I wrote only yesterday that the ability to outrage your adversary is an important weapon in political combat:
The attitude of superior wisdom and morality is itself a weapon in the Left’s hands, in that it enrages us in the Right and deflects us from making our own cases. Such an outraged reaction has been observed among many conservatives, including some of demonstrated intellect and wide knowledge....
The proper reply to the Left’s attitude is amusement, with or without audible laughter. Mind you, we must never become arrogant about our own positions; that would constitute jumping into the moral-intellectual pit with them. However, an amused dismissal of their positions and of them as well is something leftists find massively humiliating. It enrages them, which nullifies their proselytizing powers.
Recent events in the world science fiction stand as examples of the power of outrage induced within the Left. Let’s start with this microcephalic twit:
An award whose nominations are, in six categories, dominated entirely by neofascists, and where Theodore Beale has that kind of influence has already lost legitimacy. The phrase "2015 Hugo Award Winner" is already not one that anybody should want. It is not something that anybody should desire for a work they love. "Listen" and Ms. Marvel are too good to win this award.
Obviously progressive voices within the sci-fi/fantasy community have to fight, and fight hard to reclaim fandom from the neofascist entryist movement that has just stolen it. But until that fight is won, it is also the moral duty of progressive voices to form a blocking majority, and to loudly admit that fandom as it stands is broken, and that any work proclaimed to be the best of the year by a fandom this broken is demeaned by the association.
I purely love that “neofascist” stuff, don’t you? Because the Sad Puppies 3 slate included a number of writers of conservative and libertarian views, and because enough actual readers of SF and fantasy liked those books to submit nominations for them, this whiner shouts that “progressive voices...have to fight!”
Have a little more outrage, this time from a “progressive” who doesn’t like democracy and openly says so:
The problem with democracy in general isn’t so much that people are “stupid” or “evil” or the other nasty things that people who rag on democracy like to throw out, it’s that there’s a ton of decisions to make and people are busy. The “vote” doesn’t end up being among everyone but among the tiny subset of people who really care about that question, which isn’t necessarily correlated with being right about that question–often, in fact, it’s the opposite.
The people who pay the most attention to these questions are the people who have some deep emotional investment in the issue at hand combined with a great deal of time and emotional energy to burn making their “voices heard” about it. That can happen on any end of the political spectrum, but in practice? It tends to be a space dominated by privileged reactionary jerks....
Today’s longest-lasting, most determined trolls have a real ideology behind their trolling, and it usually takes the form of a feeling of betrayal and resentment of the world around them and a knee-jerk rage against the idea of progress.
The worst trolls are almost universally hard-right conservatives, in other words, and they generally care about their pet causes with a breathtaking fervor that their enemies can’t possibly hope to match.
So you “progressives,” with your superior wisdom and virtue, are too heavily outnumbered by us “privileged reactionary jerks” to withstand an open election? Therefore, forbid the “privileged reactionary jerks” to participate, so the right – meaning Left – candidates are guaranteed to win? Riiiiight! Maybe we should let Stalin count the ballots.
But these are hardly alone among outraged “progressives.” A few of them persuaded Entertainment Weekly to publish this:
The Hugo Awards have fallen victim to a campaign in which misogynist groups lobbied to nominate only white males for the science fiction book awards. These groups, Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies (both of which are affiliated with last year’s GamerGate scandal), urged sci-fi fans to become members of the Hugo Awards’ voting body, World Science Fiction Convention, in order to cast votes against female writers and writers of color.
...which, after someone with actual reading skills troubled to inform EW that the Sad Puppies’ nominations included both black, Hispanic, and female writers, forced EW to publish this retraction:
After misinterpreting reports in other news publications, EW published an unfair and inaccurate depiction of the Sad Puppies voting slate, which does, in fact, include many women and writers of color. As Sad Puppies’ Brad Torgerson explained to EW, the slate includes both women and non-caucasian writers, including Rajnar Vajra, Larry Correia, Annie Bellet, Kary English, Toni Weisskopf, Ann Sowards, Megan Gray, Sheila Gilbert, Jennifer Brozek, Cedar Sanderson, and Amanda Green.
You simply have to love it, as much for the spittle-flecked faces of the “progressives” who’ve succeeded at stuffing the Hugo ballot boxes for several years now as for the red faces at Entertainment Weekly, whose editorial staff must be pondering whether it can ever again trust a known “progressive.”
David French adds a concurrence:
Correia, Torgerson, and their Sad Puppies allies are living arguments against cultural defeatism. With humor and verve, they’ve taken on the allegedly unstoppable Left, stopped it, and thrown it into spasms of impotent rage and amusing disarray. In its rage and self-righteousness, the Left always overreaches. Always. I’ve seen that reality in 20 years of on-campus battles, we’re seeing that reality as their hate campaign against Memories Pizza helped make the owners a pile of money, and we saw it when we watched unhinged rhetoric help turn American Sniper into the top-grossing movie of 2014.
Congratulations, Sad Puppies. Long may you reign.
But let’s not, in our jubilation, lose sight of the part salient to political combat: These outraged “progressives” have been reduced to whining to one another. That’s an anti-persuasive stance. It can even evoke disaffection among one’s supposed allies, as conservatives should know from experience. The moral should be clear:
Laugh at them.
Ridicule them when they deserve it – which is most of the time.
Needle them by caricaturing their positions: “What? You only want a $10 minimum wage? Why not $100, so we can all be rich!”
Above all, restrain your own impulses to become outraged. Remain cheerful and upbeat at all times -- especially when the “progressives” seem to have won one.
Rumor is a more potent weapon than too many of us have ever realized. Saul Alinsky realized it:
“Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.
Let’s learn from our enemies’ icon and turn this weapon against them.