Fighting Dirty

Lyndon Hood (click for source)

What’s your argument style?

I’m a rhino-ostrich.  Attack! – then retreat.  Take THAT! and that! and That!  And now… I’m going to run and hide, before you have the chance to respond.

Glen on the other hand, is a terrier.  He’ll sink his teeth into the argument and shake it from every angle.  He’ll sniff it and roll it and chew it and then come back to it, until it’s eyeless and legless and quivering in a  tiny knot of terror.

Here’s some other favourites:

– attacking the person instead of the idea (‘only a moron would prefer Cheese Strings to Cheddar Puffs’)

– appealing to tradition (‘Christmas isn’t Christmas until Grandma’s insulted everyone’)

– repeating your argument with increasing volume

– lying

– changing the subject

and, from Schopenhauer:

  1. Generalize Your Opponent’s Specific Statements
  2. Conceal Your Game
  3. False Propositions
  4. Postulate What Has to Be Proved
  5. Yield Admissions Through Questions
  6. Make Your Opponent Angry
  7. Questions in Detouring Order
  8. Take Advantage of the Nay-Sayer
  9. Generalize Admissions of Specific Cases
  10. Choose Metaphors Favourable to Your Proposition
  11. Agree to Reject the Counter-Proposition
  12. Claim Victory Despite Defeat
  13. Use Seemingly Absurd Propositions
  14. Defense Through Subtle Distinction
  15. Interrupt, Break, Divert the Dispute
  16. Generalize the Matter, Then Argue Against it
  17. Draw Conclusions Yourself
  18. Meet Him With a Counter-Argument as Bad as His
  19. Make Him Exaggerate His Statement
  20. Find One Instance to the Contrary
  21. Turn the Tables
  22. Anger Indicates a Weak Point
  23. Persuade the Audience, Not the Opponent
  24. Diversion
  25. This Is Beyond Me
  26. Put His Thesis into Some Odious Category
  27. It Applies in Theory, but Not in Practice
  28. Don’t Let Him Off the Hook
  29. Will Is More Effective Than Insight
  30. Bewilder Your opponent by Mere Bombast
  31. A Faulty Proof Refutes His Whole Position
  32. Become Personal, Insulting, Rude


What’s your favourite?


2 thoughts on “Fighting Dirty

  1. I’ve been told (on good authority) that my argument style is like a hedgehog, and my wife’s is much more like a rhino.

    My favourite form of attack is to make my opponent laugh at what they’re saying without actually refuting them. It is very hard to hold the two ideas that what you’re saying is both rational and comical at the same time.

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