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Online Debating Tip of the Day: Discern Who’s Worth Your Time

Posted on May 13 2010 9:00 pm
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here
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A comment from Calvin’s recent Paulastinian smackdown:

I am a military intelligence officer currently stationed in the Middle East. I see the fine details of what happens here every day. I could not read much more than the 1st paragraph or 2, Calvin, you are completely wrong on so many levels. You may have a few facts straight, but your inferences are miles off target.

Bin Laden has openly stated that he wants the USA in the Middle East. It makes us more convenient targets and causes us to squander our resources. This is the same strategy that he used against the USSR, and why he takes credit for the fall of the USSR. I have no doubt that he would love us to invade Iran. You should re-title your article “9 out of 10 Al Qaeda members want the USA at war in the Middle East.”

Iran will NEVER initiate direct military action against the USA. They know this would be suicide whether or not they have and use nuclear weapons. For this reason they are not a threat to the USA. The same logic prevented the USSR from attacking a NATO country even though the USSR could have leveled every major city in the target nation. At the national level self preservation comes before want to destroy another. All of human history contains not 1 example of a country knowingly initiating a war which it known will result in its destruction.

Dismissing the blowback argument may seem patriotic to some, but blowback is reality. How would you feel if the USSR had succeeded in it’s want to impose various elements of their brand of socialism on the USA, and bombed anybody who resisted?

Unfortunately, upper management in the US government cannot see their error, as they are not here every day seeing what is happening and are too invested to perceive it as is even if they did have my view point.

When someone is so dense that they confess they haven’t bothered to even read the article… they’re not worth your time.

One of my most frequently-used techniques when I’m discussing the issues with someone is to ask them what books they’ve read on the subject that we’re debating. The primary purpose of doing this is to find out if this is someone who A) Actually knows what they’re talking about on the subject, and B) Has bothered to familiarize themselves with a position that they’re now fervently rejecting and demonizing. However they choose to answer it’s a win-win situation for you. Eight times out of ten your debating partner will refuse to answer the question (because they know that if they were honest it would immediately reveal them to be a close-minded ignoramus.) Occasionally you’ll get someone stupid enough to confess to having read nothing. One time I was debating a Ron Paul supporter and asked him what books he’d read on foreign policy. My intent was to see him name books that I’d read when I was a leftist. Instead, to my delight he confessed that the sole book he’d read was Ron Paul’s The Revolution. This was even better. It further demonstrated the cult-like, religious-mentality of the Paulestinian hordes.

On the rare chance that the opposing commenter can name several books they’ve read which they disagree with then you’re in luck. You’ve found the rare, educated debating partner. And you can begin discussing their specific objections in an intelligent manner.

But remember: you can only do this if you’ve actually done your homework as well. It’s vital to familiarize yourself with our opponents’ books and publications. If you haven’t then you’re in no position to reject their ideas.

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