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Arguments that Worked

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jordan161 Posted: Mon, Oct 1 2012 7:34 PM

What are some arguments you guys have used in personal debate that convinced the other person to change their mind about a subject (or at least stop them in their tracks)? Any story would be appreciated, on pretty much any subject - libertarian related of course.

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Usually I just link loony lefties and ridiculous righties to episodes of Penn and Teller on YouTube, and a wave of sense seems to slap them in the face and they shut up for a while...and then they come back for more and I link them to more episodes, and they get shot down again.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWWOJGYZYpk

This is a good one to show Obama supporters.

"Later they refer to regression analysis as 'the economist's favorite trick' (p. 161). Well I'm an economist, and my favorite trick has always been the old switcheroo." - Bob Murphy
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But...but...but...four years isn't enough to do the job! We got teh give teh mahn moar tiem!

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Wheylous strikes again:

http://mises.org/Community/forums/t/30266.aspx

“Since people are concerned that ‘X’ will not be provided, ‘X’ will naturally be provided by those who are concerned by its absence."
"The sweetest of minds can harbor the harshest of men.”

http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.org

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Walden replied on Mon, Oct 1 2012 9:02 PM

Hoomans are combative about politics because it is a matter of survival. In tribal man, making a convincing argument and being correct was a matter of surival. Realize that losing an argument is like being less of a man.

I'd bet that libertarians are particularly competitive when it comes to this "sport" since they tend to value their intelligence. People sense that if you aren't opaque about your intentions.

The approach should be seduction, not cold logical. A very laid back socratic method is valuable here. Phrasing of questions is valuable. Tailor the question to the person.

How to understand your fellow voting Americans: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444358804578016291138331904.html?mod=WSJ_hp_mostpop_emailed

To a liberal with a more feminine mindset you should ask them whether they feel welfarism is supportive to a communal environment or if military intervention is helping America's image abroad. (Women value acceptance.)

To a conservative with the masculine mindset you ask them whether congress should declare war or whether American soldiers should be defending borders here. (Men value tradition and strength.)

More on male/female profiles: http://theredpillroom.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-male-social-matrix-back-to-sandbox.html

Molyneux made a really elegant comment on the problem and I'm struggling putting it as well as he does. Basically he's rather pessimistic about changing people's minds. It's much more valuable for most people for immediate peer acceptance than being correct.

I think he is basically right. I get the sense that most libertarians are more concerned with discerning the truth than fitting in if the prickly attitude I get from this forum is any indicator.

I'm well beyond the stage of being the missionary. Cast a wide net. When the right people hear it they come around on their own accord.

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One tactic that I once tried was linking a person to Morton Downey Jr's "interview" of Ron Paul, being that you'd have to be mental to agree with a wench like Morton. It seems to work most of the time, although there is that occasional...person who agrees with Morton.

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Merlin replied on Tue, Oct 2 2012 1:39 AM

I’ve found that most reasonable statist will go along, with a little bit of pushing from my side, with the argument for breaking up existing states into a myriad of city-states. At least you can convince those who believe that society without a state is unworkable, if not those who seek power for its own sake.

The Regression theorem is a memetic equivalent of the Theory of Evolution. To say that the former precludes the free emergence of fiat currencies makes no more sense that to hold that the latter precludes the natural emergence of multicellular organisms.
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Vitor replied on Tue, Oct 2 2012 1:39 AM

John Stossel is great, he really focus on everyday issues of the common folk, what helps to dissipate the idea that libertarians are elitists.

The whole episode of everything's illegal http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBiJB8YuDBQ

 

Part 1 of  No they can't http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJpInLYgkFw

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I find it easier to debate one-on-one with people, rather than in a group... although I enjoy "debating" amongst people on forums/social networks, I know it'll never do any good... it's more of an exercise of finding out all the arguments that the opposite side will make.

