How To Debate Politics* Like A Gentleman, from The Art of Manliness
* Or diet (vegan vs. meat-eating), or healthcare (public vs. private), or food production (local vs. global), or ...
- The other person has a reason for thinking as they do. Try to see their reasoning. This might not help:
- I’m a very intelligent man and I believe X.
- This other guy believes Y.
- Therefore this other guy is a complete moron.
- Do not ask questions as a way to dig up material to pounce on and attack. Take the time to really understand their sides of the issues.
- Consume media that presents news from both sides.
You must make an effort to read, listen, and watch news that may make your blood pressure soar, but will leave you better informed and ready to make fair assessments.
- Concede a point where appropriate.
An intelligent and secure man is able to say, “Yeah, that’s a good point. I hadn’t thought of that."
- Don’t use inflammatory language.
The man who is insecure with the simple, bare validity of his argument will be tempted to resort to inflammatory language and insults.
During his days as a young state assemblyman in New York, Teddy Roosevelt would frequently lose his cool during debates on the Assembly floor. He’d call his opponents “cold blooded, narrow-minded, prejudiced, obstinate, timid, old psalm singing Indianapolis politicians” or “oily-Gammon, churchgoing specimens,” or simply “classical ignoramuses.”
Young Roosevelt quickly became the laughing stock of the Assembly and of the state newspapers with his outbursts. After bitterly insulting a senior assemblyman, Roosevelt was rebuked severely, and tearfully apologized for his unbecoming behavior.