April 3rd, 2010

The difficulty of demonizing the Tea Partiers: less than six degrees of separation

The word has gone out that, now that HCR has been passed and President Obama is spending his precious time going around the country to “sell” it, the Tea Partiers must be further demonized in any way possible, including of course that perennial favorite, the race card.

But if the Tea Partiers hadn’t already been discredited, it’s not for lack of trying. From the start they were mocked as hate-filled extremists and racists, and given the sexual epithet “teabaggers” as their name instead of the honorable and historically-based one they devised for themselves. They were considered to be similar to those “bitter clingers” Obama had described during his 2008 campaign to supporters in San Francisco.

The idea was (and still is) that, if the ad hominen attacks can be made to stick, the substance of the Tea Party message could be discarded, and the hope of the administration and its supporters was/is that more Americans would be dissuaded from joining up with this bunch of crazy racists.

With a willing press as co-conspirators (or at least cooperative in the coverup), proof was not necessary, and accusations could be made up. Right out of the Alinsky handbook. But what did we expect when we elected a president who had taught Alinsky methods in workshops?

One of the many things the Democrats may have forgotten, however, is that (outside of true-blue monolithic liberal bastions such as Berkeley and NYC), most people actually know a few Tea Partiers, and are aware of who and what they are, and what they are actually protesting, and why. What’s more, those who attend a tea party can report on what they saw there, and they’re not reporting anything like what the media and Democratic leaders are describing.

And, because the Tea Parties are actually rather sedate except for cries of “Kill the bill!” (the ones I attended featured such radical acts as singing “God Bless America”), the would-be demonizers are having trouble finding much evidence for their accusations. Mark my words, however: if they don’t find more of them, they will have to invent them. And they will have no moral reservations about doing so.

There may not be a lot of people attending Tea Parties in terms of percentage of the population of the US. But every person who does attend stands for a host of others who sympathize but do not. It’s easier to demonize a fake populist movement. But it’s much more difficult to successfully demonize a real one.

And the Obamites know this one’s real. That’s why they fear it so.

52 Responses to “The difficulty of demonizing the Tea Partiers: less than six degrees of separation”

  1. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Check ou tMark Steyn’s latest article pointing out the Democrats latest attempt to demonize opponents of HCR (http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=Mjg1NTI4M2VkZmNjZWNmZWJjOWVjMWNkNGExOWRjMWI=) .

  2. Sergey Says:

    When smears fail, another favorite leftist tool is applied: a provocation. See
    It failed, too, but what a hubris! Or they really believe their own propaganda?

  3. betsybounds Says:

    Neo, I think you’re exactly right about each Tea Party attendee representing some number of people who think the same way but didn’t attend. I’ve been wondering what the multiplier is. I have no idea how these things are calculated, but I’m guessing it might be pretty high.

    I also expect to see some serious efforts at demonizing and crushing from the Left. They’re tinkering around the edges so far, nothing really big. But I’m betting that something much bigger is coming, and probably fairly soon.

  4. neo-neocon Says:

    betsybounds: I agree. I believe it will be leftists posing as Tea Partiers and being overtly racist and/or aggressively confrontational.

  5. ipw533 Says:

    Not too worried about that–remember how the other Tea Party folks chided the guy who yelled a slur at Barney Frank? I think we’re capable of policing our own ranks and consequently sniffing out and exposing infiltrators. Of course, that’s assuming that by their own ineptitude they don’t inadvertently expose themselves, and that’s a big assumption. In these situations, unless I’m mistaken, the Left is full of passion but a bit short on tradecraft….

  6. IgotBupkis Says:

    > And they will have no moral reservations about doing so.

    Neo, I believe in an economy of words. As a result of that, I believe you could have left this statement off after the word “morals”:

    And they will have no morals

    ‘Nuff said? Nuff said!


  7. IgotBupkis Says:

    > the Left is full of passion but a bit short on tradecraft….

    This is a common side effect of severe Cranio-Rectal Insertion Syndrome, which, formerly synonymous with having a “management” job, has since become the most commonly shared quality linking lefties with one another. Pretty much anyone who self-identifies as “Left leaning” nowadays suffers from severe CRIS.

  8. Sergey Says:

    They have moral – of a sort. Consistent with arson of Reichstag.

