Issue Jitsu

Believe it or not, when I was about 14 I attended an optional Ju Jitsu program at the local school (World War Two/Japanese tricky foes). The instructor, a genial very fat Caucasian firefighter, spent a lot of time talking about the philosophy of the method which, he repeated in hundreds of ways, was to turn the opponent’s strength against him. If someone takes an old fashioned swing at your jaw, you deftly stepped back, twisted, grabbed his forearm and pulled vigorously in the same direction, so the force of his punch actually knocked him off his feet.. I got the idea, but the moves were a bit too swift and balletic for me to master.

Issue Jitsu was pioneered by Big Tobacco defending smoking. Long ago they actually claimed that smoking reduced health care costs because most smokers do not make it to old age when illnesses become so overwhelmingly expensive. No kidding.

It seems that Frank Luntz, the Demon Sophist of K Street, has done this with campaign rhetoric. Gingrich was and remains one of his earliest and most enthusiastic pupils. Raising taxes is to attack the poor common man for socialist [=Nazi] programs, etc. Recently a GOP group reversed the replayed Scopes trial in Tennessee by claiming (in court!!) that a curriculum which favors evolution over creationism violates the First Amendment. And we have seen “Death Panels”, and so forth.

Incidentally, I just read that the environmentalists caused those big fires by their misguided tree-hugging. If large portions of these forests had been clear cut, there would be little and few fires. Issue Jitsu. The possibilities are endless.

Here is the latest and boldest to date: