Thank you to @conservative_fla for her thoughts on the constant barrage of debates via social media. Be sure to follow via Instagram for more!
We’ve all been there: you’re enjoying Facebook pictures of your new baby cousin and before you know it, you’re engaged in a heated discussion with liberals in the comment section of your favorite political page. Occasionally, these keyboard wars end up in you changing this internet troll or angry liberal’s false view, but let’s be real here: nine times out of ten these late-night political spiels leave you discouraged with society and what you humbly perceived as stellar debating skills.
“Republicans are religious zealots who want to oppress everyone who isn’t white, Protestant and rich”…If you’ve ever been told something, essentially saying this in one of those Facebook battles, but in fact are bilingual, a person of color or have more Madonnas in your house than appliances, furniture and clothing combined you may be a genuine conservative. One that is also wondering how we as a group may overcome the stigmas placed on conservatives and reach today’s ever increasing liberal American population. I’d like to contend that the answer to that often repeated and rehashed question is a lot simpler than you’d think.
First thing’s first: we as conservatives and I’d also argue, people in general, miss the big picture. Actions, affiliations, morals, mindsets and the overall lives of human beings hinge upon, say it with me now, worldview. World view is dependent upon many things but I’d argue it is essentially based upon one’s spirituality (or lack thereof) and the overall expression of this base of morality and purpose is shaped by many factors such as culture, education and socio-economics. The most important factor of any debate is what I call the worldview test.
The world view of an individual is the basis for the liberal identity of these Facebook combatants and cranky, discriminatory, college professors who irk you so. When discussing a particular topic, immediately state your worldview and how it relates to what you’re discussing. An example of this is, a friend posts a photo about gay marriage and the comment section is heated! You can respond with, “I understand that without a Biblical worldview there is no moral reason to believe that homosexuality is wrong. For me, I know why I believe the Bible and I’d be glad to discuss that with you along with other objections I have.” Boom. All done. That hits the nail on the head and goes straight to the issue also allowing the conversation to extend to other objections besides the underlying worldview.
Now that you’ve done the worldview test, there may be times where someone who shares this with you is still differing (get it together, Christians) on an issue. There are several ways to go about this debate properly. Share your personal experiences, cite experts, point them to materials by other conservatives that explain it better than you can (which is hard for us debate professionals to admit) and come from a calm, collected logical perspective.
There are many things to avoid when engaged in a debate that did pass the worldview test but is still ongoing. Do not commit the ad hominem fallacy. Ad hominem is a Latin phrase that essentially means attacking the individual rather than demolishing the false opinion.
If you truly care about creating lasting, important change in someone’s perspective not committing ad hominem fallacies will be a no-brainer, but it is easy to fall into when you (yes, you professional debater) run out of other points. Leave the conversation before you make that mistake. This includes prejudice, foul language, pointing out personal details, and one you may not consider: attacking the politician as a person to prove a point.
Another common mistake conservatives make is using false information, information one has not verified, or making statements they are not qualified to make. If you are not a scientist and don not have the proper information to back you up, don not engage yourself in a conversation with that liberal college bio major about vaccines until you have done your research.
This is a lot to process if you have never heard these concepts before, but they are easy to apply and an effective answer to that burning question of how to properly avoid futile keyboard wars and living room debates. Remember, first thing’s first is that worldview test. The worldview test will direct the discussion to the root of opinions. If the worldview test passes but the debate’s still heated, maintain your credibility by never committing the ad hominem fallacy and only speaking when you’re qualified to do so. Now, get back to that social media page and make some changes.
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