Stupid Debating Tricks — 9 Of My Least Favorite Debate Tactics

1) Attack The Messenger: Instead of addressing the argument that has been made, people using this method attack the person making it instead.

2) The Bait & Switch: When a claim is made and your opponent refutes it, don’t try to respond, simply change the subject.

3) The Blitzkrieg: The goal here is blast your opponent with so many accusations that they can’t possibly respond….It doesn’t matter if all — or even any — of the accusations are true, relevant, or make any sense. The goal is just to get them out there. Making an accusation takes a few seconds, refuting one takes much longer. So an opponent confronted with these accusations will never actually have time to respond.

4) Enter The Strawman: Tremendously exaggerating your opponent’s position and then claiming to fight against a position they don’t hold is always a great way to dodge the issues…Eventually some people start to take them seriously and build on them.

5) History Will Be Kind To Me For I Intend To Write It: The technique is similar to using strawmen in some respects. What you try to do is to rewrite history, to claim that a debate in a previous time was different than it actually was…The build-up to Iraq war has been treated in a similar fashion by the anti-war crowd. Before the war there were complaints that Bush wouldn’t stick to one reason for invading, now there are claims that it was only about WMD. There was almost no debate on Capitol Hill between Dems & the GOP about whether Iraq actually had WMD until after the war when it became apparent that none were going to be quickly be found. Throwaway lines that were hardly noticed before the war (like the controversial yet true 16 words in the State of the Union speech) have been treated as if they were core arguments made by the Bush administration after the fact. It’s all just a way to rewrite history.

6) I’m Not Hearing You — La La La: Just totally ignoring what your opponent has to say and going on to something else…

7) Motives Matter, Results Don’t: …start questioning the motives of their opponents…they just claim that there are impure motives afoot…When the real issues are too tough to deal with, it’s all too easy to just pretend something else is what you’re really upset about.

8) That Context Is On A Need To Know Basis: Strip[] away the context…It’s very easy to make someone look like a bad guy if you simply don’t include every detail that doesn’t support your case.

9) That’s Mean, Mean, Mean! …claim that certain policy proposals are “mean”. Once you say that, results, logic, how expensive the project is, etc, etc, goes out the window and the argument becomes over whether someone is “mean” or not. MORE

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.