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Why it's (almost) impossible to argue with the right

The right only debates with itself: their view and their version of the left. Fighting with that is near impossible

Not long after the attacks of September 11, 2001, my mom accused me of hating my country. By then she had fully fallen into the Fox News world, having married a far-right man late in life. But her position still surprised me. I was, after all, her own daughter. Didn't she have a basic idea of what I thought?

I explained that being against the war in Iraq, opposed to invading Afghanistan and all-out critical of just about everything the Bush administration did was not akin to hating my country. We went around in circles. But there was no convincing her that she held the wrong premise and that critique was not hatred.

That wasn't the only time in those years that I dealt with being told that I hated my country, but it certainly was the most frustrating. Again and again, then as now, those of us who make critical arguments about the United States, those of us who question conservative policies, those of us who point out examples of right-wing hypocrisies, aggressions, abuses and lies find ourselves in the strange position of having to argue against a warped understanding of what we advocate.

My mom and I never discussed what I actually thought about the United States, because the entire conversation was framed by her assertion that I hated it and my efforts to explain that I didn't.

I don't think I fully captured the core of the problem until I recently read an essay in The Atlantic by Ibram X. Kendi on how there is no debate over critical race theory. As Kendi puts it:

The Republican operatives, who dismiss the expositions of critical race theorists and anti-racists in order to define critical race theory and anti-racism, and then attack those definitions, are effectively debating themselves. They have conjured an imagined monster to scare the American people and project themselves as the nation's defenders from that fictional monster.

Kendi brilliantly lays bare that which many of us have been ensnared in for ages — that pundits and politicians create their own version of many progressive, liberal and leftist views, and then they fight with their version. There is no real debate and certainly no dialogue, because the entire game is to offer up a distorted version of a position, then freak out about it.

Once the pattern is recognized it can be seen everywhere. Kendi refers to the way it has been used with Black Lives Matter, the New York Times' 1619 Project, cancel culture, and critical race theory, but we can see the same play made with almost all progressive political positions. Professors are trying to brainwash students to become socialists, feminists think all men are rapists, abortion rights defenders don't care about life, the gay community doesn't respect marriage, and so on. We can even see it in claims that young people are snowflake whiners.

They distort from the start and then take up all of your bandwidth in fighting their distortion. They don't just set the terms; they singlehandedly define them — for both sides.

It isn't just that the right argues with itself. It is also that they do it really loudly.

There is little question that the vituperative, bullying nature of the right's so-called debating is also a core part of the problem. First, they misrepresent you, then they spin up into an incoherent meltdown. Think for a moment of how we now have such a high-profile chorus of right-wing gasbags, all of whom make their illogical points really loudly. Sometimes, as in the case of Alex Jones, they do so while shouting so intensely that they seem to spit into the microphone.

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by Anonymousreply 55Last Wednesday at 2:31 AM

Take, for example, the recent scare over President Joe Biden's door-to-door vaccine strategy. The White House has noted that there is a growing disparity in communities receiving the vaccine. So, Biden proposes the notion that in some communities it might be beneficial to go door-to-door to spread information about vaccine safety and efficacy in order to encourage more people to get vaccinated.

Yet, that's not what the GOP hears. Instead they turn this plan into a sinister strategy, which according to GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn (N.C.), could be used to take all manner of items away from citizens: "They could then go door to door and take your guns. They could go door to door and take your Bibles."

So, what should the White House do? Refute these loony claims? Doing so only allows the right an ongoing platform to repeat them and forces the White House to engage in an exhausting repeat loop of trying to explain themselves. Yet leaving these unfounded accusations out there unchallenged has the real risk of costing lives. It's an impossible situation because it shuts down any form of reasonable exchange.

You can't debate with someone who isn't even listening to your point.

The rub, as Kendi makes clear, is that one simply can't argue with someone who won't even listen. "How should thinkers respond to monstrous lies?" he asks. "[T]alking with people who have created a monologue with two points of view, theirs and what they impute to you, gets old."

But what doesn't get old is finding a way to expose the rhetorical games played by the right. You might not want to bother trying to debate them, but there is much to be said for finding ways to reveal the faulty logic, hubris and bluster that so often characterizes their manufactured outrage.

