Monday, July 13, 2009

Phil's Ten Commandments for Conservatives arguing with Progressives

Inspired in part by Morgan's similar post. Only mine is by a conservative, for conservatives.
1) Be polite
2) Remain as calm as possible
3) Stay away from ad hominem. It's their favorite, and they'll look pretty petty in short order if you refrain from it. They can't help themseleves.
These first three will quickly reveal a glaring deliniation between the rational one and the emotional one. I learned this as a kid from my brother Jeff. He "got it". I didn't. At the time. If people would just stick to these three, it would be enough 80% of the time. Your opponent's head will likely behave like a boiled egg in a microwave.

The next few are about fairness. They're really related to the first three, though, as your opponent's idea of "fair" is "I get to make zingers, and if you do you're mean and stupid."

4) Don't let them put words in your mouth. If they claim you said something you have not said, call them out on it.
5) Don't put words in their mouths. Argue with what this person is saying right now, not the other 10,000 self-described liberals you've argued with over the years.
The last ones are wrong turns you don't want to travel down. They'll get you off topic and mired down in things that have nothing to do with the point you're attemptint to make.

7) Don't let them get away with massive generalizations, like "Fox News Lies" or "you're being mean". Make them give you examples, or tell you how you're being mean.
8) Of course, this means you shouldn't use them either. But don't worry. You shouldn't have to. The facts are on your side. Use them to back up your observations.
9) Speaking of facts, bone up on them. Get informed.
10) Remember that ultimately they want to force their moral code on all of the rest of us, while accusing anybody with a moral code, especially a Christian-based one ... of trying to foist their moral code on everyone else. Point this out to them and don't let them forget it.
All the while, never, ever forget the first two rules, especially. Calm. Polite. Firm, but calm and polite.

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