Sometimes, you get into an exchange with someone who is trying as hard as they can to justify themselves. The effort is there, but the capacity is not.
What does one do when they are arguing against someone who is plainly an idiot?
I can tell you what I do. Normally, it’s not a great idea to share from your own playbook, but I think that this approach is so effective, that the benefit to be had outweighs the setback that comes from putting it out there.
When I argue against an idiot, what I do is I allow them to take the floor. I ask them to explain their position, and allow them to spend as much time as they wish to do so. But as for me, my participation in the exchange is minimal.
This works well due to the misconception that if only one person is participating, then the one person who is contributing wins by default. That very assumption is simply not true.
Simply put: The more time a fool spends with his mouth open, the greater the potential for him to put his foot right in it.
Because you’re allowing the idiot to ramble on and on, you’re giving him more opportunity to slip up. There’s no need to call him out on it, either. The foolishness of their position and every blunder that they make are all immediately evident to anyone who is of at least average intelligence.
And what makes this work so well is the fact that, when you allow an idiot to speak to his heart’s content, he’ll think you’re doing him a favor.
When you allow idiots to argue long enough, you tend to notice a few things about them. For one thing, they tend to be characterized by illusory superiority. From what I’ve seen, they tend to be proud of whatever accolades they have, such as a college education. Most of us know that the hard part of most degrees is paying back loans afterwards, and most college programs amount to just showing up and wiping from front to back. Yet, an idiot would proudly boast of their accomplishments in an obvious effort to validate their superiority.
They also tend to appeal to authority quite a bit. Often times, they’ll think that their position is the pro-science position, and assume that any idea that’s scientific (by their reasoning of how science works) must be universally accepted by anyone who is of a sound mind. In many cases, they’ll get their “scientific” ideas by reading about studies on some content-aggregator website, not aware that what data that was trickled down to them was what made it through the filter of the aggregator’s biases.
They’ll let other people do the legwork for them, unaware that they’re merely being served a narrative under the guise of science.
Another thing you’ll notice about them is that they tend to simultaneously hold conflicting viewpoints. That’s not that unusual for people, but the nature of the conflict tends to be more egregious among those who think too highly of their own brilliance.
A notorious example is among intersectional feminists. They claim that they are about women’s liberation, but at the same time, they insist that all women do things their way. If a person insists that an entire category of people must march in lock-step with them because they believe that their ideas are better, they’re not about liberation, at all.
In other cases, it’s the ironic atheist who fancies herself a non-mystic, has plenty to say about your religion, but still attends dormroom seances and checks her daily horoscopes.
Another way that an idiot shows their hand is through psychological projection. This is particularly the case among the intersectionalists, or really just about anyone who tends to assume that the worst qualities are an innate feature among all human beings.
Often, the idiot would assume that if given the opportunity to commit a crime and get away with it, most people would go ahead and commit the crime. When you understand how idiots tend to project their shortcomings onto others, it becomes clear that the idiot is revealing more about themselves than other people. This is particularly revealing when it comes to the people who assume that people are inherently racist, or, more alarming still, those who believe that humans are rapists by nature. And it pretty much tells you what you need to know about those who believe that strangers are child-abuse waiting to happen.
What they fail to comprehend is that not everyone has their sensibilities, and the real problem is with themselves, and not so much with the people that they observe.
As I’ve pointed out before, those who virtue-signal the hardest usually do so with a guilty conscience, often because they themselves have committed the crime they speak so vociferously against.
There’s an expression: Never correct your enemy when they are making a mistake. In time, you learn to recognize those who err the most (and the hardest). In many cases, they’ll attempt to speak over you. But what they don’t realize is that, when you allow them to do so, you’re really not doing them any favors.
The surest way to expose a fool is to permit him to speak.