How To Win Friends And Influence People, The Liberal Way

Over the years, the right has learned quite a few lessons on dealing with a hostile press. And while they haven’t quite figured out how to do it right consistently, bu there are a few tricks that seem to work. Newt Gingrich is showing one way that you have to be brilliant, combative, and glib — i.e., you have to be Newt Gingrich — to pull off, and I recall one Tea Partier that held up a sign that said “IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT MY SIGN SAYS, YOU’LL CALL ME A RACIST ANYWAY.” And more importantly, they’ve learned a few things that never work — and always hurt. One of the biggest is that physically attacking the folks with cameras is never a good idea.


This is a lesson that the #Occupy mobs could stand to learn — as witnessed in these three examples captured by Gateway Pundit. And don’t attack the police — that’s never a good idea. If you don’t understand why, let Chris Rock explain it to you.


We’ve seen this attitude before — in the #Occupy-supporting unions, for one.


Why do they do this? I’ve got my theory. They aren’t interested in getting their message out — attacking the people who can relay your message isn’t overly conducive to that goal. It isn’t about persuading folks of the rightness of their cause. It isn’t about winning the public’s support or sympathy.


No, it’s about making a show of strength. It’s about demonstrating that the group is strong, that it possesses power, that it can — and will — use force, whatever force is necessary, to achieve its goals.


It isn’t persuasion, it’s intimidation. They aren’t interested in proving the other side is wrong, it’s about shutting them down. It’s about beating them into submission.


And here’s where it gets dangerous.


Remember that talk a few weeks ago, about the “social contract?” The idea that we’re all in this together, that there are certain unstated, underlying agreements and obligations that tie us all together and require us to all to abide by them? Earlier, this was applied to economics — the wealthy got their wealth through the “social contract,” that we all contributed to the underlying social and economic structure that allowed them to prosper.
That’s unquestionably true, but it’s debatable just how much obligation it imposes on us. And I’m not interested in debating that right now. I bring it up to discuss another aspect of that social contract that ought to come into play here.


In the nascent days of human society, just surviving was tough. The family unit formed because we just couldn’t cut it as individuals. We needed each other to reproduce, and women couldn’t conceive, carry, and raise children without assistance. So men went out and hunted the dinosaurs to feed his family while the women stayed to protect the children and gather food. When that proved insufficient, families started banding together — some would go hunt the dinosaurs, others would stay back and protect the non-hunters from predators and other humans who might want to take what the others had (food, water, shelter, women, whatever).


This was a very early form of the social contract: “You dinosaur hunters don’t have to worry about protecting your family and possessions while you’re hunting; we’ll protect them in exchange for a share of the Bronto-burgers and Stego-steaks you bring back.”


This eventually led to the social structure we have today — in particular, the role of violence in society. We have a social contract with our governing bodies when it comes to violence: we give up our choice of using violence in exchange for their guaranteeing our physical safety. We grant them a monopoly on the use of force in exchange for their pledge to use it only in our defense.


This applies both externally and internally. As upset as any of us get with a foreign nation, we simply don’t have the right to raise arms and do war upon them on our own. We have laws against that sort of thing — we have ceded to our government the right to declare and wage war on our behalf.


Domestically, it’s a similar situation. We don’t fight crime on our own. We don’t get together to form our own vigilante groups, we don’t enforce the laws, we don’t try and punish people who break them. We’ve delegated that to our government — we let them set up and control the laws, the police, the courts, the penal systems.


(Yes, I’m aware that we actually do this on our own in our democratic republic — but we do this through the government. That we have chosen this freely is irrelevant here. It’s still the same basic setup as most every other nation on earth. I’d argue that we do it better than a lot of them, but it’s still the same basic structure.)


Of course, we reserve the right to defend ourselves and our property in cases where the state fails us. The right to self-defense is one of those inalienable rights like those cited in our Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”


But while it’s our right, it’s not our only option. In most cases, it’s the last resort. We first expect the state to protect us — to live up to that social contract that says “we cede to you, the government, the right to use force in exchange for you using that force to protect us from those who violate the laws and the social contract.”


And it is that part of the social contract that the government is violating right now, with the #Occupy mobs. Those mobs are declaring that they have the right to use force to achieve their goals — and are doing just that.  They are declaring that they no longer consider themselves bound by the social contract regarding the use of force.


If the government does not enforce its rights under the social contract, then the obvious answer is that that aspect is no longer applicable to anyone.


And that thought, quite frankly, scares the hell out of me. Because there’s a huge overlap between “those who are disgusted and angered by the #Occupy mobs” and “those who keep arms, and are well-versed in their use.” One of the main factors that keeps those people from using those arms is their moral obligation to that aspect of the social contract — the part the #Occupy mob is attacking.


