To ‘own a lib’ at its core is to expose the truth about illiberal liberals, and we should never stop doing that.
Nikki Haley, in a speech to the Turning Point USA high school summit, questioned the wisdom of “owning the libs”:
“Raise your hand if you’ve ever posted anything online to quote-unquote ‘own the libs,’ ” Haley asked at the High School Leadership Summit at George Washington University.
The vast majority raised their hands in response, and then erupted into spontaneous applause.
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?” Haley asked. “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.”
“Real leadership is about persuasion, it’s about movement, it’s bringing people around to your point of view,” she added. “Not by shouting them down, but by showing them how it is in their best interest to see things the way you do.”
That comment by Haley got a lot of people talking about ‘owning the libs,’ including many libs:
Twitchy has a good round-up of reaction.
There is no single meaning of what it is to ‘own a lib.’ The liberals writing about Haley’s comments use these descriptions:
The expression to “own the libs” is a often used as a tongue-in-cheek criticism of obscure but increasingly common right-wing tactics ranging from upending GOP orthodoxy on policy , to throwing your own expensive coffee machine out the window in protest of an ad boycott, to wearing diapers during a campus demonstration.
It simply means that Republicans enjoy to a great degree, sometimes even more than actual policy achievements, opportunities to make Democrats and liberals feel bad or face plant. The conservatives who like to own the libs do it because it feels good and it’s funny.
To “own” someone on the internet is to dominate and humiliate them, and the “libs” can loosely be defined as anyone to the left of Sean Hannity. If you hate yourself enough to read political commentary all day on Twitter dot com, you already know that “owning the libs” is an often-sung refrain.
To own the libs is to partake in the pettiest of culture wars. But moreover, to own the libs is to own yourself, no matter which side of the political spectrum you fall on. As comedian Patrick Monahan, an early adopter of the meme, tells Rolling Stone, owning the libs is “laughing as you post ‘Trump is still your President’ memes in Facebook threads while the bank forecloses on your farm. It comes down to a need for community and some kind of cultural ‘win’ [for the right] since they perceive culture to be against them at all times.”
Ben Shapiro, writing at National Review, cautioning about the tactic possibly motivating Democrats to vote, used this explanation:
First, you say something that “triggers the libs”; then, when they make clear that they’re triggered, you mock them; then, by virtue of your mockery, you own them. What you choose to do with the libs you own is irrelevant; mere pride of ownership is the important thing.
To me, to ‘own a lib’ is to expose the illiberal, hypocritical and irrational nature of so much of what constitutes modern liberalism.
The tactics vary. It could be videotaped street interviews (particularly with liberal college students), defiant displays of non-liberal ideas in liberal environments (particularly college campuses), quoting and videotaping what liberals actually advocate, or simply laughing out loud (literally and figuratively).
I would not deprive conservative high school and college students the pleasure of occasionally ‘owning a lib.’ It’s a morale booster for kids who live in politically hostile environments. They are patronized and insulted daily, so if they give it back a little, good for them.
The means used is not the point. To ‘own a lib’ is not a policy or end result, it’s a tactic. The point is to accurately expose what liberals think, and to shine light on it.
To ‘own a lib’ thus is different in goal than the mocking of conservatives (and other deplorables) that takes place throughout the mainstream media, particularly on the late-night shows. The tactics used by liberals (and some #NeverTrump establishment Republicans) against conservatives and deplorables is to create a false caricature. This was used against the Tea Party movement relentlessly, with liberty-loving smaller-government patriots falsely portrayed as snaggletoothed totalitarian monsters.
We don’t need to caricature liberals to ‘own a lib.’ We simply need to expose the reality of modern liberalism. We should never stop doing that.DONATE
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