Jay Laze Gets a Lesson in Rhetoric (Or, How NOT to Debate a Feminist)


In 2013, Virginia Beach pizzeria owner Jay Laze gained notoriety byoffering a 15 percent discount to customers who were exercising their Second Amendment rights. On his Facebook page last week, Laze commented on an article about an incident in Vietnam, where a water park offered free admission, leading to a mob scene in which “thousands” of men reportedly molested teenage girls wearing bikinis.

Laze compared the park’s error — exposing “80% naked women” to “instinctually driven men with no security” — to sharks in a “feeding frenzy.” And this is just common sense, really.

However, a feminist saw the comment and drew Laze into a debate on his Facebook page. She asked, “can you actually prove it’s human instinct or are you just projecting?” She screencapped the entire exchange and posted it to her Tumblr blog, saying that Laze “stated he’d rape women every time he thought he could get away with it, and that he thinks this is normal male behavior.” Did he actually say that? Well . . .

Laze wrote that this incident in Vietnam was a case of “instinct overriding self control,” and the feminist then asked, “how many times have been unable to stop yourself from raping and molesting?”

This insulting insinuation provoked Laze to respond, “You’re asking the wrong question. Ask ‘how many times would you have raped had there been no consequences?’”

The feminist replied, “that’s a great question. how many times would you have raped had there been no consequences?”

Laze then answered: “Since men have the instinct to ‘put their penis in a vagina’ I’d probably say every time.”

This is not how you win debates with feminists, sir.

Online debate can be a minefield, and many people make the kind of errors Jay Laze made, simply because they don’t have experience dealing with troll tactics of this kind. For the benefit of readers, permit me to offer a few suggestions:

  • You have the right to remain silent — If someone attacks you online, you are not required to respond. We are not accustomed to being mocked or insulted in real life, so when it happens to us online, our natural impulse is to defend ourselves. We are not racists or sexists, we are not ignorant or stupid, so when someone makes these kinds of accusations online — when our character is impugned — it is easy to be provoked into a defensive reaction. However, this will often have the opposite of the intended effect. By defending yourself against an accusation, you are pouring gasoline onto the sparks and, as illustrated by Jay Laze’s unfortunate incident, “everything you say can and will be used against you.” Sometimes, silence is the best defense.
  • Know your antagonist — It is evident to me that Jay Laze began this Facebook conversation without bothering to investigate who he was talking to. She knew who he was, but he didn’t know who shewas, and this put him at a disadvantage, because Laze didn’t anticipate her skill in steering him into a rhetorical ambush.
  • Don’t get sidetracked — Jay Laze’s original point was a good one. As someone whose business is in a beach resort town, he is obviously aware of how inadequate crowd control can lead to dangerous situations. Yet the feminist, focusing on Laze’s phrase “instinctually driven men,” sidetracked Laze toward a more general discussion of instinct as a factor in rape, a topic that Laze had originally not intended to address. He was inadequately prepared for the debate he encountered on this sidetrack, where his antagonist expertly provoked him into a rhetorical error.
  • This is not about you — Jay Laze’s antagonist pushed his buttons by accusing him of “projecting” his own personal “instinct to rape girls” onto the mob of men at the Vietnam water park. This kind of insulting insinuation should always be regarded as a flashing alarm in any such discussion. The appropriate response to such an unwarranted insult is to call out the rhetorical foul and terminate the conversation. Clearly, your antagonist is not arguing in good faith. Yet it is often the case that people react to these kind of baseless insults the way Jay Laze reacted, by continuing the discussion as if being accused of criminal behavior was nothing unusual, and then cooperating with the antagonist’s interrogation of his personal motives.
  • Beware of hypotheticals — Having let his antagonist steer him onto a sidetrack and then personalize the discussion by accusing him of being at least a potential rapist, Jay Laze finally sets a rhetorically fatal trap for himself by proposing the hypothetical scenario where rape was possible with “no consequences.” That he proposed this as a devil’s advocate is obvious enough. His original point was about the inadequate security that caused the chaotic free-for-all at the Vietnam water park, and Laze himself is an advocate of armed self-defense because he understands the need to safeguard against such possibilities. Yet Laze also intended to make a point about sexual instinct being one of the unruly human impulses that so often lead to violence, and thus was willing to stipulate that, if there were “no consequences,” he would himself behave like a savage beast.

Oops. We know exactly why feminists love to talk constantly about rape, as Ace of Spades observed: “Minus rape, feminism is rather too obviouslya list of trivial complaints by comfortable yet hysterical semi-affluent white women.” This why feminists have employed Statistical Voodoo and Elastic Definitions to gin up a phony “campus rape epidemic.” Feminists deliberately exaggerate the incidence of rape, so that they can treat all men as suspects in a criminal investigation and thus silence critics of feminism: “Shut up, because rape!”

Feminism’s mantra, “The personal is the political,” operates as an invitation for women to tell their tales of being victimized by the oppression of male supremacy. Any man is a damned fool if he thinks he can play this game — trying to make a political point by telling a personalnarrative — because however innocent he may be of any Sexist Thought Crimes, the mere fact that he is playing the feminist game will effectively put him on the defensive. Never fight a battle according to your enemy’s plan. Do not surrender the initiative by letting your enemy choose the time and place of battle. When you see that your enemy is attempting to provoke you into battle, always suspect an ambush.

As to the substance of Jay Laze’s comments, we can see that he was speaking of the Hobbesian nightmare of a lawless world — bellum omnium contra omnes, the “war of all against all” — and he is clearlyagainst this kind of anarchy. Speculating what we might do in a hypothetical apocalypse, freed from the restraints of civilization, is one of those dorm-room debates that used to occur in the 1970s when everybody had done a few bong hits and was staring at the lava lamp.

Think about that scene in Animal House, where the Deltas have turned the homecoming parade into complete pandemonium — “Remain calm! All is well!” — and Bluto spies his dream girl Mandy Pepperidge amid the chaos. He swoops down like a pirate, abducts her in a stolen convertible and, we learn in the film’s famous concluding scene, they eventually become Senator and Mrs. Joseph Blutarsky.

Everybody applauds that scene, because when you get down to it, everybody understands what feminists call “rape culture.” We recognize the beastly impulses of human nature. Unless we are complete fools, however, we also understand that the fantasy of unrestrained sexuality is nothing like the reality of what would happen under conditions of lawless anarchy. As Hobbes himself explained, in such conditions, human life would be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

Even worse than Baltimore, perhaps.

OK, so we climb into the Time Machine and arrive at a state university dorm room in 1978. A haze of cannabis smoke fills the air, and the blacklight posters on the wall give off an eerie glow. A Pink Floyd album is playing on the stereo and everybody’s staring at a lava lamp when somebody says, “Hey, man, what would you do if you were in a swimming pool full of Vietnamese chicks in bikinis and there was no security, no rules at all?” Imagining myself at age 18 in that dorm room, presented with such a hypothetical scenario, I am very grateful that (a) there is no such thing as a Time Machine, and (b) there was no Internet in 1978.

Never forget: You have the right to remain silent.

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