So unless you’ve been living under a rock today, you’ve probably heard of the woman who disrupted the play in which a mock Trump is assassinated on stage. There’s been a lot of division on the Right on how to properly respond to this. Kurt Schlicter dismisses it as rather trivial here. Robert Kroese had a different take, which you can read here. My own position was somewhere in between. I thought the whole thing was rather stupid, as the tactic will have no measurable effect. The play won’t be cancelled, nor will it paint Rightists in any better light. It won’t end media corruption or spin. It is, in fact, a rather empty gesture. But, on the other hand, I have no particular desire to expend my effort to put a stop to it either. As far as I’m concerned, there is considerable schadenfreude in the whole affair. Leftists don’t bother stopping their SJWs and Antifa thugs (indeed, they rile them up for greater atrocity), why should I waste my time chasing down Right-wing stupidity? Now Leftists have some idea of the lunacy Rightists deal with on a daily basis. Welcome to the club.
As it so happens, the best position on this mess comes from Iowahawk. He proposes a solution to anti-speech lunacy that handles the tit-for-tat problem rather neatly. See, the problem for me is not that I agree with the woman interrupting somebody’s play, but rather that the other side would be laughing if a Lefty jumped on stage and grabbed the mic at a Right-wing event. Why should I keep faith if I already know the other side is going to betray? Some folks will say “stick to your principles”, which is a nice-sounding argument. But how do you avoid the Game Theory problem that entails?
Read this thread, it addresses the Game Theory issue with this in detail:
Now this might actually work. Though, as some others have pointed out, it won’t do any good if their side tries to get around it via legal wrangling. Honestly, that’s above my pay grade anyway. But all this got me to thinking. Most folks arguing that we needed to do something about the interrupter were doing so based on the notion that we need to occupy the moral high ground, and we can’t do that if we tacitly support raving lunatics. Sounds reasonable.
But here’s the monkey in the wrench. We don’t occupy the moral high ground. We haven’t occupied it since at least the Reagan years, and probably long before that. Why is that? If you’ve been following my series on Marxism and Morality, you may have an inkling of where I’m going with this.
Marxism possesses the moral high ground, at this point in time.
It’s true. They have it. And not recognizing that they occupy it is half of how we got to this juncture in the first place. Let me be clear. I’m not saying Marxists are right. They are most certainly, terribly, wrong. It’s a travesty that an ideology full of lies, which has massacred millions has been ceded the moral high ground. But it’s also true that they hold it, no matter how much we might protest the wrongness of it.
Why do they occupy it? Because we let them have it. We granted them the courage of their convictions. We treated Marxism as a “good theory” that just doesn’t work in practice. We suggested that our enemies (and yes, they are our enemies) were as moral and honest as we were, they were just merely mistaken about the means, that’s all.
Meanwhile, they call us Nazis, fascists, racists, sexists, homophobes, Islamophobes, whatever. They never granted us the same conviction we granted them.
So one side was saying: “these people are good people.” And the other side was saying: “these people are the scum of the Earth.” Their side was hitting Betray on endless repeat. Our side Kept Faith on the same endless repeat. They tallied the high score again and again, and we kept losing. Nobody sides with the loser.
And so, after decades of this sort of thing, they are acknowledged as good, moral people who are either correct (if you’re a Leftist) or good, moral people who are merely incorrect (if you’re a Rightist). Meanwhile, we’re accounted as Hitlers by a solid percentage of the population.
Also, we ceded Academia, Media, and Entertainment to them. And they have been using it to browbeat us, and tell everyone how we want old people to die, how we want sick people to die, how we want people to starve, how we hate minorities, etc… And if we ever defended ourselves, it was a losing battle. “Oh, look at how defensive he’s getting, it MUST be true!” The fact is, Marxism was designed to be rhetorically appealing at a superficial level.
Is there a sick person? Just give him care! If you don’t, you must want him to die! It’s such a simplistic, easy-to-meme narrative, that it’s difficult to break. Of course, if you know the facts, you quickly realize that government care is more expensive, stifles advancement, and creates a system where care is rationed anyway, it is merely a bureaucrat doing the rationing. But the second you start to spout these facts, the audience yawns. “Don’t kill granny” is a much more compact message for people with short attention spans, which describes all too many people these days.
