Tag: debate

How to Win Any Argument in Politics: A Complete Guide

Ian Brzeski | @ianbrzeski

Are you struggling to convince your friend on why Donald Trump is the worst and most racist president alive? Or maybe you want to convince them on why he is our Lord and Savior. Whatever the case, this article will prepare you on how you can win those arguments and convince all your close family and friends to see things from your point of view. No more stupid liberals blowing up your twitter feeds, no more Hitler-esque MAGA supporters walking around the streets. With these tips on how to beat any political opponent across the spectrum, you will become unstoppable.

How to Win Any Argument as a Conservative

Preparation

To beat somebody in an argument, you are going to need a couple of weeks to prepare. The first step when preparing to argue with somebody who is not conservative is to look in your mirror every morning and tell yourself that everybody else is a liberal snowflake. When arguing with a liberal snowflake, they are going to cry 100% of the time. It is pretty much guaranteed. Doing this will give you the motivation and confidence you need to destroy that liberal.

Furthermore, to continue your preparation, you have to listen to Ben Shapiro every night before you go to bed. Make sure to memorize every single one of his lines in every video you watch. I recommend watching the videos titled “Ben Shapiro DESTROYS Crazy Libtard” or similar.

In the Debate

Now that you have prepared for your argument, you are ready to seek out somebody to destroy. Upon finding a person, make sure the first thing you mention is how great of a president Donald Trump is. This is going to trigger and shock them. To illustrate this, their hands will be sweating, they will be profusely shaking, and their first reaction will be to call you a racist. This is precisely the kind of response you want. You now have the upper hand and are ready to obliterate them in any argument.

Some other things you may want to mention:

  • Liberalism is a disease.
  • If you are pro-choice, you are a baby killer. Therefore, any other argument you make is invalid.
  • If you do not support Israel, you hate the United States. Oh, and you also hate Jews too.
  • ISIS will take over the United States if we do not relentlessly bomb the Middle East to find our freedom.
  • If you do not stand for the flag, you are quite literally the worst person in the world and deserve to die.
  • Facts don’t care about your feelings.
  • Back the blue.
  • If you aren’t with us, you are against us.
  • It is your duty to die for your country.
  • Transgender people are mentally ill.
  • Illegal immigrants are murderers and rapists.
  • Allowing refugees into the country is the same as allowing Isis into the country.
  • The Confederate flag is not racist.
  • If you hate the government so much, why don’t you just leave?
  • Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.

Closing the Debate

After presenting all of these facts, you want to hit them with the “libtard.” There is no recovery for them once you call them a “libtard.” After calling them that, walk away and do not pay attention to any single word they say. You have won. Congratulations. Go home and celebrate by grabbing a beer and putting on some Fox News in your trailer home.

How to Win Any Argument as a Liberal

Preparation

First, educate yourself, learning that both conservatives and libertarians are two sides of the same coin. After all, libertarianism and conservatism are both alt-right political ideologies that resemble fascism. Once you recognize this, it is easily assumed at this point that you are morally a better person than everybody else. Libertarians and conservatives are the most hateful and racist people out there. To make it even worse, they hate poor people. You want people to have affordable healthcare and a stable social safety net; they don’t. They honestly do not even exist outside of the internet. How could they? You have never associated with them in your life.

After you realize that you are better than everybody else is when you can start listening to comedians reuse the same Donald Trump jokes over and over again. God damn, those jokes are so funny. They never get old. When you are around your buddies, make sure to repeat those jokes because they are so damn hilarious. It is not like they watched the same John Oliver episode you watched last night.

In the Debate

Things to say in a debate:

  • Climate change will kill everybody within the next 36 hours.
  • Donald Trump is racist.
  • Hillary won the popular vote so she should be president.
  • Donald Trump is orange.
  • Russia hacked the elections.
  • Donald Trump is sexist.
  • Kavanaugh is a rapist.
  • Donald Trump is misogynistic.
  • End the wars except when Donald Trump wants to, then blow up Muslims.
  • Donald Trump is a murderer.
  • Abolish the electoral college.
  • Donald Trump is literally Hitler.
  • Making at least $30 an hour is a fundamental human right.
  • Donald Trump is a Nazi.
  • My body my choice.
  • Donald Trump is a baby.
  • Hate speech is murder.

Closing the Debate

The simplest way for you to win and effectively close out the debate is to call your opponent a racist and to start crying immediately. They will be taken aback, and be at a loss for words. They also may make fun of you, but that is further proving your point that you are the better person. Never forget that you should tune out anything points they try to make. After all, those points are inherently racist and have no real value.