  9. Steve G Says:

    Obama’s listeners fall into two categories. One listens and is soothed by the words but cannot or will not intellectualize what he is saying. The other listens to the words and can’t fathom what the hell he is saying, other than it is pap. I gave up long ago as I can’t understand the purpose of his speeches. They are insulting to those who do not agree with his policies and cannot therefore be intended to persuade them over to his side. In fact, he loses popularity with each speech.

    As has been noted over and over again, he is a one trick pony.

  10. SteveH Says:

    The problem with this race card business is the absurdity of a societal taboo that dares anyone to point out or denigrate a segment of the population that votes in a 95 percentile range for communism.

    This narrative is long overdue for being disarmed. If such a group is not suffering slurs and held accountable for their destructive politics then its high time they were.

  11. expat Says:

    When I attended my high school class reunion last summer i learned that several classmates had attended town hall meetings and were very skeptical of the Democrats’ plans. One couple in particular is my only insight into the kind of people attending the Tea Parties. They have been together since 9th grade and are as sensible and decent as any people I have ever known. They don’t have Ivy League law degrees, but they are educated and they are the rocks on which our country is built. I am outraged that Chicago thugs and Washington parasites try to discredit them.

  12. anna Says:

    I count myself as a non-attending tea partier – I live in fricken northern maine which has probably the least amount of tea party activity in the nation. plus my full time occupation interferes with my desire to do really important things like keep up with blogs and go to protests… oh well.

    how about “tea party cheerleader” for a moniker.

  13. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    As an active TEA Party member, I can attest to the fact that I would often rather be anywhere than standing for hours on a street corner or roadside holding a sign while regularly being given the middle finger salute. Of course that is what you expect here in the People’s Republic of Puget Sound.

    As betsy b. says, for every one person at the party there are probably four people sitting at home who just don’t want to put up with the guff. I can confirm that because my neighbors, surprisingly, are all pretty conservative (its a retirement community) but none want to go to a TEA Party.

    I’ve made some good friends at the gatherings, which have always been very diverse as to age, gender and ethnicity. Who knew it would be a place for socializing?

    Will be alert for signs of lefties posing as agents provocateurs. As you say, neo, it’s right out of Alinsky.

  14. neo-neocon Says:

    anna—northern Maine has two seasons: winter and the Fourth of July.

  15. gcotharn Says:

    First, I’ve only been to one protest in my life. It was a Tea Party, and I was surprised at how much fun my group had. We met many interesting and fun people. I never expected that. I actually expected to be severely bored and impatient.

    Second, I agree that leftist faux protesters will show up, trailing covert camera person behind, and will pretend to be whatever type of racist, sexist, violent person they need to be. They will try their antics here, there, all over the place inside various Tea Parties. Eventually, they will find a spot inside a Tea Party where they will not be shouted down; they will find a weak mind to empathize with them; and their video will go viral + enter the mainstream via cable news + major networks. Sad, yet inevitable.

    Third, it’s clear that Rep John Lewis’ delegation either expected racist confrontation when they crossed directly through the Washington Tea Party, or expected to lie about racist confrontation afterwards. Which, however, is more alarming: if they confidently expected opposition to Obamacare would be rooted in racism and ignorant hatred, or if they expected to make the walk and then lie about it? I say the former. When our powerful elected representatives attribute opposition to hatred, i.e. when our powerful representatives now believe what they used to recognize as political propaganda: the nation is truly in trouble. There’s a vacuum at the top: grounded wisdom, and grounded understanding of humanity, is absent.

  16. gcotharn Says:

    Fourth, the campaign to demonize the Tea Parties depends upon this:

    It’s taken as a given, amongst many, that the right are more ignorant, violent, racist (and other ists), selfish, greedy; that the principles and ideas of the right are more grounded in ignorance, racism, selfishness, greed.

    Now, this opinion, i.e. this thing which is taken as a given: cannot be proven or disproven. It is based on anecdotal evidence, and on faith. As such, this thing which is taken as a given is both like an undisprovable faith-based religious belief, and like an ism such as sexism or racism.

    What is the difference between saying: “women are more unreasonable and unstable”, vs. saying “the right is more violent and hate-filled”? Neither statement can be proven or disproven. Both statements are supported only by anecdotal observation. The only difference is the former is considered regrettably misguided; and the latter is considered – by many – to be a necessary given if a conversation is to be intelligent and reasoned.

