Ben Shapiro of the Daily Wire (and formerly, Breitbart) has released a new video, How to Win Every Debate. I’m going to summarize it here:
- People want to feel they are in the right. Speak the language of morality.
- E.g. the government compels people at gunpoint.
- E.g. supporting the minimum wage is supporting intervening in a deal between two individuals and putting a gun to one of their heads.
- E.g. the reason life sucks in the inner cities is that the left wants to pay off its donors at the expense of black kids.
- People vote with their hearts; go after what people feel.
- E.g. socialism is not a good idea that went wrong; it’s a bad idea that went exactly as planned.
What Shapiro is advocating is that what people remember and are most strongly affected by is usually the emotional argument, not the philosophical one. Especially when debating, philosophical arguments will be squelched by the confirmation biases of your opponents. What he describes is a kind of emotional jujitsu, where you take an ideological argument (e.g. affirmative action will lead to equality) and use your opponent’s own emotional biases against it (e.g. you think that a minority group can’t compete without help? That’s racist!)