Skip to main content

One of my favorite pastimes for many years now is engaging in debate or argumentation with so-called conservatives.  Usually, the most bat-shit crazy and extreme they are, the more I enjoy it.  I've been doing it for so long that my wife usually turns to me and asks me to engage in "conversation" or debate with right-wingers in different settings, be it family gatherings, or other situations where a loud-mouth conservative starts spewing his nonsense.

Here's my "secret" about how to win every argument with a so-called conservative...

The first rule is that you need to enter the debate in a completely dispassionate manner.  In other words, don't let your emotions interfere with the inevitable take-down of the conservative interlocutor.  This is why my wife usually turns me loose against them, because I'm very patient and don't let the nonsense being spewed by the typical conservative get the better of me.

The second rule is for you to understand that more than anything, the things that presents a real challenge to a conservative is debating someone who exhibits an almost cult-like conviction (just like they do), and a cocksure attitude about an argument.  So attitude is very important.  The typical loud-mouth conservative expects you (if you are a so-called Liberal or Progressive) to fold quickly, or be intimidated, back-down, or exhibit weakness.

The third rule is to set the cognitive trap you'll need to destroy his argument. Because, by and large, the typical conservative argument is based on fallacies, misinformation, ignorance, religious dogma, low-brow base instincts, and outright lies, they rely on brashness, insults, loudness, and crass vulgarity to make their point.  Because society recognizes that type of behavior as being unacceptable (or at least shunned), it is easy for you to set the stage for your eventual domination of the argument by pointing out from the get go that you will only engage in debate if it is conducted with civility and respect.

So forbid name-calling, insults, ad-hominen attacks, physically-intimidating behavior, and vulgarity.  Let it be known that the first person that engages in that type of behavior will be showing weakness in their argument... By calling out that type of behavior by name (crass, vulgarity, ignorance), he will be hard-pressed not to accept your challenge.  Once that parameter is set, you're on your way to destroy your opponent (in the argument).

I do understand that this may be difficult to do for many people who may be physically intimidated by loud-mouth and brash individuals...

The fourth rule is for you to have a very clear understanding of the main issues of contention when it comes to the different world views between Liberals and Conservatives.  Those issues include morality, religion, government, business, freedom, politics.

Now, the best situation for engaging in debate with a Conservative is if there are spectators.  For example, I've been at family gatherings where I've engaged someone who is a die-hard conservative in debate, and there are 6, 7, 8 people listening intently.

Doing so online is great also because even people with average or below-average reading comprehension can be influenced if you present your argument in a coherent manner.

Regarding the debate or argumentation, all you have to do to take down your opponent is to use the Socratic method.

The Socratic method is a negative method of hypothesis elimination, in that better hypotheses are found by steadily identifying and eliminating those that lead to contradictions.  

The key here is identifying and eliminating those [arguments] that lead to contradictions.

So because we know that the typical conservative is animated and/or influenced by debased attitudes (racism, jingoism, ethnocentricism, extreme nationalism, religious fundamentalism, homophobia, rage, ignorance), and misinformation (FoxNoise propaganda, etc.), if you use the Socratic Method, you can quickly demonstrate inconsistencies and contradictions in their arguments.

And this is on every important issue: Separation between Church and State; education; equality under the law; the rule of law; their justification of the use of torture; economics and the free market system; the business regulatory framework; religious fundamentalism; family, morality, work ethics, social safety net, national defense.

Why is this?  Well, at the end of the day is not about labels, like Liberal, Progressive, Conservative; it's about sane vs. insane, balanced vs. unbalanced, right vs. wrong, modernity vs. outdated.

The reason the typical conservative believes in a distorted world view is mainly because of the effects of propaganda and misinformation which has been carefully-designed to push certain buttons, or take advantage of their underdeveloped intellects, or debased attitudes, and this of course is being done by the ruling elites and corporate interests so they can enrich themselves, and obtain more power at the expense of the populace.

For all these reasons it is that in reality it's extremely easy to completely obliterate any conservative who engages you in debate, if civility is maintained.

But the key is, again, to remain calm, methodical, dispassionate (don't let your emotions be affected by their lunacy), and firm, fearless, and showing conviction in your argument.

