Do I Like to Argue?

Argue: from Latin arguere (“to  make clear”)

The point of argument is not to show what’s correct, far less to show who’s correct. Argument is used to make clear, to clarify the evidence and logic around a point at issue.

I like things to be clear, but that really doesn’t say that I like to argue. Argument is hard work, conducted according to techniques that have been tested for at least 2,500 years. Liking to argue is, for me, like enjoying ditch-digging (I don’t.) It’s work. Worthwhile work, when done properly, but too much effort to waste on squabbling.

own-goal

Like soccer, argument is only worthy of the name when it goes by the rules. Soccer without rules is just a tedious squabble over a ball. Argument without rules is just plain tedious. Even when an opponent proves your case for you, it is tedious to watch.

So, if one side is playing soccer, and the other is just squabbling over a ball, it is just a squabble. It takes two to make an argument, but only one to turn it into a squabble by ignoring the rules.

Many times when I stop responding to Facebook posts, it is because my opponent has made such a cringe-worthy logical blunder that it is too painful to continue. Besides, leaving that blunder as the last post on a thread means that I actually have the closing argument, even though it is written by my opponent.

So, do I enjoy argument? I can appreciate a good argument, but I have no time for the usual barrage of ad hominem, straw men,  and non sequiturs that so often turn it into a mere squabble.

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