Op-Ed: How To Debate a Leftist (Especially if People Are Watching)


Most of us enjoyed the Independence Day fireworks earlier this month. The celebrations were colorful and loud, helping us remember the freedoms we enjoy in America are based upon self-evident truths found in God-given unalienable rights.

Others don’t believe in the ideals declared when this nation was founded. Instead, they believe America began as a source of oppression and tyranny.

The rage of these mobs threatens violence throughout the land in order to overturn the system in favor of a Marxist fantasy that has never existed. Few people side with the violence, but most don’t know how to confront the ideas the left shouts at us from every media platform.

While you can usually avoid a mob riot with ease, you’re likely to run into someone in your circles who will repeat what they’ve heard from the messaging on cable TV, Facebook, Twitter, The New York Times and other print media that supports the ideas assaulting our country’s founding.

How do you combat this with your family and friends? What to do? Do you talk with them or politely smile and try to sneak away going about your business?

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Let me encourage you to confront the philosophy behind the mob in order to preserve all you celebrated last weekend.

This column will provide a method to win a debate with a leftist.

When a conservative stands up to a leftist, the conservative wins the argument. The leftist won’t be converted when they are tied to their indoctrination, but everyone in the audience or around the conversation will realize we have won.

After all, they are the voters. Those are really the people you’re trying to reach: not the liberals entrenched in their ways, but everyone around them not yet infected by dogma.

Will you use this method to debate leftists?

How can we be confident that we will win those debates? Because we know the left’s arguments and can combat them. We hear it every day and know the flaws in the thinking controlled by feelings.

But liberals have little understanding of our ideas.

They live in a cocoon, rarely hearing our truths. If they didn’t isolate themselves from our arguments and were honest about the world we live in, they would join us.

So don’t be afraid to engage your neighbor or work colleague, let alone a family member. They won’t see you coming.

And you don’t even have to argue. All you need to do is clarify the differences between the liberals and conservatives and it becomes obvious: We care and they don’t.

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That’s it; that’s our call to arms.

I can sum up the winning position in these five words: We care and they don’t.

As conservatives, we care about people; we care about our spouses, our families and our fellow man. We love our neighbor as ourselves. We have commonsense, sustainable solutions that are proven to work.

But if we are going to win Gen Z and millennials (and perhaps their parents) we must approach the discussion from a different place than they’ve been accustomed to. We must use the starting point that we care and they don’t.

Don’t get me wrong. It will be our ideas and our policies that prove our concern.

But the old adage is still true: No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. As conservatives, our brand has been attacked and we need to restore it by making the case that we care and they don’t.

The left cares about power and control. Conservatives care about humanity one person at a time creating “the greatest good for the greatest number.” Liberals care about having the greatest amount of control over the greatest number. They care about gaining and keeping power.

Leftists will personally attack anyone who has conservative ideas, but notice that they attack the person, not the ideas. They do their best to destroy that person, as they tried to do with Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The truth is that we care and they don’t. That’s the opposite of how we are portrayed, and we must refute the false narrative head-on. We can do it. You can do it!

Want to know how?

The method is a simple three-step approach to prove we care and they don’t on each and every issue the left thinks it owns.

First, don’t force the topic.

Let your friends and neighbors decide which issue to discuss. They might not be interested in what you wish to discuss, so don’t try to beat your issue into their heads. Start by asking: What’s important to you about this election?

Second, ask Socratic questions about their topic.

These are questions, named after Socrates, that cause a person to learn by leading a person’s thinking toward facts rather than feelings. Ask questions that get to the truth of things, that open up issues and problems, that uncover assumptions, that analyze concepts and distinguish what we know from what we assume.

Too often, we ask questions as if we are ignorant, using a preface such as “I don’t understand,” and we set up the person we are speaking to as if they are going to teach us.

Few on the left know anything other than what has been hyped in the media, including the idea that you as a conservative don’t know anything and need to be taught or re-educated.

Third, be ready with facts and examples of how conservative policies result in greater happiness for the greatest number of people.

In further columns, I’ll be offering a few examples of political questions that are in the news, such as racism, abortion, gun control and illegal immigration.

Write to us with a subject to consider for future columns. Of course, we will tackle the larger question of socialism versus liberty that is becoming a central theme in 2020 and answer it directly with love and logic.

The starting point, at every opportunity, is to proclaim: “We care and they don’t!”

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Howard Kaloogian is an attorney and former California state assemblyman. He is a co-founder of the Tea Party Express and served as chairman of the Recall Gray Davis Committee. Currently, Kaloogian is the National Planned Giving Director at Hillsdale College. He is married to Martha and lives in New Hampshire.