Can You Ever Win An Argument?

3 years ago

Can You Ever Win An Argument? My husband reminds me often, "You can never win an argument."

He's not talking about arguments between the two of us. In our 12 years together we've found our rhythm of discussion and debate.

However, I went through a time, about a year ago, when I found myself arguing with other people A LOT.  Not coincidentally, this was about the same time when I started kicking around the idea of making my blog something more than a hobby. I was putting my thoughts, ideas and opinions out there for the whole world to see.

As a side-effect of writing about my views, I found myself commenting all over the internet, particularly on Huffington Post (a great place to pick a fight, if you are really looking to get in one. Somehow that particular site is especially argumentative), about all manner of things from our nation's customs surrounding child-birth to homelessness to global climate change and, on one memorable occasion, cloth diapers.  Invariably someone would come back with a statement that began along the lines of, "Let me tell you something, Cupcake."

And it was ON. Bring it!

Sometimes these people were total strangers, but often they were people who I knew and loved.  Usually my fights were online, but occasionally they would happen face-to-face.

I would get stressed out. I would cry.  I would be angry and hurt all day long.

"You can't win an argument," Handsome Hippie Hubby would say while I stood at the sink washing dishes with a fury that flung drops of water all over the kitchen.  "You need to drop it and walk away."

Eventually I began to see two things.  1) Arguing with someone over the risks and benefits of GMOs on some random website was not in any way going to promote my blog or further my writing career. 2) Hubby was right. There was not a single thing in the world that I could say to make these people change their minds.

I still love a great discussion.  I admit that I am ignorant on thousands (millions?) of topics.  I have done a lot of reading about GMOs, vaccines, natural childbirth, climate change, recycling, homeschooling and more. Yet, for all that, there are people out there in the big wide world who know so much more than me on these topics it's absurd.  If I take a stance... say... "I believe we need to allow more freedom of choice in the vaccination schedules of young children," and you come back with, "I understand your concerns about overwhelming the immune system but, as a disease pathologist I believe your understanding of the life cycle of a virus could be flawed." I am wide open to hear what you say.  Even if you're not an expert but you respond with, "I once read that..." I'd like to hear. Let's talk! How else will either of us ever learn or grow?

On the other hand if you come back with, "Let me tell you something, Cupcake." I'm immediately out.  You are not interested in helping me learn and grow and you certainly don't want to hear my thoughts!  If I don't walk away we're going to rumble and my kitchen window is going to end up all water-spotted.

OK... Maybe I'm not ALWAYS immediately out.  Sometimes I just can't help myself.  Sometimes I can't help but think, "what this person is saying/doing/promoting is just WRONG." If I don't say anything, that's akin to agreeing.

And so I'd like to know what you think.

When is the right time to dig in your heels and fight?

Is there any point?

Can you ever win an argument?

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

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