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Never Accept the Premise of Your Opponent’s Argument
Townhall.com ^ | April 12, 2014 | Steve Deace

Posted on 04/12/2014 12:10:32 PM PDT by Kaslin

“Premise” is a word many Americans are not familiar with, and neither do they use it in their everyday speech. However, the premise is one of the most powerful weapons in political warfare. Master the art of the premise, and you will master your opponent.

A premise is the assumption of an argument that is meant to justify the conclusion the one making the argument is hoping you’ll come to. If one fails to establish the premise to his argument, one almost always fails to convince others of his conclusion. On the other hand, if one establishes a premise one will more than likely get others to agree with his conclusion.

For example, if the premise of the argument is over “reproductive choice” and not “the sanctity of human life,” then the conclusion will come down on the side of the premise accepted. For too long we have argued with the Left over the conclusion (e.g. big government vs. small government) when we should be arguing the premise (e.g. what’s legal for the government to do vs. what’s illegal for the government to do).

All too often we accept the premise of the Left’s argument on virtually every issue, which allows them to frame the political battlefield. Any good general will attempt to shape the battlefield in a manner that gives his soldiers the best chance at victory, and we should do the same in the culture war as well.

Could you imagine the possibilities if we made the Left defend the Constitutionality (see that as legality) of all their statist schemes, and if our Republican politicians asked questions that rejected their premise from the outset?

I get asked questions all the time from the Left’s perspective, and I never accept their premise. For example, in 2011 I did an interview on Dutch National Television. One of the questions was whether those who practice homosexuality should be allowed to serve openly in the military.

“I believe all men and women that are physically qualified and able to conform to the Uniformed Code of Military Justice ought to be able to serve their country,” I replied.

“But what about gays and lesbians,” the Dutch host asked.

“I’m sorry, maybe you didn’t hear me,” I replied. “I believe all men and women that are physically qualified and able to conform to the Uniformed Code of Military Justice ought to be able to serve their country.”

Now he looked confused. “So, is that a yes or a no?”

“There are only two types of people,” I told him. “Men and women.”

He had nowhere to go after that because I totally shut his premise down by rejecting it from the outset. From there I was on offense throughout the rest of the interview.

Recently I was asked by a newspaper reporter to comment on a story he was working on regarding the perception conservatives have a monopoly on the American flag and patriotism. The story centered on a liberal activist who was sewing into an American flag an anti-marriage/pro-immorality speech by Hillary Clinton as a protest against this perceived bias.

“Do you think the American flag is seen as a conservative symbol,” he asked.

The American flag is a symbol of the virtues and values the generation that devised it and died for it intended it to be, which they enshrined for future generations in the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution,” I replied. “Those virtues and values should defy labels except American. Unfortunately, as we cascade over the post-modern cliff, all such absolutes are now considered negotiable.”

“Do you think it’s appropriate to incorporate the flag into progressive/liberal messages like a pro-gay marriage art project,” he followed up.

“I think our society is better off when we conform our beliefs to the virtues and value that define the American flag, rather than conforming what the flag stands for to suit our own personal whims, desires, and agendas,” I answered.

“What’s your response to the claim that conservatives have an unfair monopoly on the flag,” he asked for his final question.

“It’s clear from their own writings and actions what values and virtues our Founders intended the flag to stand for: there is a God, our rights come from Him, and the purpose of government is to protect those God-given rights,” I responded. “That vision should transcend our current petty political labeling, and if your particular agenda doesn’t reconcile with that uniquely American vision the problem is you, not the vision.”

Nowhere in this dialogue did I accept the premise of the questioning, which was that the country is so divided that we even have multiple interpretations of traditional Americana. Nothing could be further from the truth, for we do not get to interpret the meanings of such things when the authors themselves left such a clear record of what they meant.

That is common Leftist/Marxist tactic known as Social Reconstructionism, and if I accept the premise of these questions I am accepting the validity of that pagan and un-American philosophy, which means we never arrive at the truth and just keep arguing our own perspectives.

If the Leftists want to make the case what they believe is in line with the founding vision of these United States, then by all means go back into the historical record and make that case. Except they won’t and they can’t. There’s a simple reason why the Left doesn’t pay as much homage to the founding of this country as we do, and it’s because most of what they believe is contrary to it, which is why they’ve had to take over the schools and scrub that history from the textbooks. Even one of the Left’s favorite Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, was so opposed to what most Leftists believe they’d peg him with their favorite word for conservatives—“extreme.”

