Conservatives: The game of ‘owning the libs’
Republicans have adopted a new ethos: “Own the libs at all cost,” said Joe Perticone in BusinessInsider.com. For the uninitiated, “owning” your adversaries means dominating or humiliating them, especially online. “Owning the libs” has come to describe any comment or action that enrages Democrats and liberals, such as chanting “Lock her up!” or drinking from mugs labeled “LEFTIST TEARS.” And nobody relishes “owning the libs” more than President Trump, both with his tweets and his actual policy decisions. When Trump threatened last week to yank security clearances from former Obama administration officials, House Speaker Paul Ryan dismissed it as “trolling”—essentially admitting that Trump was just trying to own the libs. But in a recent speech to high school conservatives, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley warned against the temptation to own the libs. “I know that it’s fun and that it can feel good,” she said, “but step back and think about what you’re accomplishing when you do this—are you persuading anyone?”
Persuasion is definitely not the point, said Eve Peyser in RollingStone.com. In fact, liberals have now appropriated “owning the libs” to mock conservatives who make themselves look ridiculous in their extreme attempts to provoke liberal rage. I’m thinking of the right-wing Twitter users who “owned the libs” by smashing their own Keurig coffee machines after Keurig pulled its ads from Sean Hannity’s Fox News show. Or the campus activists who wear diapers to protest campus safe spaces. For these morons, “to own the libs is to own yourself.” Don’t bother trying to convince Trump’s supporters of that, said Aaron Blake in The Washington Post. Republicans might not like everything this president does, but they love the fact that he drives Democrats insane.
“A little bit of joy goes a long way in persuasion and politics,” said Michael Knowles in DailyWire.com. That’s why owning the libs is a useful strategy. “For the first time in the lifetime of most Millennials, conservatives are the ones having fun.” Meanwhile, tediously earnest liberals have turned into dour scolds. I’m all for mocking ridiculous utopian ideas from the Left, said Benjamin Domenech in TheTransom.org. But it’s not strategically wise for conservatives to embrace a stupid, nonconservative policy like Trump’s tariffs just because it makes liberals furious. Sorry, Republicans, but “pissing off the right people is not a coherent philosophy.”