Friday, August 17, 2012

My Biggest Mistake While Debateing at HP

While I have been debating commenters at the Huffington Post I think that I have mistakenly thought that most were standard issue, big government democrats.  Many of them are, of course, but that means when I reply to someone who earnestly believes that a minimum wage is necessary for the poor, for example, then I have not been replying in the best manner possible.

Often when I hear the reasons for why some people like big government it is because they want to help the poor and think that the government is the only way possible to help them.

Example: from FBueller (on this post): "Unfortunately like Romney's view of the poor, I have Republican's in my own family who simplistically state "why don't they just go get a job?". I wish my family member and Romney would spend a week helping at a soup kitchen and/or homeless shelter where they could put a face and name on "the poor"."

Many of us on the right spend too much time arguing numbers, myself included.   When a democrat sees a poor person they want to create a government program to help them.  When those of us on the right want to argue against that new program we are seen a heartless and mean.  We, and I, need to do a better job with the moral case for why government programs are bad.  The first part of The Road to Freedom, by Arthur Brooks does a good job of addressing this issue for those of us on the right.  (I'll review the book later, I do not think as highly of it as I did after reading the first part.  I've paused reading it at a point where I would like to disagree with the author on an issue, and post my disagreement.)

I should do a better job of researching the facts about the poor in a way to make a better moral case for freedom and liberty.  And I should spend less time debating the numbers.  I should also do a better job of debating only what is in the comments that I reply to (I still think that my opponents change the subject too much, but I should do better anyway.)

I have been thinking about this issue for a few days and I was finally inspired to post this after my last debate, when my opponent started with this, "Walter Williams? Lol....looks like we got a Libertarian in the house..."

My opponent recognized a libertarian name and proceeded to disregard everything that he said because he is a libertarian.  I need to be careful not to do the same(Although I do spend quite a bit of time defining the words that my opponents use in order to show them that they are misusing those words.)

My final motivator to post this was this column at Dr. Tim's Moment of Clarity.

"Thick skin is a blessing.  My Libertarian friends lose their minds whenever I say something nice about a Republican, and my Republican friends lose their minds whenever I say something nice about a Libertarian.  My Democrat friends do not need a reason."

"Thinking in binary terms blinds us to the reality that one third of the electorate is now independent.  I believe a large number of these non-aligned voters have libertarian leanings – the libertarian caricature “economic conservative and socially neutral” describes a wide swath of the cadre of non-obsessed casual voters."

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