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The brilliance of Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes, Prince Waleed and their clade never ceases to impress me.  Twenty years ago, they were subsidizing Rush Limbaugh and the neoconservatives to spread what's become the core notion of today's right. (Though it also crops up on the far-left!) One that is now fundamental dogma to millions of Americans.

The notion that assertions can trump facts.

Ridiculing the “fact based community,” the party line has become completely untethered from any need for consistency or reference to evidence. Leveraging upon a native and healthy American trait - suspicion of authority - it has metastacised into the cancerous nostrum that all experts are automatically wrong because they know a lot.  From scientists to journalists to judges, medical doctors, academics, diplomats, skilled labor... indeed, the list of knowledge castes under attack at Fox is now almost complete.  (Find the exceptions!) Only the Wall Street oligarchy has been left out.  Those "experts" it seems are indispensable.

Not even Marxists ever found so perfect a way to insulate their followers from dogma-dilution.  Is there any way to get past the nostrums recited by Limbaugh listeners and climate denialists and so on?

I found one.  And it works.  It works very well.

Make it a matter of money.  Stone cold hard cash.

I have found that no amount of facts or evidence will shift an “ostrich” republican back to the old ways of Goldwater and Buckley, in pre-Fox days, when conservatism respected knowledge and facts. Back when the average education level of republicans was higher than democrats, when 40% of scientists were in the GOP, instead of less than 5% today.  When knowledge and intellect weren't the openly declared enemy.
Nevertheless, I found a bullet! When faced with absolute denial and perfect assertion-addiction, one thing cracks the turtle shell. Demanding a wager!

“You are absolutely certain about your list of assertions, even those that sound cockeyed and totally over-the-top, or that denounce all of America's knowledge-experts.  So certain are you, of these Ailes-approved assertions, that you're willing to stake our nation’s future on them, even putting back in charge the idiots who ran America off a cliff in the first decade of this century.  So certain that you’ll demonize every opponent, despise all educated people, and trash any talk of negotiation or compromise.

“Fine.  Only then, if you truly are that certain, make a bet!  Take my money! Back it up with cash that we’ll both deposit with some agreed-neutral party.  I’ll even give you odds. If I am the fool, for disagreeing with you, take money from this fool! (And religion is no excuse; the loser could pay the winner's favorite charity.)

“This matters. You are willing to help ignite the latest phase of the American Civil War, convinced that facts back up your side.  Then show some guts. Put money on it!”

= Clearcut, provable wagers =

Here are just a few of the matters I have offered to lay on the table, at various times.  I've made some nice cash. But mostly had the satisfaction of calling the other guy "chicken" when he refused... and seeing him stop using some outrageously false, Roger Ailes talking points.

* You claim we’re in steep moral decline, especially in Blue America. Red America is more moral and knows better how to raise kids up, wholesomely; is that right? Okay, have we shaken on a wager? Then here’s just one clear-fact refutation. Teen pregnancies are highest in states with abstinence-only policies. (In fact, get Crazy Uncle to bet on every point of “immorality” from divorce rates, teen sex, STDs, and domestic violence to almost every type of crime, in Red vs Blue regions.  He’ll lose on all counts.  Take his cash. Or call him a coward.)

* Taxed enough already?  That's the outraged Tea Party mantra.  So make a bet on how high taxes really are in the U.S. today, especially for the rich, compared to any time in the last 80 years.  (Actually, we're at one of the lowest points since 1930.) Or what fraction of the US economy is taken up by the Federal government. Or who is paying more tax and getting less in return. (Hint: Blue America pays more taxes, gets fewer benefits, but... key point... Blue America also whines much much less.)

* The Obama stimulus of the economy in 2009 was a "catastrophe" according to Republicans like Mitt Romney, who wanted the US Auto Industry to go into bankruptcy and receivership, and thereby "learn a lesson." It was claimed that the taxpayer would lose trillions... literally trillions.  So have your uncle bet you whether this is still what he believes... then show him the NET PROFITthat we, the people, are making off the stimulus.

(Then ask him if he thinks we got our money's worth from a decade and two trillion dollars and thousands of lives poured into "nation building" in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Ask him if he knows what fraction of that went to companies co-owned by Dick Cheney.  Finally, ask him why he doesn't know, or care.)

* Obama the socialist? BHO got his  party to pass the republicans’ own health care proposal (circa 1994-2004).  “Obamacare” is essentially the Gingrich Plan, later adopted by Mitt Romney. Don't let them weasel by claiming "We changed our mind!" Sure, they have that right.

But you do not have a right to change your mind AND scream "socialist!" at those who implement YOUR plan. Find a way to parse this as a bet.

*  Here’s one that always works. Offer to bet Crazy Uncle that Rupert Murdoch’s top partner and co-owner at Fox News is a Saudi Prince. He'll deny it in screeching outrage... then he'll refuse to make it a wager.  Nail him with that hypocrisy.

I could go on and on.  Indeed, many of you regulars are tired of hearing these same things recited here.  (Well, you knew it would happen in an election year!)  But that’s not the point, this time.

Sure, I know we won’t change many minds with this tactic.  Negotiation and mind-changing isn't in the cards. Not during outright Civil War. Ailes and co. have succeeded in plunging us down that path and nothing is left but to fight it. With the right symbols.

But at least this’ll arm you to help get the nut-jobs to shut the f$#& up over their favorite ranted assertion-incantations!  Because they care, above all, about their money.

