Over time, and particularly of late, I have learned there are three general rules one must remember when dealing with political leftists in America:
- The Left cannot debate substantively.
To be fair, this is true of nearly everyone, but it is especially true of the Left.
This is why the Left is so in favor of censorship, violent reactions, the ad hominem (and other logical fallacies), bullying, and changing the rules of the “game” to ensure their side wins, because their ideas do not win on their own merits in any un-coerced way. This does not mean that all their ideas are bad, necessarily (although many certainly are), but rather more to the point it means that they simply cannot express their ideas effectively enough to convince people that they are right.
The ethical way to combat peaceful people with bad ideas is to present good ideas as counterpoint. But when one has no good ideas, or is unwilling or unable to express them for whatever reason(s), often the result is to resort to the above tactics to otherwise “win” the argument.
We have seen this quite a bit of late. Whether it is violently reacting to peaceful people or ideas that they do not like, or censorship, or calls to flat-out violently persecute people with whom they disagree, leftists disproportionately display an inability and/or unwillingness to engage in truly free discourse over issues. The Left voraciously attacks people rather than ideas (sometimes literally), and will move the goalposts whenever possible in order to avoid altering or strengthening their narrative.
The latter is why I believe Democrats passed the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, to target an up swell in impressionable, welfare-needy immigrants from countries without a deeply established cultural respect for property and individual rights. At the time, Democrats’ ideas, particularly related to the economy and taxes/welfare, began to incrementally fall out of favor with their traditional constituencies. So, rather than adapt their ideology to their constituency, or try to change minds with well-reasoned and articulate messaging, they simply sought to change their constituency.
- Leftists always project.
This somewhat is an outgrowth of Rule #1. The ad hominem is a form of psychological projection borne from subconscious cognitive dissonance. When a leftist (or anyone) calls someone a racist, for a very common example, it is because they recognize this in themselves and therefore attribute what they see and hear to this same prejudice. This is why they try so hard to publicly virtue signal, to sell an image that runs counter to their deepest psychological selves. They are, of course, afraid of people knowing them for who/what they really are, so they draw attention away from themselves and onto others.
This does not mean any and all diagnoses of racism, sexism, etc., are products of psychological projection, of course. If one identifies a specific case with compelling, hard evidence that supports the diagnosis, then acknowledging it for what it is remains appropriate. However, this is not what typically occurs on the Left, by my observations. The labels are broadly and often arbitrarily assigned (i.e., across an entire demographic), typically lack any substantive evidence to support, and/or are thrown out there as a means of attacking the person rather than the idea (e.g., calling someone racist for disagreeing with Obama’s policies, such as the Affordable Care Act; see Rule #1). These latter examples all smack of projection, and are a very common trait amongst non-debating people, and especially those on the Left.
In another example, I am quite certain now that the reason the Left is so viciously anti-gun is because of their own demonstrable lack of self-control and seeming violent tendencies, which they inappropriately project upon others.
- Leftists always double-down.
The Left has ratcheted the very tactics and behavior that cost them the 2016 election (and a staggering number of previous ones at various levels) to new levels, because they either fail to learn lessons well or are ignorantly stubborn. Either way, leftists have a remarkable habit of doubling-down on their failed approaches.
For the peaceful thinker, this can be a boon for advancing your ideas, so long as you remain above the fray and avoid getting bogged down in the mire. As Napoleon allegedly said, “never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”
Remember these general rules for dealing with leftists in any attempt at civil discourse. If the “civil” portion is not readily apparent, then you will likely find these rules are in play to one degree or another. Sometimes, it is best to identify those who embody these rules and avoid them altogether, unless you are combating bad ideas with good ideas for the benefit of a third party observer – a noble pursuit possibly, but in which case be prepared to be attacked, possibly physically, for thinking differently than they.