How to Argue with Liberals, Progressives and Other Leftists - The Central Tenet of Statism

The key to rhetorically dominating any flawed ideology is in attacking its basis, which is naturally usually mistaken.  The root of leftist, progressive, social democratic and other euphemistic variants of socialist/statist thought is the idea that people basically suck.  It goes like this.

People suck so:

  • They will not educate their own children up to our standards.  We must take their money and their children and educate them ourselves.  
  • They will not help each other, especially rich people who look down on the helpless poor masses.  We must take a portion of everyone's money, especially the rich because they won't miss it, and give it to people who can't support themselves.  Anyone who considers this thievery doesn't care about the poor.  
  • They are unscrupulous and will rampantly profit off of the ignorance of consumers by selling them defective, dangerous products.  We must wield the long arm of the law to regulate the production and marketing of practically every product in every market to protect the poor, stupid masses.  
  • They are easily conned and too ignorant and lazy to look out for their own interests.  See above.  
  • They will destroy their minds and bodies with drugs, alcohol and unhealthy food if left to their own discretion.  Some drugs are just too dangerous to be in the presence of these poorly programmed automatons; they must be banned.  Other drugs, such as alcohol, must be tightly controlled and highly taxed to prevent the breakdown of society.  The amount of salt, saturated fat, sugar and other nasty ingredients in the commoner's diet must be managed by law if possible.  If we fail in that, we can take their money and educate them on the matter.       

Granted, few people I know would ever justify their world view by bluntly stating that people suck, though I can recall at least one who has.  Somehow the premise for these ideologies is generally given as a love or respect for people, but I fail to see the logic behind loving and respecting humans so much as to advocate for their control, in whole or in part. 

Of course the human condition is more complicated than "people suck" vs. "people don't suck".  I tend to the believe the latter more often than not, though I try to shy away from such banal generalities.  

Individuals have a variety of skills, aptitudes and ambitions.  They interact, exchange, improve and decline in unpredictable and fascinating ways.  People, even at the "lowest" rungs of society, think and act with volition; there is no such mass of poor, starving automatons who need to have their lives planned for them.  There are people like you and me who want to be free from coercion.  Even those who do not recognize this just and moral sentiment of human interaction should be granted the privilege.  If you care so much for your common man but fear that the remainder of society is too evil or inept to help of their own accord, please volunteer your own resources to the cause before advocating codified force against your neighbor.


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