#rsrh I am not here to persuade. *Hoo*, boy, I am not here to persuade.

Jim Geraghty’s got a point in his latest Morning Jolt

How often do any of us actually persuade other people on any major controversy of the day? Have any Obamacare critics encountered an argument that made them stop and think and reconsider their opposition? Has any Obamacare fan changed their mind? Do people even change their minds anymore?

if you’re worried about persuading people. I’m not – at least, not personally.  I am not here to persuade people via the use of rhetoric.  I am here to build rhetorical tools that other people will use.  I am neither a pundit, a savant, nor a philosopher; not that there’s anything wrong with being any of those, but they kind of get in the way of me being a propagandist, a partisan, and a political hack. And there’s nothing wrong with being any of those, either: although I’m sure that various examples from the first three categories would disagree (especially the unsuccessful* ones).

No, even the ‘political hack’ part’s OK.  As long as I just don’t lie while doing it.

Moe Lane

*Let me unkindly note here that there are a lot of people out there on the Internet that are kind of unhappy that the acceptance of their particular form of ideological dog food seems to be subject to market forces.  :shrug: I assume that someday I’ll feel the same way, of course.


  • Spegen says:

    People get stuck defending positions all the time even if they changed their mind, else they will be a called a waffler. The internet has magnified this by allowing us to quickly bring up events and statements many years old. Liberals tried to use this against conservatives via the mandate and old statements from the 90s. So basically to change positions, you either have to claim some evolution/ awakening such as Romney with abortion and Obama with gay marriage or risk claims of “pandering” to the base.
    People can change, we are not the same as our younger selves (thank God). Unfortunately we play a fun game of wack a mole with every deviation a politician makes from previous statements.

  • Rob Crawford says:

    I’ve tried arguing for persuasion. Got endless abuse in response. Eventually realized that they weren’t responding to what I said, but what they had been told I was actually thinking. So I’ve mostly given up trying to be persuasive; I can address the arguments presented until the end of time, but the bundle of reflexes on the other side will only ever respond according to a fixed script.

  • Rob Crawford says:

    Spegen — I’ve never had an issue with saying “I changed my mind; here’s why…”

  • JeffV says:

    Generally, the goal isn’t to change someones mind so much as get them to stop voicing their opinion because its been so effectively countered. This is actually an achievable goal. When enough people stop voiceing an opinion on a given subject, people in general start shifting thinking in the direction of opposite opinions that are still being voiced, since people like to be members of groups.

  • Moe, I have to say I try to write to persuade. The way the Right talks to the Left isn’t persuasive because the Right’s rhetoric reinforces the Left’s objections instead of answering them. Basically, even though scared people stick to their positions ever more adamantly, almost everyone on the Right tries to change them by scaring them more. They are doing it wrong, which is why it’s not working.

  • BCochran1981 says:

    IMO, it’s not the messaging that’s the Right’s problem, it’s who is sending the message. Look at presidential elections since 1980. Decisive leadership is what is needed. Reagan was obv a strong conservative leader, cruised twice. Bush 41 campaigned strong (No New Taxes!) but failed in the follow through, which is a big reason why he lost a second term. Bob Dole was….Bob Dole and got crushed. Bush 43 was just to the Right of moderate and the 2000 election was a mess. Won his second term on the WoT and the fact that the Dems ran a ventriloquist doll. McCain spent the entire campaign stuck in a wet paper bag that he couldn’t fight his way out of.

    Republicans put forward decisive leaders and they win, put forward moderates/squishes/somebody not willing to fight and they lose.

  • Spegen says:

    I agree that in our lives with friends and family we can change our minds and express new beliefs without issue. The problem is with politicians: when they change their mind it often comes across as either pandering or opportunistic.

  • Moe_Lane says:

    Cynthia: (to mangle Turtledove) I look upon the ability to be persuasive to the Left in the same way that Ancient Rome looked upon cavalry; it’s a fine skill, for other people. I have some skill at working with my own side – and rather greater skill at being a d*ck towards folks who are vile, and don’t really know it; I’ve decided to play to my strengths. 😉

  • […] most people don’t so much mind being lied to as being lied to poorly.  In a response to a Moe Lane post, Cynthia Yockey of “A” commented: “Basically, even […]

  • […] layers of wisdom to be found here.  Moe Lane offers up a bit about Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt today, and while I’m linking to Moe’s blog, […]

  • Finrod says:

    Both sides generally have vocal and silent people on their side. Generally the vocal ones are the ones that are doing the arguing and are also the least persuadable; but the silent people on both sides, when they aren’t tuning it out, can be persuaded by the arguments between the vocal people. It’s not always obvious when this happens, in fact it rarely is.

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