The Slappy Syndrome

A fair percentage of the American electorate are slappys for one person or one party, or the other, blindly following whatever positions they are supposed to take, according to the talking heads they prefer to listen to.

Ironically, slappys often get their ‘information’ from sources who are very honest about not being sources of information. Rush Limbaugh, for example, proudly proclaims that his primary job is not to inform, but to entertain. Jon Stewart is a comedian. Jon Stewart’s job is not to inform, but to be funny, and he is very open about the fact that he has no interest in being intellectually honest unless doing so makes people laugh. People like these openly tell us that they are playing fast and loose with the facts, and people left and right pretend that they are legitimate sources to quote.

You can look into wherever these people get their information, and if you find them using a credible source, you can use the same source, but you cannot use someone who is open about not being a source of information, as if they are a source of information!

Ami Horowitz makes videos of Bernie Slappys and Hillary Slappys, taking policy prescriptions either from the Republican National Committee, or from Donald Trump, and asking Bernie or Hillary supporters whether or not they support them. “Do you support Hillary Clinton’s plan to reduce the corporate business tax rate to 20%,” was one of his questions. One Hillary Clinton fan after another supported the plan, based on the wrongful belief that Hillary Clinton supported it. Once they found out that it was a Donald Trump plan, they supported it no longer. I would be surprised if there is not someone just like Ami Horowitz on the other side of the political spectrum making Republicans sound stupid. Neither political party has a shortage of political slappys.

What do you call someone who decides whether or not a particular policy prescription is good or bad based solely on who comes up with it, or which party’s talking heads support it? You guessed it – these people are slappys.

I do not care if you are a Trump slappy, a Clinton Slappy, a Bernie slappy, a Republican slappy, a Democrat slappy, or some other kind of slappy. All of them have one thing in common: they pollute the informed vote, and lead to political outcomes that are not good for the country. Slappys are sometimes called ‘sheeple.’ The two terms mean the same thing. People who do not understand the policies of the day but who vote anyway are not giving informed votes, but rather are expanding the voting power of others, who may or may not have the nation’s interests at heart, and who may or may not be honest about their intentions. We all remember Hillary Clinton telling a group of bankers not to worry about her public policies, because she had one set of policies to tell the public, and another to implement. That was a brief moment of honesty about her dishonesty.

People on both sides of an issue often call people on the other sides ‘slappys,’ or some other term that means the same thing. Why? Because it is easier to call someone a name than to debate an issue, and particularly if you are a slappy yourself with a lot of emotional connection to a person or party, but no real knowledge to base that emotional connection on.

The Daily Libertarian is not a slappy site. Our goal is not to entertain you, but to give you good, honest analysis on the issues of the day. This is not a news site. We are not reporting. Our opinions and analysis are, however, well thought out, and derived at with integrity. This makes us a target of liberal slappys, who will sometimes go to great lengths to discredit us, using dirty tactics rather than reasoned debate.

Being a libertarian site, we tend to favor free market solutions over government solutions, most of the time. This is, however, not because we view government as ‘evil’ or ‘immoral,’ but because free markets generally work better than do government solutions.

Some common traits of slappys include:

1) Slappys respond to emotional calls first and foremost, and particularly fear, envy, and guilt.

2) Slappys look at facts in isolation, when forced to look at them at all. Doing this allows them to ignore any facts that don’t fit their preconceived notions.

3) Slappys are not interested in learning anything new, unless it fits in with what they think they already know. Slappys rate the value of what they hear based on how will it fits in with what they already think they know. They often ‘learn’ new things that are not true.

4) Slappys are afraid of being called unscientific, but happy to be unscientific as long as they are not labeled as such. Slappys often call those quoting scientists, ‘unscientific’.

5) Slappys get excessively angry at those with whom they disagree, and conflate all of the people with whom they disagree as if they are all the same person.

6) Slappys are very quick to make ad hominem attacks. They often start ad hominem. Sometimes, like an opposing Army, they will probe a few points, looking for a weakness, and then will use a comment, often taken out of context, that they can disagree with (again – often out of context), and will use that to try and discredit the person they are debating with, attacking not the message, but the messenger. That’s a deflection. Even if someone is wrong on one point, that does not make everything else they say wrong.

7) Slappys love to argue, but they never debate. They will hurl insults, misdirect, and ridicule, but they will not engage in an actual debate.

8) Slappys will doggedly believe things that are not only not true, but that are demonstrably not true. Slappys get angry when someone demonstrates that what they are saying is not true.

How do you deal with a slappy? The first rule is not to ignore them. Their goal is to discredit you in front of anyone who may read what you have written. If you ignore them, they take that as an admission of fault, and will readily throw it back at you when they see that you have written something else. When a slappy shows up, you have to engage.

When you engage with slappys, call them out. Tell them exactly what tactics they are using, and call them intellectually dishonest. Tell them you would love to carry a conversation with them, but only if they are willing to have a legitimate conversation. Tell them what logical fallacies they are using, and then stick to your guns. You will soon be able to tell them that everyone reading your exchange can see exactly what they are doing and that you are perfectly comfortable letting the conversation speak for itself.

Every once in a while someone will start out acting like a slappy, but then after being called out, they will pivot and engage in actual debate. Apologize to these people for having called them a slappy (they probably acted like one on the assumption that you were a slappy), and engage in actual, reasoned debate. You may find an honest, respectful debate.

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2 thoughts on “The Slappy Syndrome”

  1. A big shout-out to Mike Valenti, from 97.1 FM, WXYT The Ticket, in Detroit. As far as I know, Mr. Valenti was the first person to use the term ‘slappy’ in this context. He used it in relation to sports rather than politics, but I think the term is highly descriptive in both arenas.

    Thank you Mike Valenti!

  2. It’s about time someone took the time and effort to describe the attitude (malcontent) and the tactics (Saul Alinsky) of many of the people I’ve been “discussing” politics with since Donald Trump was elected. I’ve had many years of experience in participating in true discussions with people with opposing views and have presented them in “The Cabana Chronicles” series of books on comparative religion and apologetics. Thanks, Wallace, for providing information that provides us with a tactic to continue to try and discuss the issues that are critical to our country with those whose only interest has been to mock, ridicule and reprimand everything we post. .

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