“There are not two sides to this story; this is wrong!” -Tom Leykis
This may put some cross hairs on my head, I may lose some friends, and I may get blocked from the show. I don’t have the luxury to care: it’s my job to tell the truth, no matter who it pisses off, so I’m very sorrowful for those that this offends and repels away friends I’ve made through the show, but the reality must be laid out, else we shall suffer in darkness.
So, at the time I’m writing this, I had planned on doing an audio recording of the latest article on the war on fat. Instead I find myself listening back to one of the last podcasts of The Tom Leykis Show(6-19-2018), in which he’s talking about the current immigration issue in which children are being separated from their parents, after attempting to cross the U.S./Mexico Border. Now, I will provide some counter-arguments to his narrative (and believe you me, this is a narrative), though that’s not the main point of this article. But I have no issue with someone having a different opinion from mine; in fact I welcome it, because either I sharpen my debating skills against it, or I find my position was flawed and adjust my viewpoints accordingly. In the end, it the reality that matters, not my opinion, nor yours.
Tom Leykis, in case you are unaware, was a radio personality for decades, and a damn successful one at that, dominating just about every market he appeared in. Today he does pretty much the same thing under his own company called The New Normal, which is now a live stream call in show over the internet, and can be found under his own app and website, as well as other streaming apps. His work is indeed great: I myself am a subscriber, and will continue to be so as long as he is around. I would still suggest you yourself become one as well (go to BlowMeUpTom.com to listen, PremiumTom.com to subscribe). So, given my love of Tom and his work, let alone the difference his influence has had on my life and, by proxy, the lives I’ve affected, it is with a heavy heart that I have to write the following.
Tom has lost the argument when it comes to most political issues today. He was a great maker of arguments, called the “Master Debater” and a “Cunning Linguist”, and still is capable of making great arguments today; he’s not a dumb guy by any stretch of the imagination. But in this arena, he has become a sophist, a dealer of “feels” rather than facts. And nothing makes it plainer than the topic of this episode being the recorded audio of a compound somewhere in Texas containing the children brought to the border with what may or may not be their parents (more on that later).
Time for the disclaimer most people will ignore later: I agree with Tom, and I imagine most decent moral people do. It is a horrible situation going on right now, at the time of this writing, what’s happening at the border is a truly horrible situation, and those children don’t deserve to be put through the hell they’re getting right now. I don’t care where you come from, what race you are, gender, what the fuck ever: children are the most dependent class of people there are, and therefore they should be the most taken care of; this issue is terrible, and no child should be subjected to dealing with this kind of horror. Say what you will about me or any group you dislike: most will agree they care about children, at least the ones close to them; I myself wish to see the best outcomes possible for any child. Like any issue, if you care about children and want the best for them, you want to not only solve any problem plaguing them, but find the root cause so you can prevent the problem in the first place. So how did Tom approach this current issue, which we can likely agree is awful, to help solve the problem?
“But it’s about the children!”
“Don’t you care about the children!?”
“It’s not about what the parents did, what about the children!?!?”
He played audio someone recorded of children crying because their parents were detained and separated. And let’s not mince words here: there’s no other reason to use that audio other than to invoke an emotional response, reflected just in some of the callers alone. There were no facts, no reasoning in it; it is totally feels based. He himself made the topic about how it made you “feel” and to think about how those poor kids’ voices would be ringing into the night, not about how to actually solve the issue; I understand it’s his job to “stir the pot” and get callers on the line, but this is nothing more than sophistry; this is emotional manipulation.
Before I get into the meat of the matter, just some quick facts about this, and some rebuttals to what Tom said:
“Who cares what the parents did, we’re talking about the kids!” O.K., big problem here. Tom completely ignores the parent’s role in the kids being in this situation, instead focusing on just the kids themselves, and the use of force on them(mainly as a shot at Trump). Not only is that ignoring the fact that the kid’s lives are completely in the hand of their parents or caretakers (meaning where they end up is their responsibility), but this also puts all the blame on Trump, and therefore all of the agency over their lives. And I’ll tell you this: there are few things you can do to a group worse than take away their agency; so the parents have less responsibility for bringing their children not just from Mexico, but from central american countries through what could be considered very hostile territory, let alone any of the policy makers from their countries of origin? Call me crazy, but if you’re dragging your kids through rape country, you have more responsibility than someone enforcing the rules, leading to my next point:
Children separated from their parents: That sounds horrible, and it is, if those are their parents to begin with. It’s not news (or it shouldn’t be) that some families will send their kids with other people to get them across the border, paid or otherwise, if they aren’t sent by themselves. See, they don'[t just separate children from their parents for shits and giggles: they only do it if they find out the kid’s not theirs, they’re dangerous to said kid, or they’re committing felonious acts and are detained, which is why this is such an issue now, since the new policy is to prosecute all adults.
Felony Border Crossing: Related to the above, Tom is right in saying that crossing the border illegally is a misdemeanor. That’s the first time you get caught; the subsequent offenses are, in fact, felonies, meaning that if you get caught crossing twice, you are a felon.
Betting Tactic: Tom used this tactic a couple of times, a bet of $10,000 that there’s no prior case or recording of children being treated this way, just to prove a point. Not only is that highly specific (the recording used in the show being fairly random itself), this is a distraction to the issue, not an argument. Related: the Elias Gonzales issue would count, since he was separated from his remaining parent. If the fact that he was reunited with his father after everything was said and done doesn’t count, that means every case in which the kids separated from their parents end up being reunited in this story would also not count, making this a self-detonating statement.