    What is the difference between saying “Black people are more lazy and dense” vs saying “the right is more selfish and ignorant”? Neither statement can be proven or disproven. Both statements are supported only by anecdotal observation. The only difference is the former is considered regrettably misguided; and the latter is considered – by many – to be a necessary given if a conversation is to be intelligent and reasoned.

    The demand

    Amongst many persons on the left – i.e. amongst neighbors in our workplaces, churches, schools, media – when political discussion arises: there is an always implicit, and sometimes explicit, demand for the other person to acknowledge the thing which is taken as a given. Inside this demand exists an assertion:

    If my conversational partner refuses to acknowledge the thing which is taken as a given, then s/he reveals theirself to be either ignorant and/or deceptive; and then intelligent and reasoned conversation is not possible.

    It’s a DEMAND: ACKNOWLEDGE this thing which is a given! I DEMAND IT!

    The weakness

    Regrettably, I have often caved and acknowledged the thing which is taken as a given. I suspect I am representative of many persons. I didn’t cave b/c I believed it. I do not believe it. At all. The assumption, in my opinion, is foolish, misguided, and often used as a ploy to gain power inside a conversation.

    Rather, I caved to the pressure which seems, to me, still, to be so heavily in the air and in the culture. I assented, yielded, gave in – one way or another – to what was a lie. I thought I wanted to join certain conversations. I wanted to be thought of as an intelligent person: as a person on the inside, as a person in the smart set. I was weak.

    No more. I’m not as weak as I once was. I do not care what opinions of me are held by those who believe the thing which is taken as a given. If I am excluded from their conversations because of my opinion, then they are doing me a favor.

    The contradiction

    If the right’s ideas are grounded in ignorance, hatred, greed, et al: then these ideas can be handily discredited based upon lack of merit, and ought be. Can you imagine? Ideas based in ignorance?! So easy to shred such ideas! Ideas based in hatred? Shred them! Ideas based in greed? Shred them! With glee! With ease!

    Therefore exists no necessity to discredit based upon accusation of ignorance, hatred, greed, et al which is grounded in anecdotal evidence, only. Rather, the stronger case to make, and the forthright and upright case to make, is about lack of merit of the ideas and reasoning which are laughably based in ignorance, hatred, greed, et al. It’s perplexing, it seems a contradiction, when someone asserts the difficult-to-make anecdotal evidence argument, and thus ignores the easier option of shredding inferior reasoning.

  17. gcotharn Says:

    In matters of politically correct accusation (Raaaacism! et al), most accusers are conducting political warfare, and are not searching for truth. I suspect my instincts are common to many people: it’s difficult to really let it sink into my bones that they do not care about case-specific evidence and they do not care about truth. I can read neo saying it, I can tell it to myself, yet it’s hard to internalize it and then to keep it internalized. The accuser’s purpose is to use generalization as ammunition, attack as tactic, and to conduct political warfare. I tell myself this, yet continually slip back into an unconscious habit of believing their purpose is to suss out truth. It is not. They are conducting political warfare. They are at war.* If I don’t realize it, then I am a chump.

    *video: the history of political correctness

  18. MarineMom Says:

    It is very true that there hundreds, and I suspect thousands behind those of us who attend the tea parties.

    I attend tea parties here in Phoenix and Scottsdale, AZ. I am a member of the Tea Party Patriots of Scottsdale group. Every time I go to a tea party protest, people come up to me and say they are not the protesting type, but that they are right behind us in spirit. I wear my tea party shirts everywhere I go, and everywhere I go, folks come up to me to ask about the tea party, or to tell me that they are behind our efforts. My husband’s co-workers know that I am a tea party activist, and they tell him to make sure to tell me “thank you.” And, I was just at a Diamondbacks/Cubs game a few hours ago. The man sitting behind me asked me about the tea parties, and then said thank you. He said it with tears in his eyes. He said he was truly grateful for what we are doing. I convinced him to get involved, and he will be attending the Tea Party Express III on April 11 in PA (he was just passing through and decided to take in a game).

