How Do I Reach These Libs??

Nothing beats a day a week’s worth of news is crammed into, especially when it’s Friday, and all you care to do is crack a cold one once the clock strikes 2PM (Or, if my boss is reading this, 5PM on the dot and not a second sooner. Scout’s honor. Except I was never a Scout.)

Friday, March 22, 2024, was one such epoch-shaking clock-cycle. Three major events rocked the world: the Princess of Wales, tired of the media scrutiny as to her whereabouts, divulged her cancer diagnosis; Moscow was struck by a major “terrorist” attack (terrorist loosely referenced because, like the Nordstream 2’s sabotage, we aren’t likely to know the perpetrators’ true allegiance); and Rep. Mad-jorie Taylor Greene filing a motion to dismiss Mike Johnson after the Speaker cut a deal with his barest of bare majorities to keep the government open.

The tripartite happenings could all be ground into good column meat. What Washington scribe isn’t eager to needle the House Republican dysfunction, or lambaste the inhumane incentives of click-culture, or fret over Russia’s retaliation to an endogenous attack?

But, being philistine talent with lowbrow tastes, I won’t be focusing on any of those eventful items. Just pray for the Princess, pooh-pooh Speaker Poindexter, and karma-pout for Putin.

What I want to address is a remarkable Twitter repartee that epitomizes the cynical nature of today’s political debates. If that seems like thin-soup rumination, it may be. But it might also encapsulate the futility of trying to change minds on the internet. In their famed “Cyberspace and the American Dream: A Magna Carta for the Knowledge Age,” four tech-geeks argued, in puffed-up nerdy fashion, “[c]yberspace is the land of knowledge, and the exploration of that land can be a civilization’s truest, highest calling.” That was in 1994—a decade before Facebook heralded the end of cordial discourse. Things didn’t work out the way Silicon Valley visionaries predicted.

An account named “buzzfeed jenny,” who may or may not have once typed listicles for the defunct attention-suck site BuzzFeed, made an astute observation about online leftism: “It bothers me so much how many people on this site imagine a communal society that is conveniently a bunch of other people doing tasks for them and they themselves not really specifying what they contribute in return.”

Here, here! Our friend Jenny (I’ll refrain from using the fellatory acronym derived from her username) makes a salient point that goes all the way back to freeloading Marx, who sponged off his buddy Engels to draft his redistributionist tracts. Your everyday communist, so full of violent zeal and passion for the poor, wants desperately to be the main character, to be the movement’s thought leader while everyone toils around them in the perfectly equitable society. Nobody arguing for Marxism volunteers to mine the coal, pick up trash, dry-clean shirts, or stitch sneakers together in a factory. Commie agitators want to shout in a bullhorn, rage-screed in Jacobin, then order DoorDash, which is delivered by an illegal migrant working for pennies, for their troubles. The radlib is, at heart, a lazy lib.

After making a trenchant observation similar to the “tragedy of the commons” econ-concept, something remarkable happened. Her point was met, like a sword bind, by an equally thoughtful response. I hear adults who remember the pre-internet days refer to this kind of phenomenon as “dialogue.” What a quaint antique!

Right-winger and Elon Musk fan boy Jeremy Wood replied with a brief philosophical lesson that could be right out of Edmund Burke’s corpus: “Communal living is heavy peer and social pressure with the threat of exile or expulsion hanging over your head at all times. That’s why many of us prefer market based, small government approach to society.” Besides missing an indefinite article, Jeremy’s point is spot on. Sociologist Philip Reiff says that every culture is defined by “thou shalt not” decrees. The tighter communal viscosity, the more prohibitions are enforced, which aren’t just some piddling suggestion where violators endure only quiet scoffs from well-to-do minders.

If communism were to actually “work”—work being a murky term for meandering along without freefall collapse, and also ignoring the infeasibility of an economy running without price signals—then strong cultural solidarity is a must. Of course, blue-haired Marxies are notoriously anti-social, prone to rule-bucking, and generally a pain in the backside, with their constant proselytizing and complaining about the price of oat-milk lattes.

In two Twitter remarks, totaling three sentences, we’re generously presented with clashing political visions: communitarianism versus liberty. Not since the Lincoln-Douglas debates have Americans been treated to such succinct and contrasted governing cosmovisions.

In the 19th century, the great political debate was resolved in a “bloody brother war” that violently cleaved the country before begrudgingly catch stitching it back together. Nowadays? It’s met with a far less dismembering and Minié ball-punctured shrug.

Buzzfeed Jenny met Jeremy Wood’s carefully pondered rejoinder with a devastating, jaw-shutting, indomitable rebuttal. The riposte, in all its brilliant brevity, captures the airy weight of our modern mind-changing methods. It’s a fragile specimen, so it will be granted extra emphasis and typographical space. Behold, the counterargument to rule them all!


(If that acronym is ancient Greek to you, allow me to millennial-translate: I don’t care.)

Ms. Jenny doesn’t care about Jeremy’s careful contention, ladies and gentlemen. She simply does not care. The temerity, the brutal honesty, the shameless embrace of her lack of curiosity, can almost be admired. Behold the perfectly liberated woman, incapable of having her mind turned because it’s already perfect, Buzzfeed Jenny!

Why go through a loquacious recounting of such a trivial Twitter back-and-forth? After all, there are bridge collapses, and ailing monarchs, and wars, and untold genocides happening right now. Yes, small is beautiful, but some stuff is so diminutive, including Jenny’s grey matter, that it hardly deserves recognition.

The political punditry business is supposed to be about sparking curiosity, inducing deep thinking, and, even on rare occasion, changing minds. My own philosophical inclinations turned rightward thanks to a Socratic club in college. I was once, long ago, open to radically different ideas that undercut, disproved, crumbled, and binned the ones I gathered reading Michael Moore books in high school.

How do you meet someone intellectually who is so stuck in their ideological rut, they’re ambivalent to the very notion of opposing thoughts? Can there be a road to Damascus moment when the would-be inspired refuses to take one step?

That is the great quandary inherent to all argumentation. It’s a shame, really. Jeremy and Jenny sound like a great pop-soul duo. They could have had a good discussion too, if one’s ears weren’t so clogged with stubborn assurance.

Qui habet aures audendi, audiat. And he who doesn’t? Let him, or her, stew in their ignorant conviction.

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Free the People publishes opinion-based articles from contributing writers. The opinions and ideas expressed do not always reflect the opinions and ideas that Free the People endorses. We believe in free speech, and in providing a platform for open dialog. Feel free to leave a comment!

Taylor Lewis

Taylor Lewis writes from Virginia.

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