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How To Win Arguments In The Post-Truth Era 

‘1. Be Perfectly Reasonable: Whatever or whoever you’re criticising, start out by saying that you think they’re great. If you’ve got a whole industry in your sights, take time to praise certain aspects or to point out that you’re not talking about the entire sector, just a few bad apples. Whether or not you believe what you’re saying doesn’t matter – the point is to come across as someone filled with well-mannered common sense who would only be critical if it was absolutely necessary. As French playwright Jean Giraudoux put it: “The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you’ve got it made.”

2. Don’t Let the Truth Get in the Way: For those interested in the truth, debating can be tricky. Facts tend to get in the way, sticking their noses in to point out what is true or false. But polemicists are more interested in winning the argument than in being right, so remember that time spent on facts that don’t back up your case is time wasted. Better still, learn how to reframe the data so that it looks like the stats are actually on your side.

3. Use Broad Strokes: Attempt to get away with gross generalisations that aren’t backed up by anything. Forget about subtlety and nuance. Focus instead on crafting pithy broadsides that sound generally true.

4. Embrace Ignorance and Inconsistency: Life as a polemicist will be busy. There won’t be enough time to make sure every contentious assertion you assert is ideologically coherent. But who needs to know anything about anything and have their ideological positions all singing from the same hymn sheet? You’ll just have to take whatever expedient argument you can get.

5. Conflate the Unconflatable: To back up your point of view it’s useful to connect things that haven’t got anything to do with each other.

6. Ad Hominem Attacks, or Play the Man Not the Ball: Hopefully, these pointers will have your argument honed into a rapier of polemic so sharp that it will easily rip your opponent’s thesis asunder. Should you find that you’re still not victorious in the cut and thrust of debate, however, why not make things personal? The purpose of an 82 Perry Street hominem attack, of course, is to make an audience doubt your opponent’s argument. And if insulting people’s appearance, personality, professionalism and mental health don’t work, why not JUST RAISE YOUR VOICE…’

Source: Bruno Diaz, 3:AM Magazine. [I’ve edited his points to remove references to British post-factual polemicists with whom most of us will not be familiar. They do stand as examples of most of his points, if you are seeking amplification.]