The single most effective opposition to the movement to turn Israel into a pariah state is for people actually to go to Israel. Once there, they see that it is a free, dynamic, pluralist society, that is deeply respectful of human rights. This explains the newest outbreak of antisemitism in America’s universities and churches: marginalizing people who dare to see Israel for themselves. Over at Commentary Blog, there are two stories about just that, one coming out of UCLA, and the other coming out of the Presbyterian Church.
Traditionally, both Jews and conservatives have shied away from fights. The time to shy away is over. As Ben Shapiro showed when he decimated boycott/divest/sanction supporters at UCLA, every time the Left hits out, conservatives must hit back twice as hard and twice as often.
One of the things Charles Martel and I talked about yesterday at lunch was the fact that Leftist are perpetual adolescents. This is obvious in a lot of ways: they’re short-sighted, short-fused, emotional, deeply invested in shallow takes on serious issues, given to ill-conceived hero-worship, etc. The other thing that they have in common with adolescents is their laser-like focus on their personal needs.
I think I’ve mentioned here before a book I once read about parenting techniques to use on challenging teens. Eighteen years after the fact, what has stick with me is the author’s point about a teen’s focus versus an adult’s focus. Adults focus on lots of things: a job, a household, the children’s needs, an elderly parent’s needs, community work, and sometimes even their own needs. Teens, however, focus only on one thing, which is their emotional need at that specific moment. While you’re juggling myriad responsibilities, both temporal and intellectual, your teen is thinking “mall” or “party dress” or “Cancun.”
In the political world, conservatives, like adults, tend to think in terms of responsibilities, while Leftists, the adolescents, think in terms of emotional needs. Responsibilities place demands on you; emotional needs place demands on everything else.
What this means is that, if the Leftist’s emotional need is to destroy Israel, he will tackle it with the same ferocity and single-mindedness one sees in the teen demanding that trip to the mall. If one argument fails, he will shift effortlessly to the next one and then to the one after that. Meanwhile, if you, the adult/conservative, have won the first argument, you’re not automatically gearing up to defend against any subsequent arguments. Instead, you’re foolishly thinking that the issue is over and that you can move on to your next responsibility. Silly you.
In the battle between teen and parent, the book’s author suggested acknowledging the teen’s argument without ever engaging: “I understand that all your friends are going to the mall, but in our house, the rule is that you can’t go to the mall on a week night.” “I understand that you feel this is unfair, but the rule is that you can’t go to the mall on a week night.” You’re Teflon and, faced with this consistent, impregnable line of defense, the teen eventually runs out of arguments, especially because you won’t engage him substantively.
Unfortunately, in the real world, the mature conservative cannot use this Teflon approach with the adolescent Leftist. That’s because the battle isn’t just being fought between the two combatants; it’s being fought on the public stage, with the winner taking all in public opinion. Just as is the case in a trial against the lawyer from Hell, no matter how stupid or unprincipled his arguments are, you have to challenge every one of them on the merits because you’re not really arguing with him at all. Instead, you’re performing for the judge.
The same is true in politics. No matter how heated the argument between two individuals seem, they’re not really fighting each other. They are, instead, are performing for the American public.