Update: Mike Riggs of Reason Magazine has complementary thoughts.

Obama says no to 20,000 jobs
(Revised) 11/11/11: Veterans Day
  • These #OWS mobs are like the mobs that brought the Communists into power in Russia, in the early part of the 20th Century. They were doing the same thing then, only the Czar’s police and other forces were more brutal in their tactics. Guess who Lenin and his cronies cracked down on first? Yep, the very same mobs that brought them into power. The same thing will happen to these mobs, if and when they bring about the type of order they want.

  • Anonymous

    “It isn’t persuasion, it’s intimidation.”

    Yep, and it’s worked so well in the past.  To paraphrase Alinksy, ‘make them live up to their rules 100%’.  So we’ve got people saying they’re exercising their 1st Amendment “rights”.  And we’ve got a lot of dumb mayors allowing their “protests” to continue.  Screw those being effected by the protesters, demanding “free” services of nearby businesses.  Suddenly theft of services is “protected” by the 1st Amendment.

  • Dinosaur hunters? I’m sure someone will give you an earful, but not me. I’m on the same page.

    • Anonymous

      I was thinking the same thing, we’re about to get one of our liberals misdirecting to Palin and dinosaurs.

      • Anonymous

        Shhh, guys. You don’t point out the bait on the trap to the potential prey…


        • Anonymous

          Damn sorry Jay should have known you were more clever than that. My bad.

          • Anonymous

            OK, mainly I wrote that part because I thought it was funny. Plus, it had the potential of having some leftist denouncing me as a Biblical literalist and Darwin-hater and anti-science whacko, which I would have found enormously entertaining. But mainly because I thought it was funny.


          • Anonymous

            I just kept picturing Fred Flinstone at the drive-in…

  • The OWS mobs are an extension of what our government has become. Laws are being broken everyday by these punks and they are given a pass because they have government cover.  Leftist deceit has been exposed, the money to buy support has run out, and no one trusts their media lackeys.  The desperation in their decline is creating a very dangerous situation.  Will we have to defend our families and possession from our own government in America?

  • The government does not have a monopoly on use of force. They have a monopoly on the use of OFFENSIVE force. The use of defensive force is retained by all citizens.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t think I quite agree. “Offensive” is too loaded a term. How about “aggressive force?” And I meant to say that while individuals maintain their right to self-defense, the government has first dibs on it — for them, it’s a duty; for us, it’s a last resort.


  • I’m seriously considering a return to blogging. My first post is on the mob otherwise known as OWS. “OWS wasn’t “Hijacked” by Anyone.”

    It coincidentally ties in fairly well with Jay’s post here. Please let me know what you think.

  • The Left has always relied on violence, force, and intimidation to get, keep, and wield power.  It’s what they know, what they do.  For instance, in America, when you hear of some speaker being shouted down or disrupted, it is invariably some subset of the Left doing it.  They don’t want to win a debate; they want the other side silenced, exiled, imprisoned, killed.

    This is why we can never have a “dialogue” with the Left.  The only reason they will ever begin one is to buy time until they have the strength to silence us.

  • Oysteria

    My thoughts have always been if things ever devolved here into a Middle East or North Africa situation, these people would be the Taliban or al Qaeda, blending with the regular populace and hiding among women and children, and we’d be the guys in uniform abiding by normal conventions of war.

  • retired.military

    Cue Chico coming to defend the OWS crowd while talking about corporate masters and our chosen one Romney.

    • Don’t forget to throw in “oligarchy” and “plutocracy” a couple of times.

  • herddog505

    Jay TeaWhy do they do this? I’ve got my theory. They aren’t interested in getting their message out — attacking the people who can relay your message isn’t overly conducive to that goal. It isn’t about persuading folks of the rightness of their cause. It isn’t about winning the public’s support or sympathy. 
    No, it’s about making a show of strength.

    And, more simply, because they can.  They know that they’ll get cover from MiniTru.  They know that politicians are too afraid of MiniTru to be firm with them or outright sympathetic with their aims.

    Many people are guided in their lives by morality: “I will do this because it is right; I will not do that because it is wrong.”

    The lefty has no such moral compass.  “I will do whatever I want so long as I can get away with it.”

  • Anonymous

    Speaking of making friends, what did they ever teach Obama in that socialist relic Harvard Law about calling the folks who can fire you lazy?

    Whatever do they teach those lawyers there what to say to a jury? Should  you maybe call them ugly or just frumphy, unkempt or poor listeners, or if you’re the politically correct color -maybe use the race card?

    This world is upside down lately…