Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A brief comparison of argumentative styles, then vs now

Things have changed. Whether for the better or not is open to individual interpretation. What can not be questioned is that things are different. For example,
This is how things used to go when there was an argument...

"I would like to assert that (...) is a problem."

"I would like to challenge your assertion by saying (...) isn't a problem at all."

"Here is a list of reasons why I feel that it is a problem."

"I too have a list of reasons, and that list refutes your claim."

"I would like to buffer my list of clinical reasons with a number of personal experiences I've accrued throughout my life regarding this matter and why I am emotionally invested in it."

"Being as I am a different person than you, my life experiences and emotions vary from yours."
Back and forth like this for an indeterminate period of time until one of the following conclusions was reached:

  • One person conceded defeat; "Your unique perspective has brought factors to my attention I had not previously considered and I have changed my mind. Thank you." (this rarely happened)
  • A civil stalemate was reached: "I'm afraid we're at an impasse. While I disagree with your opinions, I appreciate you sharing them with with me and giving me an opposing view to think about. Thank you." (this happened sometimes)
  • A less-than-civil stalemate was reached: "Well, fuck you then." (this happened a lot)

This is how things go when there is an argument now...

"I think..."

That's it. We don't bother with preliminaries any more. No time for playoffs, we're going straight to the Super Bowl.
Are you against gun control? Well, that means you support murdering innocent people including children.
Do you support the idea that Black Lives Matter? Well, that means you support murdering innocent police officers and their children.
All or nothing, white or black. No room for nuance or flexibility whatsoever. All in, baby! Go friggin' huge or go home. You're either on my side or you're a monster.
Quicker? Definitely.
More entertaining? Hmm, maybe. Sometimes.
More effective? Doubtful.