What’s Important in the Debate? Is it Even Debate?

Reader RAH notes:

Yet when Mitch Daniels who was a very good governor and he said to stick with fiscal conservatism and avoid culture clashes. He was wrong Culture is what drives policy. The left has been winning culture wars and that affect my freedom and my children’s freedom. I see the same Mitch Daniels attitude in the comments here a lot.

I used to think reason and debate mattered, but now I’m not all that sure. It matters to a small subset of the population who like that kind of thing. But in the overall political picture, I’m not sure reason and debate matter worth a damn. Most base what they think on emotion. In fact, one reason I’d argue social media is awful is because you can’t get away from that. People going off about things without even basic experience on a topic, aggressive ignorance, overt emotional displays and virtue signaling are the bread and butter of political opinion on social media. This is not limited to one side of the debate: this is true about every side of any issue.

But is RAH correct? I’m increasingly thinking so. Look at where the Overton Window has shifted to in the abortion debate. The debate is now whether it’s OK to commit infanticide. I’m nominally in favor of abortion being legal, but this is too far for me. But that’s where the debate has shifted to. I spent ten years on this blog arguing that machine gun rights are a lost cause unless we can change the issue culturally. In five years the left has gone from pushing gay marriage, which I agreed with them on, to getting us to question whether someone with a Y-chromosome is a male or not, and whether I’m a bigot for calling someone with a penis a dude. This is crazy. And a lot of people seem happy to vote for this crazy.

Why can’t this work for us? My instinct tells me it won’t work. But why? The left seems to be succeeding in wildly changing the culture. Is it because they control social media? Is it Google? What it is? I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure it doesn’t have shit to do with reason and debate.

16 thoughts on “What’s Important in the Debate? Is it Even Debate?”

  1. I’m not certain they’ve moved the culture as much as they THINK they have and like to PROJECT that they have. Take the abortion issue you mentioned. I’m pretty well in line with your position and the sense I get is that the majority of the population is as well. They don’t particularly like abortion, but don’t want to see it outlawed. At the same time they find the idea that a baby, literally seconds from being born, could be killed and it has even the remote possibility of being legal, absolutely horrifying, and with good reason. My oldest son was born at 36 weeks, perfectly healthy and to think someone could have killed him and it be legal brings to mind things we’ve hung war criminals for.

    I think this is all more of the left going off the intellectual deep end into insanity and a big part of the reason we got Trump. All the American left had to do was not be insane to really undermine, oppose and beat Trump and they couldn’t accomplish that.

    They got a little bit of power back at the mid-terms, their newbies have basically lost their minds and I think they pay for it in 20….

    1. When people are arrested for saying the wrong pronoun in the UK Yes, the cultures wars have been moved and we are in danger now. Not later

      1. They may be our cousins but the US and the UK are fundamentally different for a variety of reasons. The UK was lost to the marxists long ago, nevermind the neo-marxists coming to the forefront now.

  2. Just goes to show how you can’t compromise with “Progressives”. Look at Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. She had a press-conference/speech advocating for Amnesty after her “Green New Deal” debacle.

    She straight up hustled “Blood And Soil” as her reason for granting amnesty to those (in her own words) “brown people” because ‘Latinos are descendants’ of “The Natives”.

    I can remember when that whole issue of “La Reconquista” was derided as a ‘conspiracy theory’; the whole idea that Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador were imposing the act of Illegal Immigration on our Southwest to retake “their stolen land”.

    Alexandria Ocasio Cortez confirmed that La Reconquista is real. Go listen to her justification for amnesty.

    If we lose the culture wars that the left have declared on us, we will be Venezuela before 2030.

  3. Why is Trump popular? He fights. What does that mean? It means he fights the culture wars The ideals of what is right and what is wrong

    Take the kneeling during the anthem This was a symbolic gesture and really meaningless Yet Trump slammed them for failing to honor the flag and patriotism The idiots on the left fell for it They gave Trump the patriotism issue Trump won that issue

  4. Culture is critically important The idea of presumed innocence for example is old and our ideal of justice Yet lately it is presumed guilt instead. This is biting Justin Fairafx in Va.
    Ace of Spades pushes the game theory of tit for tat That the other side will never quit unless the same happens to them Myself I am not so sure . I think of the French Revolution when the originators later went and had their heads separated
    The witch hunts of Salem stopped when the accusation was lodged against the Governors wife. Then it went too far and the Governor stopped it with authority

    People do like witch hunts They did in the 1980’s with the sex abuse wild allegations against daycare workers. Eventually people do get tired and say NO Yet in this new Social media they just gin up another issue

  5. The critical path through which government exerts power over citizens is that citizens voluntarily obey government.

    The government can do stuff you don’t want because you, you personally, 100 million of you, obey government.

