Article > Ensis' Reproachable Tactics
Description :: More tips on how to convince idiots and kill dialog
Unordained asked me to post the idiot tactics I was aware of which make debate unfair. I'll write them as I remember them. I'll also classify them to make them easier for you to study and use / avoid as you see fit. I'll warn you, this is long. Nobody ever said that winning a debate was easy. Therefore it must not be.

Political Tactics for Dummies

Perhaps this section will show us a little about why dummies get into office. Dummies use these tactics well and convince other dummies (there are a lot of them) to vote for them. Dialog is destroyed, reason ignored. Here are the tricks of the political trade!

Logical Fallacies

Memorize the list of logical fallacies and use them. Slippery slope, poisoning the well, and especially Post Hoc. These are the ultimate weapons!

Negative Spin

*New* Abstract and Equivocate This one is so classic, I can't believe I missed it the first time! It will make a powerful addition to your arsenal. Sometimes what your opponent is doing is just but you want it to look like its unjust. What oh what shall you do? The answer's simple. Find something that it is similar to that is negative and then just blurt it out. Hitler. Nazis. Racism. The Ku Klux Klan. Something with tons of emotional baggage. A good example is the War in Iraq. It is much like Viet Nam in many ways. Nevermind the fact that Viet Nam cost us roughly 50 times more human lives. The point is to win!

*New* Stab and run. Most arguments are about more than one subject at a time; each issue has sub issues. If your opponent has just made several well reasoned points that you don't want to address, you should stab and run (perhaps with an Abstract and Equivocate defense). "Well, Tom's comments only highlight the racist tendencies of the blah blah blah but let me get to the crux of the matter" or "Well, the Kerry camp is well known for the kind of spin you just heard but let me talk about the real issue here." The trick is to slander and then appear to rise above the fray by changing the subject.

Insane Accusations. Make accusations you can't back because you won't have to. Refer to documents no one has access to. Refer to "High Level Officials" who do not have to defend their only takes one!! Demonize demonize demonize. Remember. The worst thing your enemy can do tactically is to deny the charges. Nothing makes you look more guilty than denying your guilt.

Make your enemy unPC. If you can, tie your enemy to racial, gender or sexual discrimination. No one likes discrimination, we want politicians who are indiscriminate as possible. Once again, your enemy cannot deny the accusation without looking guilty! What is he (or she!!!) going to do, sue you for slander?

Get an Expert. Come on. Experts are practically free because you can give them 30 seconds to talk about their book. Liberals: use psychologists, gays, minorities, and statisticians. Conservatives: use economists, minorities and statisticians. Religious icons will be the death of you so bail on them unless they celebrate Samhein or something.

Make your Opponent out to be an Idiot. Ask your opponent lots of questions that have nothing to do with anything. If he answers one stupidly under the pressure, the press will eat him alive. Remember. The press is full of sharks so make sure your opponents blood is in the water and for goodness sake, don't actually engage your opponent's arguments. If you bleed, you'll be eaten. Remember the potato thing? Potatoe thing? Elections are like spelling bees except you choose the word and you can make fun of your opponents.

Deflection!!! If you don't like the question you are asked, rephrase the question mentally and turn it into an attack on your opponent. If you are asked "Why didn't you support the soldiers by okaying the funds they need to fight" don't answer the question. Your audience is too stupid to understand your reasoning. Say something like "I'm not the one not supporting the troops. President Bush is the one not supporting the troops by keeping them in that hell hole called Iraq." See how that works? Remember, your audience is not watching because they care about the issues (i mean, some are, but you won't convince them!). They are watching for entertainment. So don't bore them. Make sure it is a slugfest and make sure you criticize your opponent when he lowers himself (or herself!) to your level! Now, I didn't think of this one myself; I don't want to take credit for it. I'm no genius, I just watch the best and learn from them!

Use Trusted Icons. Hollywood loves cameras and there's an old saying that says something like "There's no such thing as bad publicity." With this idea under your belt, you can find the right entertainer, have him or her say the right things in the right place at the right time, and people all over the place will think (as close as thought is to such people) "Well, if So-And-So believes that, it must be correct." Now, remember, your enemy will use this tactic as well, but you can punish them for it! The key is to accuse your enemy of "owning the media." It doesn't matter if it is true, there's enough dumb people in the world that you don't need reason, you need motivation and Trusted Icons and Dramatic Debate motivate people!

