Attracting Flies with Dung

A reader with the addictive name of Concept Junkie poses a difficult question concerning my articles over at EveryJoe:

Your language, Mr. Wright, in this series of articles is very blunt, as your rhetoric usually is. Now, I’m the last person to want to be seen as promoting anything in the same hemisphere as PC, and I’m usually pretty blunt myself, but while the content of these columns is excellent and I’m enjoying them thoroughly, given that the intended and actual audience is not the same as for your books or your blog, what are your thoughts, if I may ask, on the idea of how to “gather more flies”?

The purpose of the current series of articles was stated in the opening paragraph of last week’s article: to convince Conservatives that the continual accusation that they are stupid, foolish, or uneducated is not merely false but the opposite of the truth. These are intended as a pep talk for our team. It is not intended as persuasive speech to convince a Leftist to question his faith.

However, your question was more general than that: you are asking in general how to evangelize.

My answer is twofold. My first answer is that gentlemen do not concern themselves with the opinions of the world, since the world is filled with folly. The Christian is even less interested in worldly opinion than the gentleman. Once he realizes that he lives in the environs of the City of Destruction, a Christian pilgrim sticks his fingers in his ears and runs toward the Promised Land, crying out “Life! Life! Eternal life!”


My second answer is that a philosopher speaks the truth with humility to all who have ears to hear. Those who do not have ears to hear cannot be reached no matter what is said, nor how it is phrased.

If you are speaking merely of evangelizing Conservatism rather than evangelizing Christ, my answer is slightly different. There are two kinds of conservatives: men who are conservative by character, and men who are conservative by conviction. The first have a certain personality type that informs their outlook. They are conservative because they lack the personality flaws, such as the helplessness, the clinging fear, the self-loathing, the effete hyper-emotionalism normal to the Eloi of the Left, but they also lack the self-loathing, the hatred, the racism, and the powerlust and love of violence normal to the Morlocks of the Left.

They are men of common sense with no patience for rhetoric, propaganda, or gassy language. Such men would be disgusted rather than attracted by elliptical speech, speech by implication, or flourishes of fungous, unctuous courtesy. A change in my approach and manner of speaking would perhaps attract more flies but at the costs of repelling real men.

The second are conservative not necessarily because of their personality type, but because of their reason. They are conservative because they are convinced by rational argument that it is the better model of the world. A rational man is not swayed by propaganda or flattery, because he attends to the reasoning behind an argument and ignores the rest as irrelevant. Adding flattering or elliptical language to my writings would be a waste of time for readers like this.

I have a few liberal friends on Facebook that I’ve tried to engage with, almost always fruitlessly, but these articles are not ones I would choose to forward to people like that.

I am not sure what to make of this sentence, since I don’t know you, or your friends, or know what is your preferred method of approaching them or appealing to them. You seem to be implying that my words are too harsh for them.

Perhaps you should upbraid them for being too weak rather than me for being too strong.

But the question is based on a false assumption. It is the truth, not the phrasing and not the approach, which the Left finds offensive. They find truth offensive because truth humbles their pride. They find truth offensive because truth rubs raw their inflamed and guilty consciences for the evils they have done and have applauded.

I guess what I’m asking is, are you really just trying to preach to the choir, or do you expect to be able to reach people who don’t see things your way?

I do not expect to reach irrational people.

Also, I do not think there is a large body of undecided but reasonable readers interested enough in politics to read political articles who would side with Conservatives but are kept away because I am too manly and direct in my choice of words.

Using politically correct terminology, saying ‘he or she’ rather than ‘ he’ (which is used for both men and women when the sex of the antecedent is unknown or undetermined) or saying ‘alternate sexual orientation’ rather than ‘sodomite’ (the term used both in the scripture and in the books of the common law) will not attract any honest men to my camp.

Honest folk are repelled by Orwellian bafflegab and jabberwock. And I would not do it in any case. Adopting the language of the conquerors is the first sign that the conquered are cowed and have surrendered.

If I talk like them, if I use PC jargon, it does not matter what I say, does it?

You’ve made it very clear that your opinion of the vast majority of your philosophical opponents is not very high, so much so that you take pity on their ability to argue their own case and offer them pointers, which gives me no end of amusement.

This is a reference to my article here:

No, you are misreading my clear words. I spoke of no ‘vast majority’ of philosophical opponents of whom I have a low opinion. Reread what I wrote. I said it was three to five readers infatuated with Radical Materialism or Panphysicalism, which is not even a real philosophical position, but a type of idolatry. I could list the five names, but I would prefer not to embarrass them.

Please note also that in that article, I did not heap opprobrium on them, or call their motives into question, or call them racist homophobic Islamophobes hate-filled hater McHatemongers. I showed them by example what a well constructed argument would consist of.

But at the same time, you are engaging in outreach to try to sway hearts and minds, or at least open them up to be inspired by rationality and grace to see the world in a better and more productive way.

The method I am using is the most efficient open to me, given my level of education and my personality type. I am not a woman, I cannot pretend to be interested in the internal emotional turmoil of small and weak souls, and I do not know how to be a courtier or a flatterer or a liar. Flattery and lies are the weapons of Political Correctness, and I am happily most unexpert in their use.

I have severe doubts that anything other than plain truth boldly spoken can defeat such weapons. To use their dark arts would make me one of them.

You see, their beloved is Uncle Screwtape. He does not want an honest debate, he wants propaganda and pep rallies. He wants confusion, noise, clamor, hysteria, flattery, nonsense, and anything that will prevent honesty.

My beloved is named Truth. I have always loved her with all my heart. Her virgin majesty is offended by the approach of anything like flattery.

In short, the answer to your question is that you are making a false assumption about the audience. Direct and manly speech is as savory as meat and potatoes after a diet of Politically Correct gruel and mush. Those who cannot chew and swallow meat will not become conservative no matter what, because they lack the stomach for it.

Those who can be swayed by reason spoken boldly will not be offended at boldness. Those who call it offensive to be direct and bold will not be swayed by reason no matter how it is phrased.

I’m asking in part because I’m curious, but also because I, in my own small way and on a much smaller scale, try to do the same thing.

I wish you the best of luck.