False Equivalency: This is the label Tom used to condemn the comparison of an illegal border crosser or cartel member killing a border patrol officer to a border patrol officer killing an illegal border crosser, which should be a bad enough argument that I’ll leave you to have fun squaring that triangle. Funnily enough, the subject about Laura Ingraham popped up because she speaks out against this, even though she has immigrant children. Here’s the problem: her immigrant kids were adopted, meaning they’re legally in the country. Since this is an issue about illegal border crossing, if you really want to call “False equivalency”, this would be the case in which to do so.
MS-13: Tom brought up a very good point that much of that horrid groups’s origins started because of our government’s involvement in central american countries, destroying a lot of families that their surviving children will remember and, as Tom stated, will resent Americans for. And, given I agree it is terrible that we intervene in other countries in such a horrible way, that’s a good reason to bring groups of people that resent americans into America, really?
I’m not writing this to answer and debunk the whole immigration issue, as that is a complicated subject matter; I’m simply pointing just a few things out that came up in this episode of the show that I can make decent arguments against. I myself am usually not able to call in, but would I have, given that I have decent arguments against what Tom’s narrative is? No, there’s no use. I’m, to be clear, am not a conservative, I’m a voluntarist; I don’t want any of what’s going on right now to happen, because I am against force initiation, which is what’s happening to these kids and why they ended up there in the first place. Here’s why: you’ll never get your point across, because he controls the conversation. This is most evident in this episode, because of how he treated his callers.
Honestly, I expected most of the callers into this episode to simply agree with Tom and say “Trump is horrible, we need to save the children and open the borders etc.”. Though there were a significant amount of them for sure (most of them “dreamers” themselves, shocking, I know), I was pleasantly surprised to hear that more than half the callers actually had some push back on the narrative here, though it was soundly shut down, and not by reason.
“Well they try to distract you and they try to divert you from the actual issue….” What these people that called in were doing was providing an analogy to show a principle behind the current situation. The one that comes to mind that was brought up was if someone broke into your house to rob you, then got caught, and whether the person that broke in should get to keep the stolen goods he obtained. If you’re simply going to ignore it or write it off as some Insert Label Here, you’re simply admitting you have no principles behind your motive. So what exactly is driving Tom’s argument? I believe, and he has stated multiple times as such, is his hatred of Donald Trump.
Tom has said as such that he would oppose The Orange Man in any way he can, because of his history with the family. I have no doubt the Trump family has shady dealings, and hasn’t been the bastion of morality throughout it’s lineage; I myself have no love for them either. But Tom’s hatred for them has been proven as irrational. The best example is through his coverage of politics, and through his callers. His coverage of politics, though there was one instance I remember of him praising Trumps ability to throw an opposing debater off like Tom can, has been pretty biased; if anything bad happens, it’s Trumps fault, for any reason.
This episode in particular was very telling. This has happened in multiple shows, but in this one in particular, the callers he agreed with, he let go on with whatever they had to say, even though they really had terrible arguments, if they had one at all. Anyone that called to talk against his narrative, whether they had a good point or not, he interrupts before they can even finish a sentence, and will drop their call as soon as he gets the opportunity. Sure, he’ll keep you around if he thinks you’re good entertainment and will draw more listeners, but this clearly is not an open platform for debate; either you agree with him, or you get shouted over and hung up on if you try to assert yourself. Even if I was a Trump supporter (which he has negative labels for, another sophist move, to automatically make you evil without evidence), and I could argue his points effectively, why bother; I would simply get cut off before I could make my argument.
In short, The Tom Leykis Show is no longer an open platform for open conversation, not if you disagree with Tom himself. And Tom is not going to take anyone on, Twitter aside, that is on an even platform. Therefore, there is no reason to try to engage Tom in this field. Love Tom to death, but why waste your time calling in to reason a man out of a belief he hasn’t been reasoned into?
To Tom: I doubt you actually took the time to read this, but if you are, please take these words into consideration: I have no hatred of you, I have no intent of trolling you; I wish to, and will continue to support you and all you do. That will not change no matter what you do with this. But all of us have our areas in which we are fallible, myself included. This is one of yours. And to not say anything when you are making an error would be wrong of me, as a truth seeker, this would be immoral on my part. I hope you understand where I’m coming from. The argument could be made, though you call yourself a libertarian and don’t want government in our faces, that you act as though you are a leftist through several of your actions. I don’t see you that way; I see you as more of less on my side of things, but your actions speak far louder than your words do, and your actions are those of the same kind of people that follow the Alinsky Rules For Radicals, whose main point is that they don’t have principles themselves, but they understand principles that other people have enough to use them against those they oppose.
An example pertaining to this: everyone cares about children and their well being. That’s a principle most people will agree on. a Leftist will use that principle to use the kids as a tool to get their policies passed for their own gain, usually political power in this case (poor children are being separated from their families, and that’s horrible! Give them all amnesty because that’s humane!…. and also they always vote for us!). Please understand: I’m not calling you a Leftist, that would be a grave insult, as I believe you actually do care about the plight of those kids.; I can hear it in your voice. However, you’re using the same tactics they do, and that I cannot get behind. You have a genius level IQ like I do, and it shows; shouldn’t you be using that to Make Arguments Great Again?
A few sources to consider:
https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/05/illegal-immigration-enforcement-separating-kids-at-border/ (this is likely the article Andrew from North Carolina was referring to)
Pic source; http://www.tmz.com/2016/11/14/tom-leykis-obsessed-fan-restraining-order/