How to argue with your idiot brother-in-law

Sara Robinson’s entry today on Blog for Our Future is probably the best short summary I’ve ever read, of exactly why liberals should stop being nice and polite and backing down to avoid family arguments during Thanksgiving dinner. I’m pretty lucky; I rarely have to deal with this stuff at family holidays. When I have, I’ve usually managed to avoid a blowout death match, typically by not showing any willingness to concede anything whatsoever to whatever conservative family blowhard tries to start something. If nothing else, it earns me grudging respect.

My favorite memory of this is probably the least confrontational and the most quickly dispatched. Once, I was asked by a North Carolina in-law why I grew my hair long, whether perhaps I was a hippie or something. I calmly replied, “I grow long hair out of respect to the Founding Fathers of our great nation. If a ponytail was good enough for Thomas Jefferson, it’s good enough for me.”

That’s something conservatives don’t tend to expect from liberals, in my experience: digging in our heels, relentlessly fighting back point by point, and never giving a millimeter. It’s the same thing that tends to keep creationists from invading my Evolution course… their quickly dawning awareness that I will not yield or equivocate.

Anyway. For those who will be dealing with a recalcitrant Neanderthal this holiday season, Sara Robinson’s post is a wonderful primer on talking points to fight with. The best part is that unlike the other side, our talking points aren’t lies based on hate, greed, and fear.

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