebody has one bad day and so you want to call them a failure and make them feel bad, that's monstrous!

Conservative: That's a good point. It also highlights the danger of somebody having one good day and they get called a success unduly. However, I take your point. Clearly any selective education system would be in error (and shooting itself in the foot) if it did not offer second, even third, chances for a bright child to be recognised so that s/he could join their proper school. We are not talking about a big nasty test for the sake of having a big nasty test; we are talking about ways of successfully determining people's abilities so that they can get into the environment that will serve them best.
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Re: Defeating the Left in argument

Postby Elliott » 15 Feb 2013, 23:44

[ON MASS IMMIGRATION MAKING US MORE TOLERANT]

Liberal: But what about disabled people and gay people? We have to be tolerant because what about them?

Conservative: Of course, being tolerant towards them has nothing whatsoever to do with mass immigration, but anyway... I agree that we have to be tolerant (though it's not the right word, more simply "decent") towards disabled people. With regards to being tolerant towards gay people, of course, though their requests should never be allowed to denigrate heterosexuality, the family unit, the standard raising of children, or the traditional roles of men and women. And also, homosexuality is nothing to be celebrated any more than being ginger or left-handed is.
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Re: Defeating the Left in argument

Postby Elliott » 15 Feb 2013, 23:45

[ON BBC3 AND ALL OTHER TRASH MEDIA]

Liberal: But people want to watch it! Are you saying all those people are wrong?!

Conservative: Yes. Absolutely. Without a shadow of a doubt. They're wrong. Every one of them. And don't act shocked on their behalf: I doubt this news would come as much of a surprise to them.
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Re: Defeating the Left in argument

Postby Elliott » 15 Feb 2013, 23:46

[ON RACISM]

Liberal: But that's different! We did horrible things to all those people like slavery! They only behave that way because people like you are so racist!

Conservative: No. They behave that way because people like you let them, and even require that they do in order to aid your narrative of them being victims, so that you can continually come to their rescue. You actually have a more patronising view of them than any conservative.
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Re: Defeating the Left in argument

Postby Elliott » 15 Feb 2013, 23:48

Nathan wrote:I feel we ought to prepare ourselves for some unexpected comebacks, so I'm going to play devil's advocate here and try and do the liberal thing to throw a spanner in some of these conversations

That's an excellent idea. I urge everyone to pick apart the arguments that are presented, as that will enable us to make them bulletproof.
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Re: Defeating the Left in argument

Postby Gavin » 16 Feb 2013, 11:15

Nathan wrote:"I feel we ought to prepare ourselves for some unexpected comebacks, so I'm going to play devil's advocate here and try and do the liberal thing to throw a spanner in some of these conversations"


Yes, that's what we need, thanks Nathan. I would respond to the objections to Elliott's arguments in much the same way he did. On this one:

Liberal: But what about the people who don't pass the test! What if somebody has one bad day and so you want to call them a failure and make them feel bad, that's monstrous!


I would add:

Conservative: You are critiquing the exam system - not the core points of the argument - as I would too (I was not good at exams at school age - albeit possibly due to bad state schooling). Exams aren't the only way of measuring ability, and as you say people can have off days. But they may be the best way and we have to have some way.


On slavery and racism:

Liberal: But that's different! We did horrible things to all those people like slavery! They only behave that way because people like you are so racist!


Conservative: I don't accept your argument. I've done nothing wrong to these individuals and I'm am not about to apologise to them in any way, shape or form. But even supposing you were right, are you saying that two wrongs make a right? Is that the way morality works with you people on the Left? I find that morally repellant.

[Remembering here that appeals to emotion and claims of immorality will work better than cool reason with these people - cast them as the bad guys (which they actually are on analysis) as often as possible, because they will not hesitate to do this to us.]
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Re: Defeating the Left in argument

Postby Nathan » 17 Feb 2013, 15:06

Elliott wrote:[ON MASS IMMIGRATION MAKING US MORE TOLERANT]

Liberal: But what about disabled people and gay people? We have to be tolerant because what about them?

Conservative: Of course, being tolerant towards them has nothing whatsoever to do with mass immigration, but anyway... I agree that we have to be tolerant (though it's not the right word, more simply "decent") towards disabled people. With regards to being tolerant towards gay people, of course, though their requests should never be allowed to denigrate heterosexuality, the family unit, the standard raising of children, or the traditional roles of men and women. And also, homosexuality is nothing to be celebrated any more than being ginger or left-handed is.


Actually I think a liberal would be able to see a connection between tolerance of gay and disabled people and tolerance of mass immigration (meaning immigration of those with a vastly different culture), and I would actually agree with him. I can't imagine a society being as tolerant (or at least demoralised enough to be resigned to our fate, though that's another story!) as we are now of all manner of different Other pouring into the country while still having 1950s views on things like homosexuality and people with disabilities, and things like left-handedness for that matter. I am inclined to think that modern attitudes towards the last three are a good thing, but it leaves us the dilemma of knowing where to draw the line and how to justify tolerating some things and not others. The liberals have it much easier with their dogma of 'anything goes'.

