The story of the RSD scandal involving Julien Blanc is the story of a typical shame attack.
In 2020’s words, you’d call it a “cancel culture attack”.
- Cancel Culture Power Dynamics: Intro
- Julien Blanc Scandal: Intro
Cancel Culture Power Dynamics: Intro
Cancel culture is all about power.
The attacker, also referred to as “moral police”, “virtue signaler”, or “social justice warrior” publicly attacks a sacrificial lamb.
The goal of the attacker is, whether he knows or not, power.
Often, it’s in the form of:
- Reputational “virtuosity” gain, to look saintly and “right”
- Leadership gains, to lead a charge of other cancelers
- Self-signaling gains, so that he can hide his own dark side to himself and pretend he’s “good”
- Rational and strategic gains, for example by eliminating a competitor
To gain more points, the attacker frames the victim as “bad beyond reproach” and “not good enough” to live and operate in the society that the virtue signaler wants.
Anyone who works and operates outside of the morality of their zeitgeist can be the victim of a similar scandal.
So it’s good if you prepare yourself.
By the end of this article, you will learn what you should do in a similar situation and how you can deal and beat the moral police.
Julien Blanc Scandal: Intro
Julien Blanc (previously RSDJulien), was a dating coach at a company called RSD.
He was mired in a scandal for some videos he had done in Japan, and he appeared on CNN for an interview (you can watch the full version here).
It wasn’t a friendly interview , though.
There were no questions, no letting him explain and no finding out what really went on.
The interviewer at CNN was more out to get him.
Indeed, he demonized Julien, took the worst pictures he could find and bullied him on live TV.
Albeit I believe the interviewer was rather unfair and Julien didn’t deserve that much hate, this post is not about taking a position on the issue but more to analyze the interview.
The objective is to share and learn how to deal with moral attacks when you actually did do something wrong.
What’s Moral Police?
I will define moral policing as such:
The act of shaming someone for breaking an alleged standard of ethics and morals, and framing him as “unworthy” for that morally just society
The standards of ethics and morals are either the majority’s standards or simply the ones that the moral police prefers.
Moral policing is a pejorative term, implying that the ethics and morals used as yardsticks are not necessarily good and positive but can simply be a tool to win an argument and destroy an opponent.
The moral police always takes a judge role against the attacker, framing themselves as “moral and fair” and framing the attacked as “not good enough” for us.
To learn more about judges please read here:
We have seen shame attacks and more policing before on this site, for example analyzing the Charlie Sheene interview.
But this case is different because Julien Blanc did misbehave publicly, so the moral police had an even easier job.
How do you handle the moral police when you in Julien Blanc’s tough spot?
Here is how you do it:
#1. Don’t Give Them Moral High Ground
This is the very first rule.
Whenever you allow anyone to take the moral high ground on you, you’re going to fight an uphill battle.
They will be always on the offensive and you will always be on the defensive.
Which is what, partially, happened to Julien Blanc.
See an example of how the interviewer takes the moral high ground by setting himself up as the defender of “meaningful relationships” VS “whatever Julien preaches”:
The interviewer sets himself up as the judge of “what’s good” and Julien allows it, thus legitimizing his authority.
#2. Break The Attack Early
The later you act to the moral police’s attacks, the more you’ll be fighting against the momentum.
The key is to react early and nip their attack in the bud.
This is one of the reasons why Julien Blanc was in a difficult spot: the interviewer swung for the hilltop right off the gates. Julien gave his flank and never recovered from there.
Do the opposite instead:
- Meet them at their same level of nastiness or
- Push back and deny accusations
See how Trump did it:
Totally different approach, right? Trump remained in power
Trump: “No I didn’t say that at all, I don’t think you understood what was said, this was locker room talk“
Rejects, powerfully, and reframes effectively.
Julien Blanc could have done something similar, for example, by saying:
You in Julien’s Place: “not at all, I don’t think that by showing a single snapshot you can understand the bigger picture.
I was drunk and having fun with some friends around. The girls were also having fun.
I feel bad for the more extreme pictures which are out-of-context snapshots who don’t represent who I am and what I stand for.
But the truth of what happened is that this was all done in jest and nobody was injured -God forbid, I hate violence!-
You are trying to turn me into a villain. But I’m not the villain you are trying to make me and I can’t allow you to paint me like that
#3. Counterattack: Highlight Moral Police Hypocrisy
As Robert Green explains in “The 33 Strategies of War“, hypocrisy is a super powerful weapon in moral battles.
Whenever you can point effectively their hypocrisy, you’re halfway through winning.
See how Trump goes for it against Hillary Clinton:
Note: Trump’s move was not the most effective here, but it did help in removing a lot of heat from himself and opening a new front on Hillary’s side.
#4. Remove Their Power: Agree
Moral police gather power only by virtue of their opponents.
Keep that in mind because that’s crucial to understand the power dynamics of shame attacks.
The moral police only exists thanks to its opponent and only draws power because of its opponent.
Basically, their power is correlated to how bad they can make you out to be. The bigger the villain you are, the bigger they win.
On the other hand, the more virtuous you can make yourself out to be, the less power they have.
What you will do then is that you will avoid entrenching yourself behind positions that are objectively too hard to defend.
It would have been crazy in that situation for Julien to say that some women enjoy aggression for example. Albeit that’s not fully untrue, it simply wasn’t the place to bring up such a topic.
What you will do instead is that you will agree with some of their most agreeable positions and make yourself look good by sharing platitudes and public candies.
Appeals to love, unity and togetherness always work.
Julien could have done the same by going deeper on the wedding stories he mentioned and then adding something like:
You in Julien’s Place: Absolutely many guys meet their partners for life with our seminars. And I’m so happy for them.
My job at the end of the day is about helping people find love, and that’s what makes my work so meaningful to me
Look how Trump does it again with Hillary Clinton:
Clinton paints a picture of “togetherness” trying to paint Trump as a divisive dark horse. And what does Trump do? He agrees
#5. Prove The MPs Wrong
If you’re going into a protracted war, even better than words, is using actions.
When Hillary tried to nickname Trump “dark” he did the opposite, defending the rights of middle America and showing up around poor minorities.
Do the same. When the moral police tries to paint you as X, you do Y.
#6. Deny, Deny, Deny
Block every jab.
When the moral police won’t be able to attack you head-on, they will try sneaky maneuvers to catch you off guard and then spin their web around you.
Jordan Peterson’s denying strategy never allowed Newman to gain a single small foothold from which to launch her moral policing campaign
#7. Extol Your Virtues (Broken Record Technique)
Moral police will keep trying to make a villain out of you.
The problem with that?
That if you let them play their game while remaining mostly silent, you do become a villain.
Don’t allow your silence to solidify their attacks, but deny first and then extol your virtues.
On a loop.
The more you repeat something, the truer it becomes.
See Trump doing it:
When they attack you and you extol your virtue it becomes your word against theirs. If you did a good job of denying them authority, this technique will give you the edge.
Julien Blanc had a close encounter with moral police in that CNN interview.
Because the RSD scandal blew out of proportion, that wasn’t an easy chair to sit on, so no judging here.
This article highlights some pitfalls you should avoid and gave you the basics on how to act when someone is using moral superiority.
Stay strong my friend, and don’t let the moral police bully you and push you around.