You”ll be able to determine the title word from the context.
Vassar Bushmills asked me to do a few short pieces on verbal combat in light of the policy at Unified Patriots of not using certain language and certain tones of voice. This is a subject very near and dear to my heart, for I believe that both language and tone are the key to victory, not just against the Left, but against hubris in general.
Hubris means extreme haughtiness, pride or arrogance. Disdain. Hubris often indicates being out of touch with reality, overestimating one’s own competence or capabilities, especially for people in positions of power.
There are all sorts of Ace of Holes, and therefore all levels of hubris, from the very young, who really know very little, to the very educated who know a lot, only think they know more. A few things bind them.
The Scent of Hubris and Power
In 1993 the Clinton White House attempted to fire Billy Dale and the WH Travel Office and replace that office with a new group who would be provided by a Friend of Bill, Hollywood producer Harry Thomasen.
This of course was perfectly legal, but smacked of cronyism of the first order. And the ham-fisted manner in which it had been carried out made it a national story. That story essentially was that this was a young and inexperienced White House, unable to operate at certain levels of competence in the political sphere.
One of the first rules of hubris, or “holery” is, if in a position of power, you never allow yourself to appear incompetent or stupid. And 2) you punish those who would do so, no matter how innocent, in part to cover up any insinuation of incompetence.
Now some of you found this out first hand on the night of the long knives at the Site formerly Known as Prince, for I have read the transcripts, and determined that those punished most were those who actually exposed the incompetence and dishonesty of their accusors.
This is what hubris always does when it is in a position to do so. In the Travel Office case, when Jimmy Dale’s team publicly cried foul (they had been there 15 years, through three presidents)Â instead of running out McLarty to spin the story into a non-story, they concocted an elaborate tale of criminal activity, then indicted them. Sound familiar?
Conditions have to be special for hubris to carry out such a scheme, but when you find yourself a guest in the House of Hubris, it’s a likely outcome. So then, as my little crew has found at dozens of left-wing blog sites, you can be escorted off the premises in short order, often for simply asking a factual question, or providing a factual answer that does not meet with the site’s “editorial” template. We are called trolls.
At the higher ends of hubris, also as I’m sure you’ve learned, there are some very bright people who know exactly where your contradicting factual statement will take them, so they quickly break off the engagement.
They know, as should you, and certainly as the Clinton White House found out, hundreds if not thousands of people are often looking in, not engaged at all, and the last thing they want those witnesses to know is that they are less smart, less clever, and less correct than they make out to be.
The lesson we learned from Travelgate is that certain types of people will move heaven and earth not to appear incompetent to the public at large…far preferring to be appear dishonest, even criminal. With the Clinton White House, this was endemic, and perhaps even to a larger-then-normal portion of that generation and others to follow. In great number, they can be dangerous.
The types of people who do this are those who generally are not very self-reflective in the first place; people who by nurture learned at an early age the art of the put-down, for even among some of the smartest people in the room, when you push a certain button we can see them revert to playground versions of “doing the dozens”…yo’ momma very quickly.
Like Vassar I’m of an older generation, and do find this to be generational, although the Clintons are closer to my age, so think it may have much to do with nurture, and since so many late Boomers and Gen-Xers were raised by a single parent, usually mom, that can provide at least a partial answer.
The intellectually vain man is arrogant, and will not be offended if you call him that, by any of the street lingo now in use, such as Ace of Holes. He has developed over many years defense-mechanisms to handle that, so when you refer to an Ace of Holes as an Ace of Holes, you are playing to his strong suit.
I thank some of you for forwarding to me some more recent expressions of this behavior from the internet, as when a person politely says “I disagree with your statement of facts,”and the reply is “So what am I, Skippy, a dummy? Why don’t you take disagreements and shove them where the sun don’t shine?”
Now there’s a rapier-like wit.
Ever see anything like that? Well, we saw them at Kos all the time, depending on the moderator. Again, remember, the man of hubris will quickly see if you are about to challenge him factually and he isn’t really sure he can win a fact-based debate. At the heart of hubris is just a glimmer of uncertainty by the disdainful man that he really doesn’t know what he’s talking about…and he does not ever want that exposed.
You’ve Been Misinformed.
For the longest time we had been trying to land one-two punches in drawing Lefties out in debate, only to find out that we rarely could get in even one good lick. So better make the best of it. No more of the polite but tepid “I disagree” which does open you up to being something of a Caspar Milquetoast anyway. Go directly to the blunt assertion “You’ve been misinformed.” This type of response immediately makes the direct, but polite, assertion that the guy is wrong, but in all Christian charity, he may be wrong because he heard it through the wrong grapevine. You’ve called him stupid…or misinformed, and even offered him a bail out position.
Of course, 9 times out of 10 he won’t take it. His mind immediately diverts to those 10,000 other eyes watching, and either retreats from a field where at least a few of those eyes already know you beat him, or, he reverts back to 8th grade and goes for yo’ momma, Skippy.
Either way, you beat him. Move on. If they don’t toss you, come back in a week or so…watch and wait, “lurk” we like to call it, then leap out from the dark once again. In a few open sites, where moderators are not so heavy handed, I’ve even known the lurker to pick up his own little “rooting section.” Given time, it’s not hard to convert a few readers. I have a colleague, now 40, who did this so well he now has his own team. They ran off an entire gang of foul-mouthed little pricks…took about six months. I’m trying to lure him to Unified Patriots.
The point of these exercises is not to win, as in chest thumping, for you can never get that. But often you can get them to clean up their act a little once they realize 1) others are watching and 2) you have successfully made the issue about them…and their intelligence, and not the balderdash they are spouting.
On a site where you own the rules of engagement, such as Unified Patriots, where you hold the hammer…what do you call it here?…you can use the same tactics, since most trolls come to these places never expecting to be treated 1) with courtesy or 2) with substance. They expect hubris. You won’t have to ban most of them, they simply will leave. But as bullies always try to do, when one comes, there will be 4-5 more watching, so they will leave wounded from arrows they weren’t expecting.
It is still early, and UP has not yet experienced much troll traffic. But they will come. When they do, my advice, be patient, give them a chance to hang themselves.
You have something special here. In a year or so, you will see other sites copying you if you do this well. Every man of good will likes to hang around people who deliver a dagger to the ribs with precision.