This is the Home Version.
In the 1980’s William F Buckley Jr, as a part of his “Firing Line” show, would hire a hall on some northeastern campus and invite an array of prominent liberals to debate some subject on political economics or philosophy. Considering the venues, all of those debates carried an invisible crawl that read:
Resolved: Liberals are smarter than Conservatives.
So the campus Left showed up in droves.
Buckley liked to go into the lion’s den because he knew this premise to be false. He also knew that the majority of those assembled would leave the auditorium confirmed, just as they had been before they came, that this was true. But not all. And that was Bill Buckley’s purpose in the first place; to lay a seine net out and grab off a few of the congregation who found themselves caught up by the grandness of real ideas, and the sort of give-and-take that required the use of all their brains, especially the cognitive part, instead of only the rote memory part, which had been all they’d ever been taught. These were Buckley’s intellectual ninja attacks on the academy, and the Left never caught on. Sadly, neither did the idea.
I watched several of those, when I knew only half as much about what they were talking about as I do now. But in what lawyer’s would call “proving” or “disproving” a case with empirical evidence, Buckley and his teams mopped up the floor with their opponents, including his dear friend, John Kenneth Galbraith, who condescendingly began his comments with a bemused “Now, Bill…” before proceeding with his “as everyone knows” staple of Keynesian arguments.
Then, at the end of the debate, as Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #2 played, a vote was taken from the crowd as to who won the debate. And in every one that I recall, Buckley’s team lost, 120 to 3 or somesuch.
So why did he do it? As I just said, in such left-wing New England bastions, winning even one vote was a win. And Buckley always got a few. I think that is what he was seeking. He was sowing the seeds of Reason among students and PhD’s alike who’d never encountered it before, thus sowing the seeds of doubt in the minds of people who had been force-fed their knowledge like so many 5th graders their multiplication tables.
Buckley was playing for the audience and not against the team across the table, but he was trying to deny that other team many things they had grown accustomed to expect from their followers, especially unquestioning loyalty to their pronouncements.
This is a good strategy, so take it to heart. It has been my observation that the Left, top to bottom, learns a series of rote formulae on virtually every subject, which they then recite in front of a microphone (but never taking questions), in print (but only on a friendly home tableau), or on the internet, where almost every comment that begins with a “Why” or “What” is considered a troll and quickly dispatched. Since “Workers of the world unite!” they have owned the chant, only this refrain sounds almost upscale compared to the insipidities they chant today about their bodies while screeching about abortion or gender rights.
Intellectually, they are a sinking ship. Everything you read or hear from the Left, from blogs, to news, to speeches by Obama, has absolutely nothing original in it, but from a lineage and rewrites at least three or four generations deep, some of it going back to Rousseau, seventy years before Marx, all having been written, copied, and recopied and regurgitated without question….because those chants captured a part of their soul that required constant nourishment…”me, me, me”.
Their weakness is the subliminal fear of being publicly outed. They never open themselves up to critical debate.
I see an opportunity in this.
I’ve previously mentioned this phenomenon in the Darwinian context, from Robert Ardrey in the ’60s who mentioned that as early as the 1920s certain subjects about instincts in man were off-limits for scholarly study. And inside his rarefied realm of economic philosophy F A Hayek made this the central theme of his final book, The Fatal Deceit, which were to be his talking points for a series of debates he tried to organize the last few years of his life…but could never get any takers. Hayek also, too late perhaps, knew the importance of breaking down the Left’s intellectual disguise.
Enter Dinesh D’Souza who was able to have a few public debates, one on one, with Christopher Hitchens, the anti-terrorist, sometimes liberal and all-the-time anti-Christian atheist. These are available in various edits on YouTube and worth spending a few minutes-to-an-hour watching.
As with Buckley’s crew, D’Souza pretty much whipped Hitchens simply because he always asked questions Hitchens could not or would not answer. Hitchens either dodged, or like Obama, deflected and changed the subject, exhibiting the same problem the current king of atheism, Dr Richard Dawkins has faced. There are certain Christians Dawkins refuses to debate simply because (he was once caught open-mic accidentally) they asked questions he could not answer. And for the left-wing atheist, scientist and academic polemicist you are nothing if you have been robbed of your arrogant certainty in front of your loyal followers.
