There’s an art to arguing.
- Start by clearly stating your position.
- Outline your key arguments clearly.
- Present evidence to support your arguments.
- Hope that the other person/people appreciate little things like facts and evidence. You absolutely cannot rely on this being the case.
- Critically evaluate the evidence presented by others.
- Use further evidence to rebuff their claims.
- Again, hope that the people you’re arguing with aren’t complete fucking morons.
There are a couple of other things to avoid if you don’t want to come across as a total fuckhead. First, make sure that your key claims aren’t demonstrably false.
If I can show that the premises that you’re basing your arguments on are complete bullshit with nothing but an internet connection and 45 seconds, then you need to seriously reconsider your position. Do not, and I cannot emphasise this enough, persist in SHOUTING your easily disprovable “facts” into the wind. Just don’t do it.
Then again, if facts and evidence aren’t your jam, I suppose all you can do is howl at the moon and hope you don’t shit yourself from straining too hard.
Anyway, the second thing to avoid, the most important thing, and the thing that absolutely boils my piss, is whataboutery. For the uninitiated, whataboutery goes something like this. I’m sure you will recognise it:
“Here’s a really important issue and I think it’s important that it’s addressed.”
“What about this other important issue? Do you not even care about that?”
“Well… yes, it’s just that… you know… that’s not the conversation we’re having right now.”
“You’re a fucking dick. You only care about the issue you raised, but what about that other largely unrelated issue I’ve just brought up that you weren’t talking about! Clearly my issue means your issue doesn’t really exist at all, you fucking leftist, libtard … I dunno, fucking… snow-cuck… or something.”
“Well … I mean… I can care about several things at once. It’s not that your issue isn’t important and it’s not that anything you’ve said about it isn’t true, it’s just that… well… this is the conversation we’re having right now, and you saying “well what about this other thing?” is only serving to derail that conversation and steer it towards something else. Look, see, you’ve already done it. That’s literally what’s happening right now.”
I honesty don’t know whether people engage in whataboutery on purpose as a tactic to deliberately derail conversations, or whether they genuinely think they’re ‘arguing’ their point like some sort of … great uh… argue…ist. Sorry, I’ve had two glasses of wine and that sentence got away from me a little bit there.
Anyway, I suspect that it’s a bit of both. But when you encounter whataboutery, you can do one of two things:
- Point out, in no uncertain terms that you know what the person is doing and that it’s fucking shit, or
- Take off, nuke the entire site from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure
And if you find yourself about to engage in whataboutery, take yourself to the nearest bin, get in it, and just stay there.
Shhhhhhhh. You’re in the bin now.