Try it... About Occupy Wall Street people inviting Tea Party people to engage in public debate at local community centers?  The organizers for both camps would only have to agree that the debates will be conducted with civility and respect--no insults, ad-hominen attacks, threats, yelling, etc.  If that agreed to, and you use the Socratic Method, they won't be able to hold their ground.  And it would be painfully obvious to the audience.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Renee, Thumb, JekyllnHyde, Alumbrados, Ed in Montana, buffalo soldier, easong, raboof, Upper West, copymark, alyosha, importer, wytcld, MouseThatRoared, Wintermute, CleverNickName, SanJoseLady, mslat27, dsb, xynz, freelunch, Bob Friend, bumblebums, exNYinTX, expat germany, expatjourno, niemann, opinionated, bronte17, 88kathy, TracieLynn, EricS, highacidity, farmerhunt, jjhalpin, oceanview, fumie, tomephil, psnyder, danthrax, TexDem, Noodles, Damnit Janet, QuoVadis, Binas Non Sunt, econlibVA, zerelda, Sembtex, randallt, NapaJulie, Albanius, rickeagle, Armand451, sawgrass727, Gowrie Gal, Ohkwai, rapala, A Citizen, maybeeso in michigan, historys mysteries, sandblaster, NoMoreLies, Ckntfld, SherwoodB, OpherGopher, PBen, Alice Venturi, kitchen sink think tank, trinityfly, fixxit, SaraBeth, libbie, Carnivorous Plantling, Sandino, Savvy813, Anna M, Aint Supposed to Die a Natural Death, sodalis, dsteffen, Cory Bantic, peacestpete, mightymouse, SoulCatcher, martini, Shirl In Idaho, Sanuk, BachFan, Mr Bojangles, Kimball Cross, Russgirl, smokeymonkey, Shakludanto, blueoasis, NBBooks, triv33, gpoutney, gatorcog, Terminus, unclebucky, ER Doc, webgenie, Pilgrim X, bumbi, wargolem, thenekkidtruth, Unknown Quantity, democracy is coming, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, chgobob, markthshark, Nulwee, One Pissed Off Liberal, bluicebank, BeninSC, merrylib, Loudoun County Dem, camlbacker, verso2, linkage, Flyfish100, la urracca, HeartlandLiberal, Matt Z, deepeco, bnasley, US Blues, jedennis, letsgetreal, jhop7, pioneer111, leonard145b, fallina7, M Sullivan, A Person, TomP, Empower Ink, gizmo59, rmonroe, sprint1745, TX Freethinker, ScottyUrb, Involuntary Exile, smrichmond, Buckeye Nut Schell, Akonitum, jamess, Therapy, Lujane, pamelabrown, pickandshovel, alnep, makettle, My Spin, palantir, ekyprogressive, dmhlt 66, ibinreno, fayea, RWN, LaFeminista, clent, prettygirlxoxoxo, Bule Betawi, J M F, Kansas Born, Dirtandiron, lostinamerica, matmak, CanyonWren, LeftOfYou, susanWAstate, CamillesDad1, worldly1, elziax, kevinpdx, Keith Pickering, IreGyre, sfarkash, vadasz, Little Flower, nancat357, deviant24x, Leftcandid, Words In Action, Its the Supreme Court Stupid, commonmass, smileycreek, awcomeon, icemilkcoffee, kjoftherock, boriquasi, Crabby Abbey, wvmom, ATFILLINOIS, CrissieP, Hoopgreen, Puddytat, DeanObama, DiegoUK, Loose Fur, ZedMont, soaglow, JanG, TheHalfrican, Onomastic, annieli, Mike08, Maximilien Robespierre, Bluefin, ozsea1, bgblcklab1, implicate order, La Gitane, FarWestGirl, OhioNatureMom, kevin k, CoExistNow, trumpeter, boomerchick, zukesgirl64, IllanoyGal, thomask, political mutt, Vayle, createpeace, TRPChicago, poliwrangler, waiting for lefty, Mets102, Vatexia, googie, Chitown Kev, aerie star, ParkRanger, thepothole, Azazello, Mathazar, DawnN, IowaBiologist, Heart n Mind, DelilahOhMy, damfino, cwsmoke, ahumbleopinion, David54, tb92, AnnieR, FloridaSNMOM, Trotskyrepublican, TomorrowsProgressives, This old man, Syoho, the Don, TBug, Arahahex, BusyinCA, MartyM, BRog, doroma, qannabbos, notdarkyet, Kinak, ItsaMathJoke, DarkLadyNyara, mumtaznepal, lastlegslaststand, BabeInTotalControlofHerself, Captain Chaos, DamselleFly, countwebb, Eric Twocents, SanFernandoValleyMom, TheVault, Dan Schapiro, Mysoreback, Publius Cornelius Tacitus

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site