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07 March 2012

How to reframe and win a debate against liberals

Kathryn makes an astute observation:

"What’s infuriating is that we can’t have an honest debate about anything that might happen to involve women, because it might make Planned Parenthood or any of the political or business wings of the abortion industry uncomfortable."

You've probably noticed that any issue that involves women in any way quickly devolves into an asinine exercise of one side shrieking about the "WAR ON WOMEN OMG!!" even though women in our society are more privileged than in any time or place in history.

Unfortunately, the primary reason for this is the female psyche itself, and that's not going to change no matter how much conservatives bitch about it. This may come as a shock to some, but women are generally not the most logical beings on the planet. They're certainly capable of doing logic (otherwise I wouldn't lose to my wife at Othello every damn time), but actually applying it to real-life issues in an analytical and objective manner doesn't usually come naturally to them. Getting worked up into a frenzied emotional panic, however, does.
Hence, illogical emotional appeals that nearly all men would find insulting to our intelligence will always work on large numbers of women, and despite their stated commitment to "equality," liberals know this and exploit it whenever they can. Emotional arguments that combine fear with appeal to female vanity, and in particular to womens' love of feeling unfairly put-upon (let's not pretend we don't all know about that), are especially effective.

So, for instance, when the Catholic Church protested Obama's attempt to make them pay for female contraceptives and abortion pills for the first time in history, the Left responded hysterically about "old white men trying to control women's bodies," with red herrings about attempts to "ban" contraception, and with angry hyperventilating statements about how it was an "unprecedented attack on women's equality" and so forth.
You could just as easily argue that continuing to not force churches to buy men free condoms constitutes a WAR ON MEN(!). But liberals don't argue that, because the vast majority of men, even men who would like "free" condoms at someone else's expense, would roll their eyes at the sheer absurdity of it. The argument would backfire on the person making it, because men would resent being treated as if their picture was next to "gullible" in Websters.

Ditto for the idea that a private organization like Komen trying to focus their funding more efficiently on combating breast cancer rather than giving it to Planned Parenthood somehow constitutes an attack on female "equality," or that ultrasounds somehow constitute "rape."
These are nonsense arguments, but all you have to do is say them, and insinuate that some bad patriarchal men somewhere "just don't want women to be equal," and lots of women will freak out and/or become indignant about it. It's ironic, since the widespread success of those making these sorts of arguments relies on an actual lack of female equality in the area of logical argumentation.

The solution, I'm starting to think, is that we conservatives need to approach issues in a two-pronged manner: rational argument for those open to it (we already have an advantage here, because most liberal policies are rationally indefensible and require huge amounts of sophistry to seem otherwise) and tendentious emotional manipulation for everyone else.
For one example, on this ultrasound debate, perhaps at least some of us should have presented the Left's position as an "attack on womens' health," with rhetoric insinuating that liberals are trying to "ban" ultrasounds from abortion clinics and elsewhere, combined with high-minded lectures about how "vital" ultrasounds are to the health of pregnant women everywhere.
We could make much of the "shocking fact" that around 20% of abortionists don't use ultrasounds, insinuating that they're trying to "cut costs at the expense of womens' safety," while alluding continually to Kermit Gosnell and self-righteously wringing our hands about how "sad and unfortunate" it is that in this day and age "some people" still don't think that "womens' bodies" merit the same "respect" and "quality of care" that mens' do, or that women should be privy to the same amount of information about their bodies that men are, and that "clearly we still have a lot of work to do." Etc, etc.
See? Talking like a liberal is easy when you abandon any sense of shame or good faith whatsoever!

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