Yesterday, I described the pretty little rhetorical frame from which the Left defeats us. In short, today’s Democratic party is the badass who can get away with most any lie, and he brutalizes his enemy only because he cares so much for the downtrodden among us.
Almost as if the Creator had to make sure I was aware of the brush cleared away on my behalf before I wrote this post, Jeff Goldstein brought up this master work by David Horowitz. Although I agree with Horowitz almost entirely (and will cite it liberally in the future), my focus differs from his somewhat in that I’m more concerned with the psychological aspects of the rhetoric involved, whereas he focuses somewhat more on technique. He’s also far more detailed, but his article is well worth your time. I will address Goldstein’s points near the end of this post.
The GOP is in the midst of a Civil War, and despite the understandable frustrations of Amy Lutz, it’s going to play itself out. Like Thomas Sowell has said (I have no idea when or where), sometimes the only way for peace is for one side or the other to win the war. The GOP will become the party that actually advances a conservative agenda, or we’re going the way of the Whigs. Simply beating Democrats in elections will no longer satisfy the millions of TEA Party activists and others who actually understand the mess we’re in, especially when, even if the Republicans somehow end up in office, they’re almost never in power (to steal from Mark Steyn).
However, at risk of offending both camps, rhetorically I advocate somewhat of a synthesis between the two, although if one side has to win the messaging war, it should be the ignorant masses who actually still believe in something.
I’m gearing this blog towards a Manospheric audience because the Manosphere already understands two fundamental truths that both wings of conservatism needs to grasp. First, the Manosphere gets Alpha. We instinctually understand that sometimes the best way to appeal to people (especially women) is to do the opposite of what they tell you they want you to do. In Game, your Alpha frame is all about you; promoting your beliefs and dreams are secondary to becoming the type of man that people actually listen to. However, if you care about this whole political thing, you also actually believe in something, and the best way to get others to go along with you is through your alphaness. This is leadership, the opposite of the focus-group driven squishiness that’s gotten us into this mess in the first place. Reagan understood this and exemplified it.
The second concept we grasp is strategy. Boldness alone doesn’t cut it. You must demonstrate power, but you have to be smart about how you use that power. Loudly screeching that Obama hates America doesn’t cut it (even though he does). Boldly proclaiming what you believe can bring people over to your side, but it can also turn people off, especially when you’ve already submitted to the beta frame into which your opponents have cornered you.
Assholes vs. Assholes
In Game, we repeat the ugly truth that chicks dig jerks. And they do–after all, they voted for Obama in droves, right?
However, as I stated in my previous post, Obama is the right kind of asshole. He’s bold, he’s obnoxious, he belittles anybody who doesn’t worship him, and all the cool kids fawn over him. However, he’s the kind of asshole who cares. Just like Bill Clinton, he feels our pain, even as he inflicts more on us.
TEA Party activists and media figures like Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin desperately want to reverse the first part of this frame, and they are correct in wanting to do so. We will never capture the hearts of America as classy victims who back down during every confrontation, as idiots who actually seem to buy into the “baseline budgeting” BS that a cut in the rate of growth is somehow a cut, or as losing candidates who give gracious concession speeches. Not only is this wimpiness immeasurably uninspiring for supporters, it’s horribly difficult to combat rhetorically. (There are ways to handle attacks by the likes of Alan Colmes that “Republicans do it, t0o”, but it’s a hell of a lot easier if they’re more hesitant to say it because it’s demonstrably false. Yes, we’re more fiscally responsible. Richard Ramirez wasn’t nearly as bloodthirsty as Stalin, either.)
Unfortunately, unless we effectively counter the leftist frame, if we become more aggressive we’ll simply come across as the wrong kind of asshole. An Alpha who is the center of attention at a party who declines to drive to the club is simply exercising his rights; the dork that everybody ignored who does the same simply seems like a butthurt beta. Our justified concerns over the deficit are read as racism / sexism / homophobia / xenophobia / greed / hatred of puppies and people being happy, the resentment of the priviledged oppressors who are finally losing their lock on power. We have no principles other than doling out conservative pork (pace Tom Delay), and all we can do is bitch bitch bitch because we can’t win all the time any more. We’re not charming hockey player who playfully takes a sip from the cute little redhead’s drink without her permission; we’re the loud fat guy who steals her beer after she’s told us to get lost.
This is why Horowitz’s article is so important. As logical and reasonable folks, we know that caring is a secondary qualification at best. President Carter probably cared, but despite his compassion (or maybe because of it) he damn near drove our country straight to hell. Because we realize how stupid “Cares About People” is in determining who we should vote for, we ignore the fact that damn near everybody else sees it as a top priority. Instead of adapting to reality (or even confronting it directly), we pretend it isn’t the case because it shouldn’t be the case. The left makes this mistake perpetually in the policies it advocates. Their policies never get anywhere, and neither do our politics.
Accepting reality and working within its bounds is not the same as acquiescing to its appropriateness. Conservatism’s primary appeal is that it is rational, it works. However, it’s also far more compassionate than the soul-crushing dependence fostered by the welfare state.
Nevertheless, Goldstein makes an invaluable point in his criticism of Cantor: I care tooism, without the proper framing is only supplication. You want candidtates who cares? I CARE EVEN MORE! My heart is in the same noble place as the man we desperately have to throw out of office.
Hence, the dilemma: too much boldness and we’re angry butthurt betas, too much caring and we’re supplicating betas. Betas never get the girl.
The solutions are difficult, but not impossible. Horowitz advocates something similar to what I described in how Agree and Amplify can be used in dealing with an individual: ferociously attack the left on its own terms. In addition to the examples Horowitz cites, we could focus on something like the slums of Boston with a Democrat governor, Democrat state legislature, Democrat mayor, and Democrat city council, and make the left defend how their “compassionate” policies result in such destitution. Off the Books by Sudhir Venkatesh (a lefty, albeit a reasonable one) describes how Chicago’s economy is devolving into something similar to the economies of Egypt or the Philppines on which Hernando de Soto elaborates in The Mystery of Capital. How compassionate are lefty student loan programs that nearly preclude todays’ college students from ever achieving financial independence? Why was this not even mentioned during the election?
The failures of lefty “compassion” are without end, and highlighting them boldly and without hesitation rips into the lefty frame. This makes us alpha in that we fight for something, but we also tear down the illusion that Democrat compassion for actually helps people. This isn’t everything, and I will expand on Horowitz’s ideas and present others of my own in future posts.
This brings me back to the Civil War and to two of Goldstein’s more important points. First, we have one obligation which is also a restriction. We must tell the truth. The Truth includes a detailed analysis of leftism’s failure, but it does not include falsehoods that might seem politically expedient. We don’t need to lie to win this thing, and we shouldn’t.
Second, we must actually start to live out what we believe, and we must have leaders who do likewise. Goldstein:
Whereas the Republicans are tied to corporate welfare — and the Democrats will always label them the party of the rich, largely because the GOP has no answers to the charge. And this is because they’ve spent so much time listening to consultants and focus groups and trying to count demographics — that is, trying to get elected — that they’ve lost sight of the reason for being elected in the first place.
People are jealous of the Wall Street elite? How about the Washington elite? Couldn’t we go after them? Unfortunately, no, for the people who would be writing the ads and coordinating the campaign against the Washington vultures would be some of those very same vultures.
Sorry, Amy, I don’t like the infighting, either. I know that RINO’s aren’t as bad as Democrats. However, the very fact that they mimic Democrats to the extent they do makes it nearly impossible to defeat them. If Karl Rove wins this Civil War, the GOP WILL go the way of the Whigs.
And it will deserve to.