I am been honored with a link from His Royal Shamus. I noticed that both his introduction and his commenters allude to the two major schools of thought on Arguing With Leftists: those that believe it is worth the effort, and those that believe it is pointless.
Who is correct? I have wrestled with this conundrum since I started blogging. Mostly, the arguments seem like an exercise in futility, and yet I persist in doing it. “Why do I bother?” I ask myself after a particularly pointless debate.
Then, I do it again. It’s a compulsion, born of . . . what? Adherence to the Golden Rule? Hope springing eternal? Sheer hard-headedness? (Don’t ask my husband to answer that question, please.)
Then I read the W.O.R.M.’s post, “Depth of data reveals the pivotal question.” It doesn’t sound related, but it is. With this short post the W.O.R.M has, once again, pierced through my intellectual dilemma with white beaming rays of rationality:
“Social pressures trump rational arguments for almost everyone in almost everything. It’s why I had no hope, after Obama’s election, that America’s decline could be reversed. But he hastened that decline so much that millions noticed at the same time. Instant Tea Parties. This ‘W.O.R.M.’ freely acknowledges being caught by surprise. And feeling a bit of hope. Depth of data lets me know precisely what this conflict hinges on. It’s the social war. This isn’t a battle of reason. There is no rational war. The Tea Partiers are right and the Establishment is wrong.
Everyone knows it. It’s why the left vomits insults and lies and hatred upon peaceful and patriotic Americans. That’s all it has. Social pressure. ‘Do what I want or I’ll call you names.’ The Establishment is a ten-year old drama queen.”
He’s right. Arguing with a leftist is pointless because they are not interested in facts or reason. They are interested in applying social pressure (racist! ignorant! tribal! fearful! greedy! gullible!).
Armed with the W.O.R.M.’s added clarity, I figured it out. The argument is pointless, but only if your goal is to convince the other person that you are right and they are wrong.
I’ve been arguing for other reasons entirely.
The first reason is also the impetus for starting my own blog: to defend myself and my peers. I do not relish the debate. I actually hate conflict of any sort. I’m a compromiser, a harmonizer, a get-along-gal by nature. Yet, after countless articles and news segments insulted us Tea Party protesters, I had to stand up and give a voice to the unrecognized, unimportant Every Man within “the rabble.” Not to convince, but for the peace of mind that comes with saying your piece.
The second reason: to be the example which disproves the accusations. To prove that the tolerant, level-headed, gentle, generous, rational, unafraid, and even lighthearted conservative actually exists. Shoot. My very existence should counter just about every slam the left has puked up. The person arguing with me won’t see it, or at least won’t admit it. What about third-party readers, though? I’d like to think that some random surfer dropped by and thought: that Tea Partier sounded pretty reasonable to me . . .
The third reason is the also funnest reason: just to annoy them. The left has gotten pretty dang used to running the show unopposed, wouldn’t you say? They need poking! It’s both easy and fun to remind them that the crowds they so swiftly deride and dismiss are composed of living, breathing, feeling, and–gasp!–thinking human beings. Like me! Basically, every last one of my arguments can be boiled down to this: “Hello, I’m the one you hate so much. Why all the hate?”
They really hate being confronted with that question. As a result of confrontation, some of them will pause next time they slam the Tea Party, and phrase their argument a little less sweepingly. Not because they are convinced, but just because they’ve been confronted. Confrontation causes hesitation. Some of them won’t discuss the Tea Party as often anymore. Some will do their spamming anonymously from here on out. At the very least, all of them will be annoyed.
And you do know the most important thing of all, don’t you? Any time a member of the collectivist left is annoyed by a reasoned argument, an angel gets his wings.
I’ll finish by letting Reverend Lovejoy answer the question in my title: