August 21, 2007

How to Win Arguments: 5 Tips for Dummies

I argue very well. Ask any of my remaining friends. I can win an
argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this, and
steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great
respect, they don't even invite me. You too can win arguments.
Simply follow these rules:

1. Drink Liquor

Suppose you're at a party and some hotshot intellectual is expounding
on the economy of Peru, a subject you know nothing about. If you're
drinking some health-fanatic drink like grapefruit juice, you'll hang
back, afraid to display your ignorance, while the hotshot enthralls
your date. But if you drink several large martinis, you'll discover
you have STRONG VIEWS about the Peruvian economy.

You'll be a WEALTH of information.
You'll argue forcefully, offering searing insights
and possibly upsetting furniture. People will be impressed. Some
may leave the room.

2. Make things up

Suppose, in the Peruvian economy argument, you are trying to prove
Peruvians are underpaid, a position you base solely on the fact that
YOU are underpaid, and you're damned if you're going to let a bunch
of Peruvians be better off. DON'T say: "I think Peruvians are
underpaid." Say: "The average Peruvian's salary in 1981 dollars
adjusted for the revised tax base is $1,452.81 per annum, which is
$836.07 before the mean gross poverty level."

NOTE: Always make up exact figures.

If an opponent asks you where you got your information, make THAT
up, too. Say: "This information comes from Dr. Hovel T. Moon's study
for the Buford Commission published May 9, 1982. Didn't you read it?"
Say this in the same tone of voice you would use to say "You left
your soiled underwear in my bath house."

3. Use meaningless but weighty-sounding words and phrases.

Memorize this list:

Let me put it this way
In terms of
Vis-a-vis
Per se
As it were
Qua
So to speak

You should also memorize some Latin abbreviations such as "Q.E.D.,"
"e.g.," and "i.e." These are all short for "I speak Latin, and you do
not."

Here's how to use these words and phrases. Suppose you want to say:

"Peruvians would like to order appetizers more often, but they don't
have enough money."

You never win arguments talking like that. But you WILL win if you
say: "Let me put it this way. In terms of appetizers vis-a-vis
Peruvians qua Peruvians, they would like to order them more often,
so to speak, but they do not have enough money per se, as it were.
Q.E.D."

Only a fool would challenge that statement.

4. Use snappy and irrelevant comebacks

You need an arsenal of all-purpose irrelevent phrases to fire back
at your opponents when they make valid points. The best are:

You're begging the question.
You're being defensive.
Don't compare apples and oranges.
What are your parameters?

This last one is especially valuable. Nobody, other than
mathematicians, has the vaguest idea what "parameters" means.

Here's how to use your comebacks:

You say As Abraham Lincoln said in 1873...
Your opponents says Lincoln died in 1865.
You say You're begging the question.

OR

You say Liberians, like most Asians...
Your opponents says Liberia is in Africa.
You say You're being defensive.

5. Compare your opponent to Adolf Hitler

This is your heavy artillery, for when your opponent is obviously
right and you are spectacularly wrong. Bring Hitler up subtly. Say:
"That sounds suspiciously like something Adolf Hitler might say" or
"You certainly do remind me of Adolf Hitler."

So that's it: you now know how to out-argue anybody. Do not try to
pull any of this on people who carry weapons.

1 comment:

Nevenka Mazic said...
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