Toward a Debate-Free Life

Posted on August 29, 2018 by Robert Ringer


Watching the obnoxious but relentless Dirty Dems arguing the inarguable day in and day out is a constant reminder to me that the most time-wasting and exhausting activity in the world is debating someone who thrives on heated exchanges.  An argumentative person is not only unpleasant to be around, he also can consume large chunks of your time — time that could otherwise be used in constructive pursuits.

An accomplished, incurable debater has the potential to frustrate and exhaust you to the point of causing you to surrender even when you know you’re right.  That said, given that relationships with debaters have the potential to slow you down and cause you to take your eye off the ball, it’s important to be able to recognize when you’re in close proximity to such creatures.

To help toward that end, I have summarized the Ten Dirty Tricks of Debating, the most commonly used tools of the incurable debater.


Dirty Trick No. 1:  The False Premise

Basing one’s argument on a false premise is one of the oldest tricks of clever debaters.  It’s a mainstay of most political debates, wherein politicians find they can slide a false premise by sitcom-damaged brains without much effort.  Worse, supposedly opposing parties begin most of their debates with joint false premises, thus giving viewers all the more reason to assume that such premises are correct.


Dirty Trick No. 2:  Using the Desired Conclusion as a Premise

Using the desired conclusion as a premise — sometimes referred to as an a priori argument — is just a bold version of basing one’s arguments on false premises.  The debater who employs this tactic merely restates his own conclusion as though it were a fact.


Dirty Trick #3:   Putting a Spin on a Negative

The term spin refers to the art of cleverly twisting the truth, an essential tool for those in the political arena.  The objective is to take a crystal-clear fact that negatively impacts the spinner and “spin” it in such a way that it gives the illusion of being a positive.


Dirty Trick #4:   Feigning Indignation when Trapped

Some people are world-class actors when it comes to feigning indignation in situations where they realize they’ve been caught in a lie, misstatement, or worse.  The Dirty Dems have made an art form out of this tactic.  I have a simple rule when it comes to indignation:  The louder and more vehement the protest, the less credence I give to the person’s indignation.  As Emerson put it, “You shout so loudly I can barely hear your words.”


Dirty Trick #5:  Taking the Offensive when Overwhelmed by the Facts

Taking the offensive with an aggressive, all-out attack is a strategy that goes a step beyond just feigning indignation, and is often employed when the facts appear to be undermining one’s arguments.  The more overwhelming the facts against the dirty-trick debater, the more aggressive he becomes and the more effective he is in getting the other party to back down.  Thanks to Saul Alinsky, this has been an incredibly effective tool of the Dirty Dems for decades.


Dirty Trick #6:   Making Intimidating Accusations

Making intimidating accusations is another trademark of political debaters, the objective being to put the other party on the defensive.  Some popular accusations, both in and out of the political arena, include:  “You’re selfish”; “You don’t care about starving children”; and, the ultimate intimidating accusation, one that quickly brings most people to their apologetic knees, “You’re a (gasp!) racist.”


Dirty Trick #7:   Focusing on Irrelevant Points

Straying from the main point and changing the subject is a dead giveaway that the facts are closing in on the debater.  Criminal defense attorneys employ this art when they distract the jury’s attention from any damning evidence against their clients by focusing on side issues and irrelevant points.


Dirty Trick #8:   Using Invalid Analogies

Oversimplified, an invalid analogy is when the debater compares apples to oranges in a way that suggests they are the same.  You have to follow the debater’s words carefully to make certain that A matches up with B and C matches up with D or you’ll quickly find yourself boxed into a corner.  If you allow an invalid analogy to slip by uncontested, you’re heading toward its natural consequence — an invalid conclusion.


Dirty Trick #9:   Demanding Proof for a Self-evident Fact

There’s a whole school of thought that revolves around the idea that everything is relative and therefore nothing can be proven.  The philosophy of relativism teaches that the premises people use to make judgments vary according to their genetic makeup, backgrounds, and environments.

By contrast, an axiom is a self-evident truth that requires no proof.  You do not have to prove that the sun comes up every morning, but there was a time when it was necessary to prove that the earth revolved around the sun.  As with invalid analogies, if you allow someone to base his argument on the contention that a self-evident truth cannot be proven, an invalid conclusion is also a forgone conclusion.


Dirty Trick #10:   Using Esoteric Words

I’m an advocate of Occam’s Razor Principle (also known as the Principle of Parsimony), which states that the simplest and most direct explanation is generally the best explanation.  Making explanations more complicated than necessary is often nothing more than a smokescreen intended to hide the facts.


