Saturday, 22 October 2011

Don’t Argue With Idiots, Even If They’re Family

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Chip WoodI have a very serious question I want to ask you today: What are you doing to win others to our cause, so we can enjoy enough political victories next year to begin turning this country around? I hope you’ll give me some encouraging, even inspirational, answers.

Don’t get me wrong; I know it’s going to take a lot more than one election to undo the consequences of 100 years of growing government and infringement on our liberties. There is no magic wand we can wave and no magic leader we can elect who will suddenly undo all of the disastrous advances the socialists and their allies have made in our lifetime.

No, we’re going to win back our liberties and restore solvency to our government the same way we lost them: step by step, law by law, election by election.

It’s going to be difficult. Almost half of adults in America don’t pay a penny in Federal income taxes.

They are “net tax recipients,” as the more kindly like to phrase it. I prefer “hogs at the trough.”

Then you have all of the people who have jobs and pay taxes, but only because they work for the government. Among these are several million bureaucrats — all of the so-called “public service” unions, their allies in the teachers’ unions and other organized voting blocs that think they are entitled to take more of your money for their favorite recipients: themselves.

And then, of course, there are all the liberal intellectuals, college professors, misguided idealists and pundits in the press who honestly believe government has a moral imperative to feed, clothe, house and educate everyone in need — with your money.

Don’t forget about the politicians who learned long ago that robbing Peter to pay Paul will always ensure them of Paul’s vote. Sadly, for the reasons I just enumerated, there are a lot more Pauls than there used to be; and there are a lot more politicians willing to pander to them, for the power and pelf they get as a result.

What are we going to do about it?

One approach is to try to win the support of those who disagree with us. I just had a lengthy exchange of emails with an old friend who had been trying to do this with his (very liberal) daughter. No matter what he said or how reasonably he phrased it, she just got angrier and angrier with him.

He finally threw in the towel and said he was giving up arguing with her. Nothing he said made any difference. And after all, “blood is thicker than brains.”

I know exactly what he means. I suspect you do, too. I recently spent two weeks on a trip with two very liberal cousins of mine. They are both sharp as tacks, as my mother used to say. But for all their brainpower, they still think it’s perfectly all right — in fact, even noble — to take money from me — by the threat of force, if necessary — and spend it on whatever recipients they think are more deserving than I am of my money.

Forget about private charity helping the truly needy. That’s too demeaning for the poor unfortunates. It’s much better to give them a government handout to which, after all, they are “entitled.”

Both cousins are very familiar with my position on things. They have known me as a card-carrying member of the far right going on 50 years now. (Yes, it’s true; this year, I celebrate my 50th year as a member of the John Birch Society.) So they couldn’t resist the opportunity to try to get my goat from time to time.

But I’ve been goaded by experts too many times to fall for their juvenile gibes. I know how to turn their slyest dig into an amusing rejoinder or to just ignore what they’ve said, which makes them even madder. So no blood was drawn (on either side) during our two weeks together. In fact, it was oftentimes somewhat amusing.

I even got them to agree that most of what we actually like about government — roads, firefighters, parks and police — is best done locally. Local government is more responsive to our needs, I said. It’s more efficient, less costly and easier to change when we don’t like what it’s doing. If it becomes truly insufferable, we can always move.

But I lost them when I argued that the Federal government, by contrast, costs way too much, is horribly inefficient and, on a daily basis, really doesn’t do much that we would actually agree to pay for, if we had a choice. It’s a vast, bloated bureaucracy enforcing rules and regulations that in many cases we don’t like, don’t understand and don’t want or need. The country would be much better off if its budgets and its authority were slashed dramatically.

All of this makes a lot of sense to me, as I’m sure it does to most of you. But of course, statements like these that drive the Barack Obama-lovers absolutely bonkers. And rather than try to dispute any of our facts, they usually resort to the nastiest sort of name-calling. My cousins were too polite to do this — at least not to my face. But none of us changed anyone’s mind.

And that’s the point of today’s piece: If we don’t increase our numbers, we’re not going to save our freedoms. So how do we do that?

My first recommendation is: Don’t argue with idiots, even if they’re family. All that will do is frustrate both sides of the debate. Give it up. It’s a waste of time. Remember what my friend said: “Blood is thicker than brains.”

If arguing with idiots isn’t the solution, what is? I think the answer can be found in three simple words: Activate our allies.

By that, I mean find people who already share our basic principles. See if they also share our concerns about how those principles are being threatened. And if they do, ask them to join you in doing something about it.

We don’t need them to become full-time crusaders for the local Tea Party, card-carrying members of the John Birch Society, or dues-paying members of any organization, for that matter. (Although there are plenty of good ones that deserve and can use your support.)

No, we must convey to them that they need to have an energizing realization of the battle we are in and a determination to do something about it.

At the very least, that “something” should be to vote for the very best candidates they can find next November. Please note the “s” on the end of the word. We need to do a lot more than just replace the current occupant of the White House, as important as that is. We need more Constitutionalists in the House, the Senate, the various State Legislatures and more Governors’ mansions.

What are you doing to make that happen? For one thing, I hope you’ll encourage more people to read these columns.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

Chip Wood was the first news editor of The Review of the News and also wrote for American Opinion, our two predecessor publications. He is now the geopolitical editor of Personal Liberty Digest, where his Straight Talk column appears weekly. This article first appeared in and has been reprinted with permission.

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