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More Milton Friedman, Less Rush Limbaugh
Radio Free NJ ^ | 5/4/13 | Tom

Posted on 05/04/2013 3:54:55 PM PDT by kreitzer

- More Milton Friedman, Less Rush Limbaugh

You all remember, in the wake of the most recent electoral defeat for Republicans, I went on at length about how we need to speak to liberals in a language they understand? I maintain that we need to stop saying things that make us feel better about our positions and instead say things that people who think differently than we do would find persuasive. It's a big theme with me lately, and is something I learned from my father.

My father wins a lot of arguments, but he usually does so by personally attacking the intelligence and character of the person arguing with him. "Your an idiot" may be his most widely spoken phrase. Most often, the result is that they will either concede his point simply to shut him up, or will walk from the verbal battlefield, unwilling to engage in childish name calling. He takes either of these as 'victory' but I've always found it unproductive. The only thing he ever really convinces anyone of, is what a monumental jerk he can be. He changes no-one's mind, and persuades no one to his position. In effect he wins every battle and still loses every war.

After watching him do this my entire life, I've tried to take a different path. I never want anyone to feel like they have 'lost face' because they've argued with me. I don't need anyone to ever concede my position if it's in direct opposition to theirs. Their personal justifications are their own business. All I ever care about anymore is what they do after the discussion.

So that's my schtick. "I'd rather have people think I'm wrong but still do what I want them to, than have them admit I'm right but by then be too angry to do things my way." I don't see arguing with people as a battle for status. I don't see disagreement as an excuse to try to make people admit I'm smarter than they are. Nothing productive comes from that. I literally have nothing to prove. All I want is an outcome that matches my goals.

And I maintain that the way to get people to do things your way, is to make it easy for them to do so. If you worry about how smart they think you are, or making them "admit they were wrong in the first place" that only makes it harder. If you really want to accomplish something, that's going the long way around the barn. Remember, for liberals their politics is more like a religious belief than a series of rational goals and first principles. So if we really want to persuade them we need to find a way to make our arguments seem consistent with their religion.

Talking about the morality of the free market is an excellent example. The free market fully understood, is far more 'fair' than anything ever imposed by any government, no matter how noble the person whose running it. Liberals care deeply about fairness even if they don't know the first thing about how to actually achieve it. So if we frame our arguments for the free market in terms fo the 'fairness' it can deliver, it will be more persuasive for them.

That was Milton Friedman's great trick. He educated neo-marxists about what the free market actually does and in the process helped turned all of western civilization in the direction of economic liberty for a generation. He only ever spoke to those opposed to economic liberty in language they they understood.

Anyway I'm sure you get my point. Our goal when speaking to liberals should not be self congratulation but persuasion. We haven't done nearly enough of that lately.

Luckily for us, they haven't either. The left knows how to persuade conservatives just as poorly as conservative know how to persuade liberals. Have a look at this spectacular failure of a liberal trying to change the mind of conservative gun owners:

Every Second Amendment Rights Advocate Should Hate the NRA

I can't imagine a less persuasive piece for conservatives or gun owners. It truly is breathtaking in it's wrongheadedness. It isn't how gun owners think - it's how liberals 'think' gun owners, think, but it's really only how 'liberals' think. It's the liberal equivalent of a Freerepublic thread. **

I'm sure the author thinks it's incredibly persuasive. And the liberals who read it will all be emailing it to their conservative friends on the assumption that they have finally found a piece that conservatives can't argue with. They'll view it as a transcendent piece that strikes all the relevant and self satisfying points of their arguments for gun control. they'll believe that the conservatives they send it to will be stripped of any rational response, and the discussion is now over, with their side having won.

But to conservatives (myself for example) it seems like nothing more than pointless chatter, unrelated political flotsam and name calling. It's simply not the kind of thing upon which we base our decision making.

Anyway I call attention to it because it's so perfect an inverse example of what I've been talking about. We on the right need to avoid making our own arguments that same way. We need to quit convincing ourselves how right we are and start convincing people who don't already agree with us instead. We need to learn to speak the language of liberals, and quit demanding that they admit we're right.

We know logic and reason don't mean nearly as much to liberals as their emotions. We know that intentions matter much more to them than outcomes. We know they care about fairness and equality, and that their decisions must be framed in a self congratulatory way. none of that is so difficult that we can't accomplish it. Rush Limbaugh offers an incredibly satisfying rant, but he doesn't convince people like Milton Friedman did. We meed more of the latter and less of the former.

We complain that our country isn't being run by adults. But the fact of the matter is, if there is going to be an adult in this discussion, it's going to have to be us. And if we want the kids to modify their behavior, we need to tell them so in language that they understand.