No matter which of the above dirty tricks is employed, the bottom line is that you can’t afford to waste time on people who turn every conversation into a debate.  If you value your time, you must learn to rise above the fray.  And the best way I know to do that is to ask yourself if the resolution of this or that point of contention is really all that important in the overall scheme of things.

With very few exceptions, the answer is no.  Always remember that a debater becomes impotent if he has no one he can engage in debate, and you should make it a point never to volunteer to reinstate his virility.  Whether or not you believe you are capable of outdebating someone should never be the issue.  The more important issue is, why would you waste time trying to prove it?

Politicians have all the time in the world to engage in frivolous activities, but you and I simply can’t afford the luxury of being mired down in debates.  Too many important things to do … too many fun activities to engage in … too much life to be lived.

Robert Ringer

Robert Ringer is an American icon whose unique insights into life have helped millions of readers worldwide. He is also the author of two New York Times #1 bestselling books, both of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time.

25 responses to “Toward a Debate-Free Life”

  1. Mike says:

    Thanks for clarifying what swirls around in my mind when debating a lib. They do all you said. I've always felt that if you scratch the surface of a bleeding heart lib you find the true mean spirited person beneath. Often barely under the false surface.

  2. RCarls says:

    Priceless! I'm saving this to PDF that will sit on my computer "desktop" to be referred to often. Thank you, Mr. Ringer!

  3. larajf says:

    I'm sharing with my daughter so she knows what to do next time she's surrounded by bullies in the classroom. Is the "straw man" argument the 1st or 2nd? I always hear that and know what it is but wasn't sure how it fit in here. And thanks for another awesome post!

  4. Rob says:

    “Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.” – Mark Twain

  5. smucko says:

    Frankly, I'm almost speechless. This is the second time in over 30 years that I disagree with RJR. The first time was a couple of years ago when you cited the popularity of Oprah and Obama as proof that our country was over the issue of race. My thought then and now is "not so fast, the Dirty Dems will not let us move on from race". And the beat goes on.
    This time, my difference with you is not about wasting time arguing with an I.D.I.O.T. (Individual determinedly Ignoring Obvious Truths), but that you appear to be taking the position that we should just forget about these "frivolous activities" and instead turn inward to "enjoy life". These frivolous activities are anything but. These people are redefining every aspect of our lives, such as the definition of marriage, gender, freedom to be left alone, etc. And, we are to do nothing?
    Back in the seventies when I hire into a Top 50 American company, the HR manager gave me what he called "fatherly advice". He suggested that employees should not discuss religion or politics at the workplace, for if you became a "disruptive force", you could be terminated, which is something that they had done. Well, here we are decades later, after most of us dutifully put on our "Everything is relative" hats, and religion is retreating and the country that we inherited is gone. And, we are to do nothing?
    There are places on the internet that you can find thoughtful, reasoned debates between opposing views. I think that it is called the Dark Web, but not sure of that. The Rubin Report is on YouTube, and is an example of that. No seven minute argument like you see on the Main Stream Media, but 2-3 hour discussions where they speak one person at a time. I don't have any business relation with any of them, but just want to make your readers aware.
    My advice for people is to engage reasonable people who believe in the Leftist philosophy, and cut thru all of the tricks that RJR has armed you with, and MAKE THEM DEFEND THE BASIS FOR THEIR BELIEF! If they can't do that, then you know that they are not worthy of further discussion on that subject, and either you Agree to Disagree, or shun them when they try to re-engage you on those subjects.
    You should take the trouble to make the same demands on your elected officials. If they aren't serious constitutionalist, then they don't deserve your vote. In the meantime, get armed and vote your conscious.
    Remember, when Good Men do nothing, evil triumphs.

    • Stefani Woodams says:

      I also consider it my duty as a citizen to debunk and push back on leftist drivel when it comes to my notice. I do not think I have ever actually converted any Leftist, but hopefully they now know that they don't have the monopoly that they thought they had.

    • RealitySeeker says:

      I would agree that an individual must push back against the collectivists; however, choose when, where, how and with whom you do that, wisely. In other words, you don't have to push back against each and every debater. And I think that's what RJR was advicing ……

      Moreover, President Trump sets a good example of pushing back on Twitter. He not only pushes back, he rolls right on over his enemies. Trump is fighting for his life. And both the Filthy RINOs and Dirty Dems will use any platform to attack Trump — including the funeral of John McCain, viz.., a RINO's RINO if there ever was one….

      This is what all freedom lovers are up against: a mortal fight to the death between us and the collectivists. And we either push back until they are pushed over or what's left of America dies….

  6. Bruce says:

    Reminds me of how someone described a liberal interpretation of a progressive diplomat :

    " A diplomat is someone who will tell you to go to hell in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip"

    Thanks Robert for the many insane ways the dems obscure what is common sense to push their agenda.

