You can, however, ‘Know Thine Enemy,’ and choose to read up on their devious rhetorical strategies.
One classic example is the ‘Motte and Bailey,’ where people sally forth with a hysterically exaggerated proposition that has both a ridiculously extravagant surface meaning and a more restrained secondary meaning. So, whenever you challenge them on the apparent meaning, they shriek in terror and hide behind the fortress of their less contentious meaning.
We (sic) need to create a tolerant and inclusive society.
OK. Is it time to include rapists, paedophiles, pimps, jihadists and Neo-Nazis then.
… WTF, dude?! No! No, no, no, I don’t believe in moral absolutes.
Power is decentred. This means it isn’t held or possessed by anyone; it isn’t top-down, like slaves and masters.
OK. So how come slavery has come back to Libya.
Ah… Well of course, er, um, I didn’t mean it was completely decentered. Of course it is centered in some people, it is possessed or held by some, er, um, but not necessarily forever! And people don’t necessarily have complete control, even if they have some!
Why is this lack of conviction important?
Because it helps shows how weak their arguments are.
It’s a good idea to expose the stupid ideas of relativists. Just make damn sure you don’t futilely squander your time, energy, money, mental health or other precious material and spiritual resources debating with these folks more than you should.
If you see someone who is already part of the way out, or at least having some fleeting doubts, then fine.
Case by case basis. (Postmodernists could definitely learn something about that one!)
But as for true believers? Spare yourself!
Focus your energies on winning the middle ground, or even the three-quarters ground.
But don’t waste your time on people who aren’t worth debating with.
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