Friday, 22 May 2015

You're wrong, Mr. Hershman - Tory Shock Jocks are a vital weapon in the fight against socialism

Before the election, Gabriel Hershman published an interesting blog on the Salisbury Review website, entitled "Tory Shock Jocks emerge from their slime pools" (here). Here’s a lengthy extract from it:
Unfortunately, many of these figures are supposed right-wingers whose ludicrous pronouncements discredit the bona fide conservative. I agree with Peter Hitchens that these boorish people behave in a way that Lefties like to imagine right-wingers behaving. By this I mean that we are perceived as self-absorbed, xenophobic, materialistic and indifferent to drowning migrants. Genuine conservative values - a protestant work ethic, a natural distrust of over-regulation and big government, a belief in family values and individual acts of charity - are all overlooked because we have been (ill) defined by others. And to an extent that has been the case for the past 20 years.

The danger for right-wingers comes not so much from The Guardian, which most people recognise as existing in a time warp, but from idiots who purport to speak on our behalf. By displaying a kind of bumptious arrogance they help to make the views of decent conservatives off-putting. It's also very easy to discredit your opponent by attributing views to him that are so extreme as to be offensive. So, perhaps some of these people, saying grotesque things, are actually Lefties in disguise. If the Conservatives lose the election, it will be because the "nasty" label was resurrected successfully against them.
That gave me pause for thought, because I tend to side with the shock jocks. After reflecting on Mr. Hershman’s article for several weeks, I have reached the conclusion that I still side with the no-holds-barred, red-in-tooth-and-claw likes of Katie Hopkins, James Delingpole and Richard Littlejohn - and I don’t for one moment think their uncompromising attacks on left-wing shibboleths harm conservatism by providing the opposition with ammunition.

First, conservatives have allowed themselves to be defined – and demonized – by others ever since I can remember. Since the economic disaster of the Callaghan Labour government and the Carter administration in the US were followed by economic success under Mrs. Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, the Left on both sides of the Atlantic has forsaken rational debate in favour of character assassination.  It’s no longer a matter of, “If you disagree with me, you’re factually wrong – and here’s the proof” – it’s “If you disagree with me, you’re evil – so facts don’t matter.”

As history has demonstrated time and again that everything the Left touches turns to dust (and poverty, misery and oppression), all left-wing arguments have now essentially been reduced to ad hominem attacks. (All the Left's "positive" arguments these days amount to nothing more than vapid, buzzword-laden, proof-free, feelgood hoo-hah.) If you have doubts about the validity of Climate Change arguments, you’re the equivalent of a Holocaust denier. If you think single parenthood rather than deprivation might be the cause of the disproportionately high number of crimes committed by young black men, you’re a racist. If you worry that Gay Marriage undermines the very institution itself, you’re a homophobe. If you think Green Energy is a ludicrously expensive con, you want to destroy the planet. If you believe we probably have enough unskilled Third World immigrants to be getting on with, you’re a Nazi. Question the size of the welfare state, you hate poor people. Suggest that the NHS isn’t as world-beatingly great as we’d been told, you want to see poor people dying in the streets. If you wonder whether belonging to the EU is really such a good idea, you’re a cowardly, small-minded, hate-filled xenophobe…. etc, etc, etc.

Now, you can choose to treat this sort of vacuous, nasty, dishonest tactic with lordly disdain by either ignoring it and hoping that the general public will admire your sang-froid, or by protesting that you’re most certainly not an evil homphobic, racist, xenophobic planet-raper – which won’t get you very far, because you’ve allowed the terms of the debate to be defined by the opposition. Or you employ an effective three-pronged attack:

1. Don’t try to defend yourself against charges of racism, xenophobia, whatever – attack your attacker in a similar vein: you reward benefits claimants because you hate ordinary, hard-working people; you’re a racist, because all of your liberal policies have made it harder for blacks to succeed; you resist all changes to the education system because you care more about the teaching unions than about the children they’re letting down; you want to deny ordinary people the benefits of cheap fuel produced by fracking so that your Green Energy chums can make out like bandits – etc. These points can all be reduced to one essential argument: You’re more interested in feeling holier-than-thou than you are in helping people lead better lives. And there’s no need to worry about the details, because lefties never do.  This is a simple manoeuvre that every politician and commentator on the Right should deploy remorselessly.

2. Once you’ve neutralised their standard “You’re evil!” line of attack, move in for the kill by asking lefties to back up their arguments with cold, hard facts rather than emotional piffle about equality and fairness and "social justice". How would what they’re suggesting actually help an ordinary working person’s life in a practical way without another ordinary working person hasving to foot the damned bill? Again, this should be standard practice for all conservative and right-wing politicians and commentators. Insist that they defend their own crappy ideas for a change - because they never can.

