I spend a lot of my time and energy exposing the agenda of the secular progressive (SP) movement to you, the folks, and I confront these evil-doers whenever justice calls for it. But even without hosting the highest-rated cable news program in the universe, you folks may find yourself having to debate an SP at some point in your lives, especially if you're on a college campus or in a big city, or on the west coast, or online, or. . . you get the point. So I've decided to offer you a little help to make sure you never lose another debate to an SP. We'll start with my Golden Rules of Debate:
- Take charge by asking direct, yes or no questions; make sure that one answer is clearly reprehensible, and the other is totally meaningless without further explanation. For example: "Do you want the U.S. to lose in Iraq?" If your opponent (and make no mistake, the SP is your opponent) answers yes, the debate's over. You call him a traitor and move on; if your opponent answers no, make sure you cut him of before he has time to explain what he means, for example, what he DOES want to see happen in Iraq. If he tries to reframe the question, cut him off and accuse him of refusing to answer the question; make sure you disrupt his attempt to rephrase or reframe the question or respond in a more nuanced way, or you will rapidly lose control of the debate (and, if there are viewers/onlookers, the message). You may want to end the debate if your opponent doesn't compromise and insists on delivering his own message.
- Follow up your "yes or no" questions with concrete examples of poor behavior by his fellow SPs that is in some way relevant to the original question. For example" "The hateful [insert liberal website/group/person here] says the U.S. is in Iraq for blood and oil / that Bush brought down the Twin Towers himself / that the pope molests children / that all Republicans should be sent to Guantanamo." At this point, be absolutely sure you demand a condemnation, not just of the behavior or statement, but of the group you attribute the behavior to. This works best if you know the person disagrees with your attribution of that behavior to the person or group (for instance, if the comment is taken out of context, subject to differing interpretations, or is attributable to fringe elements of a large and open group or website), because they will try to distinguish or explain the example, and provide you with another opportunity to cut them off, and accuse them of defending the indefensible.
- Certain topics should be off limits for debate. These are: 1) the accuracy of any facts you yourself assert or assume in framing your questions; 2) the correctness of any characterizations you make of others; 3) the wickedness of any sources which are critical or contradictory of you or your facts. The best way to remember these is by the acronym FOX (F for facts, O for others, and X for contradictory sources). It is inevitable that some opponents will try to deliver their own message between your questions, and to ask you questions of their own. This is acceptable; you want this to a degree, so long as you do not let them challenge FOX. If they attempt to do these things in a way that attacks or contradicts FOX (for example, if they try to argue that a particular group/person/website is not actually far-left and nutty) you should immediately cut them off. These attempts, if successful, will not only shift the terms of the debate, but will force you to defend your assertions and deny you the advantage of being on offense. They also challenge your leadership in the debate, which is an important advantage. People who persist with these attempts cannot be defeated in a debate, and you should end the debate rather than allow a perceived stalemate if the person does not let up. In a studio you can cut your opponent's microphone, but in your daily lives, a simple "take your liberal lies someplace else," is probably sufficient.
- The choice of accusatory modes of address (e.g., "you" liberals) is one that you have to make on the fly. Always start off referring to SPs/liberals in the third person, and append suitable disparaging language (nutjobs, loons, etc.) where appropriate. If your opponent takes the bait when you ask questions/request condemnations, and attempts to explain, distinguish, or rephrase (as discussed in Rules 1 and 2), you may decide to begin including your opponent in those groups. If you opponent stays within the narrative you are trying to project, and respects the acceptable boundaries you set (see Rule 3), avoid adding disparaging language when referring to him; the battle is already halfway won. If your opponent refutes the assumptions you have injected into the debate, you may use disparaging terms when referring to him (e.g., nutjob, Kool-Aid drinker). This is a great way to put a dogged opponent on the defensive, and focus his attention on refuting your charges rather than continuing to attack the assumptions of your arguments. It also provides rhetorical cover if you choose to end the debate as discussed in rule 3.
- You should try never to say anything that is demonstrably false under all possible interpretations, but the accuracy of your facts is not nearly as important as the passion with which you defend them. Most factual assertions can at least be argued, even if by stretched logic, and projecting absolute certainty in asserting and defending your facts may actually sway your opponent. Failing that, it will at least deprive him of any feelings of triumph that admitting a mistake or displaying doubt would give him. Even if a factual assertion should prove absolutely untrue, remember to always defend FOX under Rule 3. F is for facts, remember, and the accuracy of your facts should in no way determine the passion with which you defend them. A simple rule of thumb is: always assume you are right, and expect others to do the same.
With these rules, and a little natural bloviating skill, you should skin any SPs that come your way, and leave those who won't make nice with a bitter taste in their mouths at the least.
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