Over the past several years, I’ve engaged in numerous debates with my liberal friends, and I think I’ve just about learned most of the tricks they pull at this late stage of the game.
Here’s my short list of the “Favorite Nine”:
1) Attack The Messenger: Instead of addressing the argument that has been made, people using this method attack the person making it instead. This is particularly easy for many on the left who believe that almost everyone on the right is a racist, sexist, homophobic, Fascist, or some other horrible label.
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.
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
5) History Will Be Kind 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.
6) I’m Not Hearing You — La La La: Just totally ignoring what your opponent has to say and going on to something else is another technique often used by politicians of all stripes.
7) Motives Matter, Results Don’t: Oftentimes when people on the left are losing an argument or can’t explain why they seem to be so inconsistent on certain issues, they start questioning the motives of their opponents.
The Bush administration may have claimed to care about stopping terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, humanitarian causes, or UN Resolutions, but it was really all about stealing oil, getting payoffs for business buddies, getting revenge for an attack on “daddy", etc.
8) Context On A Need To Know Basis: Stripping away the context of a situation is a favored technique of people who hate the United States. They talk about something the United States has done without discussing the reasoning behind it, the actions that provoked it, or other things that the United States might have also done that would place us in a more favorable light. 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) Mean, Mean, Mean! When it comes to certain subjects, ordinarily rational people turn into complete bubbleheads. For example, you could probably put together a bill that called for nuclear waste to be dumped in every Walmart in America and as long as you called it the, “Feed The Children For A New Tomorrow Bill” about a 1/3rd of the American population would support it. So naturally, some people take advantage of this and claim that certain policy proposals are “mean”. You hear this all the time from the left in Congress: “Mean spirited Republicans”.
This is of course, not to say that right-leaning debaters don’t use any of these diversionary tactics – they do. But they seem to be more prevalent in use among the liberal and progressive crowd.
If you want to debate on facts, figures and arithmetic and leave out the ad-hominem and straw-man tactics, I’m all ears. I love a good debate, and when I’m beat, accept defeat graciously.