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The Political and Religious Views of a Not Quite Normal Citizen of the Greatest Country in the World

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

How to Lose an Argument

Recently I've been thinking about the discourse, or lack there of, regarding many things. Whether it's politics, religion, geek fandom, or whatever you discuss with someone, there are two ways to do it. You can either be civil and respectful, calmly discussing differences of opinions, or you can act like a child. Unfortunately, it seems like most people today want to act like children, either throwing a tantrum when they don't get their way, or rubbing their victory in the faces of their opponents. So, I'm hear to tell you, in no uncertain terms, how you can immediately make yourself lose an argument.

It's really a lot simpler than you might think. When you boil it all down, it turns out that the one true and certain way to lose is start name calling. Once you get to that point, you obviously have no further valid points to make, so you have to start attacking your opponent, and not their viewpoint.

Let's break it down, just in case that wasn't obvious enough. Once you accuse the person you're disagreeing with/about of being one of the following, you can just walk away, because you've lost.

1. Hitler/Nazi - This is an oldy but a goody. It seems like every time someone in power does something people don't like, they're suddenly Hitler and those that agree with them are Nazis. Let's get this right out there, there was one Hitler and he was, and this is what I have told my daughter, the single most evil person in history. So let's not be so free in comparing people to him, alright? Now, as for "Nazi", unless someone specifically says that they are a Nazi, or were a member of the National Socialist Party in Germany in the 1930's & 1940's, then they aren't a Nazi. You calling them that does not make it so, and just shows how low YOU are willing to go.

2. Communist - Just like in #1, unless someone tells you that they are a communist, they aren't. You remember Senator McCarthy, right? Don't be like him.

3. Racist - I'm not going to tell you that there isn't racism in the world. Heck, I'm not even going to tell you that you might be valid in calling someone a racist, under certain circumstances. However, if someone disagrees with your point, and you happen to have different ethnicities, they probably aren't racist for disagreeing with you. Just like anyone who was white that disagreed with President Obama wasn't being racist, those in that are not white who disagree with President Trump aren't being racist. Let's stop throwing that word around without justification, OK?

4. Sexist - Yup, just like racist. Disagreeing with/about someone of the opposite gender from you doesn't make you sexist. Do you want to know what does make you sexist? Making gender the primary reasoning for anything where gender doesn't matter. Here's an example: "She's the best person for the job because she has these qualifications" is not a sexist statement, but "She's the best person for the job because we need more women in that position" is sexist.

5. Uneducated - This one really gets me. Calling someone uneducated, stupid, what-have-you, because they don't agree with you is the ultimate in pomposity. "If you were smarter, you'd agree with me" is probably the single most annoying thing that I hear. So, what's the minimum level of education where you're allowed to have an opinion? In my mind, everyone is entitled to their opinion. If you think they need more education about a topic, then EDUCATE THEM, don't insult them. Layout your facts and let them draw their own conclusions. Of course, they might just educate you right back, which isn't a problem, in my opinion.

There are many more examples, but these seem to be the top five that I hear constantly. Here's a simple rule, if your opponent can do the old "Sticks and Stones..." bit from grade school to what you just said, you've lost.

I hope this helps everyone out there to start being a bit more civil in their discourse.

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