By Theresa Camoriano
Recently, President Obama ridiculed anyone who disagrees with his approach to alternative energy research as being “flat-earthers” who are against innovation and scientific progress.
The President and his friends often ridicule their opponents. It is a very effective tactic – one they probably learned from Saul Alinsky. By ridiculing his opponents and treating them as being stupid, backward, or even sub-human, Obama can simply dismiss them without having to deal with their arguments. This conveniently cuts short any debate on the issues, which might highlight the errors in his positions.
We need to follow a formula to defend against this tactic of ridicule, beginning by pointing it out for what it is and ending by turning it against the people who use it.
Step 1: When someone uses ridicule against us, our first step in defending ourselves should be to point out that the person is using Saul Alinsky’s tactic of ridicule, that it is a favorite tactic used by people who are afraid of debate and who want to dehumanize their opponents, and that anyone who cares about the truth and is fair-minded should neither use nor tolerate such unfair and mean-spirited tactics.
Step 2: Next, we should identify the real issue that needs to be addressed.
In this case, we should point out that nobody is opposed to conducting scientific research that could lead to new sources of energy. In fact, we are all for it.
The real issue is the question of who should pay for that research. Should it be funded voluntarily, by investors and entrepreneurs and by non-profit organizations that get their funds through voluntary contributions, or should it be funded through force — by the government forcing taxpayers to fund the researchers and programs it wants to support? We oppose the use of force to fund the research and believe, for a number of reasons, that the research should be funded on a voluntary basis.
Step 3: Once the real issue is identified, we should make our case regarding that issue.
In this case, we can ask, which type of funding is morally superior? Which type of funding is most likely to lead to success? Which type of funding is most likely to lead to corruption and abuse? Which type of funding should be used in a country that is on the verge of bankruptcy?
Reasonable people can disagree, but our experience with force-based, government funding of “green” research efforts has shown us that it has been very ineffective and has been used mainly for political payback. Think Solyndra as just one example.
We might remember that the voluntarily-funded efforts of the Wright brothers resulted in a successful airplane, while the government-funded attempt at an airplane literally fell flat.
Since people who voluntarily invest their own money on scientific research are more likely to invest wisely and get good results, why would anyone want to use government funding, especially when the country is on the verge of bankruptcy? Could it be that their real goal is political pay-back and amassing political power – not scientific progress?
Step 4: Turn the ridiculer’s tactic back against him.
Are we really flat-earthers because we are opposed to the President’s using our hard-earned tax money to pay off his cronies under the guise of doing scientific research? I don’t think so. In fact, we might even suggest that the real flat-earthers are the people who claim to be using our tax money for scientific research while they are really using it to pay off their political supporters instead.
Note: As I have thought about it more, I have realized that this formula could be made into a more general formula that could be used to defend against many other types of sneaky tactics that are commonly used just by adding another step, which would be step number 1. The first step would be to identify which sneaky tactic is being used, and then step 2 would be stating what that tactic is and why it is improper. Then step 3 would be to identify the real issue. Step 4 is to make your case relating to that issue, and step 5 is to turn the sneaky tactic back on the person who used it.
The truth is our friend. We will succeed if we can draw attention to the real issues and deal with them clearly.
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