Sunday, May 17, 2009

Defeating Political Ridicule

Kyle-Anne Shiver has an article about Saul Alinsky and Defeating political ridicule: "... anyone who stands in defiance of this [Obama] Administration's policies will be ridiculed without mercy." Quoting Alinsky:

The fourth rule of tactics: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.

The fourth rule carries within it the fifth rule: Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.
- Saul Alinsky; Rules for Radicals; 1971; p. 128
The art of political debate can be called 'meme warfare' - the application of pushing particular memes and defeating or deflecting other memes. Alinsky's rules are attempts to use what is in effect the ad hominem - a logical fallacy but effective technique - to bear in 'meme warfare'. If you recognize it, you can defeat it. In the case of ridicule, don't stoop to consider it serious; it isn't.

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