Patterico discusses the BDS tactics of the left over the past eight years and asks a very pertinent question. Did we hate those tactics because they were wrong or simply because they were used against “our guy?” While I definitely disagree with portions of his first statement (BHO really is as dangerous as some Patterico listed), I fully agree that the insidious dishonesty of the left against “our guys” is wrong because insidious dishonesty is wrong, regardless of the victim of the insidious dishonesty.
A commenter disagreed with Patterico, saying we need to use smear tactics to destroy our enemies. This is a fool’s game. It makes us no better than the other guy and much less trustworthy, merely because we are the ones with which the general public equates a higher moral standard; or more accurately, the general public knows we proclaim a higher moral standard. We are the Puritanical “ruin our fun” extremists, for better or worse. And the first thing the left does is attack perceived hypocrisy in our morality claims.
It is very difficult to attack the left as hypocrites because their standards are grotesquely low, but it is easy to attack the right because our standards are (sometimes unattainably) high. The easiest targets of hypocrite accusations are the “religious right” because we definitely have standards we admit we cannot reach. Perfection is the standard, and only One has ever reached that standard. While we of the “religious right” fully admit we sometimes fall short of our standards, we are still castigated by any shortcomings.
The left has always, and will always, attacked us in the media and to the general populace based on our own stated standards. This tactic is very successful due in part to the willing collaboration of the mainstream media. Another major reason the tactic is successful is due to the overall inattention of the populace. Assuming 50 percent of the voting-age population is politically astute (and I believe that percentage is grossly overestimated), and assuming a 50-50 split in the left/right viewpoint of the politically astute, there remains a full 50 percent who “don’t get into politics.” So, with those assumptions, 25 percent will never vote to the right and 25 percent will never vote to the left. It is the remaining 50 percent, who do not follow politics, that matters.
When the majority of the “possibly your side” voters are clearly disinterested in politics, perception is very easily more important than truth. Enter the truism “it takes a lifetime to build good character and a moment to destroy it.” The left is very successful in swaying “don’t talk about politics” type people because their task is much easier. When a “Puritan” is shown to be “hypocritical,” that “Puritan” loses all credibility. But, with the markedly lower standards of the left, showing someone of the left being dishonest or immoral or closely tied to the criminal element carries very little weight. Because it’s expected that all politicians are like that. The right is hanged by the suggestion of it because the right claims to be better than that but the left is excused of it because the left has no such claims.
I am reminded of a movie everyone should watch. It is very informative of the social warfare in today’s politics. While I have an absolutely huge issue with a hinging point near the climax of the movie, all the above is shown at work. “What movie?” I strongly suggest you watch Listen to Me.
Roy Scheider, the professor, has a book that explains the best tactics in a debate. Create a fictional story to pull at the heart-strings of your audience. Use that story to prove your point. You will automatically gain huge emotional points, which are oftentimes more important than intellectual points. During the college debate, in front of Supreme Court justices, Jami Gertz recounts a horrifying personal experience and her resultant actions (an abortion). Of course, the opponents have read Roy Scheider’s book. They immediately attack Jami Gertz’s story as being the story Roy Scheider advocates. This is the huge problem the right has, but the left somehow avoids (due to the complicit nature of the mainstream media). Jami’s character didn’t make up the story, but the damage has been done. Scheider’s character’s book provided such a huge hole in Jami’s character’s story a Mack truck could drive through it.
In comes Kirk Cameron, who played the “master debate closer” character. Or the character who fashioned himself the “master debate closer.” And did he ever provide a closer! Suppose you could solve all the world’s troubles but the solution required torturing an infant to death. Which of you would volunteer to be the one to torture that infant to death? And therein lies the issue.
Anyone who subscribes to “the ends justifies the means” is an idiot and a fool. There will always be unforeseen results. Always. Which means that the means are far more important than many believe. It is the means that people see when examining the right. It is the means that people use to judge the right. And those means are what the right must never compromise. Compromise on your standards and you are no better than the left. Much worse, in fact. Since the left has the “free money for you” program the right does not have, the right must depend on truth to persuade the 50 percent (and more). And it’s truth the left is so phobic about. “The truth shall set you free.” And the left is rightfully terrified of that.