The Thinking 

Rule No. 1: Seek Friction

December 3, 2012


JAMES P. writes:

Julia writes in the entry about her relative’s homosexual “wedding:”

“(Please don’t use my real name if you publish this! My relative is a nasty, outspoken gay rights activist who lives on the West Coast with his millionaire partner. He hates Catholics with a passion and he would have no qualms about posting awful things about me, and getting his friends to do the same, if he found out I wrote this.)”

Among the reasons the West, Christianity, and America are dying is that those who should be their defenders are too polite even to risk the social ostracism and unpleasantness that one incurs when opposing or criticizing the many crazy Leftist excesses we see every day. When we remain silent, the Left wins by default, and young people do not hear any alternative to the Leftist propaganda in which they are immersed.

I understand perfectly that people do not wish to risk being fired, and thus may remain silent at work, but this is not the case here. I also know that generally speaking, one does not wish to have a gratuitous argument with one’s relatives. I often find myself editing my reaction to things my liberal in-laws say, and I always hate myself afterwards.

I realize that many women shun confrontation, but it is especially important for traditionalist women to defend their beliefs in public and to praise men who do so. Supposedly there is a Native American saying that “a nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground.” All women who reject the insanity we see all around us need to demonstrate, as best they can, that their hearts are not on the ground! Wear the scorn of a “nasty, outspoken gay rights activist” as the badge of honor that it is.


—- Comments —-

Hannon writes:

I am torn in this instance between James P.’s invocation and that of Lawrence Auster, who advocates a more indirect path to communication with the Other. James I think is coming from the heart, while Lawrence’s approach is intellectual. Shouldn’t we employ both at different times, according to circumstances?

Based on my own experience of irresistible right wing outbursts with friends and family I suggest a soft approach with any liberal interlocutor. A light touch goes a long way. Asking questions in a careful, relaxed manner, such as “Why do you believe that to be true?”, can help to open minds more effectively than emphasizing the virtues of your own beliefs. The goal, it seems to me, is to get the other fellow thinking about the issues at hand rather than reactively digging in his heels and lobbing invective at you, and avoiding the latter temptation yourself.

While it is true that some liberals, probably a small percentage, will find conservative writings and take in important principles, this is not enough. Sending cogent articles to liberal family members and friends can help this process along. I try to avoid sending articles that contain overt religious references, simply because I am trying to reach someone who values “reason” above most other human values. Ultimately the difference between left and right comes down to morality, and someone who is honest with himself will eventually have to question the source of (Western) morality. It is critical that he sees the developmental and historic path that has led to goods that are impossible to deny: community, prosperity, social harmony, liberty, etc., and, eventually, the concomitant significance of religion.

It is not our job to crack the brittle carapace of liberalism but instead to assert principles that can be absorbed and applied over time. One never knows the outcome. Following a default (not ideological) liberal upbringing, I was introduced to conservatism at an early age, followed by 20 apolitical years, then back to conservative thinking. Young men and women today seem the most resistant to non-liberal ideas but they are the minds with ideas that need balancing more than other age groups. A thoughtful conservative message both in writing and in person are both good starting points.

 Laura writes:

James P. was specifically addressing a case of a woman writing on the Internet, not a confrontation with relatives in person.

In general, I think it is inappropriate to turn family gatherings into political debates. One can simply assert disagreement but not expand on why. Hannon’s soft approach is commendable, but some of us are incapable of this kind of thing and should remain quiet rather than risk angry outbursts which serve no purpose.

James P. writes:

Laura writes,

“In general, I think it is inappropriate to turn family gatherings into political debates.”

I agree. Thankfully I don’t have any relatives who are nasty, outspoken gay rights activists. If I did, I am not sure whether any sort of truce could possibly prevail between us at a family gathering. I do have liberal relatives who enjoy vigorous disagreement, but usually we confine this to internet exchanges. At the last Thanksgiving dinner, the non-liberal contingent fulminated about the election until the liberals showed up.

The biggest problems I experience are not at formal family gatherings. Anyone, even me, can keep a lid on himself for a few hours during a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. The problems arise when I spend longer periods of time with liberal relatives. Oftentimes they will say something approving about Obama or scornful about Republicans as if they expect me to endorse this like every intelligent, right-thinking person obviously should. Sometimes my foreign relatives attack America in some way — usually with criticism directed at stupid, evil American conservatives — and I have to decide whether or not to express my irritation, which is a real dilemma if I am staying in their house.

Many times liberal relatives say things that are not directly political but that reflect the Leftist perspective, and I have to decide whether to address this or keep quiet. Given that liberalism is a total belief system, it is easier for them to politicize something seemingly non-political than you might think…

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