    Gun registration and confiscation in Connecticut, California, New Jersey, and Boulder is not being obeyed, so government isn’t getting it even though it wants it.

    Why do you obey government when it tells you to do something horrible?

  6. Culture affects popular opinion and that is how laws get made. Then the SJW impose their values on us with government force

  7. To take one example from your own blogroll: https://anarchangel.blogspot.com/
    Let’s list some of the relevant government policies:

    medical bankruptcy causes eviction from home
    medical (non-)insurance requires continued payments after covered bad event
    competing insurance companies and terms banned
    medical care five times more expensive due to legislative monopolies
    no medical practitioner liability for delays their system creates

    That’s a modern-day Trail of Tears. If not for government policies, they could afford to do what they’re facing by their own earning efforts. But no, if they tried to buy or create honest but illegal medical care, they would be dragged away to prison because they’re not obeying the law. According to you, they are not allowed to resist the enforcers keeping them on this modern Trail of Tears. You are on the critical path of why bad stuff is happening. If you didn’t snitch on neighbors defending themselves from human predators, they would get away with it and life would be happier.

  8. Andrew Breitbart famously observed that culture is upstream of politics. And yes we are seeing that play out. The left has corrupted most of our institutions with their Long March. The Evangelical churches, Orthodox Jewry and some others are still sound. I am starting to worry about the military. Upper level is heavily infiltrated. I think the middle (field grade officers and senior NCOs) is still sound. Vets are mostly OK though the leftists have sure recruited a lot to run for office. I have no idea about lower ranks. This will be of critical importance when the SHTF. Education, media, the Federal government, entertainment,tech and the corporate world are gone There are a lot of people that are still holding out and thus Trump but control of institutions is important.

  9. Keep in mind that the media is in the eyeball business. Republicans have an incentive to point out and wildly exaggerate how many people subscribe to kooky views (on gender, abortion, immigration, or socialism). And those people with kooky views always point out that one of 10 polls that shows people are behind them. And the media carries it all because everyone loves a circus.

    That said, pro-gun activists from what I have seen emphasize logic and reason, which are not the ingredients of a media circus. I am seeing that change somewhat as the conservative media carries defensive gun use stories. Trouble is, crime is at a low while carry rights have greatly expanded, so there is an increasingly smaller pool of “emotional” stories to draw from. And like anti-vaxxers, people tend to forget what got them here in the first place and go in reverse. Gun prohibitionists really are the anti-vaxxers of the world these days, ignoring decades of CCW experience in favor of goobered studies not much better than astrology. .

    So while I agree we should take a page from the gun-grabbers playbook, I also think it is increasingly hard to feed the media circus in a way that benefits us short term.

    Long term of course, logic and reason work and we need to lock in gains at the Supreme Court. Remember: Kopel and Halbrook (and others) have been at 2nd Amendment jurisprudence a very long time (decades) and are only now starting to see the fruits of their labor.

    1. And to add: Bloomberg was smart to hire a media savvy corporate insider who knew how to play the media circus. I thought Watts would never last as long as she did, but here we are. NRA needs to step up its game. Wayne LP’s playbook is from the 1990s.

  10. I think that one of your suppositions is correct. Culture is driven by observation and communication. If you interact with millenials, college students, and primary school students, you observe something that is a bit strange. The concept of a layered logical construction that leads to conclusion is missing as a skill in a significant number of people. The idea that A infers B, or that C can be deduced from B is just not taught to or understood by a greater and greater part of the population.
    The result of this is that people can’t deconstruct the argument being made by the media. Not only that, but “Media” has a consistent set of themes that get applied both at the conscious level and at the unconscious level. If consistently get bombarded with a idea that you know is incorrect, it becomes harder and harder to not accept that idea or meme as correct.
    So, if people don’t have the ability to deconstruct an idea, and that idea constantly gets reinforced, you’re eventually going to change the culture.

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