This, of course, is why irony and satire do a better job of diving into the fray than reasoned critical discourse. Satire can take the absurdity of these right-wing faux debates and expose their spectacle. Think, for example, of how Desi Lydic Foxsplains for "The Daily Show." Even better, check out her takedown of the fake debates staged on cable news. Or consider how Samantha Bee drives home Kendi's point in her bit, " What Are Conservatives Screaming About today?" where she dissects the irrationality of the critical race theory backlash. Trevor Noah underscores the point the right has manufactured their version of CRT with a segment called, "Do Any Republicans Know What Critical Race Theory Actually Is?"

What this critical satire does is both refuse to debate with someone incoherent and irrational, while also refusing to let their claims remain unchallenged. Using irony is often the only way to fight the illogically absurd.

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by Anonymousreply 1Last Monday at 3:22 PM

They are a cult. No different than Jonestown or the Manson Family or the Branch Davidians (or whatever the hell they were called).

by Anonymousreply 2Last Monday at 3:24 PM

To be fair, there were some Americans who were against striking Iraq and Afghanistan who also hated America. It’s not far-fetched.

by Anonymousreply 3Last Monday at 3:36 PM

Have you ever seen someone try to reason with someone who claims voter id is racist? People on both sides are locked into their positions.

by Anonymousreply 4Last Monday at 3:39 PM
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by Anonymousreply 5Last Monday at 3:41 PM

R4

It’s said because along with voter ID it’s intentionally made harder for black people especially to vote. Look up the facts. Oh wait, you don’t care about the facts.

by Anonymousreply 6Last Monday at 4:03 PM

Nice to see the right-wingers this article is talking about show up in this thread and hilariously prove its point. You’re clowns.

by Anonymousreply 7Last Monday at 4:08 PM

Don’t ever talk to these people they will steal years off your life. Stay away from rethugs at all costs.

by Anonymousreply 8Last Monday at 4:13 PM

This opinion is basically troll bait.

by Anonymousreply 9Last Monday at 4:13 PM

[quote] I explained that being against the war in Iraq, opposed to invading Afghanistan and all-out critical of just about everything the Bush administration did was not akin to hating my country. We went around in circles. But there was no convincing her that she held the wrong premise and that critique was not hatred.

Funny that the people who were pro war are on your side now. Unlike you, my opinions shifted with the times. You're just a naked partisan.

by Anonymousreply 10Last Monday at 4:14 PM

How am I supposed to believe that the same people who argued against the patriot act are for spying on American citizens and regulating speech? Did you ever have any principles to begin with?

by Anonymousreply 11Last Monday at 4:16 PM

It’s impossible to argue with anybody who thinks they are 100% in the right and completely close minded. This doesn’t just apply to conservatives. Sadly, progressives on the Left are becoming just as insufferable.

by Anonymousreply 12Last Monday at 4:17 PM

OP is right.

Government should just tear down their Fake News and lies when they publish or broadcast them, including DL.

Then those who published libel and slander should be thrown in prison.

by Anonymousreply 13Last Monday at 4:20 PM

R10, no, most people who were for the war are still Republicans. Sorry.

by Anonymousreply 14Last Monday at 4:24 PM

R12 is the both sides troll. Liberals aren't trying to stop people from voting. They aren't trying to overturn elections, stage a coup, or do a thousand different "audits" because they don't like the election results

by Anonymousreply 15Last Monday at 4:25 PM

R11, as opposed to Republicans like you who claim to love "free speech" but are busy dictating what they think should be taught in classrooms? The ones who hate "cancel culture" but wanted to cancel the election because they didn't like the results

OP is right. You Republicans are insane

by Anonymousreply 16Last Monday at 4:27 PM

R3, some Americans who were pro-war hate America and supported Trump trying to make himself a dictator

by Anonymousreply 17Last Monday at 4:27 PM

I mean, there are people on the left who are difficult to debate as well if you can't agree that women menstruate and that structural racism defined what I ate for lunch.

by Anonymousreply 18Last Monday at 4:28 PM

[quote] Yet, that's not what the GOP hears. Instead they turn this plan into a sinister strategy, which according to GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn (N.C.), could be used to take all manner of items away from citizens: "They could then go door to door and take your guns. They could go door to door and take your Bibles."

Why do these liberals/progressives always give rightwingers the benefit of the doubt? She says, ludicrously, that “that’s not what the rightwingers hear.” But that’s wrong. The rightwingers DO hear that it’s a harmless (actually a helpful) program to educate the public.