How to Win Any Argument as a Libertarian

Preparation

As you scratch your neckbeard with “Liberty Defined” by Ron Paul in your hand, you have realized that everybody is a statist, even other libertarians. Libertarians are not libertarian enough, and some libertarians are too radical (@ ancaps). “Everybody is an NPC except for me,” is what you tell yourself as you look at your diverse collection of literature ranging from Murray Rothbard all the way to Milton Friedman. You have all the answers already. You do not even need this article to know how to win an argument. Friedrich Hayek taught you everything you need to know, thus, you are prepared.

In the Debate

I know you already know everything, but here are some things you may want to mention in your debate in case you forget:

  • Taxation is theft.
  • End the Fed.
  • Legalize all drugs.
  • No victim no crime.
  • Make fun of people who say “But who will build the roads?.” This is an effective and hilarious tactic because you know deep down that the private sector will be able to handle the roads. God, you are so funny.
  • Gun control is literally murder.
  • The free market will solve all problems.
  • Libertarianism is an objective and moral truth.
  • If somebody ends up leaving libertarianism, they were never a true libertarian in the first place because they must not have read Murray Rothbard. The words of Murray Rothbard will convert anybody to the one true objective truth.
  • The only good communist is a dead communist.
  • Socialism kills.
  • There is no such thing as a good cop.
  • We live in a police state.
  • But what if the child consents?

Closing the Debate

At the end of the day, you want people to do as they please as long as they are not directly hurting somebody. Your opponent obviously does not agree with this, however, so the last thing you need to do to ensure your victory is it call them “statist scum.” Statists are parasites that leech off others through the power of the state. Statists want to take away your freedoms and are the equivalent to Satan. Thus, make sure your opponent knows what kind of filth they are.

How to Win Any Argument as a Socialist

Preparation

“From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” Repeat this phrase over and over in your head. Repeat it until that is all you can think about. These words will transcend your mind to an intellect never seen before. Let’s be honest here; you can’t just be a socialist. You have to go all the way and hit some more radical levels. Become an anarcho-communist, an anarcho-syndicalist, or even an anarcho-primitivist. Embrace more radical ideas than socialism. You are weak if you don’t. This is like when a libertarian is too afraid to become an anarcho-capitalist. Like seriously, stop being a wimp and just go full communist. Communism or nothing is what I like to say.

In the Debate

Things to mention in a debate:

  • Capitalism kills.
  • The world sucks because of capitalism.
  • Capitalism is quite literally the worst.
  • Real socialism has never been tried.
  • Scarcity is a hoax.
  • Antifa stands for anti-fascist, so they must be good and do no wrong.
  • Kill the 1%.
  • Israel deserves death.
  • Noam Chomsky’s word is the true word of God.
  • All cops are bastards.
  • Sex work is exploitation and is a direct result of capitalism.
  • Kill people who kill people because killing people is wrong.

Closing the Debate

The easiest way for you to win an argument here is to beat the living hell out of your opponent. You see this tactic with Antifa and kids on college campuses, and they always seem to face little to no repercussions. You can’t lose the argument if your hateful opponent is incapacitated.

 

The following subsections will show how you can beat unconventional political ideologies.

How to Beat a Fascist in an Argument

Look, if you can’t beat a fascist in an argument by yourself, then there is no hope for you. Just get out of politics and never look back.

How to Beat a Maoist/Stalinist in an Argument

Mao Zedong and Stalin both killed millions upon millions of people. Again, if you can’t win this argument, get out of politics. Losing here is almost as embarrassing as losing to a fascist.

How to beat an Anarcho-Primitivist in an Argument

Bring up the famed anarcho-primitivist, Ted Kaczynski. With that, your argument has been won. You’re welcome.

How to beat an Anarcho-Communist in an Argument

Tell these commies that anarchy and communism can’t go together. It is impossible. Communism=big government. Anarchy=no government. Therefore, anarcho-communism is an oxymoron. Congratulations, you just made an entire political ideology obsolete.

Guaranteed Victory

Sticking to the outline on how to win an argument while maintaining a specific political ideology as well as adhering to the framework on how to beat obscure ideologies, you will become unstoppable. There is not a single political argument that you can lose. This outline will work in every single circumstance. Want to run for president? I can guarantee that if you follow the steps I laid out for your debates, you will get at least 99% of the votes.

