Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Tale of two talks upon the 2nd Amendment - The 2nd Amendment meets Saul Alinksy's lucky number #13 - Part 2

I have a friend who disagrees with the point I made in my last post, that you shouldn't answer disingenuous questioners, such as Piers Morgan, when you are aware that their questions are far less interested in your answers, than in making you look foolish for having answered them.

While my friend Lloyd agrees with me that the important point is to understand what the 2nd Amendment refers to, and more importantly why (no slouch on the constitution, his proposed constitutional 'fix' (on the legislative end anyway), 'Madison's lost Amendment', is the only promising one I've seen (though I don't want a constitutional conv.)), he is critical of pursuing a 'strategy' that doesn't give them the easy answers they are asking for. He sees no sense in doing as Dana Loesh did, when she recently refused to take Piers Morgan's 'tank question' bait, answering him only that the 2nd Amendment protects the right to bear arms.

Lloyd replies, in part, that he would have nooo problem,
"... answering Mr. Morgan's rather absurd question and pointing out that is not really the issue here.

But I guess my "strategy" is not clever enough. Anyone who can READ can quote the words of the 2nd amendment."
, and he feels confident that, having answered him, he would then be able to get on to discussing his points afterwards. Which, IMHO, is ridiculously naive position to take, when you are dealing with someone who's only reason for'discussing' the matter is so as to dismiss it - and you - as quickly and embarrassingly (for you) as is possible.

Happily, we have the chance to see two very different examples of these two approaches in action, and how they turn out. The 'reasonable' approach, was taken in the latest Piers Morgan interview with singer/actor Dwight Yoakam. His attempt at doing as Lloyd would recommend, attempting to answer and then move on to discuss the matter further, is... rather painful to watch.

How well that approach works out, hoping and trusting that Rule #13 won't lay a glove on you, is on display here in living color. If you want to jump ahead to the gory parts, click to the 5:46 mark, and have a look as Morgan is having a violent scene played in the background from a movie his guest was in, and Yoakam, caught unawares, suddenly hears the noises and, looking around, says
"... what's going on...?"
What's going on, is that his willingness to engage in a conversation with someone who had no intention of having one with him, was used as a means to implement Alinsky's lucky rule #13:
"13) Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. "
Unfortunately, surprise!, Yoakam's earnest answers are met with patronizing condescension by his host, and an incredibly unfair usage of quotes from his songs, and clips from his movies, all of which Morgan uses to successfully paint Yoakam as being a yokel. Which... is exactly what it means to pick the target (the 2nd Amdt), freeze it (TANKS!!!), personalize it (That'd be you, you ol' yokel idj't you), and polarize it ("I can't imagine wanting to see such violence continue").

The problem here is not in answering questions about the 2nd Amendment, but in doing as Yoakam did, making the mistake of thinking that Piers Morgan asked him his opinion because he wanted to hear his answers. He didn't. He wanted to use his answers to obliterate his position, which was all the easier to do because Yoakam wasn't (seemingly) all that prepared to argue what the 2nd Amendment means, relies upon, and requires - and why.

How about you?

Now compare the results of that naive approach, resulting in Morgan's barbaric and self-satisfied behavior, with his somewhat different demeanor at the end of his discussion with Dana Loesch, who refused to play along with his game.

He's positively pissed off by the end of it, crumpling, wadding up and throwing his papers around the set like a frustrated toddler denied his loli pop, why? Because he couldn't lure her in for the kill, he couldn't freeze her, he couldn't personalize the problem as her, and the only think polarized at the end of the discussion, was his behavior.

Perfect!

The thing to realize, is that when someone apes the forms of reason, they are not doing so in order to have a fruitful discussion, but to eliminate your point of view from discussion. Period. Don't help them pretend that they were ever after anything else.

The other thing to realize is, that if you deny them what they want, not only do they become unhinged, but ol' lucky #13 gets turned back around on them, like the double edged sword it is. If you don't allow them to make you look shrill and foolish, then they end up looking shrill and foolish.

Does that mean you should never answer questions about the 2nd Amendment? Of course not. I answered 'the tank question' at length in my last post, and went even further into it in the comment section with a leftie friend, Lance. What it does mean, is, for one thing, that you don't pretend that reality is something other than what it is. If you are facing an honest questioner, make some effort to ensure that they realize that there is a far more fundamental and important issue regarding the 2nd Amendment, than what is, or isn't rightfully considered arms. It doesn't take all that much,
"Which weapons are valid is worth discussing, assuming that you do agree that people have the Right to defend themselves, do you?"
If they answer yes,
"And do you agree that that Right follows from our nature as human beings, or because some old dead guys put pen to paper way back when, and said so?"
, what your after with the last part, is do they believe in something resembling Natural Rights, which are the basis of our system of government, or do they think rights are the product of legislation, dependent upon the whims of politicians and popular opinion.

Which answer they give is less important than the fact that they do give you a satisfactory answer - they don't have to agree with you - as long as they are disagreeing with your application of the principle, rather than using you to ridicule and dispense with the principle altogether. With that accomplished, you have an out in the open basis for a fruitful discussion. If you can manage to squeeze in that the Right which the 2nd Amendment protects is for individuals to defend themselves against personal threats, as well as for them to organize together and defend their community against larger threats, then you did good, you gave them something to think about. If you can get a longer discussion going than that, fantastic. Well done.

But if they won't give you a straight answer, or if they want to try and mock you, or the very idea of Rights... then what is further discussion on those grounds going to serve, other than furnishing them with more fuel to roast you with? In that case, don't give them any more of an answer than that truth which they are attempting to avoid... such as "The 2nd Amendment protects the Right to bear arms".

Shoot. I'd hoped to get into more of the reasoning behind the 2nd Amendment, and the maliciously negligent tarring of it by Thom Hartmann (see video in the last post) and the current occupant of the White House... but I'm out of time.

Hopefully I can finish up tomorrow.

1 comment:

philmon said...

Peirs is a rude, disgusting man, not any kind of "journalist" in the traditional sense of the word.

The fact that he is not listening to answers to the questions he asks but is rather talking over those answers to make sure they are not heard tells me all I need to know.

It's why I don't watch any cable news opinion shows anymore. If you're not going to let an argument play out fairly, I've got no use for it.