They know that, yet they still lie to fearmonger for their own crass purposes.

by Anonymousreply 19Last Monday at 4:30 PM

Keep posting right-wingers. The more you post, the more you prove the article to be true.

by Anonymousreply 20Last Monday at 4:31 PM

[quote] as opposed to Republicans like you who claim to love "free speech" but are busy dictating what they think should be taught in classrooms?

No one is trying to ban critical race theory, only ban it from being taught in public schools. Just like we don't discriminate against people of faith but don't allow religious indoctrination in classrooms. Not that hard to understand.

by Anonymousreply 21Last Monday at 4:37 PM

I don’t know why people bother arguing with right wing trolls when you’re just going to get gaslighted and psychology mistreated.

by Anonymousreply 22Last Monday at 4:39 PM

R21 keep it up. You are what this article is about. Do you even know what CRT is?

by Anonymousreply 23Last Monday at 4:40 PM

R22 These trolls have no effect. I find them to be entertaining in their utter stupidity.

by Anonymousreply 24Last Monday at 4:42 PM

TikTokker explains why voter id is racist.

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by Anonymousreply 25Last Monday at 4:42 PM

R6

Anyone who pays attention to any election can see that it’s way harder for black people to vote. It’s always majority black communities who face the longest lines and less polling places, insufficient for the population size of the area and worse equipment. Plus, constantly facing errors and shady actions like random changes of designated polling places. Not to mention, worse and less DMV access. The closing of Sunday voting intentionally to stop black people from voting. The attacks on mail-in and early voting. The refusal to make voting day a holiday. The voter ID laws, which are intentionally harder to get in majority black areas. All of this disproportionately hurts black people.

Conservatives gaslight 24/7.

by Anonymousreply 26Last Monday at 4:43 PM

About half of this thread was gone when I ignored two right wing trolls.

by Anonymousreply 27Last Monday at 4:46 PM

r26, are you the guy in the TikTok video?

by Anonymousreply 28Last Monday at 4:48 PM

R21, it's not being taught in K-12 schools, anyway. The GOP is trying to ban any discussion of race and civil rights in the classroom because they think Amy acknowledgement that racism ever existed is "critical race theory"

by Anonymousreply 29Last Monday at 4:53 PM

R18, as opposed to your fellow conservatives who told us we had to amend the constitution to ban gay marriage.

by Anonymousreply 30Last Monday at 4:54 PM

I can’t stand to talk to anyone about politics any longer. Most people are so convinced they’re right, they refuse to have a dialogue. I think it’s the fault of social media. Every fool gets a platform. Combine that with brain dead morons getting elected to public office and these idiots feel their uneducated opinions are gospel.

by Anonymousreply 31Last Monday at 4:58 PM

R15: some of that is exactly what the left/liberals did in the UK after Brexit.

R12 is totally correct. Anyone who thinks they’re right (as in correct) and won’t listen to any arguments, points, or opinions that don’t support their way of thinking is a pain in the arse to talk to. This is not unique to right wing idiots, it applies to left wing idiots too.

by Anonymousreply 32Last Monday at 4:58 PM

You can't tell someone who thinks that they know everything.........anything.

by Anonymousreply 33Last Monday at 5:13 PM

[Quote)TikTokker explains why voter id is racist.

Literally the opposite of that. It's a SE Asian guy ridiculing a guy who claims that the Georgia voter ID law is racist. Do you know what you're linking to?

by Anonymousreply 34Last Monday at 5:18 PM

These are not normal times when we need to be entertaining debates with completely delusional people like these Qanoners or Trumpsters or other extreme right people. Healthy debate used to be possible but not any more because we are dealing with the bottom of the barrel most of the time.

by Anonymousreply 35Last Monday at 5:36 PM

Dear lordie, let's actually get down to the real point about how the frau in photo-right in OP's post appears to have a left hand larger than a male fiddler crab's giant claw!?

by Anonymousreply 36Last Monday at 5:49 PM

These right wing shit locusts are probably having a performance evaluation this week. That's why they've been working extra hours and days even past their usual swarming time (the weekend.)

by Anonymousreply 37Last Monday at 5:49 PM

She's a cult dear.

by Anonymousreply 38Last Monday at 5:53 PM

Neither side will change any policy positions except for a few exceptions (like the now GOP majority approving marriage equality but their 2024 party platform will probably say otherwise).

