Regardless of how I feel about Joe Biden, and regardless of his presidential outcome in 2020, he has shown an important life lesson for the rest of us. His example of a failure of emotional reaction was a temporary loss of power on his part. The power he lost wasn’t even due to a strong conflict or some sort of abuse.
The situation occurred yesterday. Biden was visiting a plant in Michigan. While on the floor of the plant, greeting workers, one worker states, “You’re actively trying to dismantle the 2nd amendment.” It wasn’t even said in anger. It was a statement, similar to the one President Obama got at his town hall.
Instead of decorum, Biden lashes out with anger, “YOU’RE FULL OF SHIT!” I’m sure the worker was caught off guard by that, but the response from a presidential elect came off as a Czar condemning a peasant. The whole dialogue can be seen in the vide linked below.
Part of owning power, is in one’s capability for self-control. Below I’m going to use Robert Grene’s book “48 Laws of Power,” to analyze the mistakes Biden made, and some alternative choices in such a decision.
Total Destruction (Law 15)
The aspect of modern life negates (in America) one’s ability to overtly crush an enemy. If we were living in Rome, Biden would have the man run through by a Centurian’s sword. Destruction today, must be by legal means, and therefore requires more of a Machiavellian approach.
The question is, is this Michigan man worth of being crushed by Biden? Of course not. Such an outcome wins nothing, and has a potential cost of being exposed as a political abuser – costing an election.
Therefore, treating the Michigan man as an enemy is the wrong move here.
Pose as a Friend (Law 14)
Posing as a friend (working as a spy) is another possibility. This is perhaps how Obama handled his town hall issue on gun control. By appealing to the individual as someone who understand where they are coming from, and then building a rapport with them, a trust level can be established.
Once trusted, one could insert their view and even if the two disagree they can walk away as friends. This would be a good tactic here, because there’s no need to win an argument on the floor of a factory.
Win through Actions, not Argument (Law 9)
Biden could have approached this situation differently. He was caught off guard and reacted, rather than responding with reason and logic. There was no need for argument, and it simply intensified.
Biden even shut down his female assistant, waiving her off with a dismissive gesture – none of which plays well in today’s world.
Select Honesty (Law 12)
Disarming the opponent is another option and a good one. I felt Obama did this in his response to the gun owner’s comments at the town hall (linked at the beginning of this article).
Rather than being entirely truthful, Biden could have said something like, “well I understand how you might see that. Clearly there are extremists who want to get rid of all guns and honestly with the tragedies that I saw unfold in our society under my watch, it is hard can be hard to remain objective. I had the misfortune of attending funerals of children slain in school shootings and I’ve had to comfort the bereaving parents in these events. Yet I understand you too. Can you perhaps understand what I’ve seen? But you’re right to want to defend the 2nd amendment and certainly I’m not going to take that away from you.”
Watching the dialogue carefully, studying his opponent, Biden could have constructed a dynamic response to keep the fellow disarmed with selective honesty.