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Joe Mariani

More Liberal "Rules" for Arguing
Aug 14, 2003

Since soon after 9/11, I've spent a lot of time arguing politics and war with hysterical, angry Liberals. Now, one might wonder why I bother with such a pointless activity. It's like the old joke about hitting yourself on the head with a hammer - - sure it hurts, but it feels so good when you stop! Since I wrote Liberal "Rules" for Arguing, the Liberals have gotten, in general, even more shrill and even more desperate to prove their point (whatever it is these days). The patterns of their arguments are easier to identify than ever, allowing me to bring you five more Liberal "Rules" for Arguing that I've identified.

#6: Reductio ad Absurdum
Webster's Dictionary defines it as "a process of reasoning which involves the denial of the first of a series of dependent propositions as a consequence of the denial of the last", but YOU define it as "an invaluable arguing technique". Every child can understand "If that's true, then I'm a monkey's uncle" means "it's NOT true", because while you may be a monkey's great- grandnephew, you can't be its uncle. If your opponent says something like, "Iraq refused to obey 17 UN resolutions that it agreed to", immediately take that argument past its furthest "logical" conclusion and reply, "Then by your logic, we must invade every country that disobeys a UN resolution!" If your opponent doesn't catch the end run you made around the "logical" end-point of his argument, you can involve him in a long, drawn-out argument over exactly how many UN resolutions HE feels must be disobeyed before automatically triggering an invasion! With luck, he will forget that he was going to say there were many other reasons to remove Saddam from power, and you can win by "proving" that he wants to invade other countries!

#7: Wear Hawk's Clothing
Facts don't matter; consensus does. People need constant reassurance that they're not alone in their views. Conservatives needs constant validation from others that think like they do, whether they want to admit it or not. A lack of validation leads to self-doubt. You agree with me, right? Good. All people (except Liberals, of course, who don't need validation... right?) are sheep at heart; they just follow each other's arguments. You can use this against them by beginning statements with "I used to be a Conservative/Republican, but..." or "I used to support George W. Bush, but..." (remember, don't use a diminishing/patronising nickname for Bush to feel like you have power over him; it makes you more believable). If you can make your opponent believe that you USED to be on his side, but have changed sides, he will be more likely to change sides to follow you like the sheep you know he is underneath his pretense of speaking his own mind. If it doesn't work, attack him (as per Rule #1: Attack Your Opponent) for being a sheep following the Conservative/Republicans. Completely ignore any reply he makes that claims you were trying to make him follow YOU. You still agree with me on this, don't you? Good, I must be right, then.

#8: Hijack the Argument
Take any portion of your opponent's argument, drop the useless context (well, it's useless to YOU), and use it to change the subject entirely. For instance, if you are being attacked by someone for saying that Bush lied (or about WMD, terrorists, tax-cuts-for-the-rich, or whatever you are supposed to attack him for on that particular day) and your opponent demands that you show him proof to back up your statements (as if YOU need proof, when you know you're right!), take his demand for evidence of your "allegations" and demand that HE show YOU evidence that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or ties to Al-Qaeda! When he responds with some boring cut-and-paste from the 1997 UNSCOM report saying Iraq hadn't turned over its known WMD, or the article about the court case that decided Iraq trained the 9/11 hijackers at Salman Pak, you'll know you've succeeded in hijacking the argument HE was making about "proof" to put HIM on the defensive!

#9: Play the Hate
How do you know your opponent hates you? Why, by his attacks on you, of course! Yes, even when he pretends to frame his attacks as questions, like "do you know a better way to stop terrorism other than by going after countries that support them?" what he's REALLY saying is " You're stupid! I hate you!" When he says "Don't you think Saddam was a bad person?" or "What's your plan for fighting terrorism, then?" it's easy to see that what he's really saying is "YOU'RE a bad person! I hope you die!" Let him know you're on to him -- ask him why he hates you and is attacking you. Tell him how his obvious hate makes you feel. This will put him on the defensive. Be careful; your opponent is likely to try to use this one against you. Even your most innocent, gentle and justified questions, like "Bush is personally murdering people on purpose to steal oil!", "Republicans hate Muslims!" or "You're a moronic dittohead sheep!" are likely to be met by your opponent pretending that you're attacking him or Bush (the nerve!). Ask your opponent why you're not being allowed to question the government. Let everyone know that your First Amendment rights are being violated! Better yet, ask your opponent why he hates America and freedom of speech. This will almost always cause him to splutter and gasp as he tries to respond to your revealing his true intentions. Best of all, you will have diverted his questioning your unquestionable objectivity.

#10: Return to Start
After leading your opponent in a wild goose chase by attacking him personally, switching your arguments, raising the bar for and attack the sources of the proof he offers, finding ways to Blame America First, and all the other argument techniques listed here, your opponent will be exhausted, his nerves ragged. Now is the time to return to your very first, original argument, as if the entire exchange never even occurred! Ignore any proof that your opponent has offered (it's all made up anyway), and the fact that you've switched your argument (from "there were no WMD" to "the US supplied them", for instance). Just go right back to the very start and force your opponent to begin all over again. If he claims that you have already argued over this before, inform him that he couldn't convince you! The best thing about this tactic is that you have already attacked his sources and raised the bar on them, so that he will have to START with his best sources and go even further to find "proof" that you will accept! He will likely give up entirely at this point, allowing you to claim a complete victory, which you deserve. After all, your opponent obviously has no regard for your feelings, or he wouldn't upset you by arguing!

I've been repeatedly subjected to all these techniques and more while arguing with Liberals. I can tell when I successfully identify a new technique by the violently angry way they react when I identify it! It's as if they all follow the same manual, and I've been able to identify a few of the rules they play by. And "play" is the operative word; they seem to think world politics and war are a game, and they argue to win "points" no matter HOW they have to do it. Truth, belief, conviction, evidence, logic and proof are just convenient ropes with which to bind the hands of their opponents, aren't they?

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