    Yes, there a many, many, many people behind us. And there will be many, many more joining our groups as President Obama, his wife Michelle, and the Democrats continue to try to cram their socialized agenda down our throats.

    We will take our country back in November. That IS a promise. And we will do it peacefully, via the ballot box.

    For liberty!

  19. gcotharn Says:

    btw, the way to counter a political attack is to attack right back. When assumption about a group is based on anecdotal evidence regarding a few members of the group: then that assumption (raaaacism! et al) itself constitutes ignorant, prejudicial, bigoted reasoning. That ignorant, prejudicial, bigoted reasoning deserves to be attacked. That reasoning deserves to be effectively attacked: possibly with a smile, or not; possibly in modulated tone, or not; yet definitively attacked, effectively attacked, and attacked with neither hesitation nor remorse. Andrew Breitbart is showing the way. We don’t have to put up with ignorance, prejudice, bigotry. We don’t have to pretend that the persons who peddle such are standing on solid ground. They are not.

  20. neo-neocon Says:

    gcotharn: I think the latter is much worse. It’s one thing to expect racism; at least if you don’t encounter it you can change your mind about that. To act without caring about truth, and to be willing to lie and fabricate evidence, is to enter a very different and very amoral (or even evil) realm.

  21. gcotharn Says:

    btw addendum re attacking right back against a political attack

    Strategically, attacking right back is analogous to this military strategy: when ambushed, attack straight into the heart of the ambush. It seems counterintuitive, yet is effective b/c it is the last thing the ambushers expect. I promise it is the last thing the raaacist! et al accusers expect.

    Some of my greatest admiration has gone out to various U.S. military personnel who have followed this strategic doctrine in Iraq, and who have attacked straight into the teeth of ambushes. Many U.S. military personnel have done this in Iraq. I have read accounts of at least a half dozen such U.S. responses to ambushes. It is amazing, to me, to read accounts of charging straight into gunfire. Amazing. I’ve read of U.S. supply convoys in which Humvees (including, in one account, a particularly brave and effective female Humbee driver) turned and attacked into ambushes – producing good results, all things considered, inside the horrible situations of finding themselves inside an ambush zone. Amazing, amazing courage, discipline, love for and trust in your fellow soldiers.

  22. gcotharn Says:

    Fair point. Philosophical point. Will let it marinate.

  23. Occam's Beard Says:

    Let the agitprop begin!

  24. betsybounds Says:

    At this point, I’m willing to advance a gut Tea Party representation multiplier of about 10–that is, I have a gut feeling that every person who shows up at a Tea Party gathering represents about 10 people who share the ideas and goals but don’t attend the event. I do not know whether or not this number is correct. However, I do talk to numerous friends and colleagues who share my views but do not attend. In any case, I am prepared to bet much on the notion that whatever the correct number is, it is poised to increase.

    I am constantly dismayed by the approach some in the Republicans/conservative “leadership” adopt in the face of these charges of racism, primarily, and other “-isms” secondarily (e.g. Boehner). It usually amounts to, “Is there racism? Yes, and we apologize for that, we reject that. But. . . .”

    I think it’s time–past time, really–to stop accepting the premise. We’ve been accepting, acknowledging, our own defensive position vis-a-vis these wizards for long enough. I deny that I am a racist. I deny that those who share my conservative positions and are fighting for freedom and liberty in this country are racists. I yield NOTHING to these wizards–NOTHING WHATEVER. We are not racists. We are not bigots. We are not homophobes. We espouse and display none of the social pathologies with which our enemies slander us. I apologize for NOTHING. I grant them NOTHING.

    Instead, I accuse them of slander. I accuse them of incitement to hatred and violence. I accuse them of crimes against American Constitutional liberty, as detailed in the Bill of Rights. I accuse them of attempting to subvert, at a minimum, Amendments 1, 9, and 10 to the Constitution of the United States of America. In the case of subverting Amendment 1, they are attempting to subvert multiple clauses, to wit: Abridging the freedom of speech, abridging the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and the right of the people to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    I am not a lawyer. I am something that is, finally, more weighty: I am a citizen of the United States of America, free-born, and outraged at the subversions my government is undertaking in opposition to my Constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms.

    And I am not alone.

  25. Occam's Beard Says:

    You go, girl!

    We are not racists. We are not bigots. We are not homophobes.

