Top 3 ways to gaslight your opponent

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We’ve all been in the discussion that gets…serious.  Meaning, you need to know what you’re talking about…or do you?

In debate, there are various techniques which can be applied, whether you are informed or not.  One such maneuver is gaslighting.

Gaslighting is when you make your opponent think their view on the facts is so wrong, that they don’t understand reality.  Gaslighting is one of the best ways to diminish not only the opponent’s argument, but to diminish the person themselves into a mushy pile of self-doubt.

You could go the way of Trump, who is one of the most shameless and obvious gaslighters, by simply answering, “I never said that.” when everyone knows you did.

But, there are more subtle ways…

So, without further ado, here are the top three ways to gaslight:

Sarcasm

Yes, the tried and true, good old sarcasm. Used best during the years of teenage angst, when you knew so much about the world that you could be self-assured to say the opposite and everyone could tell what was obviously true. (You see what I did there? That was sarcasm).

Sarcasm is great in belittling an opponent and make them question themselves: “Wait, am I off on this?” It’s also good because it makes you feel better, reassuring your world view.

It’s important to remember that sarcasm is best served like revenge: Cold.  This dispassionate delivery makes it clear you’re unemotional and clearheaded about what you believe, even if you’re not.

Character assassination

A close cousin to sarcasm, character judgments are a good way of changing the subject without appearing like you’re changing the subject.  You can slightly shift the discussion to make the other person defend their values, which distracts from the issue and makes it personal.  

This is very easy to do, because most people what to defend themselves, and when they do, it becomes a battle of the ego!  And if you’ve got the bigger ego, congratulations: You’ve already won. Because when you demolish an ego, you take a person’s self-confidence.  Gaslighting!

Whataboutism

This one is an oldie but goodie, and is also related to personal attacks, in that it shifts the focus off of the issue. Whataboutism is perhaps more powerful than character assassination because while it also distracts, it distracts to a similar situation.  Thus being related, it seems like you’re still on topic, when you’re just circling it.

Whataboutism is great because it’s limited only by how many related examples you can come up with.  The discussion can be derailed into endless territories, where comparisons are superficial.  And if you have enough stamina, you can exhaust your opponent into a stupor of self doubt: “Uhh, what were we talking about?”

The trifecta of gaslighting:  Sarcasm, Character assassination, and Whataboutism

With these tools in your kit, you can win any argument, with minimal knowledge and research of the issues. And in the process, you can send your opposition into a tailspin of crippling self-doubt.


Photo from the movie, Gaslight, released 1944
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How to tell if someone is Indian

 

 

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Elizabeth Warren used to be on point, focused on the concentration of power in the corporate banks on Wall Street, and the powers-that-be, but Trump has triggered her.  And now she’s distracted, trying to prove her group identity.

The thing of it is: No one really cares about your group…as much as they care about how you treat them.

 

 

I’ll teach you how to do it properly, she said.

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I was laying back in her chair, feeling exposed. She was one of the few who was serious about this, like a technician.
I felt a little offended when they assumed I didn’t know how to do it properly.  I’m a grown man.  I’ve been around the block.
Ok, you’ve got to go all the way down, she directed.
Yes, yes
See how I’m doing it? Her hands were busy, You’ve got go down on both sides.
I couldn’t see anything, but I could feel it.
Then I felt a warmth gush into my mouth.
You’ve got some inflammation in there.
Do you floss every day?
Sometimes, I said. There was no lying. The evidence was in the metallic taste in my mouth.
After my visit, I went home and vowed to be a flossing champion. Twice a day even!
A week later I realized, I hadn’t flossed at all.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
And on this road, a future lesson from my dental professional.

I never met my great-grandparents, because they were murdered.

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During the genocide of World War I, the State of Turkey targeted Christians, which included my people, the Armenians, to be exterminated.  The State murdered men, women, and children, without judgment or differentiation.  They were hung, decapitated, or marched to death. The estimate of those murdered are 1.5 million people.

The Turks who were responsible for these murders were fascists. Fascists are people who control through authoritarianism that appeals to national pride and protectionism. Fascists are led by an unelected leader (dictator) who uses force to eliminate dissent and free speech and other freedoms.

Today my great-grandparents lay in their unmarked graves, wherever those graves may be.  And if they have souls, I imagine they’re watching our definition of fascism today.  And they’re wondering what has become of the world…

Being a slave is a point of pride

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“Take for instance the phrase, corporate slave,” I told him.
“That term slave is really strong. It means something quite clear.  Slavery, real slavery, is were the person is threatened by physical force for not following direction.

The corporate slave is restricted by circumstance, but not restricted by physical force. And the circumstance they are in is economic.  Using the word slave for people who have choices is sort of disrespectful to the slaves we had in America and we have today.”

Resist. Stop the persecution.

These are powerful words. Actually all words are powerful. Which words we choose to describe a situation make a big difference on how we view a situation:

Viva la Resistance

It was the rallying cry of the underground rebellion of the French against the Nazis. The Germans had occupied their country, and were proceeding to round up and kill anyone who wanted to protect their freedom from the Nazi dictatorship.  Nazis who detained people, took their property, and even killed them, sometimes for nothing more than their race or ethnicity.

Today we are progressive. Because we are privileged.

The right to be free to do what you want without harming others is no longer sufficient. Enslaving others is now the charge against you when you don’t help enough.

Meanwhile, many others seek out the white collar of slavery and wear it with pride.  Blue collars, too.  They’ve been victimized by capitalism, or victimized by China, or both.

We are progressive.  We have progressed to some point.

And it’s a point I’m unsure of.

For what crisis in “law and order” do we need Trump’s decisive boot?

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(20 seconds to read)

If anything needs addressed, it is the disconnect between law enforcement and the poor communities, particularly the poor, black communities, that they police.

We need someone to help create a climate to bring these two groups together. We need someone that will push for holding police accountable when using excessive force.

We need someone to fight against the prison-industrial complex which promotes more arrests and prison sentences. We need someone who helps create a culture that empowers the black community to aspire to something greater than “the race that cannot achieve because of society’s racism”.

Not an easy task at all…

But I don’t see Donald Trump as the man to take it on.

Do you?