Invert! If your opponent thinks he has done something right, simply assert that not only will it not work, it will work the opposite as was intended. This has worked for medical care, the economy, and forest preservation. You don't need evidence, just cloud the issue.

Lastly, remember to criticize anything your opponent does. Again, you don't need evidence, just cloud the issue. Heck, you don't even have to have a better way of doing things!!!

Simply UnAmerican Dude this one rocks. If someone does something you don't like, tell them it's unamerican, that it will hurt The Troops...whatever!

Simply Un-UN! This one rocks too. See, even some allied nations frequently don't really like each other. I mean, did you watch the UN meetings? "Mister speaker, I come from a very old nation." That was great. See, we look for opportunities to hurt each other all the a positive way of course, or at least in a way that can't be trade. But stupid people don't know that there's bad feelings everywhere. So act shocked when other nations don't like what your opponent is doing. You and I both know that the UN is not God. But the voters don't!

Positive Spin

Be a unider not a divider. This is a strategy that may not be compatible with the crap above, but this mantra can work. Attempting the positive campaign strategy may make your enemies look like meanies or it may make you look weak. This strategy could be enough to win an election in and of itself but there are disadvantages. If you do anything to piss off your enemies (you will) they'll disagree with you (like they always do) and criticize you for being a hypocrite. It may be possible to repeat the mantra after this and it may not. It seems like this strategy may be better if your enemies have a lot of dirt on you. Many people have speculated (like...10 is many right?) that winning an election isn't so much about being capable as it is as sucking less than your opponents. That's why the positive thing works out I think. Note that if the unificating doesn't work you can blame this on the opposition!

Give the Majority Entitlements. The pocketbook is what wins elections. You think people care about a war which might be unjust? Nah. By and large, they want money. Use buzz phrases like "fiscally responsible," "economic justice," "supply side economics," or alternatively "voodoo economics." People will think you are smart. Did you notice how certain folks said that the tax cuts didn't benefit the poor? That didn't work. Then they said that they didn't benefit the middle class. That worked even though the economy rebounded. Did anyone notice? No. Aim for the middle class and higher or the middle class and lower. It'll be the bomb.

Never be against anything. Re-label your group in the most positive light possible: no one is for someone who is against something. Instead of "Democrats" which does not have an opposite, call your party "The Party for Smart People" so that your enemies are "The Party for Not Smart People" or even better, "Progressive" so that your enemies are instinctively thought of as "Regressive." I'm still waiting on one from the Conservatives / Right Wing. I guess there's no way to make being conservative hip or positive.

Make your opponent appear to be judgemental but don't be a martyr.

Use These In Combination!!! Lets do a hypothetical. If you are not smart, and someone attempts to question what you mean by "fiscally reponsible" just tell them that the American people deserve to have economic justice and that the are not properly represented. Maybe throw in a little jab at what your opponent is doing....and tell the audience that not only will it not work but that it will do the opposite that it intends. Lump in a bunch of catch phrases such as "special interest groups" and you've got yourself a winner.

The Balance of Idiocy and The Solution: Character Assassins

How to choose.... how to choose? Positive or negative? Well the good news is that your campaign can use both but only if you are careful and only if you have connections. And you do! What you need are character assassins. When you want to murder someone but you suck at murder you hire a hitman right? (Don't answer that question, the person that is using hitmen is your opponent remember? Gotta be sharp!) Anyway, character assassins are the "in" way to balance your campaign. They cost little of nothing and the stuff they say isn't coming from your mouth. Typically these people have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Use Comedians. Dude. Comedians are funny! It isn't funny to contradict people. Go on shows where no one will question you and pray that no one notices that no one questions you. If you go on the Factor you'll get torn a new one unless you know what you are talking about. If you can get a comedian to tout the party line he can deliver your crap right into people's homes and he'll get paid for it!

Use The Press Okay, yes, the press can be a real pool of hungry sharks. But ..whats better than a pool of hungry sharks? A pool of trained hungry sharks! This works exactly like the comedian thing. Remember to use this in combination with insistance that your opponents own the media.

That's all I can think of for now. Do all of this and you have a future in politics. Do it not, and your enemy will defeat you. Rush to the bottom anyone?