Proving those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, not once but twice during the 2012 presidential debates Mitt Romney failed to confront President Obama on his version of the events that led to four dead Americans at the Benghazi terror attacks. Romney allowed Obama’s false premise to be asserted on the biggest stage of the campaign, thus allowing what should’ve been an issue that toppled the Obama presidency to become a strength prior to voters heading to the polls. It wasn’t until after the election in Congressional hearings featuring several Benghazi whistle-blowers -- all of whom who worked for Obama -- that the president’s account proved to be false. By then it was too late, and those four dead Americans and their families still haven’t received justice.

One of the reasons we see so many Republicans accepting the premise of the Left’s argument is because they don’t possess a solid worldview. Thus, most Republicans end up being defined by what they’re against and not what they’re for. Without a premise they’re just playing defense. Most Republicans don’t know what they’re for beyond they’re for beating Democrats.

The Left is always advancing their premise, and too many Republicans don’t have one, which means unless “we the people” step in we end up allowing Leftists to frame the argument. We can step in when it comes to voting, but at some point we need to actually elect politicians who can advance our premise in the arena of public policy. Otherwise we’ll continue going “forward” over the cliff the Left has us headed towards.

The only debate will be how fast over that cliff we go.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: americanflag; conservatives; debates; liberals
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1 posted on 04/12/2014 12:10:33 PM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Bookmark


2 posted on 04/12/2014 12:21:24 PM PDT by Rome2000
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To: Kaslin
“I believe all men and women that are physically qualified and able to conform to the Uniformed Code of Military Justice ought to be able to serve their country.”

So if Obama's generals decide that gays and trannies "conform" to their version of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice then Mr. Deace is OK with that?

3 posted on 04/12/2014 12:22:04 PM PDT by who_would_fardels_bear
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To: Kaslin

Years ago, Allan Keyes told the audience at a function I was attending this: “You’ll never win a argument you don’t make.”

Never forgotten that...


4 posted on 04/12/2014 12:25:40 PM PDT by abb
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To: Kaslin
You see implicit shifting of the premise all the time, if you're attuned to notice it.

For instance, you'll often hear gun-grabbers say something like: “you don't need a gun like that for hunting”. If you respond directly to that statement (i.e. accept their premise), you've already lost. A better answer (no doubt, there are many better ones) would be: “So what? Where does the 2nd Amendment mention hunting?”

Another shifted premise I've noticed lately, has to do with the new e-cigarettes. Anti-smokers will say something like: “There's no evidence that these e-cigarettes help people quit smoking”. Again, so what? Hidden in that premise is the false notion that vaping tobacco is smoking. That's a duplicitous shifting of the definition of smoking. It's not smoking, it's vaping. There's no smoke involved — therefore, whenever someone uses an e-cigarette instead of smoking tobacco, he is smoking less. If they use e-cigarettes all the time, they have effectively quit smoking.

5 posted on 04/12/2014 12:27:51 PM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: Kaslin

The Delphi Technique — What Is It? (Alinsky Method)
BLOGGER ^ | March 1996 | Lynn M. Stuter

Posted on Monday, June 20, 2011 4:35:21 PM by Jo Nuvark

The Delphi Technique was originally conceived as a way to obtain the opinion of experts without necessarily bringing them together face to face. In recent times, however, it has taken on an all new meaning and purpose. In Educating for the New World Order by B. Eakman, the reader finds reference upon reference for the need to preserve the illusion that there is “…lay, or community, participation (in the decision-making process), while lay citizens were, in fact, being squeezed out.” The Delphi Technique is the method being used to squeeze citizens out of the process, effecting a left-wing take over of the schools.

How to Disrupt the Delphi Technique. http://www.learn-usa.com/transformation_process/acf002.htm

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2737378/posts


6 posted on 04/12/2014 12:28:05 PM PDT by TurboZamboni (Marx smelled bad and lived with his parents .)
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To: Kaslin; All

As a side note to never accepting the premise of your opponents arguments, that is why I participate in message boards. The message board medium gives me more time to consider what the opponent is saying and be more careful about how I reply.


7 posted on 04/12/2014 12:29:29 PM PDT by Amendment10
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To: Kaslin
For too long we have argued with the Left over the conclusion (e.g. big government vs. small government) when we should be arguing the premise (e.g. what’s legal for the government to do vs. what’s illegal for the government to do).

good point.

8 posted on 04/12/2014 12:30:09 PM PDT by uncitizen (Impeach the Communist Already!)
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To: Kaslin

I think that this is a good essay.


