This video has been extremely helpful with my political arguments lately:
For those who don’t watch, it basically says that you are more likely to convince your opponent if you ask questions instead of making statements. By using the Socratic Method, this forces them to find the answer on their own.
Personally, I don’t even bother talking politics. The only times I engage with people are when I am talking about one of two things:
- Fact checking, and
- Rhetorical strategies.
Most of the time I talk with someone about politics, especially online, they are getting their information from bad sources. I question the sources and, instead of arguing the political point, just get them to realize that their sources are bad. Or, if they are using “straw man” arguments or making broad generalizations, I point that out. Basically, I just go about my business as if I want the people around me to be making informed statements from credible sources. Maybe they’ll stop referencing those sources and, eventually, shift closer to the left.
There’s a decent documentary called The Brainwashing of My Dad. Part of it covers the dealings of Roger Ailes and the right-wing propaganda machine that started back in the '70s. I said it’s a “decent” documentary because there’s a lot about the filmmaker’s on-screen persona that annoys me. But eventually she showed how her dad went from a foaming-at-the-mouth, “Obama’s a Kenyan terrorist” conservative to a relatively moderate, if not almost progressive, person. How did he do it? His wife broke the remote control and he stopped watching FOX.
I personally believe that people will become better informed if they realize how misinformed and biased their sources are. And I also personally believe that what modern conservatives call “the liberal media”, is far more neutral and credible than they realize. It also helps to discuss how journalism works, because I don’t think most people recognize the importance of reputation and credibility when it comes to actual news organizations.
Anyway, to TL;DR my post, instead of arguing about politics, I choose to argue about information gathering and presentation. After all, if they don’t respect facts or statistics, then why argue with them? That tends to get me out of 90% of actual “political” arguments.