Video: Charles Krauthammer vs Jon Stewart – Conservatism vs Liberalism

| October 26 2013
David Leeper

Raising the level of dialog between Left and Right, here is full the Jon Stewart interview of Charles Krauthammer on Stewart’s Daily Show, Oct 23, 2013.

Warning: Both of these men say things that will make Tea-Party/Constitutional conservatives cringe, but the interview (about 25 minutes) is worth listening to, and not just for its substance.

Note how Krauthammer disarms Stewart early on with humor and deferential statements toward the “great achievements” of liberalism: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid (Cringe).  Stewart is obviously pleased. And that’s an opening for Krauthammer to say why those well-intended programs will self-destruct if they aren’t modified. It’s also his opportunity to define what he calls “mainstream conservatism”.

I find this interesting because I’m still not sure myself how to talk to liberals. I’ve had some of the standard shouting matches, and I’ve had discussions where I deliberately adopted the liberal line myself, not sarcastically, but as if I really meant it.  The latter approach is more fun, because I like to see where liberals draw the line on their liberalism. But it may be that the Krauthammer approach in this interview is the best one — that is, bow from the ankles toward the accomplishments of liberalism, even at the risk of overdoing it just a bit, and then bring the discussion back toward the right.

Compared to the garden variety shouting matches on Fox or other networks, which are getting predictable and tedious, this kind of exchange and repartee between intellectuals is a pleasant break!

 

 

 

9 comments
WesternFreePress
WesternFreePress moderator

@David Leeper  

I think the way to talk to liberals is to point out that far from having the moral high ground, they are morally culpable for nearly everything they do and support. Nearly everything they do and support requires force and and coercion. Taking the fruits of the labor of from one person and giving them to another for his exclusive use is a moral crime. Treating people unequally is a moral crime. Violating a person's natural human rights, other than to the minimum degree necessary to achieve the basic, agreed-upon functions of the social contract from which we all generally benefit, is a moral crime. Even taking from someone ostensibly to provide it back to him later (e.g., Social Security) is a moral crime. Nearly everything they fight for violates these basic human principles. Liberals are moral criminals.

I am pretty sure THAT is the basis the way to talk to them. Quickly establish a series of basic intuitive, self-evident facts (to which they will likely even agree) about what constitute natural rights and why humans consent to be governed, and then quickly explain how everything they do violate those. Call them out for the moral criminals they are. Call them that to their faces.

Then, when challenged with the "don't you care about . . . *insert group X here*" trope that his been the fuel for their moral criminality for more than a century, ask some simple questions: "Is the only way to deliver charity and aid through force? Is it not possible that a people who happen to regularly come in at #1 for being the most charitable on earth could find some way of delivering aid to the people who truly need it without doing it by putting guns to people's heads and forcing them to participate? Is it possible to provide charity without commiting execrable moral crimes in the process?" Then, for good measure, remind them that the most charitable cohorts, in order of the degree to which the individuals so-defined therein are personally charitable, is #1 religious conservatives, #2 religious liberals, #3 secular conservatives, #4 secular liberals. IOW, controlling for religiosity, conservatives are more charitable as individuals than liberals. Liberals are charitable with other people's money. By force. They are moral criminals.

The key is to wrest the moral high-ground cudgel with which they've been beating us for 200 years and (metaphorically) beat them to death with it. It takes a century of inhuman statism to beat out of human individuals and communities the natural human traditions and mores that make them function. Call them inhuman to their faces. Never give an inch.

I am pretty sure that's how to talk to them from now on. Enough is enough.

rofomoreno
rofomoreno

Though his craft is laced with his iconic, pop culture, comedic ability to ridicule (in the manner of Alinski), it's really amazing that Stewart can still command so much influence over his audience of unsure, nervous laughing types who find their intellect challenged when common sense conservative thought arrives and joins in the dialogue.

dleeper47
dleeper47 moderator

@WesternFreePress @David Leeper

 "Call them out for the moral criminals they are. Call them that to their faces." 

Have you tried talking to liberals this way? How has it worked out?

WesternFreePress
WesternFreePress moderator

@David Leeper And when they want to know your basic principles, you can always tell them they are these:

1. Human beings have natural rights that preexist government, and that these rights must only be modified to the minimum degree necessary to achieve those social contract functions that benefit everyone together (no special treatment for anyone).

2. That all humans must be treated equally under the law in every way.

3. That force should never be used against non-aggressive individuals.

Have them chew on that for a while.  Liberals want to create paradise on earth. Fine. Establish those as our guidelines as that'll be as close as we can come. Not the overly complex, force-filled, rights-violating, equality-destroying machine monstrosity that they have built.

rofomoreno
rofomoreno

@dleeper47 @WesternFreePress @David Leeper This is just too coincidental. In our lengthy, every morning ritual of coffee and strategies of how to save the world, my wife and I were discussing (this morning) the very things you touched on @dleeper47 - leading, steering a discussion, conversation or debate with Leftists, toward the morality of the issue. After all, every means and end of the Liberal-Progressive agenda is of an immoral or amoral consequence. I do believe this to be an effective strategy that needs to be shared and put into daily practice. If there is any one thing they cannot defend or defend against, it is the morality or lack thereof, of their every political move.

As to the question of having tried it; Not only has been tried in our experiences, in our household, my wife uses that very approach when Democrat campaigners/canvassers come to our door (which is quite often). She has been quite successful to the degree that she has sent two young Latina ladies on their way in tears after losing the moral debate, a young Latino man storming off in anger shouting "Hispanics Have No Rights!" (mind you, my wife and I are both of Hispanic ancestry and Democrats), and one reputed mayoral candidate, Greg Stanton, who left the premises rather quickly after pridefully, gleefully and mistakenly telling my wife that he was "the most Liberal candidate in the race" (wrong thing to say in her presence). I can guarantee, he will never forget our address.

Since the morals angle is  based in truth by the virtue of transparency that it requires, it does, can and will work every time it's tried. 

WesternFreePress
WesternFreePress moderator

@dleeper47 @David Leeper It's a relatively new approach, and I haven't gotten to try it out in any in-person discussions yet. In social media discussions, it has so far had an effect like a daisy-cutter. There's a big boom . . . and then silence.

WesternFreePress
WesternFreePress moderator

@dleeper47 @David Leeper Note also that it can be done adversarially, throwing the vituperation to which they so often subject us back in their faces . . . . but it can also be done somewhat irenically. Granted, it is not possible to call someone's actions morally criminal and have it be completely irenic, but if you stay calm and simply state it as fact—which it is—and then urge them to find a way to pursue their beliefs that DOESN'T involve force and coercion, you might be able to keep things from erupting into unproductive pot and pan throwing.