Thank you for coming to my Ted talk. Now you know how to obliterate and shatter anybody in an argument about politics. If there is one thing you can take away from this article, I want it to be this:  if you ever feel like you are losing an argument, cover your ears, call your opponent an idiot, and walk away. It works like a charm. It is a cheat code that works on every single argument, even non-political arguments. Now, go out there and destroy some idiots.


71 Republic takes pride in distinctively independent journalism and editorials. Every dollar you give helps us grow our mission of providing reliable coverage. Please consider donating to our Patreon.

Featured Image Source

Advertisements

Steven Crowder Fans Should Change Their Minds

Glenn Verasco | United States

I have dedicated an absurd portion of the past week of my life to understanding, discussing, debating, and writing about the recent Lincoln Memorial confrontation between Nathan Philips and a group of students from Covington Catholic High School. While there is much to take interest in regarding the matter, nothing is as captivating as the hallucinations people have had and, amazingly, continue to experience when watching videos of the incident. The human mind is a baffling device.

The other day, I opened YouTube and clicked on the latest episode of Steven Crowder’s “Change My Mind,” a segment of his show Louder with Crowder. “Change My Mind” involves Crowder and some of his crew members setting up a table in a public location and displaying a large sign that espouses a provocative political statement followed by the words “change my mind.” If you are social media savvy at all, you’ve probably come across the meme “Change My Mind” has inspired:

Image result for change my mind meme

Image result for change my mind memeRelated image

The stated goal of this experiment is to attract dissenters of the displayed statement then invite them to sit down and have a rational and healthy dialogue to express their disagreement. I am not exactly a fan of his, but watch Crowder’s videos on occasion.

As productive political discourse in America, particularly the online variety, seems to have taken a turn for the worse over the past few years, Crowder’s project is noble on the surface. But Steven Crowder is not the man for this job.

In his most recent video titled “PROTESTER SCREAMS Then Rethinks: Change My Mind,” which takes place at UT Dallas, Crowder has his table set up with a banner that reads “Build the Wall: Change My Mind.” But rather than a typical “Change My Mind” video in which guests are sitting down at the table with the host, the video begins with Steven approaching a group of students demonstrating against him a few yards away.

Throughout the rest of the video, Steven either hallucinates or lies on myriad occasions and acts as anything but an authority on rational discourse.

Free Speech Bullying

I’m often told that while free speech is a right, some speech has consequences. This is a fair legal argument but can be an awful human argument when applied too broadly.

First off, what is and what is not legal does not determine what is right and what is wrong. Driving through a red light is illegal, but driving through a red light at a completely empty intersection where the driver has the field of view to determine with certainty that no cars are coming from any direction is not wrong.

Saying “nigger” in front of a black stranger or screaming “fire” in a movie theater are not criminal acts, but they are examples of wrongful behavior because they are liable to cause problems without reason. This is to say that just because you have Constitutional protections that allow you to do something without government interference does not mean you should do it.

While some speech is reasonably treated as wrongful behavior that has consequences regardless of legality, some speech or expression currently deemed offensive does not deserve the consequences it elicits. For example, James Damore was fired from his job at Google for writing an internal memo that mentioned scientifically observed differences between male and female psychologies. Additionally, early critics of the Covington Catholic School boys whose initial perceptions have been proven invalid are moving the goal posts to argue that the boys were asking for trouble by wearing red Make America Great Again hats. Both of these instances illustrate active consequence assignment, as opposed to consequences coming about naturally. The people who bemoan evolutionary biology and the sitting president’s signature merchandise are being intolerant bullies, and third parties must stick their necks out and stand up to these bullies to preserve an environment of liberal expression.

About a minute into Crowder’s video, he decides to abuse his First Amendment rights to the detriment of others. Crowder, camera crew in tow, approaches the demonstrators, and says “I understand there’s a protest going on here.” A white girl (WG) says they are not protesting, but “representing our views.” She says this calmly and politely and, in my opinion, in a way that attempts to communicate to Crowder that they are not trying to dehumanize or demonize him, but simply express their countering views.

Crowder then engages a guy holding a rainbow umbrella (GHU) and questions his group’s decision to demonstrate instead of joining him at the discussion table. He, as calmly and politely as WG, explains as follows:

For one, there is a fear for our safety. We don’t want to be put online where people that have similar beliefs to yours potentially would dox us and come at us and harass us. We feel that our point of view standing here was enough to be said. But now you’ve all come here and essentially forced us into this interview.

When those critical of identity politics and modern left-wing activism here the word “safety” in the context of political and social discourse, it may ring bells of the “safe space” culture eviscerated by Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff in their groundbreaking essay  “The Coddling of the American Mind.” But what GHU and his group are afraid of is not encountering opposing views; they fear the same internet mob tactics that have upended the lives of the Covington Catholic students among so many others.

