Striking the right “tone” in politics

Every time I am scolded by fellow Republicans for the “tone” of my political comments, I think “this is why we lose.” Too many Republicans and conservatives are unwilling to take it to the Left. Even taking on bad arguments without sufficiently groveling brings a “tut tut” and finger wagging from “moderate” Republicans. Thankfully, with the election of Donald Trump as President, much of the Republican Party and the conservative movement is finally getting to where I was in 1996.

The thing moderates need to realize is that after taking it on the chin for years and being told to “be civil” (meaning never fight back) many Republicans just threw up their hands in 2015 and 2016 and voted for Donald Trump in the primary. The reasons his supporters gave is “at least he fights” and that he is not politically correct. I will not rehash the 2016 primary and whether that reasoning was justified in this post, but the fact of the matter is that the tut-tutting and finger wagging from moderates is one of the things led to Donald Trump being our nominee in the first place.

What we have here is two extremes on the notion of civility. On one hand, the moderates cannot stand an aggressive stance. It is not uncivil, nor does it represent a “deplorable” tone, to say that a fallacious argument or a false claim is “absurd” or “nonsense,” especially when that is backed up by a counter-argument explaining why the argument or claim is absurd nonsense. These are boringly normal arguments that in no way attack anyone as a person.

But much be MAGA-world seems to think there should be no limits on acceptable discourse, including mocking people’s appearance, personal lives or health history. If we say otherwise, we are “getting our panties in a wad” or being a “snowflake.” We can take apart bad arguments without resorting to personal attacks, and we certainly do not need to be sexually degrading or use obscene language. That does not win us any converts. It only brings shouts of “amen” from our most devoted supporters.

If you cannot handle seeing someone aggressively defend an argument or aggressively refute an argument from the other side, you need to grow a spine or stay out of it. On the other end, there is no need to personally attack or demean someone because you disagree with them politically. I do not care if the other side did it first, there is no excuse to “fight fire with fire” if it means being viciously nasty to someone personally.

This should not be hard. Principled conservatives should reject the scolding of the finger-wagging “moderates” and call out the nasty, hateful trolls. What we need is a principled, aggressive conservative movement that attacks arguments, not people.

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