Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sleight of Mind

So Alinsky tactics basically revolve around diversion from the subject at hand, a sort of "sleight of mind" trick that tends to work on most people for some reason which I'll leave unexplored for now.

The deal is, the Alinsky book is their M.O., and the reasons it's their M.O. is 1) they've got nothing else, and 2) it tends to work.

So the question is, how to combat it?

The answer is not to let it work by taking it away from them and forcing them back to be confronted with the whole lotta nothin' they've got.

First off, we need to be aware of it. Identify its foul stench the moment it whiffs from someone's mouth. Most of it revolves around ad hominem (attack the messenger) and moral equivalency.

"You're racist. This guy said 'X' once, so we can dismiss anything he says." Or ridicule -- the smug, dismissive laugh (you're insane if you believe that!). "You watch Fox NEWS?????!!!"

"Scare tactics." Not attacking the argument, attacking the emotion the argument evokes, intentional or not.

Yes, how to combat it?

Don't let the" sleight of mind" work.

1) Keep them on topic.

You know, I'm perfectly fine with scare tactics when there's something to be afraid of. If you have a problem with it, tell me where is the speaker actually wrong, "scary" or not?

2) Remember "innocent until proven guilty"? They call you a racist and put the burden of proof on you to prove you're not. Immediately throw it back on them to "prove" ... you know, back up with facts -- that you (or whomever they're accusing) is racist. Or with the Fox News Lies thing. Really? They do? Tell me a few. Back it up, or shut up.

3) Moral equivalency. This is probably the toughest one, because it's the one that is not directly designed to shut you up, but also to get you off topic so they don't have to discuss what you were originally talking about. So to some extent, you do have to "go there" with them. But make them come right back. I haven't come up with a good strategy for this, because it involves coming up with a few silver bullet examples I haven't come up with, but need to. I think the key here is to assertively call it "ah, the moral equivalency argument" ... and find a few examples to shatter the idea that anybody actually believes that actions have equal moral value no matter what the circumstances.

I'll have to think about those.... if you have any ideas, go ahead and leave them in the comments. They should be clear and concise ... cutting to the bone so you can get back to the subject at hand, because you don't want to spend too much time on them. You need to force them right back into the coral of the subject at hand; the cattle chute of there's only one way this argument is gonna go, and that's to its logical conclusion.

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