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Monday, January 30, 2012

How To Argue With A Liberal - Part XIV

Over the weekend I got in three separate arguments with some people who are far, far to the Left of me. When I got involved, I thought we were going to be having civil and respectful discussions (I know, I'm an Idealist). I stayed nice, but my opponents did not -- and the angrier they got the more fun I found myself having.

I have lots of experience getting insulted by Liberals, but very little experience getting insulted for the things I actually say (or write). Typically the epithets get hurled in my direction over things I didn't say. People tell me they want me to get run over by a bus, or that I am a Fox News watching piece of excrement, or that I am a dangerous old racist white person. My first wife and her family all openly prayed for the bus bit, but otherwise the other two things aren't true (except for the old bit, but I'm a helluva lot younger than that creepy Baby Boomer guy you see on TV playing Born To Be Wild with his daughter's rock band). I have several year's of published material to bear out how horrible, or unhorrible, I may or may not be, so when the slurs come at me they don't change my mind about myself.

I'm here to help. I want to instill that same confidence in you so you can go out and try to teach a Lib how the world works.

First, the Four Stages of Arguing With A Liberal:
  1. They paint you as an extremist
  2. They condescend and patronize, questioning your intelligence
  3. They hurl epithets and insults. Hint: The worse the language is the madder they are
  4. They go silent
Don't give up, even if you are an extremist.

When you get to Stage 2 you will likely be accused of watching Fox News non-stop, and this condescension may even take the form of you being called a "Bush defender." You're halfway there. Don't stray from the course.

Once you get to Stage 3 you can begin to relax -- you're almost done! Feel confident you have made your case once the f-bombs and wishes for your ugly and untimely demise begin. If you're only being called a 'fool' or an 'idiot' you need to put a little more effort in. At this point you will come up with the most concise and intelligent points you are capable of, but they will be for naught because your argument will remain unanswered.

Because after that, your opponent will go silent.* Don't go back and taunt them because that will only start you both back at Stage 1. Smile smugly and make a little tick mark in that tattered and frayed copy of the Constitution you carry with you. You do carry a copy of the Constitution with you, right? Good.

These rules apply to verbal conversation as well as social media and digital arguments. The stages don't vary, so stay calm and carry on.

Here's a list of words and accusations you should be prepared for:
  1. Racist. If you are a racist then you are stupid, if you are accused of being a racist without any corroborating evidence the accuser is stupid. You can't let yourself get offended over baseless accusations but you better make sure you are honest with yourself
  2. Fox News Watcher: To the Left this seems to be the worst thing you can call somebody. It's their codeword for "doltish moronic automaton who doesn't think for themself." Don't bother addressing this one, but if you feel like it you might want to taunt them for taking Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart and Bill Maher seriously. The choice is yours. I find that people have a special allegiance to Colbert and they get really, really mad when you call them on it
  3. Bush Lover. Don't even bother explaining that you don't like big-government presidents regardless of party affiliation, because you'll just sound like someone trying to defend something just for the sake of defending it. I sometimes like to explain to my opponent what a brilliant person G-Dubya must have been because he screwed things up so bad not even a genius like Obama can fix them. This usually shuts them up or disarms them. Again, with the choice thing
  4. Tea Party Goon. Don't bother asking when the last time a Tea Party gathering turned violent like the Occupy Oakland movement heroes who broke into City Hall this weekend and were so confused about what they're pissed off at that they destroyed a display of grammar school kids' artwork. Just ask them to defend the seedier sides of the Occupy movement. If they resort to using the term "Tea Bagger" call them a homophobe. They freakin' hate that and are never prepared for it.
  5. Rich Guy Lover. Don't bother asking your opponent if, given the choice, they would rather be a horrible billionaire or a scruffy loser occupying public property in the name of, er, something. Of course the Occupier will twist his dreads and scratch his pale skin as he earnestly tells you that if he was a billionaire he would "help the poor." Just tell them that somebody has to pay for all of this mess, and its obvious it not going to be him.
So there you have it, you are prepared for a verbal war with almost everyone. Stay the course, avoid acting like your opponent and explain the facts as best you know them. We're the adults in the argument so we should strive to keep it civil and keep the lines of communication open. Remember, as soon as you resort to name-calling you have proven your lack of grasp of the facts -- dont' be like them! 

Of course, when that fails, you can always resort to telling your opponent you have to leave because its time to pick up Muffy at the Mercedes dealer.

 * - There is one caveat to Stage 4. Occasionally you will come across a nattering nabob of nincompoopery who has completely run out of things to say, but doesn't bother to stop saying them. Don't confuse this for a lack of silence -- just because the mouth moves doesn't mean the brain is engaged.

Note at the Bottom: There are no Parts I through XIII, I was just hoping to get as many liberals as possible to search this blog for hours looking for them. Sort of an educational ploy.


Chad Brick said...

Naah, if you want to win an argument with me, here is what you need

1: Data. From reputable sources such as peer reviewed academic journals, official government reports, etc, not Heritage and Cato as delivered by Sean and Rush.

2: See number one.

3: See number two.

4: See number three.

5: Bring all of the data, not just cherry-picked garbage. Broad data sets, such as international comparisons, state by state comparisons, or long-term historical comparisons are good. Pointing out single instances of "Policy X was implemented, and some time after, Y happened, ergo X causes Y" will not change my mind on anything, ever.

6: Come with a deep understanding of game theory, externalities, agency, imperfect and asymmetric information, monopolies, real human behavior and irrationality, and all the other warts on your theory of how markets "work".

Jack Sharkey said...

None so blind as those who will not see.

Jeannie said...

Chad Brick
This is good. Lets go to the next level. Let leftist control freaks bring in their hand picked garbage, show them how often it is comparing apples and oranges or is hand picked data.
But this is one of their tactics too, to say that our arguements are either hand picked or "isolated incidents". It doesn't matter that their data is hand picked or biased or that there is always more than just 1 single instance. He (Chad) even states that his mind is closed.

Chad Brick said...

Can you give a single example of a common liberal talking point that is cherry picked, Jeannie? Just one?

I'll give you a conservative example, just to wet your mind. How about the "half of Americans don't pay taxes" trope. About half of the time, it is said the way I just quoted, leaving off the qualifiers "federal" and "income", without which it is false. Probably 48% of the time, the "income" qualifer is included but not "federal", leaving the statement still false. But on rare occasions, a conservative actually does get his or her talking point right, includes both qualifers, and actually says something that is literally true.

The problem is that even in the rare instances where the conservative doesn't lie, they are still cherry-picking, by ignoring FICA, state and local taxes, imputed corporate taxes, etc. Just a few minutes on Google would convince would demonstrate that FICA and most state and local taxes are regressive, offsetting most of the progressivity of the federal income tax code. Our *total* tax system is only only very mildly progressive, and virtually everyone pays taxes. The truth is about a million miles from even the single literally true variant of the talking point, let alone the pants-on-fire versions that you almost always hear.

So what's your rebuttal? Got an equally egregious counter example?