The Daily Iowan

Jaimes: Haley is right, we shouldn’t ‘own the libs’

U.N.+ambassador+Nikki+Haley+attends+Mike+Pompeo%27s+confirmation+hearing+before+the+Senate+Foreign+Relations+Committee+on+April+12%2C+2018+in+Washington%2C+D.C.+%28Olivier+Douliery%2FAbaca+Press%2FTNS%29
U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley attends Mike Pompeo's confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 12, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley attends Mike Pompeo's confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 12, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

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U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley attends Mike Pompeo's confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 12, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

Marina Jaimes, [email protected]

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Last week, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley joined 400 high-school students at Turning Point USA’s High-School Leadership Summit in Washington. She was invited to
speak about leadership, and that she did.

In her speech, she said, “Raise your hand if you’ve ever posted anything online to quote-unquote ‘own the libs’ … I know that it’s fun and that it can feel good, but step back and think about what you’re accomplishing when you do this — are you persuading anyone? Who are you persuading? We’ve all been guilty of it at some point or another, but this kind of speech isn’t leadership — it’s the exact opposite.”

Looking over the coverage of the summit on Monday night, I happened to love this. As a student in a sea of leftists, it is in my best interest to make clear arguments instead of teasing my peers. Sure, it’s fun to make MAGA jokes to like-minded friends who partake in conversations on the latest liberal outrage, but the reality is there are elections to be won and minds to change.

Haley isn’t alone in her beliefs. Conservative commentator and avid fan of Haley’s Ben Shapiro strongly agreed with her statement.

In his op-ed “The Perils of Owning the Libs,” Shapiro gathered that the culture of “owning the libs” is a result of years of mockery from Hollywood to the Obama administration, but that shouldn’t justify this form of activism.

Shapiro acknowledged that he, too, participates in this type of humor but knows when to draw the line. He writes, “Victory over the left isn’t enhanced by nasty behavior meant to elicit tears; it’s enhanced only by defeating arguments while using the minimum necessary force. That doesn’t mean running away from arguments — it means making them. “Triggering” requires little skill or knowledge. Argumentative victory requires both.”

Again, I found myself enjoying his outlook on this matter. When it comes down to it, belittling the left just won’t cut it.

Alt-right Twitter personality Mike Cernovich disagreed with Haley, and instead argued that conservatism would die without owning the libs. Cernovich, who was one of the first to discover old tweets that led to the firing of James Gunn, somehow believes that exposing tasteless tweets might win over more voters than solid arguments. His exposé is no different from the collective outrage over Trump’s extramarital affairs, in which Trump lost virtually no supporters. It almost proves that voters care less about triggering and more about facts and substantive arguments.

When faced with liberalism, the future of the conservative movement should aspire to lead like Haley and Shapiro and less like the Cernovichs of the world. If a movement thrives solely on the basis of mocking others, it should not have lived in the first place.

Activists should always remember Haley’s parting words from the summit, “Real leadership is about persuasion, it’s about movement, it’s bringing people around to your point of view … not by shouting them down but by showing them how it is in their best interest to see things the way you do.”

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