= Hence this OPEN CALL! =

Come to the comments section (below) and offer your own favorite crazy uncle bets, parsed to go to the heart of a right wing "frame" and easily disprove it.  Offer it up as a clear wager... and provide citations for devastating proof/evidence.  Keep them short n' punchy and focused on crystal clear FALSIFIABLE STATEMENTS or wagers subject to potent proof. I'll publish the best ones here.

Oh, and just for fairness sake... you contrarians or republicans are welcome to offer up ways to bait your dogmatic-leftist crazy aunt, too!

They may not be as numerous or dangerous as the Murdochite loons, right now, but I consider them-there-lefties to be fair game.  Only dig this... try to stick to actual unbiased assertions that real liberals (and not a few campus lefty flakes) actually say, not things Glen Beck claims they say.

I’ll post the top ones on CONTRARY BRIN.

Even better, I hope someone will become convinced to run with this concept and create a web site devoted to Big Political Bets.  As contributions to sanity go, you could do much worse.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (15+ / 0-)

    Things to repeat: "CITOKATE -- Criticism Is The Only Known Antidote to Error." "IAAMOAC -- I Am A Member of a Civilization"

    by David Brin on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 08:01:43 PM PDT

  •  I'll bet it works too (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, Unit Zero

    Thanks David.

  •  I bet that there have been more record high (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    palantir, G2geek

    temperatures over the last decade in Altoona (or wherever Uncle George lives) than record lows. Probably twice as many would be safe.

    •  yes Andy but YOU provide the citations! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      palantir, G2geek

      As part of this community.  We'll all pitch in wagers plus evidence.

      Things to repeat: "CITOKATE -- Criticism Is The Only Known Antidote to Error." "IAAMOAC -- I Am A Member of a Civilization"

      by David Brin on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 08:41:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  woot!, look who's back. long time, yo. (0+ / 0-)

        Be back shortly, gotta scan the headlines.

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 12:25:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  brilliant idea! make them bet or back down. (0+ / 0-)

        But the key point is that the facts in question need to be irrefutable, for example the ownership of Fox (which will be in public legal documents) etc.

        Otherwise, very often, they will deny the facts or qualify them out of existence.  

        For example teen pregnancy and divorce?  "The reason it's so high in that state is because they've got a lot of (insert racial epithet here) and it's going to take a while to re-train 'em!"

        For that matter a truly conspiratorial mind could twist any fact to suit their own emotional narrative.  "Saudi Price Waleed must be secretly working for our side!"

        So part of this has to be to include the acceptable sources of facts, to which they have to agree in advance, so there is no backing down or post-hoc CT.  

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 03:08:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  How about some predictive betting? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    palantir, alizard, G2geek

    Like the above commenter, I'm drawn to climate.  To those who are sure that global warming is a hoax - there's not much chance of 2013 being one of the ten hottest years on record, is there?  

    I'd also be curious to see this implemented on a large scale.  It could fit into existing "prediction markets" like intrade.  If done right and sufficiently publicized, maybe this could actually lead to some significant wealth transfer from their side to ours.  

    There are thousands hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root. -Thoreau

    by Frameshift on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 08:51:54 PM PDT

  •  RE: meme that we are in moral decline (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    palantir, Sandino, G2geek

    Historically, I think that concept arose first in GB during its colonial expansionist/mercantilism phase  when they first tried to find historical precedents for imperialism and decided that Rome most closely resembled the British Empire.
    To cut to the chase, they attempted to explain Rome's decline and fall so they could avoid it themselves.  Finding that both they and Rome were Christian, they perverted the historical record so it was pagan excess which caused their fall.

    Fast forward to the US; after the Revolution, we adopted this meme and much of American theology was bent towards proving this point.  For present day exploiters to take advantage of this merely makes them the latest in a long line

  •  You believe Nukes are safe? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Invest in an insurance company that covers them.

    Great strategy, this 'Put your money where your mouth is' gambit.

  •  Of course this should apply to climate change... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ... but the best should be involuntary.  In that: "there will be several billion VERY angry people if the climate shit hits the fan.  They will lose their stuff.  They will want other peoples' stuff.

    We will help them seize the stuff of the arrogant assholes who delayed sensible measures to prevent this catastrophe, for purely emotional and politically shortsighted and anti-scientific reasons.

    Those who are on record using Tobacco industry style tactics to ensure nothing get done, despite advice from the ENTIRE scientific community... all of those people will have to give up a large share of their stuff, as part of simple tort settlements. And for entirely just cause.

    Things to repeat: "CITOKATE -- Criticism Is The Only Known Antidote to Error." "IAAMOAC -- I Am A Member of a Civilization"

    by David Brin on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 10:46:21 PM PDT

    •  i wonder about this: (0+ / 0-)

      The feasibility of passing a law that makes climate deniers "jointly and severally" civilly liable for the impacts of climate change.  Probably wouldn't pass Supreme Court muster, but none the less could be an interesting exercise.  

      Though, the other problem with that is, just like cigarette lawsuits, the deniers can deny each individual instance, because you can't prove that this or that particular case is due to the statistical cause in question.  And by the time any such lawsuit succeeds, the shit will have long since hit the fan and the culprits will have diffused their assets in a manner that is difficult to undo.

      For example assume denialists have offspring and pass their assets down as inheritance.  OK, so then do we go after them for the sins of their parents?

      By the time the cultural mood reaches the point where retributive justice is in the air, it will become far more "direct" than that.  

      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 03:21:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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