There will come a time when someone may find themselves in a social situation, discussing a topic with some stubborn or opinionated fool who adamantly and stubbornly refuses to see logic and only wishes to change the mind of everyone else to suit their point of view. While there is no clear way to win such an discussion with a drunk (as oft these things tend to start) the sober but stubborn individual can be reasoned with, and even debated to a more open-minded viewpoint.
Over some abstract amount of blogs (and over a different abstract period of time) I intend to outline some strategies or processes that can be used in such situations to formulate a defense, and defeat your (debate) enemies in verbal combat.
Firstly, the best way to win a fight is to not fight. Discretion is an intelligent choice and often the best form of defense is a prepared escape plan from touchy situations. When arriving at the party or social function, make it known to the host or general group that (for whatever reason) you may need to leave early or abruptly. Blame a baby-sitter, illness or some other variety of concocted story.
In the instances where this does not work, say in a place of work or inescapable situation, move on to other strategies.
The next strategy I call All is not one, one is not all.
The surest way to get someone to trip up in their argument is to force an escalation to an extreme. Listen out for absolute statements or all-encompassing “blanket” statements, such as;
British people love football.
The sky is blue.
In both these examples, the way to dissolve the legitimacy of the statement is to prove a scenario where the absolute statement does not apply, such as finding a British person who does not love football, or pointing out that the sky is not blue at night, or during sunrises/sunsets. Sweeping statements like this are extremely easy to refute, as simply finding the exception nullifies the statement. Finding the one that does not fit into the all is the way to win.
Moving on to the “one is not all” component. Your verbal opponent may point to news articles or (more frequently) social media headlines pointing out some fact or another. I find this occurs more frequently with racial or religious prejudices. A violent incident is cause by “some” group or another and this is used as an argument that all members of that group are of similar stock. In this situation, the strategy is to find the one that does not fit into their “all” definition. Otherwise, a decent amount of sarcastic extreme observations may hopefully help them see the light, such as… point at any random person having a drink and state absurdly “That person is having a drink, so therefore all people must be heavy drinkers right?“.
If your friend does not understand sarcasm or the fact that you are mocking them, you can already consider yourself the winner of the debate.
Finally for the end of part 1 of this X part series, if you are provided a statement based on personal experience they are also relatively easy to debate. The means of defense is to establish the limited scope of the individual in question (or even, any individual at all)… it may run like this
X: In my personal opinion, the British are very fond of football
Y: Have you met a proportionally large enough amount of British people to suggest this? If you experienced more, you may realize this is not the case.
Just be aware that this strategy does leave you looking a bit like a twatt.
Edward Leeming 06/01/2018
Note: These are guidelines only, the author does not guarantee or should not be held liable for arguments lost or ineffectually executed based strategies advised during this blog. If continued ineffective verbal jousting persists, see a licensed medical practitioner.