Arguing for Argument’s Sake

For the record, I am terrible at arguing because I am extremely non-confrontational. If I start talking to someone about a specific subject and it’s obvious to me that they are never going to change their mind, or if they at all start to get aggressive, I will immediately give in. This is true even when I know I’m correct. I think a lot of this comes from having terribly stubborn older brothers. As the younger sibling, it was either agree with them or be beaten up, or as we got older, verbally abused. It’s safe to say that I’m scarred.

My objective opinion aside, I definitely think there are instances where an argument is absolutely necessary. For starters, an argument is necessary it’s for a constructive purpose. Take environmental laws, for example. When a group of lawmakers approve a project that will cause great environmental damage, those who fight to protect the Earth will intervene and argue, whether this be via protest or an opposition to the legislature. Humans tend to argue when they feel passionately about something, and arguments are absolutely necessary when that something could have detrimental affects. Even on a small, personal level, if you don’t argue about something you feel passionately about and then the outcome is something that you’re uncomfortable with, it’s affecting you. Arguing is important when they can have a greater impact.

On the other hand, arguing can be a complete waste of time and it can be a mistake if you don’t know who you’re dealing with. Audience really matters with an argument. As I  mentioned above, arguing with my brothers was always a mistake because I could never win and would always end up feeling embarrassed and defeated. It’s wearing on the self-esteem. Attempting to make your point can be a mistake when the audience is not correct. Imagine attempting to argue with your boss, demanding that you deserve five day weekends. Additionally, if the cause you’re working for is not a just or respectable one, your argument is a mistake. It’s pointless, and it’s simply unnecessarily disrupting the lives of others. It’s also a mistake when you don’t have the means to back up your argument. If you’re just yelling at someone to yell at them, they’re not going to take you seriously and it could get you into a lot of trouble.

Finally, I do think there are times when arguments can be both necessary and a mistake. To use the example I used in the above paragraph, if you choose to argue with your boss because he is consistently late, lazy, and unproductive, it may be a mistake. That being said, it’s also something that needed to be argued. If your boss is unmotivated and just all-around terrible, someone should really say something to him. So I guess an argument can be necessary and also a problem when there are morals involved. You think you should be fighting for something, but you know it will get you into serious trouble. It’s the class heart-head battle. That being said, I don’t think that you would argue if you didn’t feel strongly enough about a topic, so then maybe you were prepared for the consequences. In any case, some may view your choice in argument as a mistake, but it’s really more about what you personally believe. Do you think what you’re arguing for is just? Do you think it’s a mistake? Is the mistake worth making for the greater good of society (hello, boiler plate language)?

Man, arguing is stressful.

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