A black girl (BG) then makes another valiant point by explaining that her lacking public speaking skills could cause her to misrepresent her own views. Although I think she is underestimating herself, it’s a perfectly fair point. But none of this dissuades Crowder, and he continues to disregard their wishes.

By bringing these demonstrators into his YouTube channel and its 3.3 million subscribers, Crowder is not violating anyone’s First Amendment rights, but he is being a jerk and a bully and potentially subjecting them to undeserved consequences. And that kind of behavior is the exact opposite of what is needed to reestablish an environment for rational discourse in America.

Who called Steven a racist?

About half a minute into the video, Crowder’s voice, dubbed over the video, alludes to nasty accusations being hurled in his direction. We then see BG and a Muslim girl (MG) for the first time. Both girls are filmed saying “I don’t engage with racists” and “at the very least xenophobic.” No other context is provided at any point in the video.

After rejecting the students’ requests not to film them, about three and a half minutes into the video, Crowder confronts MG, who is a holding a sign that says “Immigrants are welcome here: change my mind.” Crowder invites her to his table, so he can take her up on the request implied by her sign. MG refuses by saying, “I’m good.” From behind Crowder, a female’s voice can be heard saying something along the lines of MG is the one who didn’t want to speak to “the racist,” which, at least in Crowder’s video, she did not say. Crowder continues his attempt to persuade her to speak with him, and she denies.

What’s important to take notice of here is that Crowder towers over MG. She is petite as can be, and he is a fairly hefty and tall man. Crowder also has a camera crew behind him, and spectators surround the entire scene.

I do not abide by the #MeToo principle that imbalance in stature, race, gender, or position of power should have legal ramifications. Adult female secretaries should not receive special legal treatment if they choose to sexually interact with their bosses. Adults are adults.

However, as I said earlier, legality does not determine right and wrong, and Crowder’s behavior here is bullying.

BG interjects and says to Crowder that the situation he is creating might be “intimidating” for some people. Crowder all but ignores her, and stupidly explains that it’s intimidating for him to be in a crowd like this too.

About twenty seconds before the five-minute mark, Crowder says to the group “I’ve heard rumors here that Crowder is a racist.” BG denies having said that. Crowder then turns to MG and asks if she called him a racist. MG says “I said I wouldn’t engage with racists, and I don’t feel comfortable engaging with you right now.” Crowder asks if this is because she thinks he is a racist, and she says “it’s because you’re crowding me and you’ve brought a crowd of people and multiple cameras, so I really don’t appreciate how you’re crowding me like this.” Some people in the crowd jeer her response petulantly. Crowder says he isn’t crowding her, which directly contradicts the mass of people and cameras that have encircled MG and her friends.

If Crowder were decent, he would have apologized at this point and walked away. He doesn’t.

MG calmly and clearly explains that she prefers to engage in smaller groups, not in crowds. Crowder essentially admonishes her for another minute until a bearded demonstrator (BD) raises two fingers, signaling he would like to chime in. More on BD in a moment…

I recommend watching this entire exchange carefully and listening to some of the things Crowder says. Then reconsider whether or not this is the type of person you should be listening to, let alone leading a pro-discourse movement.

Protester screams?

Regardless of his views on immigration or anything else, BD, who arrives on the scene during the interaction between Crowder and MG, is the hero in this story.

Growing increasingly visibly annoyed during the exchange, BD raises two fingers and asks “Can I speak?” He then explains that he believes Crowder is doing something under-handed by basically exploiting a girl with possible anxiety issues in order to cast all of the demonstrators in a light of intellectual weakness.

Crowder then does something fascinating. In a near mirror image of the dishonest leftists he would destroy for throwing out accusations of racism when defeated in an argument, Crowder’s red herring response is that it’s “kind of like how calling someone a racist might be underhanded.” BD, who is quite eccentric and emotive, looks as though his brain has been twisted into a knot by Crowder’s non-sequitur rebuttal.

BD goes on for a minute or so explaining that coming to this campus, which is multi-cultural with a large immigrant population, with such an inflammatory debate topic is “shady” and that Crowder is exploiting the students for their emotional labor among other things.

Crowder, the self-anointed standard bearer for rational discourse, interrupts and responds by saying “everything you just said is inaccurate.”

