Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The difficulty of intellectually engaging the Left

...Sigh....I found this to be true as far back as my college days, at IU, in 1979.......T
One of the more appealing aspects about being on the Left is that you do not necessarily have to engage your opponents in debates over the truth or falsehood of their positions. You can simply dismiss your opponent as "anti."
Anti-worker: It all began with Marxism. If you opposed communism or socialism, you were not merely anti-communist or anti-socialist, you were anti-worker. This way of dismissing opponents of leftist ideas is now the norm. Anyone, including a Democrat, who raises objections to union control of state and local politics is labeled anti-worker: "anti-teacher," "anti-firefighter," "anti-nurse," etc. This is how the unions are fighting California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's attempts to rein in unauthorized union spending of members' dues to advance leftist political goals. He is depicted as an enemy of all these groups.
...Anti-peace: The very fact that anti-war and "peace" activists have labeled themselves "pro-peace" and "anti-war" renders their opponents vulnerable to charges of opposing peace and even loving war. Again, no intellectual argument is needed. According to much left-wing rhetoric, those who support the war in Iraq do not love peace. Of course, there was no peace in Iraq prior to the American deposing of Saddam Hussein, and there would be far more bloodshed if America now left Iraq. But it is far harder to engage those arguments than to label those who make them "anti-peace."
...The "anti" arguments are effective. Conservatives have to spend half their time explaining that they are not bad people before they can be heard. But the Left has paid a great price. Because they have come to rely so heavily on one-word dismissals of their opponents, they have few arguments.