    What we are or aren’t is beside the point, and the leftists merely raise such accusations as an (ahem) Red herring. Address the substance of our point; don’t drfault to ad hominem attacks.

  26. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    I have come to a conclusion about why the TEA Party is so misunderstood. Over the past 15 or more years it has become a matter of faith among both Republican and Democrat politicians as well as the MSM that the citizens of this country want more government programs and handouts. It is what they see everyday from all the lobbyists asking them for favors. It’s a cynical belief about the American citizen and the way democracy works. So, their reaction to this group is, “What is it that they want? How can we co-opt them? What do we need to promise them?” It just doesn’t compute to them that this movement wants less – less spending, less earmarks, less government, less regulation, and less secrecy.

    When the Republicans finally figure that out, they will gain the support of the TEA Party. Most of them, so far, haven’t figured it out. The Dems and MSM never will. They count on being able to bribe people.

  27. Phil Poynter Says:

    Here is some proof for you what some on the far left is planning on April 15.


    Help me though, cause I am so confused now. Isn’t it the belief of anarchists to have no government? In other words to overthrow government and have nothing to replace it? Funny they don’t want to lose all the freebies the US Government is currently giving away or may give away in the future. Just another example to how stupid, (too many adjectives to include), the left is.

  28. Beverly Says:

    I agree with Betsybounds: grab them and start kicking them in the gonads. Keep kicking until they scream for mercy.

    Or, to put it genteelly, do not waste one second of time responding to these slanders –that’s what they’re counting on. It just creates a lot of “noise” about “racism” and other slanders surrounding the patriotic rebels, and that’s the impression it gives John Q. Public. It’s classic dirty fighting.

    Instead, go right for their jugular, and start heaving the brickbats at THEM. Get them for what they HAVE done, and keep getting them. People will notice That, too, and will start to realize that our charges sound accurate and theirs sound like BS.

    A book I read some years ago said that when you’re in a fight with a nasty person, an “Invalidator,” do NOT invert and defend yourself. That’s the last thing you want to do. Instead, put the focus back on HIM.

  29. SteveH Says:

    The reason a leftist can’t have a real conversation is because accepting the premise of real-ity,they know, destroys their assertions.

    They don’t need to factually know tea partiers are by and large racist. They need to “feel it” as a form of self defense. Or else they are faced with the dillema that they actually are sanctioning stealing from segments of the population, and undeservedly so.

  30. Sergey Says:

    To disable such frivolous accusations as “racism”, “homophoby”, “sexism”, etc., we must first recognize that so-called “bigotry” is a normal human attitude, necessary and essential for maintaining self-esteem and cohesion of every social group or strata. Just as another leftist fetish, equality, eradication of bigotry is an utopian goal: it is neither possible nor even desirable. The best thing we can do with bigotry is not suppress or eliminate it, but sublimate and channel it to positive, culturally constructive ends, like creating codes of honor, natural aristocracy based on such codes and providing incentives for people wanting to improve their behavior and their social status on condition of such improvement.

  31. Richard Aubrey Says:

    I live along what is known variably as “the I75 corridor, the UAW corridor, the commie corridor” in Michigan.
    There have been no Tea Parties, to my knowledge, within a hundred miles of me.
    With the exception of a few professionals–Land Conservancy full timers, etc, and some self-deluding ignoramuses who are related–everybody I can think of–whom I know well enough to judge–is a Tea Partier at heart.
    I should subtract a few BDSers who have to continue their views for consistency’s sake and insist that Tea Parties are Boooosh. Otherwise, they’d have nobody to hate.
    So, say, eighty percent of the people of whom I know enough to judge are Tea Partiers.
    Overhear people at work, on the street, odd comments from vendors or customers who are fencing just a bit, but not keeping everything to themselves.