I do not agree with Crowder that a wall should be built on the southern border, and I’m sure I would disagree with BD on a plethora of political and social issues (including the phrase “emotional labor” itself). But I would never make a comment as disrespectful, absolutist, or myopic as Crowder’s to either of them. This is because I actually want to change people’s minds, and can understand that their experiences and knowledge sets may be different from mine. I am almost willing to change my own mind and understand that every person I meet knows something I don’t, the 9th of Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life, which Crowder is evidently not heeding.

Around thirteen minutes into the video, BD (who tells Crowder his name is Nicholas) agrees to sit down with Crowder at his table. One of Crowder’s first comments is suggesting that sitting at the table “breeds more friendly, productive conversation” and that he doesn’t want to “shout out there.” Nicholas explains that he didn’t think that was an issue, and I agree with him. In contrast to the video’s title, no one had been shouting at each other. Yet, Crowder accuses him of “shouting” and “yelling” during the first few minutes of their conversation, which Nicholas says he doesn’t remember but is sorry for if he did (I like Nicholas).

At this point, Nicholas has remained polite and practiced active listening despite being smeared, mocked, and lied to. Add all of this to what I interpret to be standing up to the bullying Crowder on MG’s behalf, and it seems that Crowder should be taking notes from Nicholas, not the other way around.

Adding Insults to Injury

Crowder is both a political commentator and humorist with roots in stand up. While I love both and am a sycophant for political satire, the blending of politics and comedy can have mixed results. A benefit of political comedy is that satire and ridicule can be used to show people that they may need to reconsider their views. Another benefit is the inherent value of making people laugh, regardless of whether or not it’s constructive. Jokes are great in and of themselves.

One downside of political comedy is that people like Crowder, Bill Maher, and Stephen Colbert can hide behind their comic identity to avoid taking responsibility for flubs and mistakes while continuing to pose as legitimate voices when convenient. Another downside is that laughs, which should be elicited by a joke’s cleverness, timing, or absurdity, can also be generated via hate and confirmation bias. This has been on full display since Trump became a contender for president as jokes about him tend to forgo wit and instead capitalize on telling people what they want to hear. We the Internet has satirized this phenomenon as well as anyone.

Throughout the video, Crowder sinks to the comedic depths of Colbert and the rest of the late night clones with hackneyed and insulting quips about the oft-ridiculed terminology used by Social Justice Warriors. He refers to a reasonable and well-spoken argument made by Nicholas an “emotional reaction.” When Nicholas tries to defend himself from Crowder’s blatant misrepresentation of his arguments, Crowder sarcastically accuses him of “mansplaining.” After an exchange with BG, Crowder asks for a “bro-hug” then amends it to a “gender-neutral bro-hug.” When prodding Nicholas to tell him what an acceptable argument from a supporter of Trump’s wall would sound like, he asks “what, to you, would be the acceptable way for someone who disagrees with you to express himself, or herself… or xeself.”

Forget how disrespectful it is to presume that the people Crowder is speaking to actually abide by these concepts, and forget how dishonest it is to mock them without first knowing what their views are.

The real offense is his assault on the institution of comedy. By throwing these catchphrases in at such inopportune times, Crowder is playing to the lowest comedic common denominator. These jokes are about as original and as funny as calling Trump Orange.

Steven Crowder is not actually in the business of promoting civil discussion. He is in the businesses of promoting his own views and making his opponents seem worse than they actually are. While there are many on the left who are deserving of harsh criticism and denunciation, the students he bullied in his video did not appear to be the right targets at all. The students did not deserve to be treated the way they were by Crowder, and Crowder did not deserve the time of day from them.

***

If you enjoyed this post, please follow me at www.howtocureyourliberalism.com. Also, check out my podcast on iTunes and like my Facebook page.


71 Republic is the Third Voice in media. We pride ourselves on distinctively independent journalism and editorials. Every dollar you give helps us grow our mission of providing reliable coverage. Please consider donating to our Patreon, which you can find here. Thank you very much for your support!

Featured Image Source

Politics is Awful but Necessary for Liberty in the Future

By Dylan Anders | @realdylananders

John Adams wrote, in a 1780 letter to his wife:

“I must study Politics and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematics and Philosophy.”

To be frank and seemingly hypocritical, I despise politics. The political system that many fellow citizens subscribe to is a perpetual debate of whose war is preferable, which tax plan would better supersede the previous president’s, and whether to legalize firearms or marijuana. All of these are the same question in disguise:

Which boot tastes better, the right or the left? In what way can the government claim itself all-powerful today?

These arguments are too childish for many of us, but we engage anyways, in a tangential manner. We criticize the deceit of Washington and its partners in an attempt to open the eyes of the masses. However, we should know that the masses do remain a part of the majority for the same reason that humans are drawn towards the thought of safety and dogmatism.

