Let Us All Argue Effectively

The title might prompt you to think that I’m advocating increased hostility. Far from it. I’m merely asking that if you are to argue with others, especially on social media, that you do it in an actually persuasive way with valid (truthful) points. 

How would one do this? Let’s start with not putting up graphics posts that say things like: “White  looters  ignored  by  American  police.” The picture shows white people looting a store, carrying out televisions and clothing. Yeah. That’s a great example. Let’s explain.

The reason American police ignored them is because the looting took place in mexico several years ago. American Police weren’t within five-hundred miles. The country is not the United States.

But that doesn’t stop the “If they were black, there’d be dead bodies” kinds of arguments. That’s the same foolish argument that is trotted out any time a white person suspected of a heinous crime surrenders peacefully. I guess we’re supposed to assign a quota to police and enforce it. If a black person is shot by the police (and you should know the numbers before you go ballistic, so go do the research) an equivalent or larger number of white people should be shot to make the numbers balance. 

I guess the argument is that if there is a tragic killing of an innocent black person (one not involved in felonious activity) we need to kill a white person trying to surrender to police. Then the question becomes how many Asian and Latino suspects need to be shot as well? Will we drill down to the point where 1 person of Lithuanian descent must die for every 4 black people? Or, perhaps, we should just execute without trial one Irish woman for every 24 Latino deaths?  I’m going to have to get a better calculator.

The next bit of public discourse is that I’m going to immediately block anyone who posts a tweet, Facebook, Instagram, or other social media post that ends with SMH. (Sweet Merciful Heavens.) This is church-going Christian code for “I’d like to use an obscenity but people won’t let me be in the choir if I do.” Some of the most remarkably stupid and nasty things, almost always unfounded and poorly thought out, are posted with this as the end of the item.

Straw men are next on the list. They are effectively used to make you feel bad because you may not be doing enough in your heart when you read them. An example? Well, of course:

If you say, “All lives matter” does that include:

Syrian refugee lives?

The poorest of the poor in Brazil?

Haitian refugees?

The unjustly imprisoned?

Those who have nothing to eat?

The list usually has one or more items. It can also start with other items such as “Protect the unborn,” or “Diabetes is a tough gig,” etc., and then list all the other tragic things in the world. 

Be honest. Doesn’t that make you feel a bit small and churlish if you think that everyone’s life matters? But what does it mean? If you sponsor orphans, feed the homeless, advocate quietly for justice reform, and shovel snow for the old and ill, are you still a rotten-racist thug who isn’t doing enough? That’s how straw-men arguments work: you take a statement and then turn all possible alternatives against the reader. 

Let’s stop that one cold: you do what you can. Even Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos, with all their money, couldn’t address all the injustice and poverty in the world. How could you possibly be expected to handle every bad thing on the planet. More importantly, you are entitled to an opinion. Yes, freedom of speech still applies. Your thoughts are no less valid because someone who can paste clip art into Facebook doesn’t like your philosophy.

How about, instead of demeaning each other, and throwing sharp rocks – or calling out the police on someone because you disagree on Twitter – you rationally engage with factual arguments. I know most are incapable. They are spoon fed by the leftist media and never do their own research. 

That’s a tragedy. They are often the most prolific posters. More importantly, they knowingly post first, so as to get the clicks. They also post inflammatory things from the past just to keep the flames going. I don’t really care if it’s the story of a veteran’s group being denied service at a hotel in 2016, or a kid being hit by a patrol car in 2017 – both are equally in the past and whatever remedy needed to be taken has likely been instituted. When you check, you’ll find out policies have changed, people retrained, others jailed. But that picture that makes your heart swell with outrage is still floating around, waiting to pop up and make others pound their fist. 

And the same thing repeats over, and over. Seriously, if you don’t have a puppy picture, or a family reunion to post a picture of, maybe some of you shouldn’t be on the internet. You (and you know who you are) are the same vicious animals who spread rumors about the Murphy girl being a prostitute back in 1887. You know, those Catholics are all evil.  She was seen with a black fellow – I am sure her parents know….

Yup. Things never change, just the technology and the hate you choose to inflict on your fellow man.

Joseph Courtemanche

About Joseph Courtemanche

I'm a conservative Christian author who's been happily married for over 30 years. I am a Veteran of the United States Navy, Naval Security Group. I speak a few languages, I have an absurd sense of humor and I'm proud to be an American.

Comments

Let Us All Argue Effectively — 1 Comment

  1. People would be more sociable if we just got rid of social (or UNsocial) media altogether. But with the current mask/pandemic fetish (I know, I must be a “fake pandemic” conspiracy nut who hates grandmothers if I suggest mask wearing is bad in any way) and gathering-oriented businesses like family restaurants, churches, and gyms being closed (uh-oh, more proof that I may be a Trumpist dancing on the graves of the covid dead) another form of personal, warm, interaction called “face-to-face” socializing is also removed from American social life. Why do we have so much division? Because we are being socially isolated from each other to a breathtaking degree. And most people don’t understand how bad this is for us as a nation. Of course, everyone who disagrees with me can… [fill in the blank with the appropriate social media closer that is actually completely inappropriate] #loveyourblog #RLTW