    To make an analogy, following the Viet Nam years, some military and political leaders decided that having the Reserve component fully involved in future wars would increase the connection between the population at large and the folks at risk, decreasing belligerent jingoism. Not like fighting the war with regulars whom nobody knows.
    Turns out not to have worked, afaik, but it does mean you can’t smear the grunts any longer. They’re us. Or, to put it another way, they’re the parents of the guys you’re smearing.
    My son was about twelve during the Gulf War and had a hard time at our local mall. The proprietors had erected a “Wall of Honor”, featuring letters from the guys overseas and pictures and unit flags and so forth.
    He was outraged when I told him that, during the Viet Nam war, it would have taken armed guards to protect the thing from the hippies, lefties, liberal protestants, and democrats.
    So hauling in the Reserve component cost the left one of their tactics, or at least one of their recreations.
    Ditto–coming back to the point at last–with the Tea Parties.
    They’re us. Smear them, you’re smearing us. Me.

    And, to address another point, there’s no point in addressing the smears as if the left actually thinks this stuff. They know better. They’re lying. But it’s a useful distraction if the rest of us react in the normal fashion, i.e. try to make cnvince them that they’re factually wrong but presuming they’re arguing in good faith.
    They’re lying. They know they lie. Taking them as if they’re arguing in good faith, even reflexively, is giving them an advantage.

  32. Army Mom Says:

    I belong to my local Tea Party and am active. You will see us at the Lone Star Tea Party at Quick Trip Park in Grand Prairie TX on April 15th. We are expecting 25,000. If you live in the Dallas\Fort Worth area come join us and see for yourself what we are about.

    I too hear comments in the elevator about people being very concerned for their country and what Obama is doing to it. I have noticed that on my drive through south Dallas and into uptown Dallas that there are not very many Obama stickers on cars any more. Not many billboards are being used to advertise anymore as business’ don’t have money to do it. All of the people who I work with know that I am an active Tea Partier but I cannot convince them to attend a Tea Party in their area. I have a Tea Pary sign in my front yard. My neighbors of many different races and backgrounds are supportive with the exception of my next door neighbor who happens to be black. My role is to quietly get the word out that there are other Tea Pary people out there.

    I just got my taxes done by our CPA. Surprisingly we are getting a fairly large refund but most of it is due to my husband’s business expenses. However, the CPA said that he was seeing a lot of people get refunds and that he thought that it was an effort to stimulate the economy. That means that we will PAY for those refunds later as the govt gives away money that it should not.

    Interesting, huh?

  33. Sgt. Mom Says:

    I am a Tea Partier also – have been since the beginning, in San Antonio, which is a pretty conservative town, being that there are so many military bases and veterans living there. The attempted smear of us as ‘raaaaaacists’ and “KKKers’ does not only fall totally flat, given that our meetings are increasingly more diverse, but I think it has also insulted our supporters. They are anything but what the likes of the Administration and their lickspittle media is insisting they are. I am certain that the pundits and media outlets who have been singing the ‘raaaacist’ song are loosing credibility by the day.
    I am also pretty certain that some ugly incident will be manufactured by infiltrators at a Tea Party event soon, since the previous media counter-push hasn’t worked very well.

  34. gcotharn Says:

    Army Mom,
    Hey, I live in DFW. Will there be hot middle aged Tea Party babes? If so, maybe I can bring a couple of additional friends with me.

    Sgt. Mom,
    There are four a’s in “raaaacist”. No more. No less.

  35. neo-neocon Says:

    Richard Aubrey: the perpetrators of the lies know they’re lying, as do many of their followers. But many do not. I mostly know the ones who do not, the “useful idiots.” I got an email recently from one of these, calling on all recipients to petition the Republican Party to denounce the racism in its midst. I know this woman very well; she is bristly with righteous indignation about it all.

  36. ipw533 Says:

    I’m a racist. Yep, I dress up in Klan robes every third Sunday of the month and scream slurs at black people at the neighborhood Methodist church, and that’s because I’m a good Catholic. Actually, I’m not such a good Catholic, but that’s irrelevant as it has nothing to do with “The Narrative”; never mind the fact that even as a white guy the Klan wants nothing to do with me as some papist mackerel-snapper.

    Call me a racist, go ahead. I’m a racist, you’re a racist, he’s a racist, she’s a racist, wouldn’t you like to be a racist too?

    The “Race Warriors” are shooting blanks, and we need not be afraid of the noise they make. And if their best weapons are really recognized as the kind of pop-guns a child would play with, and we know it, then they’re done–Game Over, Man….

  37. Occam's Beard Says:

    A book I read some years ago said that when you’re in a fight with a nasty person, an “Invalidator,” do NOT invert and defend yourself. That’s the last thing you want to do. Instead, put the focus back on HIM.

