The Progressive Left understands human psychology and cynically leverages it to win the argument. Perhaps the most fundamental human desires are to think well of yourself and for others to think well of you. The “Repressive Tolerance” position brilliantly leverages these desires.
By dominating our centers of social, educational and religious thought the Progressive Left is enabled to argue that opponents are bad people who should be shunned and persecuted by the rest of society. Note that this argument has virtually nothing to do with the merits of the issue at hand. However it has proved to be incredibly effective not in spite of but rather because of this characteristic. This is because it gives the Progressive complete flexibility to make any argument (or tomorrow its opposite) that advances their program. And, it places their opponents in the impossible position of proving a negative (i.e., I’m not a bad person!) rather than the actual point under debate.
So, the key to defeating “Repressive Tolerance” is denying its adherents this deceitful but advantageous position. Doing so will sometimes be painful and costly, but the cost of not doing so is the loss of our and our children’s liberty.
The first step is to utterly reject their claims of moral and/or intellectual superiority — in person, in writing, in general. This is not the same thing as claiming that you actually own this position. No, it is a nonnegotiable demand that your Progressive opponent prove their case on the merits.
It’s possible that having debated the merits they may be in the right on that issue. Thus victory here isn’t about winning the argument but rather forcing the Progressive to engage on the merits. What you will find in many cases is that, having become intellectual lazy and morally corrupted by their “high ground” tactic, their argument collapses without this fraudulent prop.
The second step is to have made the effort to understand the issue beforehand, including the arguments for both (or more) positions. If you do this and realize that the Progressive position is best then you need not debate at all. However, due to the fact that the Progressive position is driven by the desire for control of others, or by the desire to destroy boundaries that have well served humanity, their position will usually be found wanting. Also keep in mind that Progressive positions on the issues are ever changing and often contradictory. These characteristics can be easily leveraged against the Progressive position if only we have the courage to do so.
Finally, if your opponent refuses to argue on the merits and insists on assaulting your character, reject them. Make is absolutely clear that you don’t have the slightest interest in the opinion of a person who has only character assassination to offer. This step could be painful, particularly if the opponent is a family member or friend. On the other hand, we do no favors to people for whom we care by enabling their worst behavior.
There will also be occasions where the intransigent person has some sort of power over you. While I’m not proposing that you choose to be harmed, you should work to change the power situation such that you are no longer threatened. This could mean changing jobs or out-competing that person so that they no longer have the power. Of course if it is a spouse, parent or sibling (among other family relations) then other considerations may dominate. Another essential protection is for the people around you who agree to speak up in support. Power is massively multiplied when the victim seems isolated. It is massively diminished when others stand with the victim.
Regardless of the unavoidable complications and compromises, our general position must be to reject Progressive’s claims to the moral / intellectual high ground. I have had many experiences where this tactic not only carried the day, but ended up exposing just how vacuous and even wicked are the positions of my opponent. Thus to the extent that we grow a spine and do our homework, Progressives will increasingly find themselves experiencing the very feelings that they have attempted to create in us. This will either drive them to become more responsible in their conduct or to be more transparently vain and cruel.
Hmmm, I wonder where we’ve seen this in practice?