Winning arguments

(To be read with a pinch of salt)

I argue very well. Ask any of my remaining friends. I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this, and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don't even invite me. You too can start winning arguments. Simply follow these rules:

Drink to excess

Suppose you're at a party and some hotshot intellectual is expounding on the economy of Peru, a subject you know nothing about. If you're drinking some health-fanatic drink like grapefruit juice, you'll hang back, afraid to display your ignorance, whilst the hotshot enthralls your date. But if you drink several large martinis, you'll discover you have strong views about the Peruvian economy. You'll be a wealth of information. You'll argue forcefully, offering searing insights and possibly upsetting furniture. People will be impressed. Some may leave the room.

Make things up

Suppose, in the Peruvian economy argument, you are trying to prove Peruvians are underpaid, a position you base solely on the fact YOU are underpaid, and you're damned if you're going to let a bunch of Peruvians be better off. DON'T say: 'I think Peruvians are underpaid'. Say: 'The average Peruvian's salary in 2001 dollar adjusted for the revised tax base is $2,452.81 per annum, which is $836.07 before the means gross poverty level.

NOTE: Always make up exact figures.

If an opponent asks you where you got your information, make THAT up, too. Say: 'This information comes from Dr Hovel T Moon's study for the Buford Commission published May 9, 1993. Didn't you read it?’ say this in the same tone of voice you would use to say 'You left your soiled underwear in my bath house.'

Use meaningless but weighty-sounding words and phrases

Memorize this list:

  • Let me put it this way
  • In term of
  • Vis-à-vis
  • Per se
  • As it were
  • Qua
  • So to speak

 

You should also memorize some Latin abbreviations such as 'Q.E.D.', e.g.…., and i.e. these are all short for 'I speak Latin, and you do not.'

Here's how to use these words and phrases.

Suppose you want to say "Peruvians would like to order appetizers more often, but they don't have enough money."

You never win arguments talking like that. But you WILL win if you say: 'Let me put it this way. In terms of appetizers vis-à-vis Peruvians qua Peruvians, they would like to order them more often, so to speak, but they do not have enough money per se, as it were. Q.E.D!'

Only a fool would challenge this statement.

Use snappy and irrelevant comebacks

 

You need an arsenal of all-purpose irrelevant phrases to fire back at your opponents when they make valid points.

The best are:

You're begging the question.

You're being defensive

Don't compare apples and oranges.

What are your parameters?

 

This last one is especially valuable. Nobody, other than mathematicians, has the vaguest idea what 'parameters' means.

Here's how to use your comebacks:

You say "As Abraham Lincoln said in 1873……."

Your opponent says Lincoln died in 1865. You say "You're begging the question……"

OR

You say "Liberians, like most Asians……"

Your opponent says Liberia is in Africa. You say "You're being defensive."

Compare your opponent to Saddam Hussein.

This is your heavy artillery, for when your opponent is obviously right and you are spectacularly wrong. Bring Saddam up subtly.

Say: "That sounds suspiciously like something Saddam Hussein might say", or "You certainly do remind me of Saddam Hussein."

So that's it: you now know how to out-argue anybody. Do not try to pull any of this on people who generally carry weapons.