Tactical Discourse Series

The Death of Socrates (1787) by Jacques-Louis David

There are a few guiding principles one must follow when putting a philosophy or worldview to the test, the most important of which is none other than the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Not much has changed from when these words were first spoken; we have simply exchanged bodies for ideologies and weapons for theorists.

Nobody appreciates an underhanded argument, yet it seems that none of us are willing to debate in good faith. To illustrate, it is a favorite trick of modern people to pick our scholars and launch a battery of contentions against our opponent. An atheist might take up Freudian arms against his Christain friend, indiscriminately launching rounds of wish fulfillment. His pious brother will likely return fire with a fully-loaded Paul, chambered in Romans 1:18.

After hours of guerrilla warfare, the two will stand amidst the carnage, amazed that neither has advanced an inch. Moreover, it will never occur to them to ask why. Well, neither actually desire to enter no man’s land in the first place. That would mean compromise which, in today’s polarized climate, is tantamount to treason. They would much prefer to carry on firing blanks and aiming high than to abandon the safety of their trench and the favor of their rank.

Honest and open dialogue is lost art, though I am convinced that it is not for lack of desire. Demand is high, but supply is low. Very few can manage to enter, much less facilitate, deep yet congenial conversation, which is why those who do (e.g., Jordan Peterson, Bret Weinstein, Sam Harris, Joe Rogan) are wildly successful. How can we train people to think and discuss like these sharp-shooters?

I propose a trip to the range. The American people, myself included, need practice attacking ideas, but we are too heavily invested in and biased toward the live targets of today. We must first train our sights on the philosophies and peoples of the past. This next series of mine will endeavor to do just that: to profitably dismantle antiquated ideologies. With any luck, it will serve as an example of how to attack modern ideas in earnest and extract valuable lessons from their corpses, all while leaving the ideologue him or herself unscathed.

A tentative list of contenders for this series includes the hippies, the Mafia, the Nazis, the Confederates, the Crusaders, and the Sophists. Stay tuned!

You Might Also Like

Leave a Reply