Fifty shades of Dave (davywavy) wrote,
Fifty shades of Dave

Everybody was Kung fu arguing

For a long time now - as long as I can remember, in fact - in debates I've done something I refer to as Tai Chi arguing.

In Tai Chi one of the primary defences if your opponent is poor, or just unfocused and throws wild attacks, is to step aside and simply let them go past you. If needs be you help them on their way, letting their energy move harmlessly past you and, in doing so, nullifying it.

"God, you're a twat, David", I might have had said to me on a semi-regular basis, to which I'd nod and smile and reply "Yes. Yes I am" before asking them to engage with what I'm actually saying rather than just throwing wild punches.

In Kung fu this technique of abosirbibg or avoiding unfocused attacks forces your opponent to engage with you seriously - to commit or to quit.

Anyway, for a large part of the last decade I've been trying, with varying degrees of success, to explain to my collection of more-lefty-than-I friends the growth of dissent against their social consensus of opinions, especially online.
One thing that strikes me - and I've had it at me often enough over the years that I don't really even notice or care any more - is that there is a real tendency to shut down dissenting opinions by trying to take the moral high ground. Dismissing rather than engaging with what's being said. "That position is evil, stupid and offensive."

Anyway the victory of Brexit and Trump is widely hailed as a victory of the evil, stupid and offensive; in short, the mechanism of shutting down dissent has failed. And it has failed because your opponents have adopted Tai Chi debating en masse.

"Your opinion is evil, stupid and offensive", you may say, in an attempt to cow your opponent with the force of your attack.

"Yep", comes the reply, stepping aside and letting your energy move harmlessly past. "I'm evil, stupid and offensive. Have a picture of Pepe the Frog. What are you going to do now?"

So what *are* you going to do now?
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