A few posts back I made the point that mocking your intellectual opponents is a bad idea because only raises the cost of them changing their mind. if you mock them, your opponent has to admit that he or she is a fool.

Its much better to downplay differences and disagreements as honest mistakes that anyone could have made. This way if people want to switch their views its far less painful for them.

However, this post from Kevin Drum is enlightening.

Are there some crackpots at the Occupy Wall Street protests who will be gleefully quoted by Fox News? Sure. Are some of the organizers anarchists or socialists or whatnot? Sure. Is it sometimes hard to discern a real set of grievances from the protesters? Sure.

But so what. Ignore it. Dismiss it. Explain it away. Do whatever strikes your fancy. But don’t let any of this scare you off. We can put up with a bit of mockery if we keep the chart above firmly in front of our faces.

Kevin, is trying to pump his supporters up to withstand mockery. I assume he knows what he is doing, which tells me that progressives respond to mockery far different than does the rest of the population. Here I am including, traditional conservatives, libertarians, moderates and people who are generally apathetic about politics.

These other folks – who constitute the bulk of the population – get naturally defensive when you mock them. They do not feel scared off in the slightest. Indeed, they might have otherwise been charming and friendly but your mockery will turn them into blood enemies.

Now, as is my wont, I am going to attribute this to some systemic difference in the brain structure of progressives, that probably has to do with why they are progressives.

For example, the exact same brain structure might make one more acutely sensitive to the grievances of minorities and the local poor as well as the admonishment of climate scientists.

However, the larger point is to recognize that most people are definitely not built this way – whatever “this way” is – and mocking them is not going to get them to shy away. Its going to get them to dig in deeper.

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