5 DON’TS FOR FRIENDLY DEBATE
Debate is the act of discourse, a noble engagement where two parties sharpen minds and social skills by working their way through a sort of invisible board game. If the hard line is simply to dominate, the contest loses its luster. Hold your frame, and do not attach your sense of self to the position that you are defending.
Debate does not require that type of vulnerability, so long as the debater maintains his humility. Retain a playful heir, and it will surely be a fruitful endeavor. If no agreement can be reached, rejoice in having taken into account alternative viewpoints, shake hands, and be on your merry way. Here are ‘5 Don’ts’ to help ensure this outcome is achieved.
1) DON’T assume the only two sides to an argument are yours’ and the devil’s
While speaking to other humans, it isn’t advisable to treat them as if they are Satan incarnate because they think differently than you. Taking on the role of ‘Asshole for Jesus’ rarely goes over well. So quit levitating above your soapbox, the one you don’t have a leg to stand on, and sit back down. You know, on your ass, the one you push smelly shit out of… the same as everyone else.
2) DON’T compare people who hold an alternative viewpoint to Hitler.
Isn’t this redundant after the devil thing? No, because I’m talking about literally comparing people to Hitler. This also extends to other mass murdering dictators like Mussolini or Stalin, not that I’ve ever heard anyone make those comparisons.
Trump is Hitler, all white men are Hitler, people who are pro-gun or abortion are Hitler, anyone who thinks Lebron is better than Jordan is Hitler, Republicans are Hitler, and those who believe that social justice warriors are well meaning but woefully misguided collectivist ideologues who are the polar opposite of warriors…are Hitler.
Hitler held violently psychotic and racist ideas, shouted them to whoever would listen, and then organized and waged a giant murderous campaign to actually put those ideas into action. And he was successful to a large extent. So that’s your rubric for comparison. If your opponent doesn’t check those boxes, which he doesn’t, then he should not be compared to Hitler.
This is akin to constantly misusing the word literally. In other words, stop making lazy metaphors. Also, look up the Ad Hominem Fallacy, and read about it until you understand that insulting the source of an argument is not an effective attack against the argument itself.
3) DON’T use hypothetical ‘What ifs’ to support your opinion or disparage someone else’s, debates contained within the realm of reality are difficult enough.
This should go without saying, but meme culture dictates it must be addressed.
‘If Bernie were elected I bet there wouldn’t be (insert argument)’
‘If Hilary were elected I bet we wouldn’t be dealing with (insert argument)’
‘If America wasn’t stolen from the natives we wouldn’t have immigration issues.’
‘If it weren’t for assault rifles we wouldn’t have school shootings.’
Now I enjoy a good ‘What if’ as much the next guy, but don’t expect to be taken seriously if using them as a way to bolster your position.
Hindsight is 20/20, especially when relying on fantasy projections that can’t be falsified. If the timeline you are suggesting has already been collapsed, then anything your imagination extrapolates from it is nothing more than delusion. It isn’t reasonable. Your point is delusional and beyond reason.
4) DON’T pretend you hold a moral high ground. You don’t.
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. That’s my asshole for Jesus impression, but really. No one needs to be tossing rocks around, it’s dangerous, and everyone else is just as capable of doing it as you are. Speak with humility and self awareness, which is to say, as an equal. Nothing less or more.
5) DON’T make passive aggressive accusations. If that’s all you have,
Listen carefully to the following statement; If I think A, and you think B, we don’t have a difference of opinion, we have a difference of morality. See the passive aggressive accusation here? My position as someone who holds position A is implied to be the superior morality, whereas yours is inferior, or immoral.
Few things are lower than passive aggressiveness. If you lack the fortitude to make a direct accusation, come off of it. Not only is the tactic unbecoming, it is useless in debate. Passive aggressiveness is the ultimate sign of fearfulness, of an individual afraid to utter their own truth.
There you have it kids, five ways to engage in discourse without coming off like the hole of a dick, or the hole of an ass.