    This absolutely works. As an experiment I once “liberaled” a left-wing interlocutor on another site, parodying leftist debate style by accusing him of blatant racism, ignoring his assertions/defenses, putting words in his mouth, then using my manufactured quotes to smear him with charges of racism (“Sure, you’re concerned about minorities, you just don’t want your sister to marry one. I can almost hear you say “boy.” Typical racist!” That sort of thing.)

    The idea was to see what his reaction would be to having his own tactics turned back on him. The fascinating thing was he capitulated. I’m still not sure what to make of that, except that it’s easier (and more fun) to generate such rubbish than to defend oneself from it.

  38. foxmarks Says:

    Phil Poynter,

    I make an important distinction (as an anarchist, myself). Those you link to are “circle-A anarchists”. They are not philosophical anarchists. The circle-As live to smash stuff and share what’s left. My kind of anarchy is based on the implicit evil and violence of government, promoting voluntaryism as an alternate means of order.

    And, yes, in order to survive in the world as it is, I must compromise my philosophical ideal, and accept that government will exist. Thus I am a TEA partier. From where we are today, the TEA movement is pointed in the direction I would like to go.

  39. Tatyana Says:

    Army Mom and Gregory Cotharn: I’ll be in Dallas (1st time in my life) on May 5th, too late for your Tea party -or I’d gladly attend.

    Heard a bizarre leftist reference to Tea Parties few days ago; went to a lecture titled “New era in sentencing?” dealing with tendencies and perspectives on correctional institutions. At some point the speaker was talking about legalization of drugs, and what it might mean for the levels of incarceration. “I yet have to hear from those famous Tea Parties any sort of defense of liberating our drug policy, of for that matter, inclusion of anti-drugs-prohibition groups. And these people call themselves defenders of Liberty!”
    I made a conscious effort to restrain myself from yelling “Tea Parties are not about drugs, you fool!”

  40. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Suppose you asked your bristling friend, “You know this how?”
    When nothing she said stood up–might take about three minutes–she’d keep her opinion, but she’d know better.
    Can you conceive of her changing her opinion?
    Or, I should say, her professed opinion?
    What would she do without it?
    She lives in the same world you do, with evidence to the contrary up to her chin, but she chooses to believe non-reality.
    Or chooses to pretend to believe it.
    In my experience, once one of these folks is over, say, twenty, it’s best to treat them all as if they know they lie.
    Those who really believe this stuff might be motivated to think about it.
    Challenging them on the facts allows them to state non-facts which they might even believe.
    Laughing at them–“I’m not telling you this because I think you don’t know it; I’m telling you this stuff because you think I don’t know it”–and letting them stew is more economical, and, imo, more effective.
    If, in fact, they really believe that stuff.

  41. Oblio Says:

    The Left is frightened by what they have unleashed; at least, the fellow-traveling squishy Left is. This is not entirely a bad thing, but it creates some danger, too. Frightened people can do things that are irrational and act in ways that are not in their own interest.

    A dangerous time. Will the Left read the threat correctly and de-escalate? Or will they double down again? The talk about taking up immigration again this year suggests they want to escalate even more.

  42. Thomas Says:

    betsybounds Says:

    “each Tea Party attendee representing some number of people who think the same way but didn’t attend. I’ve been wondering what the multiplier is.”

    They had one three (short) blocks from my office and I missed it… since I didn’t hear about it until it was over… so yeah… not only are there people who can not make it; there is also a communication issue keeping a lot of people away…

  43. Maggie's Farm Says:

    Tea Partay…

    Juan Williams gets quite a few facts wrong but he is beginning to get it.
    Neoneo: It is difficult to demonize tea partiers….

  44. renminbi Says:

    Why isn’t there pushback against the MSM for the slanders. I mean,ask advertisers why they should advertise with people who smear their customers. Put a hurt on those who enable this disgusting behavior.
    In my NYC there was wine bar which had an Obamacare poster in the window. I politely asked the proprietor if she thought it a good idea to insult some of her potential customers. She took it down.

  45. betsybounds Says:

    Richard Aubrey,

    ”I’m not telling you this because I think you don’t know it; I’m telling you this stuff because you think I don’t know it” Fookin’ brilliant!

