Monty Python (to quote a well-established source) had a skit where a man wondered into a set of offices looking for an argument. It was framed in such a way as to treat "an argument" as if it were something one could just purchase from a shop. He found himself in a couple of other odd places, such as "getting hit over the head lessons" but I always found some truth to the discussion that took place during the actual "argument".
Statements like "[a]n argument isn't just contradiction" and "[c]ontradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes" always seemed relevant to me and, to be honest, logical. The point of debate for me was never just trying to demonstrate that you could argue, contradict, or disagree. To me, debate was always about actually believing what you were saying and trying to convince others that you were right. As I grew older, I found that as long as you approached the debate with an understanding that you would occasionally find yourself wrong, you would come out of a good debate with a better sense of what you believed and why - maybe even changing your mind as a result of a well-presented case.
"An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition"
"Argument is an intellectual process"
I don't care if people disagree with me. I don't care why you believe something is true or false. I just care that YOU know why you believe something and that YOU care. My only expectation of you is that you approach a debate (or even an argument) accepting the possibility that you could be wrong. If you are only debating to convince someone else to agree with you, no matter what, instead of searching for the truth of the matter (or at least the most realistic possibility), then don't waste the energy.
If your argument is impossible, it doesn't matter how good it "feels". I am constantly amazed by politicians that seem to only exist to "shoot down" every proposal that someone comes up with to solve a real problem. A toddler can say "[n]o it isn't" to every "[y]es it is", we don't need highly-paid, elected officials to do that.
EITHER PUT UP OR SHUT UP!
I'm not a fan of either political party in this country right now but at least I see one of them trying to do something. If we wait for a "perfect" solution that everyone is going to agree to, we're going to lose our entire country. When the car is rolling down the hill with the baby inside, don't argue about who didn't put on the emergency brake, GO GET THE CAR STOPPED BEFORE IT'S GOING FASTER THAN YOU CAN RUN! I will say one thing, it was the job of the Democrats to pass a budget 7 months ago and they had all of the control to do so.
Stop talking about red herrings . . . you can't raise enough money in taxes to balance the budget. Besides, taxes are not any lower now then they were during a time when our deficit was 7% of what it is now. That's an increase in spending of 15X . . . and stop blaming "the war", it was going on then too. You know what's really changed? The size, scope, and power of the federal government. That's where your tax money is going. Stop believing the liars in Washington D.C. that couldn't find middle America on a map if it was highlighted and circled. They are mouthpieces for their 1000-person cadres of career staffers.
Did people not get cared for before the federal government got involved in health care?
Did children not get educated before The Department of Education - isn't it strange how our level of education has declined since it was "invented"? The people that are taught IN the books were not educated under a federal authority. I wonder if Einstein and Newton would have been even more intelligent if they'd have had the benefit of a good 'ole tax-payer-funded public education that ensured they were taught at the same pace as the slowest person in the room.
If I promise you a new car every day for a month but always have an excuse or blame someone else for not delivering, how long would you believe me? What if I promised to give you $1,000,000,000.00 from my next paycheck but you knew I only worked for $10.50 an hour? Would you take me seriously at all? Why don't we laugh out loud at these tax-and-spend approaches to our actual safety and well-being. Why do we continue to let a bunch of out-of-touch politicians lie to us while passing on insurmountable debt to our children and grandchildren (if we're lucky)?
Why can't people see the huge gaping abyss? I think it's because they still believe the politicians that are standing on the other side and telling them there's an invisible bridge, "trust me" . . .