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How to lose an argument

February 16, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

Every couple of years there are a few new phases or buzzwords that become so common place they eventually make a list – yes someone actually creates a list – of things you probably don’t want to say to avoid looking like you just read an article or book on how to prepare for a business meeting or job interview.

Words have a tendency to lose their impact when over-used.

I used to attend business meetings where some currently popular phrases were used so often you could have created a college-level drinking game based on someone saying ‘think outside of the box’ and the entire room would be inebriated within minutes.

In the past few years, there has been increase in the use of certain words by narrow-minded extremists to damn their enemies for daring to express an opinion that doesn’t match their own.

Most people it seems, whether they tend to have either a liberal or conservative leaning, still have enough common sense to realize that both sides of the spectrum offer good ideas. If that weren’t so, we would never have a turnover of government, as people would continuously vote for the same party every election.

The invoking of Adolf Hitler’s name has become pretty common over the past few years.

Why the extremists focus on references to Hitler all the time is somewhat of a mystery considering there are a lot of other dictators who committed huge atrocities against mankind.

Joseph Stalin, it has been said, made Hitler look like a Boy Scout in comparison after having around 700,000 people executed and millions more die under his rule by various means.

King Leopold II of Belgium colonized the Congo and the result was millions of deaths and other horrible atrocities.

Idi Amin ruled Uganda for eight years and managed to kill hundreds of thousands of his own people.

Pol Pot, as absolute ruler of Cambodia, systematically eliminated around 25 per cent of his country’s population to the tune of around 3 million.

And yet, none of the extremists ever vilify their enemies by comparing them to Pol Pot.

The fact that these extremists never wail over the deaths of 3 million Asians should raise some eyebrows.

The Nazi party was a short-lived – 1920 to 1945 – political party that was in power for only 12 years.  Obviously the result of that tenure in office wasn’t good for anybody.

However the current trend of extremists referring to anyone who doesn’t agree with them as a ‘Nazi’ is becoming absurd.

It is too common in the media and on talk shows to see a person express a view only to be called a ‘Nazi’ by a another person who has limited knowledge of what it really means. The word has become synonymous with “I am absolutely right all the time and you are wrong if you disagree.”

Which brings us to the word ‘fascist’.

Extremists love this one. It sounds bad, it sounds political, and it’s a great name to call someone if you don’t like their views.

The funny thing is, the people who like to invoke the word usually shoot themselves in the foot the minute they accuse someone of that type of behaviour.

I had a discussion once with someone who referred to a third party as a ‘fascist.’

“Like Mussolini?” I asked?

“Who?”

“Mussolini. The fascist dictator. You know, secret police, the National Fascist Party, control the newspapers, propaganda, that sort of thing? Ended up being murdered and strung upside down in the town square?”

“Never heard of him.”

Fascists don’t like people to think. It undermines their quest to control the population. They know that people with other ideas are dangerous.

So why are the extremists who love to make TV appearances and protest on the streets scream ‘fascist’ the moment they hear someone express another opinion? Well, because that’s the way extremists work.

However, when you try to control ideas, thoughts, and expression by declaring your opponent a ‘fascist’ for not agreeing with your way of thought and you try to stifle their opinion, well that’s the moment the accuser has become the party member.

Accusing people of being like Hitler, or being a Nazi or a fascist won’t make an opinion incorrect. I think most people can see right through that anyway. But it sure means you lost your argument in a hurry.

         

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