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Tuesday 26 September 2017

What the Right's Doing Wrong I: Conceding the Ground

I ran into this quote by Jeffro Johnson on G+ earlier today:

"The reason there are no non-leftists in education, journalism, entertainment, publishing, or the arts is because they have been systematically purged from these institutions. It has nothing to do with the practicality of conservatives-- though that's what many conservatives will say to explain what has happened. Brian Niemeier is right: the problem is that "conservatives" in particular have made a virtue out of conceding ground to the left."

I have some thoughts about this.

Yes, that's a terrible habit that conservatives have had. Not only on those areas of the humanities but even on important issues. They made a huge mistake, for example, by conceding the entire Environmentalist Movement to the left. When the left began to argue that the only way to deal with Environmentalism is from a fundamentally anti-western and *anti-human* perspective, of rolling back industry and imposing massive statism, the right's response was to say "oh well then we will just be anti-environment now", instead of presenting an alternative based on capitalism, innovation, technology and putting human life first.

I think there's evidence now that this attitude of just taking the negative posture and abandoning the ground to leftist-control is turning around with the new Right generation: the first place I really really noticed it is with comedy. Maybe because comedy depends on being subversive, and so the more entrenched the Left has become in being the dominant Establishment power, the worse their ability to do comedy has become, because they can't be subversive against the very culture they seek to impose.   It is seriously underestimated how important this was in the 2016 election: the right, for the first time in my entire lifetime, managed to win the comedy war.

But hopefully this will keep being the case, of pushing back and gaining ground. I'd love to see a whole new system of academia spring up that is based on classic Enlightenment values, classic education, and a rejection of post-modernism, relativism and identity politics. And while we're at it, totally changing the whole system, so it's not just a "right wing university" but a viable alternative to the very notion of the University system as it appears today. It could be cheaper and produce a better level of education/training than the university/college system and thus draw in a whole mess of people that would then also be inculcated with Free-Speech and Liberty-based values.

Let's hope people smarten up about this.  If you let the other side define all the terms, and make the argument into either their way or no way, you lose.  If you force them to deal with your alternative position on its terms, their entire rhetorical structure (which with the left, almost always depends on forcing everyone to take as a given a huge mass of assumptions) utterly falls apart.


Currently Smoking: Dunhill Shell Diplomat + C&D's Crowley's Best


  1. I agree for the most part, but I think your notion of "conceding" is confusing. Not accepting some basic assumption of the left and instead taking the opposite position is surely not conceding.

    I think global warming is crap not to be different from the left for the sake of it but because, well, it's crap. If instead I went along with it just to go along, while proposed some more market based solution or whatever (just to seem more "conservative") THAT would be conceding.

    1. My point is simple negation is not taking a position, it's playing into their assumptions.
      Saying "environmentalism is leftist" or "education is leftist" is not actually a position at all. Same with "comedy is leftist" or "entertainment is leftist" or "music is leftist" or anything like that.

    2. As a meteorologist with 30+ years in the field, I'll respectfully disagree about global warming (but will also gladly have that conversation). However, the left HAS distorted the issue, and the right has helped by propping up a strawman at odds with what science is actually saying on the matter...

    3. Obviously simple negation is not the answer (though it's also odd to call it conceding). But I honestly don't see people on the right doing that as much as you seem to. Environmentalism, as it's currently defined, is also leftist, so's feminism, as it's currently defined, so are a whole host of other things. Since no conservative I've ever met wants to pave the world or make women into slaves or whatever, it becomes 90% a semantic or tactical issue as to whether you want to accept the use of the same terms or not. In general, I'm usually in favor if dumping them, because at this point the left has pretty much burnt whatever meaning they might have ever had. But that doesn't mean I'm being contrary for the sake of being contrary. I just don't want people to be confused by the terms.

    4. It's conceding in the sense of just accepting that the premise AS PRESENTED BY THE LEFT is the only possible premise. If the Left claims "we need government to control what children eat in school because they need a government-mandated healthy eating program", the right has Sarah Palin give every kid cheetos and twinkies. Doing that, you've just given away the notion of healthy living to the Left.

      It's the same with environmentalism. There is no Right-wing environmentalist position anymore, because the Left decided to pretend that environmentalism itself was a leftist property, and the right said "ok, then we don't want it". You're CONCEDING THAT IT BELONGS TO THEM.

    5. No. I'm conceding that the left has permanently spoiled certain words and terms. (Yes, they can do that.) One might even argue that YOU are conceding to the left. "There's is no Right-wing environmentalist position anymore." Excuse me? As far as I can tell, half of my online right-wing Catholic friends live on farms or in small quasi-rural communities. They haven't conceded one damn thing.

