Judo, a Japanese martial art, was introduced in 1882 by Jigoro Kano. Among the various martial arts, Judo is one of the “soft techniques” in which a defender, with very little exertion, uses the attacker’s momentum against him when the attacker is off balance.
Now let me show you an excellent example of “verbal Judo,” from the Mike Rosen show on a Denver talk radio station two days ago. Here is a 2½ minute exchange at the 28:22 point of the podcast. See if you can spot the verbal Judo throw:
Host Mike Rosen: Let’s go to Maybelle in Denver. You’re on 850 KOA. Hello Maybelle.
Caller Maybelle: …I think that they need to have a way of monitoring when we purchase guns. People say that they’re getting them to protect themselves, when actually their intention is for criminal activity.
Rosen: Well how can you tell what the intention of people is?
Maybelle: That’s what I mean. There has to be some way to protect –
Rosen: Well you’d like there to be some way, but how will you practically achieve that? How can you do that?
Maybelle: Well, I’m not a law person.
Rosen: You don’t need to be a law person. I’m just talking about common sense. I understand what you want to achieve, Maybelle. My point is you can’t achieve it.
Maybelle: They need to find out before they sell guns to people, who the person is and what their thinking is, to protect innocent people, you know?
Rosen: No, I don’t know.
Maybelle: Well you should know, you’re a human being.
Rosen: Yes, I’m a human being. And what I’m suggesting to you is that in spite of your good intentions, what you hope to achieve is not achievable.
Maybelle: (Pause) Well, then people are going to be going around shooting at each other –
Rosen: Yes they are.
Maybelle: – like kids playing Cowboys and Indians.
Rosen: That’s correct. They are going to keep doing that. That’s why we have a police force to do the best that it can. But all kinds of people break all kinds of laws –
Maybelle: Oh, yeah.
Rosen: – in every country.
Maybelle: So we give a license to people –
Rosen: No we don’t.
Maybelle: – like the one in Washington that went and killed –
Rosen: Nobody gave him license to do that. He broke the law.
Rosen: Maybelle, your argument is against human nature, and against people who do things unlawfully.
Maybelle: OK, I believe human nature is good. I believe there is some good in people – (inaudible – talking over each other)
Rosen: Well how about the people who commit these crimes?
Maybelle: (inaudible – talking over each other) – I just don’t believe they should have guns –
Rosen: Maybelle, you’re just venting. Can you possibly be rational?
Rosen: Within this population, if you believe human nature is good, is it universally good?
Maybelle: I believe human – there is some good in human nature.
Rosen: That wasn’t the question. Does that mean that everybody always does good?
Maybelle: I still believe they’re good people.
Rosen: Does that mean that everybody always does good?
Maybelle: (Pause) No, everybody doesn’t always do good.
Rosen: Ah, so whatever the laws will be, some people will break those laws.
What we need to constrain ourselves with is the recognition that we can only do practical things. We can’t use laws as wish lists.
So let’s recap: Maybelle started off saying more should be done to detect when people are contemplating criminal intent when acquiring a gun. Rosen pointed out that shootings happen because some people are law breakers and that’s just human nature – there’s no way to ever change that. She then recited the #1 core Progressive belief – that human nature is good.
At that point she was committed. Rosen had her off balance and finished her off, cornering her into admitting her self-contradiction.
If humans are good, then why do we break laws? Answer: we break laws because humans, in our fundamental nature, are irreparably flawed — contrary to the #1 Progressive belief. The imperfectible, corruptible nature of man is the basic premise from which Conservatism flows, as I wrote about in my first article here over a year ago.
This exchange was an example of a pattern I have learned to recognize when listening to political discussions between Progressives and Conservatives. I often observe that a Progressive’s argument, when alertly circled back around upon itself, then PROVES ITSELF WRONG with little effort by the Conservative, and often without the hapless self-defeaters even recognizing that they just destroyed the premise of their own argument.
I have named these self-consuming circles “Progressive Paradoxes”, and in the future I will occasionally write about these fascinating acts of rhetorical hari-kari, as I encounter the more notable ones.