For those of you who don't know, Freerepublic is a venue by conservatives for conservatives. For all the liberals that have ever been persuaded by what they have read there, it might as well be printed in Chinese. That doesn't make it wrong of course. It's a venue designed to support conservatives not win over liberals. And there is certainly a place for that kind of discussion. But the problem is that it's become the only way that conservatives know how to make their arguments, and we need to learn to persuade again as well.

TOPICS: Government; Politics
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To: Lancey Howard

LOL. I remember that Donahue. It’s the one where Milton won over Michael Moore, too.

61 posted on 05/05/2013 8:27:45 AM PDT by Defiant (If there are infinite parallel universes, why Lord, am I living in the one with Obama as President?)
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To: kreitzer
Remember, for liberals their politics is more like a religious belief than a series of rational goals and first principles. So if we really want to persuade them we need to find a way to make our arguments seem consistent with their religion.

This is true, and the belief that human activity is causing Global Warming is one of the important tenets of that faith.

62 posted on 05/05/2013 9:23:24 AM PDT by SuziQ
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To: kreitzer
Proverbs 23:9
Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.
63 posted on 05/05/2013 9:50:02 AM PDT by Theophilus (Not merely prolife, but prolific)
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To: SuziQ

64 posted on 05/05/2013 9:53:39 AM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: 1rudeboy
Indeed, that should be interesting. Something to keep in mind is the difference between what John Maynard Keynes actually taught and what passes for Keynesian Economics as pushed by Krugman and company. The most controversial idea of the Keynesian school of thought is the idea of using government spending to boost the economy. In actual writings of Keynes you will find that he placed several qualifies on this to at least theoretically keep countries from spending themselves into oblivion. Krugman and their trillion dollar coin economics make no such qualifications.

However while both Friedman and Keynes agreed that a central bank is necessary. Reading Friedman one gets the impression that the central bank is a necessary evil, and not a true tool of economic policy as Keynes taught. In fact the implementing of the “Friedman Rule” would stop Bernanke from being able to attempt to use quantitative easing to affect the economy.

So while it can be argued that Friedman was a monetarists ( in that he believed that money supply should be controlled by a central bank); he was not a Keynesian in his philosophy of government intervention in the economy.

65 posted on 05/05/2013 11:49:07 AM PDT by Idaho_Cowboy (Ride for the Brand. Joshua 24:15)
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To: KarlInOhio
Provide a moral boost to your side, convince the middle and make your opponents look like idiots.

Exactly. Anyone who's spent any time around human beings knows that being persuasive involves a whole lot more than just being earnest.

66 posted on 05/05/2013 11:58:31 AM PDT by Yardstick
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To: 1rudeboy

I said that Keynesians adore the monetarists, not that all monetarists are Keynesians. However, the monetarists do believe in having a central agency decide the quantity and value of money. It is suspicious why they never wondered or cared (as far as I’ve read) what a government would do with the ability to create as much money as they want, so I suspect they may have Keynesian inclinations.

Keynesians adore the monetarists because monetarism is essentially money creation at the state level by the government through the proxy of the central bank. Monetarism provides the big-government spenders with an endless supply of cash to buy votes with. It is those who are Keynesians at heart (regardless of their stated support for Capitalism and free-markets and sound budgetary principles) that are addicted to this ‘free money’ belief of monetarism.

To be honest, I think you may need a bit more background before you understand what I’m saying and why. The following books are good reads and provide a good basic knowledge of economics:

“The Creature from Jekyll Island,” by G. Edward Griffin
“Meltdown,” by Thomas Woods
“Economics in One Lesson,” by Henry Hazlitt
“The Road to Serfdom,” by Friedrich von Hayek
“The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism,” by von Hayek
“The Breakdown of Money,” by Christopher Hollis
“The Case Against the Fed,” by Murray Rothbard
“How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes,” by Peter Schiff

67 posted on 05/10/2013 4:35:30 PM PDT by Ghost of Philip Marlowe (Prepare for survival.)
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To: Ghost of Philip Marlowe
I am familiar with those authors. (Well, except for Schiff, who is a hack). So, instead of telling me I need background, just proceed with your argument. If you can.

Citations a plus, professor.

68 posted on 05/10/2013 5:04:37 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: Ghost of Philip Marlowe
“The Creature from Jekyll Island,” by G. Edward Griffin

What a silly, error filled book.

69 posted on 05/10/2013 5:48:16 PM PDT by Toddsterpatriot (Math is hard. Harder if you're stupid.)
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