    Maggie’s Farm, on Juan Williams: I think Juan parrots the party line pretty faithfully, but now and again chinks appear in the armor. I agree that he gets it, although he has a hard time admitting that he has come to that point. He frequently pisses me off, but still I like him, and have hope for him.

    Incidentally, where I work we refer to ourselves sometimes as Farm Workers, as in Maggie’s, and declare that we don’t wanna work there no more. Fun!

  46. betsybounds Says:

    renminbi, you make an excellent point. People need to realize that it’s possible to be an intelligent, well-educated, well-informed person and still not be a Leftist, and you don’t want to offend potential customers.

    Jay Nordlinger, music critic for National Review, National Review Online, and The New Criterion (among others) has noted a recent practice of orchestra conductors to address audiences, before beginning concerts, with Leftist statements, assuming (apparently) that the audience will share the expressed Leftist assumptions. He finds it inappropriate and insulting, as would I. These guys need to re-think their assumptions–about the correctness of their assumptions, for one thing, and about the politically homogeneous nature of their audiences, for another.

    Conservatives are not remotely stupid, many of them are classical musical aficionados, and highly intelligent to boot.

  47. neo-neocon Says:

    betsybounds: I wrote about exactly that phenomenon back in early 2005.

  48. Oblio Says:

    Victor Davis Hanson on when lies are not really lies…when you are a postmodernist. Beautifully written.

    This is old stuff for us around here, but it goes to the question of tactics. How do you deal with people for whom words only mean what is convenient for them to mean (“Humpty-Dumptyism”), and every posture is built upon an accusation about history, and your own role as a member of the “oppressor” class (“tu quoque” and other genitive fallacies)? There have already been some great suggestions on this thread. My favorite so far is to remember not to validate the assumptions that lie at the heart of accusation. Don’t fall for the head fake.

  49. Richard Aubrey Says:

    I once worked with the Social Justice and Peacemaking Committee of a presbytery of the PC(USA).
    Once in a while, I’d be forced–ha!–to say, “I look stupid, but it’s a disguise/accident.”
    Or, “I graduated in the top half of my middle-class high school, got an extremely modest GPA at Enormous State University in a generic BA. Then I was a grunt and now I peddle insurance. If I know better, how about all the folks smarter than me, which is practically everybody?”
    I had had the good fortune to be able to smack down a couple of projects by showing up with irrefutable evidence that the premise was completely false–never saw a bunch more convinced of the virtue of ignorance–and so they tended to be wary.
    But it was the first time I had experienced from inside the deliberate avoidance of reality in pursuit of lefty goals.
    Perhaps some of them didn’t know better. But it was by active avoidance.

  50. CV Says:

    In a customer service presentation I once attended, I recall hearing an axiom that always stuck with me.

    The axiom is that for every individual who is motivated enough to take the time to complain about service, or write a letter of complaint, there are many others who likely concur but didn’t speak up.

    It seems to me that the tea parties are reflective of this. I am sympathetic to their goals and generally admire these folks for taking a stand (wasn’t “dissent the highest form of patriotism” until Bush stepped down?)

    But I’m not out there with them because I have a full time job, I have three young kids, etc. etc. I have many good reasons for not choosing to participate in the tea party rallies. But every time I hear someone in the MSM or administration diss the tea partiers, it irritates me because by extension they are dissing me and my views as well.

    (I also happen to be an orthodox Catholic living in the Rust Belt in southwestern PA, so by extension I am a “bitter clinger” 🙂

    Anyway, I think it would be interesting to be a fly on the wall at some of the local “town hall” type meetings that Congresspeople have when they return to their districts. They know they’re hearing from average constituents and many, MANY of those people are not happy. At all. The tea partiers are just the public face of that. I’ll bet most politicians know that’s what’s going on here, even if they would be loath to admit it.

  51. CV Says:

    Juan Williams agrees with you Neo. Here he is, in the WSJ, on “tea party movement reflects mainstream concerns:


  52. The difficulty of demonizing the Tea Partiers: less than six degrees of separation | TeaPartyConnect.com Says:

    […] of my favorite bloggers, NeoNeoCon recently published this bit of reality: The word has gone out that, now that HCR has been passed and President Obama is spending his […]

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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