Every Day Debate

Most of you will not be in politics: you're too ethical. Some of the above apply, some don't. What you need is craptastic debate techniques that you can have know...for every day use. Here's my list of my favorite, tried-and-true tactics. Make sure you read Unordained's article; it contains the underlying strategy that you will be backing with these tactics. The essential idea is this: the only way to fairly convince someone is by using reason. Thus if you destroy your opponents ability to speak reasonably with you, you destroy your opponents ability to pursuade. With any luck, no one will be convinced! Now..these still work for politics and they are a good place to start. Have fun!

Use Sarcasm! Sarcasm is good because the only thing you are really talking about is what you don't believe. That's easy! If your enemy does this to you say "Oh sure! Use sarcasm..that makes you really smart...." Stupid people won't get the irony and smart people will be won over by your sense of humor.

Use Undefined words or Redefine words. This is very effective! If you redefine a word that is important to your opponent to be more inclusive than it was previously, he will look like a jerk head poopy face. And that's good. Nobody likes a JHPF.

The Parthian Tactic. This one is great and it sounds so cool. It is a defensive tactic. When your opponent is attempting to use reason, preempt him. Mess with his definitions. Draw him out with the tactics below. Use sarcasm with this. Your opponent will spend so much time delving into details, pursuing your little imaginary horse archers that he'll either run out of time or forget what he was saying. Then change the subject and go on the attack, hitting him in his exposed flank!!!!!

The Straw Man Army. This one is really hard. You have to understand lots of belief systems that you don't really believe. Then, haul them out against your opponent. He'll spend way too much time and energy hacking down a field of scarecrows and not enough time chopping up your beliefs. That way he'll get tired and you won't be. The harder to define the belief system is the better. Your mind will be sharp and you can go on the attack at a convenient time. Your opponent will not be ready for the vigor of your attack!!!

Interrupt. Use this to get your opponent emotionally involved. I use it all the time........on accident. Seriously.

Fillibuster. This has saved many the dedicated group. If you talk for a long time in a row you gain multiple advantages. 1) Your opponent will not be able to defend against all the crap you just spewed. 2) Your opponent will become bored. 3) If your opponent interrupts, call him on it. Geez, you don't have to tolerate that kind of stuff.

Ye Olde Switcharoo. Most people aren't smart enough to lay traps. So don't define your position...just hint at it. When your opponent attacks, he'll spend a lot of time attacking what you don't really believe. Then give him another hint. He'll feel stupid for going off on a tirade and then you can counterattack and criticize his beliefs. This is great with either the Straw Man Army or the Parthian Tactic.

Be the Reasonable party. Be careful with this one. The trick is obviously not to be reasonable, in fact the more unreasonable you are, the more emotionally charged your opponent will become. Then calmly ask him or her to lower her voice, stop interrupting...whatever. Gotta stay calm and say unfair things. This works well with a positive campaign. Thankfully, you can usually switch to this even after you've been angry and loud. The first one to become quiet wins! Editor's note: I'm told this worked well in a recent presidential debate! Learn from the pros!

Deflect on the Abstract! This one is complicated. Lets say your opponent asserts "I think the death penalty is essential." You can deflect on the abstract by saying "So, you're saying that the American government should just.....kill people to maintain order?" If they say "I think abortion is a right" you say "You think mothers have the right to kill people?" In some ways, yes that is what they said but the trick is to take what they are saying about a small group and apply it to a larger group! Many people won't understand what you just did allowing you to take the initiative. Even if the do get it, they'll have to explain to you logically why what you just did was unfair. If you do this enough times, your opponent will become emotionally charged, decreasing his reasoning and giving you the advantage.

Go Relativist/Absolutist on his/her buttocks. Okay, this really has little or nothing to do with relativism. Make things grey that are black and white for a nice open minded defense. Act like things are black and white that are grey for a nice overly simplistic defense. These are very frustrating and useful with the Parthian Tactic.

*Rephrase and Riposte! Your opponent has just phrased something pretty well and you feel trapped. What do you do? Lie. Rephrase what your opponent has said in a light that is worse than the worst reasonable light...but do so without giving him a chance to reply. Immediately destroy your new straw man with a flourish. People will applaud. They like bravado.

Poison the Well. I mentioned this above but it is so important that I must explain it. If you cannot attack what your opponent is doing, make up a really bad reason to do it and then attack his motivations. Most people are too stupid to realize what you've done and your opponent can only deny.