The necessity for contemporary politics means that there is a lack of liberty. This is inherent in today’s partisan system.

Thus, I hate politics. I yearn a feeling of gratification if I were to indulge in the studies of the sciences and the arts. However, I feel deeply obligated to debate, to write, to speak. One day, a day may come where society is free, but today is not that day. Today, it is not right to study the sciences and the arts, though they are fascinating. Liberty is necessary so that the next generations can indulge in life’s finer aspects.

Surely, these subjects are a noble cause in and of themselves, but I find myself baffled as to how seemingly intelligent men and women can be so complacent. After all, they are in the presence of an authority that will steal, kill, and abandon truth.

Being able to think critically, speak intently, and act willfully is the fundamental sign of a free human being.

Clearly, we know not what the future holds. However, one thing is clear. In the words of modern thinker Stefan Molyneux: We must debate or die. Otherwise, we are useless for the moral compass we claim to stand for.

For every wrongful act of government, be it the acts of genocide on innocent children, imprisonment of peaceful people, or authoritative policing on all citizens, I seemed to become more and more discouraged in this cause. But with this concept, hope can still exist. Our bodies may be compromised, but as long as I have my mind and my spirit, I am victorious against all tyrants. And by standing against these tyrants, the next generation may see a brighter future.


To support 71 Republic, please donate to our Patreon, which you can find here.

Featured Image Source

The Boomers and Their Greatest Weapon: Experience

By Dylan Anders | @realdylananders

We libertarian youngsters have never heard the end of it from parents and grandparents regarding our views. Of course, this does not apply to all of them, as each individual has a different mind. However, there are clear attitudes that majorities of generations hold. After ranting over police misconduct and tax law, it becomes apparent that many Boomers (which, for the sake of brevity, will be the term for those belonging to the group born between 1945 and 1965 affected by a dogmatic world-view) are not interested in changing their mind. At least, they won’t allow those younger than them to do so, the stereotype suggests. Our well-articulated arguments on the rights of man pales in comparison to the ‘superior’ experience Boomers hold. Simply nothing can refute a Boomer’s anecdote.

Some of the so-called experience that Boomers swear by is elementary:

The police system cannot be corrupt because I wasn’t beaten after being pulled over for speeding. I complied… and dutifully paid $300 for going 10 over!

…and the ever-so popular:

We have to pay the government our taxes, because who else will build the roads?

Sure, there may be some embellishment in the rhetoric, but many Boomers have uttered words quite similar to these.

We lack the worldly experience that would otherwise immediately credit the Boomer. Thus, our words, no matter how well thought out, are worth nothing to many of them. We must concede that experience is a valuable asset in the quest to find truth and reasoning. But, what the Boomer gets wrong is the sheer fact that right and wrong are constant and objective, and no amount of experience can change that to fit the Boomer’s mindset. Sure, the Boomer may be right, as we can, too. The longer life the Boomer has lived, though, is not sufficient evidence to determine what is right.

With age comes experience, but experience does not inherently bring reason. Even the same experience can breed different interpretations.

Where, though, does this mindset come from? Sociologist David Finkelhor coined the term as juvenoia: “an exaggerated fear about the influence of social change on children and youth.” The term quite literally comes from the words ‘juvenile’ and ‘paranoia.’ It has been here for a long time. Even Socrates complained much like how the Boomer does today—children nowadays have “contempt for authority” and “contradict their parents.” Juvenoia is natural. As a newer, younger generation experiences a change in technology or mindset, the older generation feels a moral heightening over the youth in a sort of ageist manner. As George Orwell says, “every generation imagines itself to be…wiser than the one that comes after it.”

Once we look at Boomer influence in government, their argument of experience really begins to sound like a broken record.

The most intriguing aspect of the Boomer’s mindset is their hypocrisy. They would be justified in criticizing our generation, if their own had not utterly poisoned the economy, as well as our liberties. Boomers seem to rarely criticize their coevals in office. Yet, they are the ones that destroyed the housing and education markets, gave newborns an inheritance of debt, bred the largest Ponzi scheme ever seen, and slaughtered the Bill of Rights.

Clearly, we must ask: what justification do Boomers have to blindly mock the new ideas of the youth? Only those lost in dogmatism would avoid the debate for reason with young minds.


To support 71 Republic, please donate to our Patreon, which you can find here.

