"I call on my fellow liberals to embrace the rough stuff. Engage in battle with people who hate you and feel free to throw crazy right back, even if you only half believe it."
January 12, 2015

Edwin Lyngar is a former conservative and a contributing editor at Salon. He wrote a piece called "Angry right’s secret playbook: How it uses a good story to peddle an agenda America hates." I really like it, mostly because he says the same stuff I've been urging for years:

One of the reasons I became a liberal is not only because they have better ideas but also because they are willing to reconsider them, sometimes ad infinitum. The debates and discussion and endless self-examination appeal to me, because of who I am. Liberals do a lot less yelling and a whole lot more making everyone feel welcome. Yet the same strength in debating, self-awareness and the Socratic Method are the enemies of a goodstory.

The retired guy in a modest home on a fixed income defends the rights of billionaires to exploit him, because he’s been sold a narrative. The story matters, and Republicans spin a hell of yarn about America and “freedom,” even though most of it is bullshit or a straight-out rewriting of history. They talk about Jefferson, Madison and Washington, men who would despise the science-hating, ignorant and reactive group the right has become. But it doesn’t matter what or who you really stand for, it’s just a matter of what you can sell. People with a billion dollars in the bank who benefit from low taxes and who exploit American labor could give two shits about patriotism, but they sing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” as loud as possible while owning sprawling mansions in five countries.

Alice Walton, Wal-Mart heiress and professional layabout, is hardly your relatable, average American. Certainly the left should be able to find an explanation for why her brand of capitalism is evil. If liberals want to win the war of ideas they can’t be afraid to use the word “evil.” If Ms. Walton is not an evil person, we should at least not be afraid to call the practices of Wal-Mart by that powerful and often factual label.

Too harsh? Have you heard the dreck slung at immigrants lately? How about the word “traitor,” so easily thrown at the president almost daily, every day for six years? If you think those on the right are reasonable, wish one “happy holidays.” You might get your ass kicked.

The worst part is that people do not prefer conservative ideas. In the last election they voted to increase the minimum wage in red states, to impose gun background checks and to legalize marijuana. The problem with all three of these issues is that Democrats refuse to stand up for them or do so only tepidly. They won’t fight, argue and, if necessary, insultthe increasingly unbalanced platform of the opposition.

I call on my fellow liberals to embrace the rough stuff. Engage in battle with people who hate you and feel free to throw crazy right back, even if you only half believe it. Let it out and taste it on the way by. See if it flies. If it doesn’t, screw it — just fix it up next time. Refer to your political opponent as “the honorable shithead from New Jersey.” Use the words, images and for god’s sake, the passion of the street. People who hate and fear you will always hate you unless they die out, change their minds or we can beat them in a heated contest of ideas. You’re not playing checkers — and they’re winning by giving zero shits about reality, so cut the crap and fight like you mean it.

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