Also 'standard raising of children' - whose standard, as the liberal will say?

Elliott wrote:[ON BBC3 AND ALL OTHER TRASH MEDIA]

Liberal: But people want to watch it! Are you saying all those people are wrong?!

Conservative: Yes. Absolutely. Without a shadow of a doubt. They're wrong. Every one of them. And don't act shocked on their behalf: I doubt this news would come as much of a surprise to them.


I would be reluctant to go down this route. We need to shock liberals by coming across as thoroughly reasonable people and calling vast numbers of people wrong is falling into their trap of wanting to cast us as the bad guy. Besides, I have lowbrow tastes which don't necessarily fit with many other aspects of my personality and views - I'm a genuine fan of professional darts for one who watches it on TV every chance I get and have been to watch tournaments in person many times, and I wouldn't take too kindly to somebody telling me I'm wrong for it.
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Re: Defeating the Left in argument

Postby Elliott » 17 Feb 2013, 15:34

Personally I wouldn't say that darts is low-brow trash media, Nathan. I'm talking about inane reality shows, makeover shows, and vulgar dramas such as you find on BBC3. (Incidentally I'm also not referring to shows like Family Guy and American Dad which are on BBC3. There is a lot of nihilism in those shows, but they are very witty and insightful.)

Actually I think a liberal would be able to see a connection between tolerance of gay and disabled people and tolerance of mass immigration (meaning immigration of those with a vastly different culture), and I would actually agree with him. I can't imagine a society being as tolerant (or at least demoralised enough to be resigned to our fate, though that's another story!) as we are now of all manner of different Other pouring into the country while still having 1950s views on things like homosexuality and people with disabilities, and things like left-handedness for that matter. I am inclined to think that modern attitudes towards the last three are a good thing, but it leaves us the dilemma of knowing where to draw the line and how to justify tolerating some things and not others. The liberals have it much easier with their dogma of 'anything goes'.

You might be right.

Being left-handed myself, I am pretty sensitive about the idea that, if I'd been born a few decades earlier, I'd have been forced to use my right hand.

I'm not sure that our attitudes towards homosexuality and disability are contingent on having lots of immigrants in our country. I think this is two separate threads that spring from the same root. We can have one thread (decent attitudes towards homosexuality and disability etc.) without having the other thread (mass immigration).

But this is a complex question and I'm really not sure about it. Maybe you're right that, without any Third World immigrants, we would still have 1950s attitudes towards those other things.

I tend to think that both phenomena are the results of a rising liberalism. It's had some good effects, but it has also had very destructive effects. Even within the same "issue" it has had both good and bad effects: personally I'm pro allowing gay people to live their lives in peace, but I think gay adoption is a step too far.

I don't think we needed black or Asian immigrants to make us think that it's okay to allow a child to write with his left hand. Such developments in education would have occurred in time anyway.
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Re: Defeating the Left in argument

Postby Elliott » 22 Feb 2013, 03:23

Liberal: Godwin's Law!

Conservative: What do you mean by that?

Liberal: Well, you mentioned the Nazis, and that means you must have run out of all credible ideas. You're using implausible ideas to make your argument.

Conservative: Do you think that the Nazis are incredible and implausible? They were in power just 70 years ago. In historical terms, that is very recent. What is so incredible or implausible about the idea of a similar government emerging today? And even if that didn't happen, it would still be the case that Nazism was real, within living memory, so it is not at all unrealistic or implausible.
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Re: Defeating the Left in argument

Postby Elliott » 22 Feb 2013, 03:27

Conservative: The Nazis were not far-right. They were far-left.

Liberal: Oh, this is about them having the word "Socialist" in their name? Big deal.

Conservative: No, it's about Hitler saying "capitalism has run its course". It's about the ability of the Nazi state to confiscate businesses and profits. It's about Hitler saying that every individual was an agent of the state. It's about the Volkswagen and the Autobahn projects. It's about the red in Nazi pariphernalia being a reference to its Communist origins. It's about Hitler describing capitalism as the "economic system for exploitation of the economically weak". It's about Hitler saying: "I am a Socialist."
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Re: Defeating the Left in argument

Postby Gavin » 22 Feb 2013, 11:55

I really like that one on National Socialism: a comprehensive demolition.

And if I may on "Godwin's Law":

Liberal: Godwin's Law! (with smug expression)


Conservative: What? Didn't you know that doesn't work any more? It's as devalued as shouting "racism". You're going to have to do a lot better than that: you're going to have to actually explain why my comparison is flawed.
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