The Right needs to be thinking about similar levels of memetic compression. Yes, Milton Friedman and Ludwig von Mises are great citations when discussing economic theory, but to the layman, you need something more concrete. Trump won the nomination (and the Presidency) in large part because he, or at least someone in his campaign, understood this. I’m going to bring jobs back. Let’s Make America Great Again. Love or hate the man, he knew how to compress his narrative. Rightists need to do a lot more of this. When one of them says “Republicans want to push granny off a cliff” the response should be “Democrats want to outsource your job to China.”
But you rarely see Republicans do this anymore, because they are too principled to use rhetoric this way. Jeb would rant about love and compassion, and nobody cared. Everybody yawned. These are the same people who get pissed if their phone takes 3 seconds to download Candy Crush. They aren’t going to tune in for all the nuance and dialectic. But we usually avoid using rhetoric this way because it’s unprincipled.
No, no, it’s only unprincipled if the rhetoric is a lie. And besides, if the enemy is beating you to death with a weapon, it behooves you to get one of your own.
It’s like a solid percentage of my fellow Rightists never understood basic Game Theory. Stop keeping faith, damnit! These people will never like you!
All that being said, I get where Robert Kroese and some others are coming from too. The fact of the matter is, in the main, our side is correct. And even if we were wrong we do genuinely believe what we’re saying. We believe the free market is better for people. We believe in freedom of speech. We believe that the best government is generally small, and distant from the lives of the citizenry. We aren’t using them as cynical cover for some kind of supremacist Nazi-like agenda. They, on the other hand, may very well be using their concern trolling for a globalist Communism-like agenda. Certainly, a good many are. Principled Leftists do exist (see: Dave Rubin, Camille Paglia), but they are becoming increasingly rare and are, in any event, drowned out by the Marxists, who have more or less hijacked the Leftist narrative at this point.
An interesting test I periodically conduct on Twitter is to find admitted and avowed Marxists, and ask them a question. I ask if we could split America today, and give half to them, and half to Rightists, they could have their Communist utopia, today, right now. I even suggest that they could be granted the more valuable half. The better real estate, natural resources, whatever. Would that satisfy them, I ask. They get what they want immediately, we get what we want (which is mainly to be free of them).
I’ve never had one agree with me that this is a good idea. Not one. They always spin it like “we’re doing it for you too” or “we couldn’t let you be unfree and oppressed by Capitalism.” The Hell you say. If Capitalism is oppressing me, screw it. Sign me up for that. Every once in a while, a Marxist will admit the truth: “we hate you, and we want your ideology to be made extinct.” I don’t care if Communists exist somewhere on this planet. I only care if they have power over me and mine. They can go be Commies all they like, so long as it’s not in my life. The same courtesy is, once again, not reciprocated. We must be destroyed.
Which goes right back to where we started on all this. Do we owe it to the other side to police our own crazies? No. We don’t owe them anything. If they want to agitate for our side’s leaders to be assassinated, I say we owe them nothing. But should we do it anyway, for some other reason? Maybe. Certainly the optics on this are bad, and the woman who did it accomplished nothing. So from a tactical level, yeah, this is no good. And as Iowahawk pointed out, maybe there’s another way we can solve the problem, while still avoiding punching the “Keep Faith” button for the umpteenth time. I’m open to all that.
But what I’m not open to is hitting “Keep Faith” again, or pretending we occupy the moral high ground. We don’t. And if we’re going to win this thing, we’re going to need to topple them from that ill-gained position. The positive side is, the more they burn cities down, shoot people, and generally act like assholes, the weaker their hold on that position becomes, even with media interference running on their behalf 24/7. They are starting to lose their grip on it, finally.
So in the end, if you’re considering emulating this woman: don’t. It won’t work. And it’s possible it may be counterproductive. But definitely be considering ways in which we can make a difference in this war (and it is a war, don’t think of it any different, even if it’s mostly a cold war right now), and stop assuming that your enemies have your best interest at heart. They don’t and never did. Don’t Keep Faith with them.