Featured Image Source

Motivation Matters

Craig Axford | United States

    There’s a commercial that’s been airing lately. It features a rather nerdy looking, slightly overweight, thirty-something guy at a bar trying out various lines on women, but none of them are impressed. Finally, the man tells a gorgeous woman in a red dress that he has just donated some of his bone marrow to save a stranger’s life. At last, he gets the girl.

As the commercial draws to a close, viewers are given instructions for receiving a screening kit to become donors. The message that male donors, at the very least, will become more appealing to women if they donate. And yeah, you might just help to save a life too.

 We’ve all done the right thing for the wrong reason before. Sometimes we’re only vaguely conscious that our motives are less than an ideal match for our actions. More often, however, we assume that, provided the outcome is the right one,  our motives don’t really matter all that much. From a purely consequentialist ethical perspective, outcomes tend to be what concern us. Therefore, we can get away with not examining the rationale directing us to act the way we do too closely.

 Evaluating the outcome of our actions alone isn’t wrong, but it is only half the picture. There is, after all, something a bit disconcerting about a guy donating his bone marrow to pick up women, no matter how many lives he’s saving. The motivation is just too out of sync with the action.

 Qualitatively there is something very different about a world where people donate bone marrow for a stranger just because they care and one in which they do it to get girls. There’s a reason we prohibit the buying and selling of organs, after all. Treating our bodies like sources for spare parts introduces new ethical problems that are very difficult to overcome even if lives are being saved as a result.

 Frequently, our motivation isn’t as simple or obvious as getting someone to go out with us, or earning a little extra money for retirement. But no matter how opaque it is at first, sooner or later our true intentions usually reveal themselves, opening us to charges of hypocrisy or self-interest even when our behavior produces positive results. That’s because it’s our motivation that reveals whether our why and our what combine to form an action based upon respect for humanity.

 Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative constitutes a universal law formulation of morality which states that one should “…act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it be a universal law.” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy describes what’s known as “the humanity formula” for the categorical imperative. This states that treating humanity as an end instead of means is one example of something a rational being would desire to “be a universal law.”

Notice that the above humanity formulation refers specifically to humanity as opposed to individual humans. That’s because people are necessary means to various ends all the time. Society wouldn’t be able to function otherwise. To use the Stanford Encyclopedia’s example, “the difference between a horse and a taxi driver is not that we may use one but not the other as a means of transportation. Unlike a horse, the taxi driver’s humanity must at the same time be treated as an end in itself.”

 Using the humanity formula, it becomes clear why the guy donating bone marrow to get the girl makes us feel a little squeamish. The humanity of neither the person receiving his bone marrow nor of the random girls he is introducing himself to at the bar isn’t what matters to him. He’s motivated by something entirely selfish which has no moral relationship to the act of donating bone marrow.

  Kant’s instruction to treat humanity as an end unto itself, rather than merely a means to fulfill our own emotional and physical desires is sound in principle, and relatively easy to grasp on its own without requiring a deep understanding of moral philosophy. As with all dictums that claim to apply universally the challenge lies in its practical application.

 When we scale up Kant’s categorical imperative to the level of communities, whole societies, or global economies the line between means and ends can become very difficult to see behind the screen of institutions we build and practices we employ to keep things running smoothly. It is at this point that it becomes all too easy for us to lose complete site of the idea that people are far more than just useful tools to provide for our collective security, build and maintain our infrastructure, or acquire wealth and power.

 Healthcare, particularly as practiced in the United States, is a classic example of how easy it is to forget that people are not products to be managed for-profit. Since the service being sold is the health of individuals, surely people as ends rather than means should be written into the very fabric of the healthcare industry. But, alas, it is not. For-profit healthcare providers typically have shareholders whose own desire to maximize returns on their investment clash daily with the needs and desires of patients seeking aid and comfort in clinics or hospitals professing to be in the well-being business.

 If an industry whose drive is solely dedicated to the health of those that walk through its doors can treat people differently according to their ability to pay for the service, often driving even those of above average means to the edge of bankruptcy in the process, we shouldn’t be surprised that institutions established with far less lofty goals in mind are focusing on less than humanitarian ends as well. As recent scandals involving Facebook and other social media companies that make their services available for free to the public use, often people are the product (i.e. means). With these companies, the ends can be as varied as selling us household goods or undermining democratic institutions. Please play the song “Wonderwall”

 In a society that’s deified the market’s “invisible hand”, Kant’s categorical imperative to treat humanity as an end rather than a means not only fails to achieve universality but is being actively resisted. We’re taught through messages both covert and overt from childhood on that the profit motive is what ensures people receive the products and services they both need and want. Any attempt to interfere with this process, no matter how well-intentioned, is to put its functionality and efficiency at risk.

