Flat White

Unreasonable me

18 June 2018

7:49 PM

18 June 2018

7:49 PM

It is now perhaps trite to say that the centre-right has been too cowardly. But what about that the centre-right is too reasonable? If not, allow me: Centre-right, you are too reasonable. I include libertarians like me in that.

Don’t get me wrong. I consider myself first and foremost an advocate of reason. Without it, we become the Dark Ages. My problem is trying to reason with anyone.

In order for one party to persuade another party with reason, the other party must be open to reason. Otherwise, it becomes, at best, a waste of time. At worst, it serves to reinforce the other party’s perception that they must be reasonable because someone is trying to reason with them.

With reason, we must think through our philosophy carefully and clearly, so that we may persuade those of the left/progressive crowd and so that we may respond to their legitimate criticisms when they arise. So by all means, use that fine-crafted argument in the amber light of a wine bar. But keep it at the wine bar.

When you are up against the monotonous chanting of protesters as they shout “Nazi scum get out!” to traditional conservatives or up against university students who say that your conclusion cannot be accepted because you’re a white male — in other words, when up against those who don’t want to argue, but only want to shout, shout back. When up against those who are obviously motivated by emotions and not by facts, make their emotions unpleasant. When up against those that find facts offensive, drop the facts and compound the offending. Now is not the time to be gentle. The urgency of the situation is that we must be angry. Very angry.

The all-too-reasonable approach I’m asking us to reform is that of Dave Rubin recently at the University of New Hampshire, for twelve minutes politely trying to debate with a girl whose first comment is that as the microphone is being held for her as she speaks, she is being denied free speech. Rubin noted that she had obviously come ready for a fight.

I’ve met Dave. He’s lovely. But that’s the problem. Yes, she came for a fight, not a debate. At that point, she should be mocked, told to can it and told to sit down. By giving them airtime you not only spread their nonsense, you make them feel like they deserve to be engaged with seriously. No, telling her to sit down does not violate her free speech. Free speech is about one’s speech protected from the use of force, not from the exercise of one’s rights as host of a public debate.

Conformists cannot be won over with reason. They can only be dealt with by ostracism, a useful social tool. The left has used it to devastating effect. It’s time we did the same. Mock, ostracise and be angry.

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