My favorite argument of all time is three words. I’ll give you an example before I explain what it is and why it works.
1: “evironmentalism is stupid. Look, folks, our capitalistic society will come up with a solution for whatever problem we have, as long as environmental regulations and other stupid laws don’t get in the way of the free market.”
2: So you’re saying that it’s stupid to plan ahead for something that is obviously going to be a problem.
2: Okay, say you know that you’re running out of food. One day, you find that you just have artichokes and sesame seeds in your entire house. So you put them together and make a makeshift meal. Does that mean that you should never buy food ahead of time because your ingenuity will always save you when you’re up against the wall?
1: You’re framing it wrong.
2: Is there a failure in my analogy?
2: Then my analogy is accurate.
1: Yeah…. but still.
(I so wish the stuff in direct quotes wasn’t legitimately somebody’s opinion, but it is)
My roommate calls this the Fuck-It Argument, but I disagree. I think that there are two forms of this particular phrasing.
Form 1: I agree with your argument, your argument follows, but I’m going to continue believing what you’ve proved wrong because I feel intuitively that yours is flawed.
You can tell that it is Form 1 when the conversational topic ends, because anybody that has just been shot out of the water and realizes they can’t save themselves will avoid trudging through and arguing something they can’t justify. Later on, they will think over your objections and one of three things will occur:
They will think up a good counterargument and likely go back and argue with you.
They will forget your objection and probably avoid the topic with you later on (people often take this path with religion, both in and about their particular belief system).
They will give up their position and adopt yours or an amalgam of the twain.
Form 2: I think I understand what you’re saying, but I feel it’s irrelevant and we should get back to the original discussion.
People that use Form 2 always attempt to go right back into the thick of the argument. This doesn’t mean that you didn’t wipe the metaphorical floor with them, for they could have not understood you.
Form 1 is far too common in arguments today. Everytime I argue with someone for any length of time, I expect (and usually find) the argument (or lack thereof) uttered by one of us. I find Form 1 to be necessary on a psychological level. If you were too easily convinced, you might do stupid things, therefore, you maintain your prior beliefs until you can think them over at your leisure.
This is why, as a debater, you must prepare to never convince anybody whilst you argue with them. Your goal should be to present your side as the only logical choice and hope they end up realizing this in the near future.
Unfortunately, it’s also probable that they won’t tell you if they’ve changed positions. Humans are prideful like that.