3. Allow right-wing attack-dogs free rein. You might think they’re lowering the tone of the debate – but the Left has already ensured that the tone couldn’t get any lower. I mean – have you listened to the sort of things ghastly, preening bullies like Owen Jones, Polly Toynbee and Laurie Penny actually say? Or the kind of drool that passes for sensible arguments from many Labour MPs? Or union bosses? Good God – it’s toxically irrational, and based on nothing more than hatred for everything that decent conservatives hold dear and a pathological desire to appear morally superior. These people are almost inconceivably selfish and deluded, and, given that they and their ilk define the terms of so much of the political debate in this country – thanks almost entirely to the BBC – they deserve to be attacked in the most intemperate fashion at every available opportunity. There is no point in anyone on the right trying to engage in a rational debate with the likes of Owen Jones – he should be upbraided, derided and destroyed with a mixture of contempt, unbridled fury and the most vicious possible satire whenever he takes part in a television or radio debate (which seems to be roughly every five minutes these days). Sniffily turning your back on his sort and refusing to lower yourself to his level just won’t do – because, again, the BBC will allow him and his fellow-dementors all the air-time they need to cow ordinary small “c” conservative Britons into believing that their attitudes are evidence of innate wickedness.

The shock jocks whom Hershman so despises didn't resurrect the "nasty Tory" label: that's been Labour's tactic since the party was formed. Given that right-wing parties won the support of over 50% of voters earlier this month, one might even suggest that the constant ill-mannered attacks on compassion-mongering, equality-lovin' parties from the somewhat more thuggish, bare-kuckle section of the right-wing commentariat might actually have helped David Cameron's party win an overall majority. Instead of branding them as idiots, a quietly murmured "thank you" might be in order.

Ben Shapiro, an American radio talk-show host and the editor-at-large at Breitbart, has produced an excellent digital pamphlet entitled "How to Debate Leftists and Destroy Them: 11 Rules for Winning the Argument", which every politician and commentator on the right of the political spectrum really should read. It only costs 99p, and is availabe here.


  1. Excellent piece.You should either go into politics or advise the Tory Party.Well I suppose this is a bit of advice,but will those in power ever listen?
    In real life if I had to respond to all the sort of inane comments-as you rightly say never supported by hard facts or evidence-one's heard over the years I would be hoarse by now.
    The most common phrase one hears from young backpackers and tourists from the UK as they travel through 'exotic' lands is "why do they like us so much after what we did to them."My usual refrain is "too right the Brits used to boil the natives in oil,and Queen Victoria used to sail out to watch the show."
    As the holiday season is fast approaching,a message to all those green energy eco warriors:please don't leave the beaches in Koh Samui in such a mess.

    1. That's interesting, JJ - it would be fascinating to hear how real people (as opposed to politicians) in former British colonies actually view their colonial past and what they think about Brits now that the dust has had at least half a century to settle. It would make a fascinating TV series, espeiclaly if presented by a non-leftist - i.e. someone without an agenda. But I can't see any of our broadcasters rushing to commission a programme that might not entitely fit their preferred "evil oppressors" narrative.

  2. Part of the problem with mounting an adequate response is the Left's willingness to ignore good manners. In a social situation, a Leftist will bemoan the result of the recent election, or display some other red signal, then stare around challenging anyone to disagree. If someone does, a fight ensues, and no proper conservative wishes to embarrass his host by taking part in a heated argument.

    Another inhibition is fear. I found myself in a situation a few days after the election when the functionary who dishes out work for one of my clients began the 'how could the British public have...' litany. I could have chosen to stand and fight but the option of paying my bills won the day. And that is how bad it can be, as I'm sure a former BBC man must know only too well.

    Waiting for them down a dark alleyway with a sock filled with £2 coins seems a reasonable response in both cases but I'm not that keen on porridge, either.

    1. It's a really tricky area, this. Ben Shapiro always advises right-wing college students to write essays as if they were communists - he maintains it's not worth getting crappy grades because of your unfashionable political views. Same with work, I think - why would a Hollywood actor destroy his or her career by coming out as a Republican? Or someone involved in pop music (with the exception of Country performers, of course)? I think the most we on the Right who work in fields utterly dominated by the Left can sensibly ask of ourselves is not to publicly agree with loud-mouthed leftie colleagues - after all, if you were to express a right-wing opinion, they'd assume you were evil, and who wants to give work to evil people (unless you work for FIFA, of course)? I expect that, like me, you're astonished when colleagues who have been spouting left-wing drivel for decades suddenly admit they once voted for Mrs. Thatcher - just as many current lefties will one day admit to voting Tory in 2015.

      It's an interesting subject, and I'm sure we'll return to it.