Market economies have indeed proven themselves highly effective when it comes to delivering goods and services to the public. However, the market is an amoral delivery mechanism which can be bent to multiple and often contradictory ends. Some of these are necessarily better than others. Our deference to the market represents an abdication of our individual and collective responsibility to decide for ourselves what values we want the market to reflect. After all, it is hardly a given that either maximum efficiency or maximum profit will naturally translate into maximum human well-being.

 In a speech delivered at the University of Kansas in March of 1968, Robert Kennedy reminded us that blunt economic measurements like gross national product (GNP — now referred to as gross domestic product), improvements in productivity, or increases in the Dow Jones Industrial Index don’t actually provide us with any information about how we are doing as a society when it comes to things that matter deeply to us:

But even if we act to erase material poverty, there is another greater task, it is to confront the poverty of satisfaction — purpose and dignity — that afflicts us all. Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product — if we judge the United States of America by that — that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.

 Nowadays, most politicians take on economic issues doesn’t typically extend much beyond economic growth. This growth in GDP is treated as an end unto itself without much regard for what we should be doing with our extra 3% of GDP. Increases in the sheer volume of wealth and gains in productivity are the only policy that really matters. It is simply assumed that improvements in public health, infrastructure, education and all the other things that Robert Kennedy described as truly relevant to our emotional and social flourishing will naturally follow.

 But the US is already the richest country in the world if we’re measuring wealth strictly in terms of GDP, and has been for quite some time. Yet improvements in life expectancy have not just stagnated, they’ve started to decline. Healthcare and education remain far more expensive in the US than in any other developed country even as we increasingly lag behind in both health and educational outcomes. In addition, the United States is among only a handful of nations not to require vacation time, sick leave, or maternity leave for its workers. In other words, treating economic growth and markets as ends unto themselves has not translated into anything like significant gains for the human beings putting in all the effort to make this growth a reality. Making national wealth our top priority has required us to treat people as mere objects that serve as convenient means of accumulating treasure for its own sake.

 Some worldviews can inflict emotional scars, which in turn will over time begin manifesting themselves physically through diseases such as depression, heart disease, and drug addiction. Recognizing our shared humanity and treating it as an end is beginning to look not just like an ethical categorical imperative, but a psychological and biological one as well. Rather ironically, in the long run, it’s looking more and more economically advantageous to slow down and give each other permission to smell the roses instead of functioning like worker bees in a hive that sees little value in preserving any single individual bee other than maybe the queen.

 Recently, a New Zealand company decided to experiment with a four day work week while still providing its employees with five days worth of pay. According to one story on the experiment, “The idea sprang from research that found people are typically engaged at work for fewer than three hours a day…” Given this fact, the owner of the New Zealand trust and estates firm decided to allow his employees to come up with work plans that might enable them to get everything done in four days instead of five. They did, and “At the end of the trial, Perpetual Guardian’s revenue and profits were unchanged” according to the firm’s founder.

 From a strictly economic point of view that putting humanity ahead of everything else might be no less profitable and in many cases perhaps even more profitable seems counter-intuitive. Many companies operating in the US today have never offered sick-leave or maternity leave largely for this reason. For most part-time workers, in particular, the prospect of a little paid vacation seems unimaginable. For those used to thinking only in terms of the bottom line the idea that making the kind of upfront investment in humanity these benefits represent might translate into greater productivity, lower turnover, and other savings down the road is just too great a leap of faith even if there are volumes of research to back up the claim.

 But workers can tell when their employer is truly interested in them as well as in making a profit. Likewise, it won’t take long for the fictional woman that the bone marrow donor met at the bar to sober up and realize that sacrifices made to make yourself more attractive are creepy instead of noble. Sincerity is very difficult to fake. Motive matters. People really do want to be around those they feel really do care, and are more likely to go the extra mile on behalf of those that actually do. No one enjoys living in a society where our default position is the assumption that the other person has ulterior motives. Sadly, that’s what the United States too often feels like.

 


To support 71 Republic, please donate to our Patreon, which you can find here.

Featured Image Source.

Follow Craig on Twitter or read him on 71Republic.com

Other articles that you may enjoy:

Humanist Spirituality
Values & ideas will always have an ethereal quality. Humanism offers us a way to celebrate that fact without abandoning…medium.com

Saving The Supreme Court
The fight over Anthony Kennedy’s replacement represents everything that’s wrong with the judicial nominating processmedium.com

Getting There
Sometimes it really is about the journey instead of the destinationmedium.com