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Scarlett Nation » Debate » How to lose friends and alienate people: Top tips you absolutely MUST ignore.

How to lose friends and alienate people: Top tips you absolutely MUST ignore.

Dear Scarlett National,

Congratulations on deciding that you’re ready to face the internet. We understand that debating with people online is on occasion a difficult and depressing endeavour, and we sincerely hope that as time progresses you’re able to bring a bit of that Scarlett thinking to the wider world. However, we understand that you may at first be nervous. After all, moving from a debate on the Scarlett Nation to one on, say, the Mail Online, is a daunting change. You may feel at first like you’re speaking an entirely different language, and it may take time to adjust.

So, how to cope as you take your first steps? Well, as with any language, before you can hope to teach them yours you’ll have to understand theirs. What follows here is a quick guide to debating online, including all the important tips and tricks that’ll see you fitting in and getting on in no time.

Seeing as you’re new to this, it’s better to start simple, or Dicto simpliciter as it’s sometimes known. In internet debating you will often find things can be boiled down more than you’re used to, which will save you time and keep your early attempts nice and straight forward. Remember, as a general rule: women are weaker, less interested in sex and more emotional, men are aggressive, black people are violent and ill educated, immigrants are lazy or conniving,  gay people are promiscuous, homeless people brought it on themselves and left wing thinkers are naive.

Remember, you can also miss out more stages when arguing on line, which is another handy little time saver for you. This is known as a Non Sequitur, and, much like a cheat code on the play station, it can be used to sneak you straight from your problem to your solution. You can, for example, say ‘racism is wrong, therefore we need affirmative action’, thus saving all the time you would have wasted on explaining why affirmative action will fix racism, why it’s better than other possibilities, or discussing any of the drawbacks.

Once you become more confident, you can use a few more complex techniques. A personal favourite is ‘the slippery slope’. If someone is suggesting something – anything – that you can exaggerate to extremes, then you can reasonably assume that it WILL be exaggerated and THE WORLD WILL END! So, for example, if someone is suggesting we ban cigarette advertising, we can reasonably assume this will lead to us banning all advertising, and then banning the sale of anything bad for us, until we’re forced to live in a sort on 1984 uber-controlled dystopia. It’s kind of like when they made divorce easier and we all started living in a hedonistic, immoral state of multi-partnered ungodly anarchy. Which sucked, obviously…

You could try Argumentum ad antiquitatem, or the argument for antiquity or tradition. For example, arguing that marriage has traditionally been a heterosexual institution and therefore we shouldn’t let gay people get married. Or ‘we’ve always had a slave trade’, ‘women were never able to vote before’, ‘we’ve built an industrial revolution without working rights, healthcare and safety regulation, why should we introduce them now’, were all really popular (and clearly effective) arguments in their day.

Or there is Argumentum ad hominem, attacking the person. If the argument they’re making really is sensible, compelling and well researched, you could try calling them a fascist, a member of the liberal left or a Nazi. After all, being any one of those things automatically means that your opinion is wrong, even if it’s on something else entirely and appears to be sound. A stopped clock may be right twice a day, but a Public School Boy? Never. On anything. Obviously.

If that doesn’t work for some reason, you could always try beating up the straw man instead. It’s a bit like advertising. Or maybe more like false advertising. If someone is making a reasonable argument, summarise it as a rubbish argument – it’ll be much easier to beat. Giving more money to homeless charities in order to keep people from turning to crime to survive? Sounds more like bleeding the tax payer for money to give directly to drug dealers and pimps to me….

Or you could try Argumentum ad ignorantiam, argument to ignorance – if someone can’t PROVE that something is false, it must be true, right? For example, we have no real figures on illegal immigrants, so if the Daily Mail says there are 2,000,000 in London alone, well, you can’t argue with that, can you? Or actual aliens, thinking of it, no one can prove they aren’t running Whitehall… so I guess they must be…

Or Argumentum ad misericordiam, also known as the appeal to pity, or more commonly ‘FOR THE LOVE OF GOD THINK OF THE CHILDREN!’. This is a particularly compelling argument, because – if the potential victims are cute enough –  it can actually make the impossible possible, the true false and the past the present. It’s more magic than debating really.

Or Argumentum ad numerum – the more people believe something, the more true it is. It’s why the earth used to be flat and black people are dangerous. Nothing screams ‘logic and sense’ like finding 1000 poll-happy Americans to back it up.

If you’re really stuck, you can try Argumentum ad verecundiam and appeal to a higher authority. It doesn’t really matter who this is – so long as they’re reasonably popular and more senior than the person you’re arguing with, their (and your) argument must therefore be right. So if George Washington was anti abortion for example, that wins your argument right there.

If this doesn’t work, you could try appealing to nature – which is to say, whatever is ‘natural’ is always better. God made things a certain way for a reason, you know. So, if you want to argue against homosexuality, you could point out that anal sex is not a natural evolution of our biology. This is also a pretty effective argument against medical care, a legal system and the realm of science as a whole, so it’s a useful one to have in your top pocket.

Once you get more accustomed to debating on the internet, you might also like to try a few of the more complicated tricks that you won’t have had the chance to learn here at the Scarlett Nation.

For example, Cum hoc ergo propter hoc – causation and correlation. Immigration has grown in the last two decades, and so has crime, so immigration must cause crime. Also, the fashion for wearing hats has declined as global warming has increased, proving that hats would actually solve global warming.

Or you could try a circular argument – these are actually quite tricky. You have to use your own assertion to prove your assertion. For example, smoking dope must be dangerous, because it’s illegal, and if it’s dangerous we shouldn’t legalise it. Remember, it’s okay if someone points out your assumption because you can always call them a Nazi.

Remember, on the internet, one of the original points of view must be victorious – you can no longer rely on get outs like compromising, developing a new position or changing your mind. When you come to the end, you might have to resort to Tu quoqu, or ‘you too’. Anything they accuse you of doing, well, they did it too right? Therefore it doesn’t dent either of your arguments – they’re equally valid. Not equally shit.

And if all of this fails you, you can always just try saying it again.

Good luck!

Written by

Co-founder and contributor to Scarlett Nation.

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