      Again, why is refusing to use the terminology of the left conceding?

      I don't know whether you're a fan of Milo (I'm not 100%.). But he said "feminism is cancer." Good for him. Would you prefer him to have said, "I'm a true feminist. But true feminism means that we reject the facile ideological assumptions of the left because blah blah blah (plus eight more paragraphs)." Or maybe he did say that during the Q&A. But as a three-word slogan, "feminism is cancer" is damn righteous. If you take nine paragraphs to explain yourself, the left will slander you anyway. And everyone else will fall asleep.

    6. By the way, Old House Rules, I'd love to hear a more detailed elucidation of what you meant by your comments on global warming. I say that with respect and seriousness. But perhaps 1:05 AM is not the time. :)

    7. Feminism IS cancer. The alternative argument, though, is not to say "since feminism is leftist we reject all aspects of female liberation and will only accept women as house-bound barefoot baby-factories".

      The answer is to promote awesome women to create a Right-wing anti-Feminism. People like Hoff Summers, Hirsi Ali, shit, even Camille Paglia! A liberty-based movement of anti-identity-politics women's movement.

      The problem is most of the times the old right 'refuses to use the terminology of the left' but never actually OPPOSES the terminology of the left with an alternate terminology.

      I suppose you may not have read Foucault, Derrida etc. They're the enemy. And they said very plainly: the way to power is control of semantics. That's always the Left's very first play. Create the semantic assumptions and then argue as if those semantic assumptions are true.

      The right's response, like suckers, is usually to say "no it isn't" and then walk away, leaving the Left to appear (in the eyes of the mushy middle) to be the only ones offering an argument.

      What I'm saying is we have to subvert the semantic assumptions and replace them with our own.

      That's the model I used to undermine the efforts of the Storygame movement to take over RPGs. Everyone else was arguing with them about whether Gamism-Narrativism-Simulationism were correct or accurate.
      Instead, I completely rejected any discussion on those lines and created an entirely alternate language. I subverted two things the storygame/GNS theory said were BAD things (Immersion and Emulation), and used those as GOOD things (in fact, the goal of RPG gaming). I refused to acknowledge G, N or S at all and instead talked about the Landmarks of RPG. I said "this defines RPGs, anything that does not fall into that definition is not an RPG, it's something else". Thus, I ended up isolating them over there in a little corner. They found they couldn't fight back and the term "Storygames" was eventually THEIR surrender into accepting that what they were doing was NOT in fact "the right way to do RPGs" as Ron Edwards had claimed.

      We need to use that tactic with the left on EVERYTHING.

    8. Regarding environmentalism, it doesn't matter if global warming is real or not, everyone wants a cleaner planet so the goal is the same despite the rational.

      Accepting that, conservatives should have pushed nuclear power. Any dangers of nuclear power pale compared to the global warming predictions... yet the left cannot accept nuclear power because environmentalism was born in opposition to nuclear power (and because many have joined the global warming bandwagon to push big government control). If they accept nuclear power it is a win/win. If not, the tact puts the left in the position of being anti-science and anti-global warming.

    9. "everyone wants a cleaner planet so the goal is the same"

      That is not their goal. Their goal is total control. AGW propaganda is a means to that end.

  2. It doesn't help that the right is full of short-sighted, backward-thinking assholes.

    1. Yes, that's a problem. Because the left is full of self-absorbed narcissistic patronizing cunts, and if not effectively opposed they'll always end up creating an end result of oppression and atrocities.

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    3. The problem with the right and the left is they are coalitions of groups that generally have little in common. One can find examples of jerks in both groups (especially among the politicians) but big stroke opinions about either parties voters are rarely accurate.

    4. No argument here. They both suck, for the most part.

  3. It's tough to separate the features from the bugs on either side, though, isn't it? This (the original blog post) is actually probably one of my favorite Pundit insights I've read on here, but I can't help but feel that you just keep getting deeper into opposition of a caricatured left, with any and all of its unfortunate trappings, from a position of an idealized right that refuses to take responsibility for any of its own baggage.

    Interesting thoughts, I just don't know why it always has to be framed in terms of a culture war that doesn't actually seem to involve the sides you want it to.

  4. Oh, the Comedy Wars, didn't Ben Kenobi fight alongside Anakin Skywalker in those days?

  5. Ben Shapiro wrote a booklet HOW TO DEBATE LEFTISTS AND DESTROY THEM: 11 Rules for Winning the Argument and said something similar. Don't let them frame the debate, don't concede the use of their buzzwords but ask for clarification of their meaning, something something something do it lightning quick and it will be like twisting their own arm behind their back and you have won.