  7. Rick G. says:

    This article would be a great addition to a future edition of Looking Out For Number One. I remember reading a little of this in that book, but this would be a superb inclusion in the book that would greatly expand on the topic. Politicians, attornies, and the news media actually make a living from being debtors. I can think of more interesting and stimulating alternate ways of making a living..

    • lee says:

      I can think of one. Become president and lie and make up things all the time.And become an author and con all the trumpers and deplorables.that will make a good living.

  8. Rick G. says:

    Debtors, not debtors……thanks to spell-check.

  9. patg2 says:

    I would love it if you would elaborate on each point, with examples, in future columns. As for ignoring them and getting with life, I agree with smucko. We cannot afford to, and our failure to engage in the past has resulted in steady deterioration of our situation. We must confront and defeat at every level. We have a remarkable president who decided not to go on with life, and thank God for him! We need to take a page out of his book.

    • Rock says:

      I would also like to see each point elaborated with examples. Robert could write a book about this, I know I would buy it.

    • lee says:

      Yes take a page out of President trumps book and you don't have to debate. all you have to do is lie and make things up all the time.

  10. Ivan says:

    I try to win all my arguments by avoiding them, especially if I see any of the 10 dirty tricks employed or a leftist dem. Trick # 6 gets thrown at me a lot, its the guilt tripping. For instance, being accused of not wanting to vote in a black president or not being compassionate in donating to a cause.

  11. Matt says:

    Recently I was invited to an Americans For Prosperity event. The speaker asked if anyone in the room was "racist"; I stated that of course I was, and that "I'm one of the biggest racists you will ever meet" and that "I have to be a racist–I'm White, my parents were White, my grandparents were White, etc." Of course, as expected, the room fell silent. Of course, as expected, I was laughing my head off inside at these specimens of Pavlov's Dog sitting in the room with me, who have been conditioned to cringe at even being thought of as a "racist". Of course, as expected, this prompted the one black woman in the room to give us a brief (thankfully) lecture of why her family left the South and moved to Michigan. Totally off point, but rare is the occasion when a black person is present who does not wish to make everything racial at the slightest hint. This certainly counts as one of those "too many fun activities to engage in" occurrences discussed above!!

  12. Dylpnhu says:

    Dirty Trick #6 reminds me of a comedic exchange on SNL's "Weekend Update" that I use as a humorous example of leftist-type manipulation:

    CECILY: "What do you want for Christmas, Seth?"

    SETH: "I was hoping for the new iPad. What do you want for Christmas?"

    CECILY: "I was hoping for an end to world hunger!"

    P. S. Robert might want to watch/listen to Stefan Molyneux's Aug 20 interview with Candace Owens (on YouTube). Many of Robert's columns the last couple years have refreshingly rammed home how the Democrats are interested in POWER, and Candace Owens firmly believes the same. I repeatedly thought of Robert Ringer when watching this particular Candace Owens interview.

  13. Serge says:

    I like Trumps ways of debating. Just slap a tariff on them and call it a day.

  14. Jim Hallett says:

    I was trained as a debater in HS and College, so often engaged in these what-turns-out-to-be-futile exercises, now that political opinion has become so extremely divided. I enjoyed making arguments and was open to input from others (provided it was backed up with some solid reasoning, and not just repeating propaganda from TV or elsewhere). Since generally, opinions never changed, and many discussions ended with a "Let's just agree to disagree" finality, I tend to shy away from the practice. I am sometimes lured back in if someone makes a preposterous statement from the Libtard world, but generally, I just shrug it off, since most delusional folks will not be swayed with my logic. There are intelligent people worth discussing issues with (though they may be virtually on the opposite side of an idea/issue), so I stick to that, and try to avoid all the confrontational stuff that leads to irritation and other undesirable outcomes. I do my best to screen the onslaught of political opinion that comes at us, since it just distracts from my focusing on what I want to be and create in my life experience. I do like the 10 points RR enumerated, as they are the tactics that lead to futile debate. The climate change hoax nonsense is one of the most egregious in this respect, as they assume false premises, the "science is settled" nonsense to make you appear wacko, etc.

  15. Andy says:

    Ran into number 7 last night with a despicable human being that is huge dirt ball maggot. When asked about her role in being up to no good, subject changes and all that jazz and declaration of what type of life she leads and blah, blah. Nothing about wow that's awful that's happening, All about her, and deny deny deny. About the greatest sorry excuse of a human being ever.

  16. Nasdaq7 says:

    Robert J Ringer, don't you sometimes wish that you could have your life over just to enter politics to help the US and to correct some glaring lack of leadership and creativity that is on display in modern politics?

  17. ZenobiaWillis says:

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