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The shortened temper of our time and a baiting game

By Daniel M. Ryan
web posted October 31, 2016

It's increasingly clear that we live in a world ridden by emotional manipulation. The entire grievance industry, including but not confined to the racial spoils system, is buttressed by tapping into our sympathy for those who've been dealt a bad hand in life. That exploitation of our healthy instinct has gotten to the point where SJWers can demand "rights" that suspiciously resemble the treatment accorded to an indulged child. Increasingly, we live in a world that encourages hasty and impatient thinking: flattering us into believing that we can make accurate assessments with quick reads and snap judgments. Provided, of course, these snap judgments dovetail with Progressive-pushed taboos. If you're a Conservative activist, you know it far better than me. How many times have you been shrieked at over the Internet by passing along proven facts about the behavior of Trayvon Martin, Freddy Grey, et. al.?

The very word "shriek," and the fact that it's fallen into disuse, tells us how bad things have gotten. If a time machine fetched up a fellow from 1950, a time when Liberalism was ascendant and Conservatism was all-but routed, he would appear jarringly phlegmatic. He might be a union man, a man who liberalism assured us was an exploited proletarian, who reacts to someone complaining with: "Aah, can the bellyaching; save it for a rally." He might be a black man, plucked from the segregated South, who says: "I know folks who have been lynched, but spiteful words never put a noose 'round my neck." He might be a WW2 combat veteran who will never let us know what he really saw or lived through: "War is hell," followed by "I'd rather not talk about it."

Perhaps because of the dominance of television and videos, and consequent "Amusing Ourselves To Death," we're becoming increasingly thin-skinned. We fly off the handle more easily. We're finding it harder to fire up our memories to access contrary facts when we hear an entrancing narrative. When we hear a plaint about "walking while black," we're less prone to say: "Now hold on a moment; there are two sides to this story. Why would I leap before getting the police officer's side of the story?" When we hear the now-entrenched feminist narrative about men only being called "asshole" while women were called hateful things, we're less prone to say something like: "Now, wait a minute. What about "martinet"? My dad's heard of fellows who were driven out because they were called 'Nazi' and it stuck." (Godwin's Law wasn't coined until the 1990s, and the street version was definitely needed.)

If you were a college libertarian back in the days of yore, you have a certain…perspective about the "triggering"-related flaps. "Triggered? That reminds me of the days when I fell head-over-heels for Ayn Rand, Once I absorbed her work, I can't count the number of times I was triggered when I was attending Liberal U. Of course, I didn't have the benefit of any 'we-have-no-power' clout machine, so I had to bite my tongue and force up a smile." "Cultural hegemony? Wow, that brings back memories. I remember going out of my way to read two leftie books so I could talk the talk. I remember politely asking a history prof about how the Southern slavery-defenders anticipated Marx's critique of capitalism while studying von Mises on the sly. Thanks to the patter I boned up on, the prof thought I was a well-informed lad." "Remember when a lefty prof would crack a left-wing joke on the lectern and almost all of the class started laughing? Golly, it felt like the whole room was laughing at me: laughing right at me. Of course I tried my best to be a good sport about it, but lemme tell ya: it's a lot easier to be roasted by Don Rickles when you know you have a crowd with you." And so on: tales from an age when you were expected to be good-humoured and pat yourself on the back for being sly. A time when SJWsih behavior was generally pegged as "whining" – or shrieking.

But those olden days are gone, or at least appear to be gone. How many folks who really suffered are keeping their mouth clamped shut about their travails, because they want nothing to do with the grievance machine? On the grounds that they would be mortified by being lumped in with the quick-to-complain special snowflakes? Appalled to be in the same filing-room classification as the "victim" who makes demands in a tone clearly peremptory?

How can we know?

This increasing thin-skinnedness has made baiting more and more feasible. Surely enough, the predictably opportunistic Dems have figured it out. Thanks to the third Rigging-The-Election video from Project Veritas Action - the vid that exposed Hillary Clinton as the real force behind the Donald-Duck thingie that purportedly came from the purportedly independent Americans United for Change - we saw the anatomy of a baiting campaign.

