How to Debate Without Looking Things Up
November 5, 2010 · Posted in Philosophy
In any science truth is on the side of those who rigorously and objectively subjugate themselves to the scientific method, that is logic and evidence.
Anyone who proposes government solutions, almost inevitably steps into the realm of morality since a government cannot tax and thus cannot exist without the initiation of violence or threat thereof against peaceful individuals.
The problem is that most people studiously avoid admitting to themselves the obvious: That government solutions are nothing but aggression.
To pick a recent example, our San Francisco board of
sociopaths supervisors passed a regulation that prohibits the sale of toys alongside meals that don’t meet their desired nutritional guidelines, obviously targeting McDonalds and similar fast food chains.
So here is an example of how this could work:
Your average San Francisco granola lover may argue:
I’m glad they passed this ban. There’s too many obese people in the US as it is and not enough health regulations.
That’s quite a fascinating statement to make when you think about what’s behind it all. It may be completely accurate that there are too many obese people in the country and there may be statistics upon statistics to back this fact up, etc.
However, that’s not the point here. Nobody is even arguing these things.
Now, you could turn into the eternal libertarian google bot and start supplying all the evidence in the world about how FDA regulations and the USDA’s involvement in food and agriculture regulation encourage corruption and conglomeration and introduce huge entry barriers for small and healthy food producers, how corn subsidies and sugar import restrictions have led to an almost universal usage of high fructose corn syrup in all processed foods and how the origins of America’s obesity epidemic can be traced back to all this excessive government involvement in the food sector, and how giving government agencies even more power in this field cannot possibly solve the problem.
But why should you? Why should it always be us to supply all the evidence in the world while our opponents don’t even spend a fraction of that time and then still ridicule our ideas in the end.
When it comes to the big decisions, opinions, and principles, most people really fundamentally don’t care about objective evidence, facts, numbers, efficiency etc. What people do care about is morality, doing what’s good, right, just, etc. And their ideas of what is right and wrong are formed during their childhood. Evidence is only sought selectively, and for the purpose of reaffirming the preconceived beliefs that childhood trauma has already instilled in their minds.
So then there is a much easier way to approach this debate. Use the argument from morality and make it immediate and direct, cutting out all the buzzwords of “government”, “regulation”, etc.
In this particular case the argument could look as follows. In responding to our San Francisco friend above you could say:
I respect your preferences for health happy meals and I respect your choice, be it as a consumer or a seller, to refrain from buying or selling a McRib alongside a toy from/to others. I would never dream of supporting that your body or property be aggressed against for acting upon those preferences.
But would you do me that same courtesy?
Am I allowed to peacefully disagree with you and sell or buy burgers with toys from/to people who are willing to voluntarily give me their money in exchange, without you supporting that violence be initiated against my own body and my own property for doing so?
Now your discussion partner only has two possible responses:
“Yes”, in which case he agrees with your position that government shouldn’t control or “regulate” the food market.
“No”, in which case there is no point in pretending that this is a debate since he obviously wants to see you aggressed against in case you disagree peacefully.
To be sure: Don’t think for a second that people will stay in this corner! They will kick and scream to get out of it. They will try to avoid the answer, try to shift the discussion elsewhere, or go on into tangent-land. Like I said above: The problem is that most people studiously avoid admitting to themselves the obvious: That government solutions are nothing but aggression. It is ferociously difficult, for most people even too late, to rethink ideas that have been pounded into their heads for their entire lives, in particular during the childhood years.
This is just one example. But you can use the exact same argument for every single government policy out there in that same way. Be it the military, health care, education, etc.
This is what Stefan Molyneux called the “Against Me” argument.
Try it out … and see if it works for you in your own debates with friends, family, or strangers. But be aware that this is an explosive argument. For if someone responds with “No” he has given away the fact that he or she really is a complete fascist who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about your ideas, preferences, and freedoms. In fact, this person would rather have you dragged off and locked up in a cell than allowing you to live a peaceful life.
And to learn that about people you still have in your life, and then ask yourself why you still do, is not always an easy thing to do. But it’s the first step toward setting yourself free and it accomplishes a million times more than any political action will ever do in your whole life.