Much to my chagrin, many Americans have become so besotted with pragmatism that the ability to decipher between freedom and socialism has been dulled by an ignorance of principles that would otherwise expose the ugly brutishness that is the logical end of even quaint collectivisms. Of course, there is no cure for an ardent leftist, or an ardent adherent to almost any ideology, much as a Red Sox fan who has tattooed “Yankees Suck” to his chest is beyond repair. The hope lies in inoculating those in the muddled middle whose personal philosophies are a grab bag of cliché’s and just-so’s.
In my attempts to persuade, I have come to realize is that if you present a principle or axiom with which someone cannot break down they will likely adopt it. Mind you, not everyone immediately cleaves from logical contradictions flowing from other assumptions they hold, but it allows a partial conversion. An added convenience is that my experience has been that people are usually open to a conversation about principles in the abstract. Instead of debating with them the most recent political headline, burrowing down to the underlying principles can avoid some hostility due to party allegiances and other sentiments attached to politics.
Another angle is to cast doubt on their assumptions. I have started to listen more intently during discussions to see if they state some imperative or “it is just so” comments. Questioning these comments can be more fruitful towards changing minds.
Don’t be confused that these are easy targets. First, you have to know what these assumptions are to hear them spoken in conversation. Secondly, you have to know how to deconstruct these arguments. And finally, be aware that people can be as passionate about certain principles as they are about politics.
Over the coming weeks I plan to detail some conversations that I have with people who will remain anonymous, but should help shed some light on what I perceive is going on in their heads when they say what they say.
Note – As you read my posts you will eventually notice that I almost never use the term “liberal” when referring to those on the Left. There is little that is liberal about the Left, and I will not confer such an exaggeration to them.