Thomas Friedman’s latest article No Fooling Mother Nature is a must read and will serve as a case study in understanding every liberal argument ever.
Here are the key elements:
Step 1: Define the problem. Strike that…crisis. Problems won’t work they won’t elicit enough passion and outrage. In this case the crisis du jour is the gulf oil spill.
Step 2: Find the villain or villains…that will work too. For this article Mr Friedman turns his sights on a range of culprits.
“But it means that we have to stop messing around with idiotic “drill, baby, drill” nostrums, feel-good Earth Day concerts and the paralyzing notion that the American people are not prepared to do anything serious to change our energy mix.”
There’s a lot there. Drill, baby drill is a stand-in for anybody right of left. And there are the well-meaning folks that le that just don’t get. These are the small brains that need the intelligentsia to see the light. Thankfully people like Mr. Friedman are here to help us make sense of it all.
But the real villain, of course, are the Republicans who refuse to help do anything on this issue. And the mask is thrown off in the following quote.
“Needless to say, it would be a lot easier for the president to lead if more than one Republican in the Senate was ready to lift a finger to help him.”
Step 3: What’s needed…or the answer. Mr. Friedman lays it out for us up front, first paragraph. That’s smart…don’t make me work too hard. And the solution to this mess…the one thing that will prevent this type of catastrophe from happening down the road: a law. Think of it as the something that will protect the environment. Protect the safety of America. And make every day sunny:
“The only meaningful response to this man-made disaster is a man-made energy bill that would finally put in place an American clean-energy infrastructure that would set our country on a real, long-term path to ending our addiction to oil.”
Step 4: Demand not only action…radical action. Again, it’s not enough to say that something needs to be done. What we need to do is throw the baby out with the bath water. Again, here are Mr. Friedman’s thoughts:
“As the energy consultant David Rothkopf likes to say, sometimes a problem reaches a point of acuity where there are just two choices left: bold action or permanent crisis. This is such a moment for our energy system and environment.”
And it should not come as a surprise that the one man who can really do something about this is President Obama. In fact his actions on this matter will be a defining moment for his presidency.
Step 5: Provide emotional support for the argument. Not logical…emotional. This is critical. An argument cannot be based on logic…that won’t work. Sure you can throw a couple of facts in here and there. And if you need to make those facts up…that’s fine. But the real draw, however, is the emotional pull. Friedman uses it very well in the following:
“That is so obviously the right thing for our environment, the right thing for our national security, the right thing for our economic security and the right thing to promote innovation.”
Additionally, the right choice of words is critical. Wake-up call. Galvanize. Seize the moment. Are peppered throughout to fan the flames. Can’t you feel the passion, the anger and outrage?
Step 6: Act now. Leave the reader on the verge of disaster unless something happens TODAY!
“If we settle for just an incremental response to this crisis — a “Hey, that’s our democracy. What more can you expect?” — we’ll be sorry. You can’t fool Mother Nature. She knows when we’re just messing around. Mother Nature operates by her own iron laws.”
This is vintage…if you don’t do something now — something big, well you can just imagine the possible outcome. On a side note, what iron laws of nature is he referring to? God only knows?
So there you have it. The six key elements in every liberal argument. Sure you can mix up the pieces up. Change the order around…but basically it’s the same wrap. And it can be used for just about any topic. Take out oil put in health care. Or take out health care and drop in immigration, or the recovery act, or carbon tax, whatever.
You get the idea, right?
Be on the look for it because it will used again and again in every single issue that comes up. And understanding how the argument is constructed is the first step in defeating each argument…every time.
Thanks for the lesson Tom!