Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Talking to Liberals

Bookworm writes of techniques used to convert liberals.
1.  Understand what a liberal perceives as insulting -- and then avoid it.
We're all agreed that people are going to shut down if you start a conversation by calling them blithering idiots.  In any event, you're too nice a person to call your family, friends and colleagues names.....
2.  Show that you are sympathetic to the liberal's goals.
The best way to start a conversation with a liberal is by speaking liberal language.  Show that you think that the person's ultimate goal is admirable or that you recognize the person's concerns.
A perfect conversation starter might be "Gosh, universal healthcare would really be great."  The beauty of this statement is that, in a perfect Star Trek-style world, free of money and greed, it's true that free, comprehensive healthcare, preferably with Dr. Beverly Crusher's magical little tricorder device, would be great.  It would also be really great if all men looked like Dave Beckham or all women like looked like Angelina Jolie.  It'll never happen, but it sure would be great. ....
3.  Provide the liberal with facts from non-threatening sources.
In many conversations over the years, I've discovered that my liberal friends don't have many politically relevant facts at their finger tips.  Liberals know, for example, that "prisoners were waterboarded at Gitmo."  The details behind this ultimate fact tend to elude them.  Most don't realize that only three high level Al Qaeda operatives were ever waterboarded.  Nor do they know that the waterboarding took place in the immediate wake of 9/11, when we had almost no information about Al Qaeda's networks and feared an imminent, and even greater, second attack....
4.  Don't lecture; instead, seek enlightenment.
When conversing with a liberal, I channel my inner dumb blond.  I don't use a barrage of facts, nor do I lecture.  Instead, I assert politely that I've learned the fact and then I ask the liberal to explain to me what the fact means.  I do this even if I know perfectly well what the fact means.  (And yes, women can do this more easily than men.)

A good example of this approach in action is universal health care.  After you've said, "Gosh, universal healthcare would be really great," you should then follow-up with several "please enlighten me, Oh Great One" questions.
Thus, you might say, "England has managed care doesn't it?  It's so funny, but I just read in the New York Times that there's a dentist shortage in England, so people are pulling out their own teeth.  Are you sure that won't happen here?"  This will either lead to bluster, an insult to British oral hygiene, or a good conversation about how important competition is to entice the best and the brightest into a profession and to keep innovation alive.....
5.  Strike when the iron is hot.
To have a successful conversation with a liberal, you need to find an opening that triggers a thought cascade in that particular liberal.  Even though liberals are beginning to have buyer's remorse, human nature means they're just as likely to be in denial and defensive as they are to be regretful and receptive.  Still there are conversational opportunities, and you must seize them.
I recently visited a die-hard Democrat who had just received her copy of Time Magazine, which had a picture of Michelle Obama on the cover.  Now, my friend happens to be very beauty conscious so, in a completely non-hostile way, I scanned the cover and said, "I don't know.  She's a nice looking lady, but I don't get why all the news stories keep describing her as beautiful." ....
6.  Don't undo the good you've done.

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