I wasn't old enough to vote in 1984 but the key dem smackdown at the time was that voters didn't want any new taxes to go with their Reagan tax cuts which the dems backed down from.

The dem smackdown in 1994 was also about voters disapproving of gun control which the dems backed down from. The dems never4 changed their policies on taxes & guns based on their current office holders & the repubs are just the same.

I bet if a dem introduced a bill back in June celebrating 6 years of marriage equality, not a single repub would vote for it even if the GOP majority is okay with it now.

by Anonymousreply 39Last Monday at 6:11 PM

Also with so many dems saying their current mantra "the truth has a liberal bias" can anyone argue with them?

They both really are two sides of the same coin in 99% of their behaviors.

by Anonymousreply 40Last Monday at 6:15 PM

R14 is the just proved my point troll.

by Anonymousreply 41Last Monday at 6:27 PM

Sorry, R15 not 14.

by Anonymousreply 42Last Monday at 6:30 PM

[quote] No one is trying to ban critical race theory, only ban it from being taught in public schools. Just like we don't discriminate against people of faith but don't allow religious indoctrination in classrooms. Not that hard to understand.

Manufactured Republican culture war wedge issue bullshit created to animate the white supremacist Republican base. The Republican Party is no longer a political party. It is a white supremacist/white nationalist movement. Republicans use white grievance and racial resentment to keep poor and middle class whites voting for economic policies that only benefit the rich. It’s all a smoke screen for which idiotic fools, like you, fall.

by Anonymousreply 43Last Monday at 7:18 PM

How a Conservative Activist Invented the Conflict Over Critical Race Theory

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by Anonymousreply 44Last Monday at 7:22 PM

[quote] Literally the opposite of that. It's a SE Asian guy ridiculing a guy who claims that the Georgia voter ID law is racist.

The video does show a person explaining why voter id is racist. It also includes someone with an opposing view. You can handle that, right?

by Anonymousreply 45Last Monday at 9:18 PM

[quote] The video does show a person explaining why voter id is racist. It also includes someone with an opposing view. You can handle that, right?

You may debate whether ID requirements are racist or not that til the cows come home. What’s not up for debate is the intention behind the laws. Republicans implement voter ID laws to suppress black voters and younger voters. We had a proliferation of voter suppression laws passed, immediately after SCOTUS Republicans gutted the Voting Rights Act (the first time) in 2013. Since then we’ve had Republicans proudly admit the truth about their intentions.

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by Anonymousreply 46Last Tuesday at 1:42 PM
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by Anonymousreply 47Last Tuesday at 1:43 PM
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by Anonymousreply 48Last Tuesday at 1:45 PM
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by Anonymousreply 49Last Tuesday at 1:46 PM

Arguing is always a waste of time, and you can't have a worthwhile discussion with someone whose goal is just to bullshit you by any means necessary.

by Anonymousreply 50Last Tuesday at 2:27 PM

[quote] Arguing is always a waste of time, and you can't have a worthwhile discussion with someone whose goal is just to bullshit you by any means necessary.

That’s true, but r46 - r49 did put effort into his bullshit.

by Anonymousreply 51Last Tuesday at 5:22 PM

[quote] That’s true, but [R46] - [R49] did put effort into his bullshit.

Whether you choose to accept the facts, admit the facts or not. Republicans have repeatedly told us what we already knew. They are passing laws to restrict voting, in order to win elections. In fact it actually requires very little effort to repeat their own words back to you.

Obviously you whole heartedly support those efforts. Please do keep in mind; everyone can read your post history.

by Anonymousreply 52Last Tuesday at 5:43 PM

The standard default position of a right winger is whataboutism. The argument of a 5 year old.

by Anonymousreply 53Last Tuesday at 10:48 PM

[quote] whataboutism. The argument of a 5 year old.

True. The funny thing is how people use “what about Trump” even on non-political DL threads.

by Anonymousreply 54Last Tuesday at 10:58 PM

Don’t you just love how the right-wingers on this forum turn every thread into an anti-trans/anti-black/anti-Muslim/racist thread?

Look at the idiot racists in this thread defending voter suppression against (especially) black people.

This is what we’re stuck with. Right-wingers are vile.

by Anonymousreply 55Last Wednesday at 2:31 AM
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