Help me develop a polite, persuasive argument to challenge a young friend of mine who has bought into the media narrative about right-wing extremism.
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I have a young friend — my children’s age — who is an extremely bright, thoughtful, and (so he believes) informed young man who wants to pursue a graduate degree in politics and terrorism. His biggest concern is “right-wing extremism in America.”
When I first heard this, my initial impulse was to say, “That’s just wrong. It’s a stupid Leftist lie. You’re being brainwashed. If you want to make a difference in the world, tackle left-wing extremism.”
Fortunately, I’ve finally figured out that insulting people is not the way to get them to agree with you. There are better persuasion techniques. Because I respect my young friend’s intelligence, I want to take some time to assemble an argument that will present data in a way that challenges his beliefs without insulting his intelligence. This post represents the first draft of that email.
Maybe it’s my legal training, but I believe that one of the best ways to challenge an argument is to start by identifying bias, both my own and the bias of the person(s) advocating the opposite view. I’ve been open with my friend about my bias. My problem is to convince him that the media from which he gets his ideas about right-wing extremism is biased too. Very biased.
The other day on his podcast, Andrew Klavan played two videos, one in which the media celebrates Trump’s anticipated downfall and the other in which it celebrates Obama’s allegedly scandal-free presidency. In both videos, raw partisanship is on display. The video below is Andrew Klavan’s show, which I’ve queued up to those back-to-back videos, starting at 19:15: [Read more…]