I don’t want to get all hoity-toity here with my high-falutin language and all but is it just me or has the level of political debate taken a real nosedive in the last few months? When was the last time you heard a debate on policy that did not consist of insults, soundbites and slogans? Exactly.
The terms of debate these days fall into three categories. Reality is explained and the reply goes something like this.
The first tool in the debate satchel is the saying of the date/month/year or just what century we are in. People on the left, and an increasing number of socially liberal conservatives, seem to believe that merely telling us what date it is constitutes an argument! It’s 2017, for goodness sake! End of debate. It’s 2017 – let’s burn the whole place down! No, stating what day it is, is not an argument on why surrogacy should be legal. And if you do not understand that, I can’t help you.
The second tool is where people explain what their emotional state is. People really believe this is enough to counter an argument on the principles of supply and demand.
Someone on Twitter once said to me they were ‘disgusted’ (disgusted no less) about the lack of an NHS in Ireland (they have a mixed public-private system) especially when it came to childbirth. I said their disgust was nice, but unlikely to purchase any epidurals or indeed pay for a midwife. I got no reply.
The final tool is the ad hominem attack, usually teamed with a fashionable buzz word that encapsulates so many different ideas that it is impossible to unpack in a 3 minute interview.
The ad hominem attack will contain one of the insults in the holy trinity of lefty insults: you don’t support policy x (of redistributing wealth or undermining fundamental social norms) because you are a sexist, racist, or homophobe.
They throw out these insults like Labour throws about manifesto pledges. It will end with other slights against your character in that you are nasty/mean/lack compassion.
The most depressing aspect of this ‘state of the debate’ is how there are so few conservative commentators to counter these attacks. They are so busy apologising for the fact that they might have conservative views they have already been beaten before they step into the studio.
What we need is a commentator like Ben Shapiro.
Shapiro summed up the state of politics at the end of this piece and it applies to the UK even more than the US.
Shapiro explains: “Politics used to be the art of educating the public about reality and pushing for change where change is possible. Now politics is the art of convincing the public that you can make reality disappear if it votes for you. Sadly, our politicians can’t make reality disappear. And every time they try to do so, reality comes rushing back with a vengeance.”
(Image: Gage Skidmore)