Studies show that the ordinary person engages in an argument approximately once every 1.20076 days (excluding Sundays and holidays, when arguments are more frequent). And how you go about arguing will determine whether, on the one hand, you end up feeling as if you have just demonstrated that your argumentative capacities are roughly equal to those of a sponge, or, on the other hand, your opponent leaves dizzy and reeling from the blows of your rhetorical sledgehammer. So how do you make sure that you win every time? To do this, you need to learn effective argumentation strategies. And as always, The Flying News is here to help.
- Use Logic. This is a time-tested method. However, it has at least two serious drawbacks: It requires you to actually think reasonably and stop looking at your cell-phone. It also requires your opponent to think reasonably. You might, for example, make a brilliant argument such as the following:
You claim that dolphins are fish.
However, no fish nurses its young,
and all dolphins nurse their young.
So dolphins are not fish, you fool.
You might expect your opponent to admit the force of your logic, and own his error. But the opponent—here known as the fool—might respond with something like this:
What are you talking about nursing for? I was talking about fish.
In that case, you can conclude that reasoned argument is not going to help you. Instead, you should consider one of our other strategies.
- The sledgehammer. This strategy is simple and effective. Simply take your sledgehammer and give your opponent a forceful blow on the side of the head. This is a nearly fool-proof strategy. It does, of course, have at least one bad side: carrying around a heavy sledge-hammer is tiring.
- Accuse your opponent of suffering from a psychological condition. This is somewhat less of a knock-down strategy than the previous, but it does not require the same equipment and is pretty effective at ending any discussion (without requiring much thought). Say, for example, some imbecile calls your latest poem “stupid.” In that case, you can respond by saying: “How can you say that; you must be poiemophobic.” Or if some importunate person makes a fuss about errors in your syntax, simply respond: “You soloikophobe!”1
Proven Ways to Win Arguments: A Flying News Exclusive
“Dispute philosophique 04,” by Jeangagnon. CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
- For this strategy, it does help to carry around a Greek lexicon. The smaller versions are, however, definitely lighter than a sledgehammer. ↩