Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Anatomy Of An Argument

I get into a lot of arguments on Facebook. I know that is hard to believe, what with my sunny disposition, but it is true. I get into so many arguments that I consider myself a Facebook anger expert. Over the years, I have paid close attention to how Facebook arguments start, and I have come to the conclusion that Facebook arguments breakdown like this:
  • 60 percent are unnecessary
  • 25 percent are started by misinformed stubborn people who think that they have correct information when, in reality, they got nothing
  • 15 percent are started by people who think their opinions are facts
Remember, this is just preliminary scientific data that still has to be verified. But I think this is pretty accurate. Let me give you an example of each kind of argument.

60 Percent Are Unnecessary

Me: "The current state of the American education system is the fault of Democrats and Republicans."
Other Person: "The Dems are to blame. You're an idiot."

Now, in this instance, you could say that this is started by someone who thinks their opinions are facts, but this argument is actually unnecessary. Why? Because there is no need to call the other person an idiot. Simply stating your opinion and leaving it at that is how productive conversations begin. Calling someone an idiot starts an argument. These are especially entertaining when the person who started it says later in the argument "You're the one who started with insults." I call that the Hitler Syndrome (blaming others for things you yourself have done).

25 Percent Are Started By Misinformed People

Other Person: "This whole thing started when Martin Luther King nailed that list to the church door."
Me: "No, no. That was Martin Luther."
Other Person: "Everyone knows it was Martin Luther King. Your an idiot."
(The misspelling here is on purpose)

These types of people represent the great decline in our educational system and are probably not worth talking to. People hate being corrected. I hate it too, but at least I can use Google to confirm the correction and admit when I am wrong. People who are blatantly wrong and refuse to acknowledge correct information are part of a sect known as morons. Never argue with a moron. Just walk away.

15 Percent Use Opinions As Fact

Other Person: "Eagles are the best birds in the world."
Me: "Ah, eagles are cool, but I prefer parrots. At least they can talk."
Other Person: "That's stupid. You're an idiot. It's a fact that eagles are better."
Me: "How is that a fact? That is your opinion."
Other Person: "America made eagles the national bird. So that makes it a fact."

Notice how these people use irrelevant information to try and assert that their opinions are indeed facts? Isn't that just frustrating? These people come from a large tribe known as the ignorant. As with the morons, you should never argue with an ignorant person.

I have hope that, someday, we can significantly reduce the number of unnecessary arguments on Facebook and have productive dialogue that actually accomplishes something. As for me, I have learned to allow people their opinions, provided they allow me mine. I never argue with someone who thinks their opinions are facts, but I do weep for them. 

On the other hand, there will always been morons and the ignorant, so the goal of completely eliminating arguments on Facebook will never be achieved.

George N Root III is a Lockport resident who spends entirely too much time on Facebook. You can follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3, or send him a message at