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View Diary: The art of argument (77 comments)

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  •  I Like to Agree With Them (5+ / 0-)

    Agree with your opponent by making his argument even more absurd.

    Talking to a gun person recently whose logic was based on the slippery slope: If they take away his banana mag assault rifle the next thing will be taking away his pistols.

    Absolutely, I agreed. The slippery slope. It's like if they make murder by shotgun illegal the next thing you know they'll make murder with a carving knife illegal.

    Yeah, he responded in knee-jerk fashion. Then paused, not quite sure what to make of that.

    And when they say something that is just a repeat of Fox or Limbaugh (which is always) I start grinning. When they've made the point I say, in a friendly voice, "Yeah, that's what the elites at Fox are trying to make regular people believe, but I think most of us are smart enough to know better."

    I never argue. Well, almost never. All you have to do is know their positions, repeated by rote, and think about them. Most of them are contradictory, so you just pull out one to "illustrate" the other and then...darn. They contradict. Gee whiz.

    I'm a big believer in five things I think are potent.

    One is seed planting. People have so much ego on the line during a debate that the most affective thing you can do is plant seeds of reality. They'll take them with them and some will grow. Don't debate; plant.

    The second thing is humor. Keep it friendly, but don't hesitate to laugh at their beliefs. In a nice way of course. They are silly and if you can first present yourself as knowledgeable and well informed about their issues you can get places by gently laughing at them as you would laugh at the behavior of a baby or child.

    Third, is repetition. It works. Make your point, then make it again. And then repeat it. Conservatives and Aynians are taught by hearing phrases and thoughts repeated over and over by the media. It takes repetition to get through.

    The fourth is moderation. It's hard to take a person from A to Z, but you can move them to B, and later to C. If you present Z their knee-jerk reaction will blind them to all reality. But if you ease them out of their cult like brain function you can accomplish something. As Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss said, "Baby steps."

    Fifth, spit in their face. That always works.

    A Southerner in Yankeeland

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