Baiting 101

Reading behind the jovial lines spoken by Mr. Creamer, we see how a baiting campaign works. It's designed by keeping two audiences in mind: the targets and the general populace. The bait is something that inflames the target but seems innocuous – even silly - to the general populace. In this case, the general audience – low-information voters – are expected to react in this way: "Why are those rightwings exploding over a damn duck?"

The targets are high-information Trump supporters. If you're one of these, you've spent a fair bit of time checking a lot of misquotations of Trump against what he's actually said, and thus see more and more clearly what he means by the "very dishonest media." You've undoubtedly pointed out to more than a few people that Trump promised to release his tax returns once the IRS has finished auditing them. And in so doing, you've undoubtedly been treated as if you've been talking to the wall. To repurpose an old politically-correct buzzword, you know what it's like to pass along the truth and be "excluded" by getting ignored. The resultant aggravation makes you the target.

In a nutshell, a baiting campaign is like a spoiled little boy who's told by his dutiful elder sister not to ask Daddy about his work because he's had a rough week. The boy then puts on a grin and asks Daddy how his work went. His nerves already rubbed raw, Daddy yells. Then, the boy – with perhaps crocodile tears in his eyes – runs to Mommy and complains, "Daddy yelled at me and all I did was ask him about his day!"

This nutshelling is deliberate, as that type of boy is acquiring the peculiar skills that make for a professional-level baiter.

The Good News

Donald Trump's refusal to give an inch, except once, means that the good ol' days - wherein we believed the best way to field baiting was to rise above it and not react - are coming to a close. Believe it or not, that same 1950 was a time when union activists roundly complained about "labor baiting" and were believed by Joe Average. How'd they do it? Here you go:

  1. They established a prior record of being slow to complain in everyday life. This does show: it shows through an unconscious fatalism when meeting life's trials. "Might as well complain about the weather." "Oh well, what can you do." It shows indirectly by getting irritated when someone else complains: "Like you're the only one who has troubles", "Stick a sock in it" and of course "Quit your bellyaching."
  2. When they did complain, they normally did so politely. Interestingly, the folks who confirmed this were management: the union folks' opponents at the bargaining table. "Those fellows? No, sir: it's always 'Mr. Brown' this and 'Mr. Brown' that. The only exceptions I know of are shops where the men know that the boss is tickled by them barking at him."
  3. Because of #1 and #2, those folks established a reputation as people who did not complain angrily except when seriously wronged. Again, this was the union bloke's repute in everyday life. It may be hard to believe, but a fellow who hardly complains at all has a lot of credibility when he finally does complain.
  4. As for the "baiting" bit, their reps spent some time explaining how the baiting game worked before and while the complaints about "labour baiting" were uttered.
Despite the liberal stereotype of "drunken Uncle John," which of course snips out how much of a hand the angelic nephew had in the irruption, we Conservatives do show that we're slow to complain in everyday life. It's hard for someone with sense to peg, say, a small business owner as someone quick to bellyache. I don't know of anyone who complained his way to affluence in the business world.

True, it is tempting to despair about the low-information voter. Nevertheless, Joe Average is still canny when it comes to what's what. Just stop a moment and ask yourself: What does the legendary durability of the Trump Train imply about Joe Average's radar? No, it's not because Donald Trump is a super hyper-genius. His competitiveness is a reflection of Joe Average's still-working horse sense. Just as he smells the acrid corruption in the Clinton machine, he sniffs SJW perfume and his nostrils pick up a whiff of oceanic self-pity – and perhaps the scent of psychological fragility that evinces mental illness.

Even if Mr. Trump comes up a bit short on Election Day, he has already won. The Trump Train is a movement, one that will be energized if Hillary manages somehow to win. I dare say, this movement has only begun.

Not unlike Tommy, Joe Average is no fool. He's beginning to see. Now is the time to trust in the inner goodness of the people – and moreso, to let that trust act as a cool cloth of calm.

(A big grin wouldn't hurt!) ESR

Daniel M. Ryan, as Nxtblg, is shepherding the independently-run Open Audi Initiative Prediction Market Shadowing Project. He has stubbornly assumed all the responsibility and blame for the workings and outcome of the project.

 

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