How To Be Right: The Art of Being Persuasively Correct (2015)

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THREE THINGS ALWAYS BEAT TWO THINGS

Unless you’re the beneficiary of media welfare (any leftist with a microphone) you will always be expected to back up the point you’re making with examples. Having one example is okay, but no great shakes. Having two examples only illustrates that you have one, plus another one. But having three? That means there are many more! I have no idea why. But it works.

Giving three reasons why you deserve a raise (here’s what I’ve done; here’s what I want to do to make my increase worthwhile; I’ve had offers) tends to be ideally persuasive. And if I’m wrong, it’s only because the three reasons you gave were patently false, and also maybe you should get your teeth fixed.

I suppose this even works in fights. Showing up with two friends is better than showing up with none. And it’s scarier than just you and one other guy (especially if the other guy is me). Four guys, however—is a “posse,” which makes you an “asshole.” See the movie Entourage. Wait—don’t see it.

Try it out here:

CLIMATE CHANGE

There’s plenty of evidence at your fingertips but focus on the most obvious of exaggerations, and have the facts ready (which they will, of course, dispose of).

★ Polar bears: Remember when they told us polar bears are disappearing? They aren’t. They are multiplying. In fact, I’ve seen several in my neighborhood, driving Priuses.

★ Has it gotten hotter? No. We’re in the midst of a sixteen-year pause that may extend for another twenty years or so. That’s thirty-six years, the longest decline since Ally Sheedy.

★ The big problem with the climate change agenda: it’s baked into a crazier mission to handicap America’s economic system, by recasting industrial progress that’s saved millions of lives as an attack on earth.

Feel free to bring up the bogus hockey-stick theory, or the faulty data from the Brits, or the other assorted lies about consensus—but three should be fine. They’re just the tip of the iceberg that still hasn’t melted.

WIN IN THREE

How to Defend a Pipeline

The key argument against the Keystone pipeline is that it’s unsafe. Respond as follows:

1.What’s wrong with pipelines? You want oil transported by trains, planes, or buses? That seems kind of weird. What if they crash?

2.If trains and planes and buses are safer than pipelines, we’ll need to rethink indoor plumbing. I mean—talk about hazardous waste—we have tons of shit flowing underground that I suppose we’re gonna need to bring aboveground. That’s gonna smell delicious! Perhaps Uber should start a new line of free transport called Poober.

3.If you’re against the pipeline, what about all pipes? Where do we draw the line? If pipes are unsafe, how will radicals make bombs? If pipes were banned, Bill Ayers never would have made tenure!

Fracking

Fracking gets a bad rap because it’s an easy rap to fake, and also because it’s a funny word. But it’s also an argument you can win, with the variation of the three-step rule.

Fracking can actually save the United States in three easy steps: by making energy cheaper (which is happening now), by providing jobs where before there were far fewer (see North Dakota and Pennsylvania, to start), and by getting us away from relying on tyrants and thugs around the world for our fuel (the collapse of the Russian ruble and the Venezuelan economy included).

HOW TO EXPLAIN RISK TO IDIOTS

Everything revolutionary in life starts out as a tad unsafe and then evolves toward better safety over time. It’s trial and error, with blood. The first person who tried anything probably died during it. We establish risk, then we reduce risk. But we can never eliminate risk. But isn’t relying on lunatic regimes stuck in the seventh century a lot riskier? Here are fourteen things that started awful but through repetition and correction became safer, and better:

•childbirth

•construction

•travel

•fire

•surgery of any kind

•energy extraction

•cooking

•mating with assorted woodland creatures

•most sports

•eating mushrooms

•animal domestication

•dating a musician

•purchasing a used WaterPik at a garage sale

•going to the local ER to get the used WaterPik removed

No doubt someone will confront you with the “But it’s not safe” line. Make sure to ask for specifics, which can be easily debunked. But have your facts ready, meaning the latest research revealing that fracking is safe. All can be located using this “Google” thing I found.

Of course, typing in “fracking safety” will only get mostly antifracking sites. (Google is like that, for some reason. Imagine if you googled “Google” and got nothing but “Google sucks” sites. That’s how most industries are treated by this lefty conglomerate that is bigger than U.S. Steel but just can’t get behind the whole “capitalism” thing.)

So I’ll help you. The most common criticism is that the “deep-injected fluids” used in fracking will get into the groundwater, and then we’ll all die. So let’s pull from what I consider an objective source, Popular Mechanics, which states it rather simply: this is “mostly false.” “Basic geology prevents such contamination from starting below ground. A fracture caused by the drilling process would have to extend through the several thousand feet of rock that separate deep shale gas deposits from freshwater aquifers.”

Basically the intervening layers of rock prevent such breaks from stretching up toward the surface. The magazine uses this simile, from an expert:

“It would be like stacking a dozen bricks on top of each other…and expecting a crack in the bottom brick to extend all the way to the top one.”

I don’t understand this crap. But that’s the point. Your ignorance, and my ignorance, enable people dumber than both of us to succeed in preventing one of the great energy revolutions of our time. A revolution conceived by people much smarter than both of us.

Gun Control

Most arguments for gun control are emotional, which is understandable. People die. The blood. The bodies. It’s grim. Guns are bad.

It’s an observation more than an (awful) argument, but still a powerful one. A locked-down school, splattered in crimson, beats any well-reasoned, fact-based response in a heartbeat. Which is why, as a pro–Second Amendment guy, you gotta shut up awhile and let the emotions unfold. Political opportunists on Twitter and cable and elsewhere will come along and in a week exhaust their limited repertoire of outrage. That’s when you emerge and give them three simple facts:

★ Home invasions are fewer in states with more permissive gun laws.

★ Felons avoid people with guns, and places where guns are welcome.

★ Gun-free zones are enticing to spree killers as targets because these lunatics know they can achieve a higher body count, which is the whole point.

It’s true: guns do kill people. But guns also kill murderous people with guns. Just not often enough, alas. Until we do something to effectively and humanely house crazy folks, you’re stuck with SIG Sauer.

Tax Increases on Businesses

Most arguments for increasing taxes break down into two camps:

★ Why not! Those rich bastards can afford it!

★ I’m not rich, so it’s not my problem.

Most proponents of higher taxes automatically assume the extra money is necessary to run the government—that it goes to actual stuff, and that tax increases affect only the rich. That’s wrong on all fronts. But this is a small book, so let’s focus on three commonsense responses to the cry for higher taxes.

★ What happened to the money you already took from me? What happened to that last trillion? The problem has never been about revenue, it’s been about spending. If the government actually knew that their funds were limited, they would treat your wallet with respect. Instead, they call the death tax an estate tax, just so they can tax the money not once (it was previously taxed if your mom or dad earned it) but twice. Evil.

★ Higher taxes hurt the generators of such taxes. Meaning, the more you penalize, the less the penalized can produce…which inevitably reduces the tax base. Because taxpayers move away. Usually to my apartment. I don’t mind (I love company). The government treats your money like an invisible roll of toilet paper. They continue to use it on crap because they never know when it runs out. Or care.

★ Taxes, combined with regulation, prevent people from taking risks. Fewer businesses open, fewer jobs are available, and all you’re left with is Detroit—which you can now purchase with six crates of S&H Green Stamps, and actually get change.