If an argument falls in a forest of confusion and nobody hears it, does it make an impact?
In a segment with Megyn Kelly on the Wednesday edition of the O’Reilly Factor, host Bill O’Reilly lamented how traditionalists don’t have a “compelling argument” on the faux-marriage issue and that all we can do is “thump the Bible.” But if theistic thumping is all O’Reilly hears, he needs an ear for something other than the mainstream media.
O’Reilly’s assertion is, frankly, insulting. Many of us in the Brainstream Media have for years been propounding deep, intellectual, and sometimes novel arguments in defense of marriage. And they’re certainly compelling, yet it is true that they don’t compel. And how could they?
Virtually no one hears them because society’s primary conduits of information — the mainstream media, academia, and popular culture — are all controlled by the Left.
The reality is that the above members of the Triumvirate of Evil are like the sentient programs in The Matrix: they guard all the gates and hold all the keys. If they don’t want your message to get out, it won’t. They can make you famous or infamous or keep you anonymous; they can cast angels as demons, truth as lies, and virtue as vice. And they do.
So is it fair to fault traditionalists for not being able to put compelling arguments in the public arena? It’s a bit like putting the onus on the Jews for not having been able to control the narrative used against them in Nazi Germany.
In fact, if anyone would imply that the Right has been outshined by the Left in intellectual heft, he has it exactly backwards. The Right has actually been doing very little Bible-thumping, while the Left has been doing almost nothing but equality-thumping. And this is the Left’s advantage.
The person who offers reasoned, intellectual arguments always has an uphill battle against the demagogue, which is why man’s history is one of mainly bad men, not good ones, rising to power. The demagogue is selling vice — in the form of playing on people’s prejudices, envy, covetousness, etc. — whereas the wise leader is stuck peddling that unpopular product called virtue. And, to paraphrase Confucius, “I never met anyone who loved virtue as much as sex” (which could be why no one worries about his adolescent son getting hooked on theology sites).
As for marriage, it doesn’t take much synopsizing to characterize the Left’s arguments as “Marriage Equality!” and “Equal Rights!” — with heavy, heavy emphasis on the exclamation points. And it works like a charm. As Adolf Hitler pointed out in Mein Kampf, the common man has a very short memory, so political success requires the use and continual repetition of brief, catchy slogans. Hey, it’s why we hear “Coke is It!” and “Just do it” as opposed to long expositions on the delights of drinking cola or wearing $120 sneakers. It is the technique of effective advertising — and the Way of the Demagogue.
Getting back to O’Reilly, an irony here is that he’s part of the problem. When has he ever had on his show a guest who has put forth those compelling arguments “that don’t exist”? He certainly has found time for fonts of intellectualism such as Marc Lamont Hill, retreads such as Bob Beckel, and a regular “Culture Warriors” segment with news-version Barbie dolls (CNN’s Margaret Hoover was a culture warriorette until recently). Oh, as to the last thing, I know that pretty faces sell in this superficial age of the image. But it’s a little ridiculous to complain about the alleged lack of traditionalist intellectualism when you’re ignoring traditionalist intellectuals in favor of something far closer to Idiocracy’s Hot Naked Chicks & World Report.
So I have some advice for O’Reilly. It you want find a compelling argument on an issue, don’t go to someone who is the leader of an organization devoted to that issue, or who simply has a relevant Ph.D., but who has never penned anything but boilerplate. Go to a person who has actually written something compelling — which, by the way, is just a mouse click in the right direction away. It’s not rocket science.
Anyway, the mainstream media will continue to act as if the Brainstream Media doesn’t exist, because what cannot be refuted must be ignored. But the fact is that we’re here doing the job un-Americans won’t do. And you ought to know that, Mr. O’Reilly. Heck, forget Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy, your next big book could be Killing Our Culture.