I earlier posted on Breitbarticus and Adrienne, but I wanted to expand on their point: we need to engage, in the trenches, with the far left. As Andrew Breitbart and a host of conservative bloggers/warriors noted, we are at #War and need to fight back in the field of ideas. Luckily, we have plenty going for us in that regard as we actually have ideas, and these are based in logic, history, and reality . . . unlike our counterparts who rely on emotion–usually hate, but sometimes they mask it with “compassion” and “tolerance”–on utopian ideals that have repeatedly been proven wrong when applied in the real world, and on outright lies, mischaracterizations, and more lies.
I’ve had a teensy bit of experience venturing into unfriendly waters, and while I gave up on it, I am seriously rethinking giving such tremendous ground simply because it seemed like an uphill battle. So not Breitbart of me. But in those endeavors, I did notice that my posts were not dismissed by everyone, that there were people who were actually open to calm, reasoned arguments. And that’s the key to waging successfully a counter-campaign on leftist sites: we have to remain calm, use logic, be reasonable, and never, ever stoop to their level (no matter how tempting it is). I can’t say I never stooped, and maybe that’s why I ended up quitting, but I’m renewing my commitment to fight back and to do so outside my comfort zone.
The first time I ever did this was on Kos’s site; it was long ago, and I don’t even remember the post’s topic, but it had something to do with President Bush. Or heck, maybe it didn’t, remember that to them, everything has to do with President Bush. Anyway, the comment section was afire with crazy assertions about how stupid President Bush was, how uneducated, etc. So I posted a brief note pointing out that President Bush was a Yale graduate who held an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
Now, it does help to understand a bit about leftists, and one thing they admire is the Ivies (this is why they keep hammering BO’s education, despite us knowing nothing about it beyond where he attended and the years he received degrees). They are, at heart, horrible snobs. And sure enough, a few commenters admitted they had no idea that President Bush was that educated, and one even emailed me to follow up on a question he asked (that I’d ignored, largely because my attention span on comment sections, even conservative ones, is somewhat limited). We had a decent email exchange, and I’d like to believe that he understood what I was saying and why, even if he didn’t agree with me.
Things to Remember: It’s not important that we get them to agree. Our goal is simply to punch holes in their own theories, their own knee-jerk reactions.
Another exchange that I had was on Breitbart’s Big Government. The article was one of the ones exposing the college course in Missouri on how to be a union thug. Now, this wasn’t the typical spot one goes to engage leftists, obviously, but I did have a good exchange with someone who was defending the video evidence (at first with the usual, it’s been edited argument) and even union thuggery (he wasn’t on that ground, but in essence he was). Anyway, that one also ended positively, with the commenter starting to question his own preconceived notions.
Things to Remember: While I did end up “friends” with that particular commenter, it’s not important that we make friends. Our goal is simply to punch holes in their false construct of conservatives as redneck fundamentalists who want to kill grandma, destroy the planet, lynch nonwhites, and squash the American middle class.
I’ve posted quite a bit at FiredogLake, too, and often get reasonable responses, even “shock” a few times that I didn’t “sound like a rightwing nutjob.” They’re frustrating over there, though, but if you’re up for it, there are some smart people there who are not locked into progressive lunacy to the point that they can’t see logic when it’s right in front of their faces. Oftentimes, this means a stalemate, but it’s still good to bust that stereotype that we are all toothless rubes who can’t string a sentence together, quote poets and philosophers, or demonstrate critical thinking.
Things to Remember: It won’t always work. But that should never stop us.
I think the most fulfilling commenting in defense of conservatism I’ve done was during the Scott Brown campaign. For that, I commented on the Boston Globe website and a whole host of leftist local “newspaper” sites and quietly spent hours debunking the lies, rumors, and myths that were being fed and fueled on these sites (often, of course, by the hacks writing the articles). I was particularly careful in these instances not to succumb to my natural snarkiness and not to meet condescension with (more and better) condescension, etc. It wasn’t always easy, but the way I saw it, I was trying to make Brown look good, sounding like a shrill, mean-spirited nutter wasn’t going to do that (witness the off-putting craziness that Paulbots can’t seem to help; it reflects poorly on Paul, whether that’s fair or not).
Things to Remember: It may not be fair, but anything we say in this effort can and will be used against the entire conservative movement.
So where do you go to combat leftist lunacy? Leftist sites like HuffPo, Slate, Salon, Kos, Mother Jones, FiredogLake, and The Nation, but also don’t be afraid to take on the dinosaur media (Andrew Breitbart was right, they are the problem, its root, and to win, we have to pull them up by the root), so hit the NYT, Boston Globe, WaPo, and whatever local papers you know of. And of course, the alphabet media hack sites are prime targets because oftentimes their readership is composed of independents and / or the uninformed, still-sleeping Americans, so hit CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and even MSNBC. In some ways, these latter are the more fulfilling sites to venture into because while they are the enemy, their readers aren’t of that mind-set and need only the barest information to understand, to wake up.
The key, as Adrienne notes, is to be calm and not to sink to their level (no matter how hard that is, they can’t hear what you scream at your computer monitor, but what you write is there forever and WILL be used against not just you, but all of us), to demand evidence of their accusations, to insist that they provide links and facts to back up their nonsense claims and incredibly shallow, ill-considered, and wrong-headed ideology (only, you know, without saying all that, heh).
And call in back up if you need it. Other conservatives will be more than happy to go and take up our cause if you’re being piled on.