Libertarianism and Confidence—Not Arrogance

Alexander S. Peak

19 January 2009

Presently, it’s almost a cliché to say that if a guy wants to have success dating, he must display confidence, but must avoid coming across in the process as arrogant.

A cliché, perhaps, but good advice nonetheless.  Quite simply, arrogant people are usually rather annoying, while those who lack even a modicum of confidence find it invariably difficult to engage other people.

I will assume that this is nothing new to you.  What I intend to argue is that this truism applies to other areas outside of dating, and particularly in the political realm.

People find arrogant debaters within the political realm just as annoying as they find arrogant people annoying in any other realm of life.  As a result, people are less likely to listen to and truly consider the merits of arguments their arrogant opponents offer.  Worse yet for the arrogant debater, their own arrogance often gets in the way of their making valid arguments.

Consider some of the following statements posted on YouTube:

JoeCantwell: ever meet a republican who wasn't a racist? neither have i.

Although I have no love for the GOP, to claim that all Republicans are racists will do nothing to discourage Republicans from holding conservative views; it’ll merely encourage them to disregard your views and the views of your allies.  Worse yet, such a comment has the power to push moderates toward feeling sympathy for Republicans.

mailman4214: Well, it is true that the only difference between a Democrat and a bag of dog crap is the bag. What else does anyone expect?

OsbourneRebel: democrats are little wild animals i mean the democrat candidates don't even get along with eachother god i hate democrats

Neither of these posts even present an argument as to why Democrats are allegedly “crap” or “little wild animals.”  Similar to the case above, no Democrat who reads this will suddenly believe that holding modern “liberal” views is a bad thing; instead, they’ll simply think the author is stupid or insane.  Worse yet, displays of immaturity such as this could cause moderates to feel sympathy for Democrats.

VamboRools1: Killing all republicans will improve the American gene pool, esp. those that voted twice for Dumbya.

antiTyph0n06: killing tree hugging, criminal loving, stock market crashing, tax money wasting liberals will also do that.

VamboRools1: unoriginal thought from a nutty right wing goon - to be expected. Oh...trees give us oxygen you daft moron, but since you are a oxygen thief you wouldn't understand that. Try again kiddo and remember to keep striving to leave the trailer park.

antiTyph0n06: and your thought is new?

you are a dumb fuck LEFT wing goon.

dont forget to insult the left wing when your insulting the right wing.

when joopq was talking mess about the right wing he said "and while im at it, fuck the left wing too!"

oh really I thought trees were there to look good}:P stop breathing my precious air you fucken left wing shithead!

I dont even live in a trailer park you dumbfuck.

make sure you know where someone lives before posting shit like that.

Undoubtedly, neither of these persons convinced the other.  Each displayed what appears to be a propensity to make base assumptions about her or his opponent and to ignore any possibility that said opponent does not fit into the mould she or he has constructed for said opponent.  It appears to me that this propensity results from a profound sense of arrogance, and the results are clear to all: no meaningful communication was facilitated.

I want libertarians to be better than this.  I want libertarians to avoid immaturity and arrogance, to embrace good debating manners, and to destroy the arguments of “liberals” and conservatives alike—respectfully and convincingly.

And we can definitely do it!

All we need to do is remember the simple truism that confidence works, and arrogance does not.

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