Why do I prefer one-on-one? Well, because without an audience, the other side is more likely to concede points. Also, I can personalise my arguments: I always pretend that I agree with them on most issues, but, "hey, I just have issues with this one little point". Get them to come around on that. If they engage well, and you have time (like, during a long-lasting discussion), gradually introduce more and more of your points, but make it sound like you're agreeing with them.

I've done this with my parents and some of my friends (one of my friends who's cottoned on, has called me a "master manipulator". I don't know whether that's a compliment or an insult". You're not going to turn a person into an anarcho-capitalist overnight. But I did, for example, manage to convince my mum that there should be more private sector engagement in the education system, school choice, etc... we're not talking miracles, here, but you certainly make more tangible notice.

Also, when people ask you for your political views, lie. Never tell them you're a libertarian, anarcho-capitalist, minarchist, or whatever. They will switch off straight away. Say that you hate all politicians, however, and they'll typically start off already agreeing with you. I tend to guage exactly what their views are, first, and adjust mine so that I'm only just a little bit off the edge of their views... too far, and they'll think you're some kind of extremist.

I'd rather convince 100 people that a slightly smaller Government could work, rather than 1 person that no Government will work.

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Samuel Smith:

I find it easier to debate one-on-one with people, rather than in a group... although I enjoy "debating" amongst people on forums/social networks, I know it'll never do any good... it's more of an exercise of finding out all the arguments that the opposite side will make.

Why do I prefer one-on-one? Well, because without an audience, the other side is more likely to concede points. Also, I can personalise my arguments: I always pretend that I agree with them on most issues, but, "hey, I just have issues with this one little point". Get them to come around on that. If they engage well, and you have time (like, during a long-lasting discussion), gradually introduce more and more of your points, but make it sound like you're agreeing with them.

I've done this with my parents and some of my friends (one of my friends who's cottoned on, has called me a "master manipulator". I don't know whether that's a compliment or an insult". You're not going to turn a person into an anarcho-capitalist overnight. But I did, for example, manage to convince my mum that there should be more private sector engagement in the education system, school choice, etc... we're not talking miracles, here, but you certainly make more tangible notice.

Also, when people ask you for your political views, lie. Never tell them you're a libertarian, anarcho-capitalist, minarchist, or whatever. They will switch off straight away. Say that you hate all politicians, however, and they'll typically start off already agreeing with you. I tend to guage exactly what their views are, first, and adjust mine so that I'm only just a little bit off the edge of their views... too far, and they'll think you're some kind of extremist.

I'd rather convince 100 people that a slightly smaller Government could work, rather than 1 person that no Government will work.

 

 

I find that with people who use some sort of prohibited drug , you can generally outright convince them to support privatization of the police in a few minutes.

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The thing about cases as "extreme" as privatisation of police is that even if they accept all the arguments, they have been so brainwashed that they still won't accept the idea.

You can probably get them to say and understand that police privatisation is a good thing. But I don't think, for a second, in their heart-of-hearts, that they'd believe it.

For that to happen they need to go through the "mindmelt" that I sometimes hear getting thrown around. They need to accept that Government may not need to be the solution  every time, and then they need to accept that, most of the time, Government is the problem. That should be our job.

You can't argue someone into anarcho-capitalism, that's something that really needs to be discovered by themselves, but you can set them on the right path.

(also, how on earth do I quote on this bloody forum? I click the quote button, but nothing ever happens).

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I do not consent.  I do not consent to these proceedings.  What inherent dominion do you have over any other man?

 

Submitted in writing in an affidavit for the public [not private transcript] record greatly shortens my debate time in any company [aka government] arbitration [aka court] appearance.

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Throwing around this Krugman article supporting sweatshops is pretty funny:

http://www.slate.com/articles/business/the_dismal_science/1997/03/in_praise_of_cheap_labor.html

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h.k. replied on Wed, Oct 3 2012 8:25 AM

Mises.org's Robert Murphy is pretty good at talking to clueless statists.

 

His pistol-whipping of Krugman recently was very entertaining. He's wants to debate Krugs for charity, and he is pretty convincing.

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