9 posted on 04/12/2014 12:30:56 PM PDT by Unknowing (Now is the time for all smart little girls to come to the aid of their country.)
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To: Rome2000

Bookmark


10 posted on 04/12/2014 12:34:00 PM PDT by Rumplemeyer (The GOP should stand its ground - and fix Bayonets)
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To: abb

Set the pins, frame the argument / phrase the question in such a manner that you will get the desired response, win the argument.


11 posted on 04/12/2014 12:39:39 PM PDT by jsanders2001
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To: Kaslin
My favourite argument is still Kathy Shaidle's: "You're not smart enough to tell me how to live!"
12 posted on 04/12/2014 12:52:58 PM PDT by Edward Teach
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To: Kaslin

BINGO.

Most republicans don’t understand and don’t care about their own party’s values, much less America’s values.


13 posted on 04/12/2014 1:09:16 PM PDT by Williams (No Obama)
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To: USFRIENDINVICTORIA
you'll often hear gun-grabbers say something like: “you don't need a gun like that for hunting”.

One of the most powerful tactics I've used in debate is the demurer. In your instance, I would reply, "You're correct. You don't need a gun like that for hunting. In fact, I would go further and say that you don't need a gun for hunting at all, or even hunting itself."

My opponent would stand there gaping, because I was supposed to fight the particulars of his assertion. Instead, I gutted his argument by NOT opposing it. It is simply irrelevant. Because I would go on to explain that hunting is immaterial to the right to bear arms, so that the type of weapon used in hunting is even less material.

In other words, I would concede his point about hunting, then demonstrate how the argument is not over hunting but the right to keep and bear arms.

Much the same as your response ...

In the health care debate, you constantly hear "Well, there are millions of people with no health care. Don't you think they have a right to medical care too?" To which the proper response is "Absolutely. I believe they should have the same right to medical care as anyone else. But this debate isn't about health care. It's about who should PROVIDE that health care. I assert that it is neither the government's right nor its responsibility to supply health insurance to its citizens. It may be a good idea, but that's not the point."

14 posted on 04/12/2014 1:18:36 PM PDT by IronJack
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To: Kaslin
Captain Capitalism: How the Inanity of Our Political Arguments Prove We're Doomed
15 posted on 04/12/2014 1:31:57 PM PDT by Edward Teach
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To: Amendment10
You may also run across people who have been trained in a process developed at GE - Change Acceleration Process. This was conceived as an internal, organizational process, but leakage occurs.
16 posted on 04/12/2014 1:51:57 PM PDT by kitchen (Even the walls have ears.)
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To: Kaslin

Excellent essay.


17 posted on 04/12/2014 2:12:04 PM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas ( Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, Revelation 3:7)
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To: Unknowing

I’ve listened to Steve Deace in the SC upstate, though am unsure of where he actually broadcasts from. He does a pretty good show alright, with his “Amen Corner” girls.

Writing is an excellent way to broaden technique in structuring and honing argument. There’s a lot of it right here on FR.


18 posted on 04/12/2014 2:16:36 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas

this is why one should not use the lexicon of the left
in any confrontation, by doing so you have already
accepted their premise. ie: inequality, war on women,
reproductive rights, etc.


19 posted on 04/12/2014 2:20:41 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: Kaslin
re: Never Accept the Premise of Your Opponent’s Argument

Libs know this by nature. They never accept Conservative arguments. Never. Even when you lay it out for them step by step with a world of logic. If you ask them a question that requires a simple yes or no, they will not answer with a simple yes or no if it the answer would go against their belief system. They may give 5 minute answers, but they will never concede to your point. They will also never use Conservative terms. For example, they never talk about pro-lifers as pro-lifers but as anti-abortists or more preferably, anti-choicers.

Conservatives on the other hand feel like they have to answer yes and no questions with simple direct responses that so often cause them to fall right into the traps set before them by the Left. In so doing, they often end up be manipulated and accepting the premises of the Left unwittingly. Also, out of politeness perhaps, Conservatives will often use the terms of the Left. They will use the preferred “pro-choice” term that is nothing more than a euphemism for the brutal truth of slaughtering unborn children in their mother's wombs. In so doing they allow the other side to gain territory in the battle. Jesus told His followers to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. He did not allow those questioning Him to manipulate Him. He maintained control of the conversations and did not accept the false premises of his enemies. Conservatives need to do better on the wisdom part as well as the innocent part.

20 posted on 04/12/2014 2:24:44 PM PDT by Nevadan
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