Mudcat Café message #1033673 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #63595   Message #1033673
Posted By: GUEST
11-Oct-03 - 09:44 AM
Thread Name: BS: Fighting fair in arguments
Subject: RE: BS: Fighting fair in arguments
I used to think obstinate arguers needed to be right. But the bit of wisdom I've gained from loving a good argument myself, is that it isn't about being right. It is about not being perceived as weak or stupid, and A LOT about saving face/embarrassment. People who argue blindly and obstinately tend to be fearful and insecure, in my experience.

OTOH, those who do like a good argument or debate generally find their way to "fighting fair" (as McGrath calls it) because they are natural born debaters and critical thinkers. And we do tend to overwhelm a lot of people, especially those who aren't natural born critical thinkers.

But there is a third category not mentioned yet: those who fear and/or despise conflict of any sort. They can muck up a good argument/debate worse than the obstinate ones in my opinion, because they become so deeply disturbed by conflict that one's empathy response to their distress is hard to override. Which makes it nigh on impossible to ever resolve anything with them. It's a Rodney King "can't we all just get along" sort of dysfunction. On one hand, they try and avoid conflict, and on the other, they are drawn to it like a moth to the flame. These sorts of people have a profound need to learn how to deal with conflict, but often never figure it out.

I think the instinct to go for one's debate/argument opponent's weak point is pretty natural though. I'd also suggest that the smart folks learn, by debating/arguing a lot, what their own weak points are, and how to defend/protect those points in themselves. Those are the people who are most fun--those who are a real challenge to argue and debate with, because they have learned the rules of fighting fair well, and have perfected their use of them over time.