Look, I am all about mocking and satirizing the left. It’s how I arrived on the scene in 2011 when I created Misfit Politics. It’s fun to do because it’s easy, and there’s a kind of pleasure to it. Like an itch being scratched.
With the arrival of Trump, this mocking of the left and making them look foolish has gone into overdrive. The Republican leader has taken the gloves off and insults the Democrats and their media lapdogs at every turn. Even if you’re not a huge fan of Trump, it’s a great pleasure to watch in no small part because the left has been doing it to the right for decades.
This treatment has been long in coming, and it’s exposed the fact that the emperor, indeed, has no clothes. This has become popularly known as “owning the libs.” Like I said, it’s pretty fun to do, and the reactions are nothing short of hilarious to watch.
But other than giving us the satisfaction of watching people who thought they were our moral and intellectual betters writhe in their own ridiculousness and ignorance, we’re not accomplishing everything we could be.
That’s something that Nikki Haley recently told high school students as she was speaking to them. As covered in detail by RedState writer Sarah Quinlan, Haley asked the students if any of them have ever posted anything to “own the libs,” to which the most of the students raised their hands, and then proceeded to applaud themselves.
Haley threw cold water on the moment and told the students that while it’s fun to do, it doesn’t do anything to persuade anyone. Thing is, Haley is mostly right.
I say mostly because there is tremendous value in mocking and satirizing something. Pointing out the asininity of a person or people who take something — especially themselves — too seriously exposes flaws in their thinking or methods. This makes their points and arguments seem ridiculous or silly.
As a result, the public will typically shy away from these groups, or take whatever they’re saying far less seriously than before. While this may be helpful in getting people to recognize the flaws in a group or an argument, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll abandon their ideology or party altogether.
That second punch that follows the first has to come from outreach and calm, friendly discussion. You catch more flies with honey than you do vinegar, and people are no different.
It’s within this friendly and relaxed atmosphere that people are more likely to let their ideological defenses down and allow other opinions to flow into their world. Here with understanding and grace accompanied by hard facts, people can be persuaded to accept reality. It’s not always immediately successful, but even planting the seed can do a lot.
While the left absolutely hates being mocked and made fun of, it’s this coming together to talk frankly but with friendliness that they truly fear. As I’ve written in more detail recently, the left goes out of their way to punish those who even publicly entertain the thought of coming to the middle to discuss ideas with the right. Poisoning the idea well would result in a lot of realizations about the weakness of leftist positions and points, and the resulting loss of power would be devastating.
Sewing the fear of isolation, ridicule. and punishment for anyone who steps out of bounds keeps many in line, especially the higher the platform. Ignorance is power for the left, and they guard it very jealously.
So Haley is correct. “Owning the libs” isn’t really leadership. It’s easy to do, and may soften the onlookers — it’ll definitely harden the target — but it’s not going to finish the job. At some point, members of the right have to be willing to put down their sword and pick up a couple beers.
Sometimes the best offense isn’t a good defense, it’s not wanting to fight at all.