With Hitchens having gone to a better place, (we hope—his brother Peter was a devout Christian whispering in his ear all during his long illness) D’Souza was able to get a gig debating William Ayers, yes, that Bill Ayers, only last week. I think you can find portions of that as well on YouTube by now, or can read about it at American Thinker on-line. What’s interesting is that D’Souza not so much ate Ayers up, as Ayers stunk up the place, again, in a venue that was likely filled with airheads filled with “irrefutable” leftist pablum, so for the first time had to watch those irrefutable truths shone in the light of critical thinking. He just couldn’t answer questions dealt to him straight.
So even if you wear bibbed overhauls and had wheat straw in your teeth, it would be hard to get lefties to the debating platform. They just aren’t comfortable in such a risky format. But we should try nonetheless, for it is also such an existential delight for them to be able to show up a bunch of rubes. Tea baggers. Mom and Pop green grocers. Arrogance and pride may well overcome their natural paranoia and insecurities…for once placed in certain circumstances many know instinctively just how much stronger your Truth is than their own.
So never forget, you carry into any contest with them three Aces while they are always drawing from a King-high deck of cards. It’s yours to lose.
Resolved: The Tea Party is the Intellectual superior to the Left.
The repository of critical thinking in America is conservatism, and the Tea Party is at the center of it.
So is common sense.
As I said, you can do this at home. You see, on many subjects, beginning with the Constitutional blueprint, I argue the average tea party can field a team that could debate effectively against any team of college professors or law school nabobs anywhere, for the simple reason you can speak of it from the position of “The People” the Constitution was written for, from the bottom up, instead of from the top down, where most academicians have promoted themselves the last half century.
But this is not just for the Tea Party, but conservative groups on campus, and individuals with an itch and a talent for talking and thinking at the same time. Most of all, this is a way to shine the light of both truth and critical thinking on a dark, dark world, especially in front of those dark world inhabitants.
Turning immortals-in-the-faculty-lounge or in-the-mirror into mere mortals in front of so many of their acolytes will be a great victory for liberty and sanity, and there are several strategic schemes to accomplish this. So give it some thought. It’s a way to carry the war to them without having to hit a single one of them with a head of cabbage.
There are dozens of ways to lure them into trying to lure you into a debate, (read this line twice). Because you could provide much sport for their mind-numbed followers, who, much like the residents of Washington City who carriaged out to Manassas Junction to picnic while watching their troops whoop the secessionists, then send then scurrying back to Richmond, they will find the lure almost irresistible.
But you can only sneak up on them once, as Bill Ayers has learned. Ayers will either quit the field, or like an aging boxer, fight only kids from the bottom of the promoter’s list. But once you lure them to lure you in you have them, for they either have to stay in, sending team after team to beat you, or face the ignominy of public retreat and defeat in the face of people they called rubes only last week.You can ballyhoo this retreat through every news media and blog you can find. Remember, when the Left’s down, kick it.
And don’t be afraid of bringing in ringers. There are professors on the right who may want to join in. Look for them. Lock arms. The same for other professionals, especially if the debate is business (capitalism) or economics. Make it an event. I know dozens of scholars and experts who would love to be a part of it, not as debaters necessarily. for there is more to a debate than just standing up and talking. But as teachers, strategists and organizers. Some are grand speakers on certain subjects, others, like myself, are not so quick anymore, but are still good strategists.
And every debate must have a strategy, strategies aimed at the real audience out there, and strategies aimed at the Achilles heel of almost all leftists, their condescending arrogance and their general disdain for the ordinary American. These strategies belong to the Mom and Pop Tea Party, so don’t give those up. Your strengths are the Constitution, Morality, Freedom. Common Sense, backed up with more book knowledge than they think you’re capable of understanding, while their weakness is none of the above, plus a rote catechism spoken only in psychobabble, an inability to connect more than two dots in any logical equation, and a total disdain for any term that has the modifier “common” in it.
What social conservative wouldn’t like to debate the people, including one OBGYN, who ran the “war on women” ads during the Virginia gubernatorial race? This is how your three Aces beat their Kings every time.
Ending this, I’m discussing with others a debating alliance group who could help facilitate some of the outreach, access to resources, talking points, debating strategies, and “luring” strategies, etc. There are all sorts of Tea Parties in the US, but few, I’ve found, will respond to “junk mail” requests. They get so many, as do we all do. So if you send one, or better, ten, a tweet/email/FB this article and a recco then ask them to pass it on it would help get the idea out faster. I can give them pointers on getting started right away, just contact me at vbushmills@Yahoo.com.