Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Rhetorical Fads/Tactics For Suppressing Discussion/Dissent

Trump's recent asshattery was, I think, to some extent a tactic to suppress dissent. The right was known for this tactic when I was younger--though even then it seemed a bit anachronistic. At any rate, it was generally the patriotism ploy: if you are (too) critical of the USA, then you hate America/are unpatriotic; and if you hate America or are unpatriotic, then you shouldn't be listened to. In fact, you should STFU. In fact, you should GTFO of the country. Ideally, anyway.
   As with respect to most such things, however, the contemporary left has left the right in the dust. Their current rhetorical tactics for suppressing dissent are far more effective and various than anything I can discern on the right. Part of this has to do with the fact that they control the entire cultural superstructure, of course--so the racism and the torrent of absurdly false accusations of racism that pour from the left get nary a mention, whereas someone on the right who even treads near racist ground gets pummeled--rhetorically and, increasing, physically. I'm not against rhetorically pummeling racists; but I'm against physically doing so (unless, of course, they start it...in which case...it's on...). And I'm against double-standards. Especially absurdly double double-standards...
   But the ascendancy of the left in this respect isn't merely about controlling the culture. It's also about their superior rhetorical methods for stifling dissent. Here are just the ones that come to mind:
  • Bias ad hominems. Why engage with the substance of the opposition? You might lose! Just call them racists--or *ists or *phobes… This puts them on the defensive, shifts the burden of proof onto them, can never be disproven (that's actually a separate tactic...), and discredits everything they have ever said or ever will say. Why work to analyze one argument when you can simply assert You are evil and take that person out of the game for ever and ever? 
  • Arguing that politically incorrect speech is violence. An idea so absurd that it's difficult for the average person to answer. Instead of taking on the burden of attacking liberalism and its broad conception of protected speech, simply argue that the universally-recognized prohibition against political violence rules out certain speech because it causes or even constitutes violence, basically circumventing every rational and important feature of the question. 
  • Employing actual violence against transgressors/heretics/dissenters. Your very arguments are violence. My unprovoked political violence against you self-defense...see?
  • Even better: destroying the reputations and lives of dissenters. It's less distasteful, and accomplishable en masse via social media mobs. 
  • Arguing that only the kinds of people virtually guaranteed to be on the left are permitted to speak or write on the topics in question. Currently, this manifests itself most prominently in the idea--largely acquiesced to on the left--that only those who are "trans" are permitted to write or speak on transgenderism. 
  • Diversity and Inclusion! These are always interpreted so as to promote arguments on the left and suppress those on the right. Can you imagine that even expressing less-progressive positions might possibly make some member of some group high up in the progressive stack feel bad? Then it's impermissible to even express the arguments. That's diversity! And inclusion. Those more to the right shut up because of imaginably saddened leftists. 
  • Banning politically incorrect speech on social media. Rampant now, of course. Apparently Twitter even bans people for using English correctly--specifically, for referring to men with 'he,' if the man in question claims to be a woman. If you want to deny the new progressive insta-orthodoxy that men can be female and women can be male, you must say it in a way that presupposes that you are wrong and your opponents are right. Even if you don't, you'll probably be banned though. Just so you know.
  • Working for actual legal prohibitions against dissenting/unPC speech. "Hate speech" legislation--which has metastasized in the rest of the West. This includes e.g. laws in NYC, DC and CA against certain people refusing to misuse English in "trans"-acceptable ways. We can also include the misuse of Title IX, as in the Laura Kipnis affair. (Note that I don't even know what's going on in that case now...even I have moved on, there's so much insanity around us. I predict that Kipnis's leftist tormentors have not...gotta go look that up...)
   The left's overall strategy now is to suppress disagreement via non-logical methods. That's to say: they basically eschew argumentation and discussion, and aim to discredit and shut down opposing ideas and speech.
   This sort of thing ought to be a red line for everyone. Especially liberals. Which we apparently don't have anymore. The suppression of dissent and discussion is a method absolutely guaranteed to lead to falsehood, irrationality and disaster. And yet we see the strategy implemented to great effect, right before our eyes every day. And almost no one on the left--where the liberals used to live--makes so much as a peep. Which is unsurprising, since that's exactly how this is all supposed to work.
   None of this means that the Trumpian/conservative efforts to suppress dissent aren't a problem. Especially when engaged-in by the POTUS. They are, they are. They just seem so pathetic and trivial, currently, when compared to the massive, multi-pronged, relatively sophisticated efforts of the left. All such efforts are dangerous and contemptable. Trump is rightly condemned for his clumsy, authoritarian efforts. But he has paid a price for his bullshit. I just don't see the other side paying much of a price for its.


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