Losing proposition

If you feel the urge to get into an argument, you should remember that there are only two possibilities about the viewpoint you choose to argue. Either you are right, or you are wrong.

If you are wrong, you stand to lose. First of all, you will irritate the person you are arguing with, and, since you are wrong, you will probably be proven wrong in the argument. Your adversary will consider you foolish, at the very least.

If you are right, you still stand to lose. Despite the fact that you are right, you still will irritate the person you are arguing with, and because you are right, you may be able to prove your adversary wrong in the argument. Your adversary will feel foolish, at the very least.

The only conclusion is that there is no proper way to argue. In either case, you will irritate your adversary, and one of you will end up looking like a fool. Whether you are right or wrong, arguing with someone is a losing proposition.

How to turn a disagreement into a feud

1. Be sure to develop and maintain a healthy fear of conflict, letting your own
feelings build up so you are in an explosive frame of mind.

2. If you must state your concerns, be as vague and general as possible. Then the other person cannot do anything practical to change the situation.

3. Assume you know all the facts and you are totally right. The use of a clinching Bible verse is helpful. Speak prophetically for truth and justice; do most of the talking.

4. With a touch of defiance, announce your willingness to talk with anyone who wishes to discuss the problem with you. But do not take steps to initiate such conversation.

5. Latch tenaciously onto whatever evidence you can find that shows the other person is merely jealous of you.

6. Judge the motivation of the other party on any previous experience that showed failure or unkindness. Keep track of any angry words.

7. If the discussion should, alas, become serious, view the issue as a win/lose struggle. Avoid possible solutions and go for total victory and unconditional surrender. Don’t get too many options on the table.

8. Pass the buck! If you are about to get cornered into a solution, indicate you are without power to settle; you need your partner, spouse, bank, whatever.

— Ron Kraybill

A horse can’t kick

A horse can’t pull while kicking.
This fact we merely mention.
And he can’t kick while pulling,
Which is our chief contention.

Let’s imitate the good old horse
And lead a life that’s fitting;
Just pull an honest load, and then
There’ll be no time for kicking.

— author unknown


“Big shots are only little shots who keep shooting.” — Christopher Morley

“Debate is the death of conversation.” — Emil Ludwig

Ever notice that when a fellow says he agrees with you in principle, he’s invariably getting ready to argue with you? — source unknown

“The foolish and the dead alone never change their opinions.” — James Russell Lowell

“Those who never retract their opinions love themselves more than they love truth.” — Joseph Joubert

“The best way I know of to win an argument is to start by being in the right.” — Lord Hailsham

“Behind every argument is someone’s ignorance.” — Louis D. Brandeis (US Supreme Court justice from Kentucky)

The most important thing in an argument, next to being right, is to leave an escape hatch for your opponent, so that he can gracefully swing over to your side without too much apparent loss of face.  — Sydney J. Harris, Field Newspaper Syndicate.

Any argument has two sides, and they’re usually married to each other. — source unknown

The old stage

Two men who lived in a small village got into a terrible dispute that they could not resolve. So they decided to talk to the town sage. The first man went to the sage’s home and told his version of what happened. When he finished, the sage said, “You’re absolutely right.” The next night, the second man called on the sage and told his side of the story. The sage responded, “You’re absolutely right.” Afterward, the sage’s wife scolded her husband. “Those men told you two different stories and you told them they were absolutely right. That’s impossible — they can’t both be absolutely right.” The sage turned to his wife and said, “You’re absolutely right.”

Two people and a fence

Once upon a time there were two people, each standing on opposite sides of a tall fence made of wood. They can’t see each other, nor really anything of what’s on the other side.

One decides he wants the fence down so he can what’s over there. So he begins to push the fence over.

Now on the opposite side, the other person thought that the fence offered at least a semblance of protection. When he sees the fence falling over on him, he starts to push back with all his might to save the fence from falling.

Now, who will win? Normally, one would expect that supposing both had equal strength, then the one with the most endurance or sheer will power would be the victor.

And if they are not? Wouldn’t the weaker ask for help from someone else on their side?

If a person helps, do they know what is going on? They may just be passing by and are helping so as the one doesn’t get hurt. No matter which way the fence falls, it is going to hurt someone and possibly crush whatever else they can not see.



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