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Ben Shapiro: Rules for Debating a Leftist Cheat Sheet by

10 rules for debating a Leftist from Ben Shapiro
rules     debating     leftist     ben     shapiro

1. Walk Toward the Fire

“The left knows this is war. And they know you are the enemy. You will be castig­ated. You will get punched. That’s the way it will go because that’s how the left wins: through intimi­dation and cruelty. You have to take the punch, you have to brush it off. You have to be willing to take the punch.”

2. Hit First

“Don’t take the punch first. Hit first. Hit hard. Hit where it counts. Mike Tyson used to say, “Everybody has a plan ‘til they get punched in the mouth.” That’s exactly correct. But throwing the first punch requires game-p­lan­ning. Walking through the door, you have one shot – one! – to put someone down for the count from the beginning of a debate. If done properly, any debate on a single topic can be over within the first 30 seconds.”

3. Frame Your Opponent

“I have argued that the left’s entire playbook consists of a single play: charac­ter­izing the opposi­tion. It’s incredibly effective. And the only way to get beyond character arguments is to frame your opponent – make it toxic for your opponent to slur you. Then, hopefully, you can move the debate to more substa­ntive territory. This is the vital first step. It is the only first step…There is no way to convince someone that you don’t hate him or her. You can convince him or her, however, that your opposition is a liar and a hater.”

4. Frame the Debate

“It’s important that you neuter those buzzwords quickly, because otherwise you will be arguing against nonsense terms that can be used against you. You can’t argue against empty terms. So don’t accept the premises of their arguments, which are largely buzzword based…It’s important that you neuter those buzzwords quickly, because otherwise you will be arguing against nonsense terms that can be used against you. You can’t argue against empty terms. So don’t accept the premises of their arguments, which are largely buzzword based…As a general matter, the left’s favorite three lines of attack are (1) you’re stupid; (2) you’re mean; (3) you’re corrupt. Sarah Palin is supposedly stupid; Mitt Romney is supposedly mean; Dick Cheney is supposedly corrupt. Take away those lines of attack and watch the discomfort set in.”

5. Spot Incons­ist­encies in the Left’s Argument

“The left’s arguments are chock full of incons­ist­encies. Internal incons­ist­encies — incons­ist­encies that are inherent to the left’s general worldview. That’s because very few people on the left will acknow­ledge their actual agenda, which is quite extreme. Leftists prefer to argue half-m­easures in which they don’t truly believ­e…There are almost invariably unbrid­geable incons­ist­encies in the left’s publicly stated positions that are at war with their actual fundam­ental princi­ples. Your goal is to make the left admit once and for all what they believe about policy by exposing those incons­ist­enc­ies.”

6. Force Leftists to Answer Questions

“This is really just a corollary of Rule #4. Leftists are only comfor­table when they are forcing you to answer questions. If they have to answer questions, they begin to scratch their heads. The questions they prefer to ask are about your character; the questions they prefer not to answer are all of them. Instead, they like to dodge issues in favor of those character argume­nts.”

7. Do Not Get Distracted

Protesters hold signs outside the hotel where former President George W. Bush was being honored at a private fundra­ising dinner by University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School, Monday Sept. 9, 2013, in Denver. Bush was being honored with a global service award for his service as president and his efforts to fight HIV, cervical cancer and malaria in Africa. (Credit: AP)

“You may notice when arguing with someone on the left that every time you begin to make a point, that leftist begins shouting about George W. Bush. It’s like Leftist Tourette’s Syndrome. “Why did Obama blow out the budget?” “BUUUU­UUU­SHH­HH!­!!!!” Don’t be fooled. You don’t need to follow the idiotic rabbit down into his Bushy rabbit hole…A­rguing with the left is like attempting to nail jello to the wall. It’s slippery and messy and a waste of resources. You must force them to answer the question.”

8. You Don’t Have To Defend People on Your Side

“Conse­rva­tives get trapped in this gambit routinely, because they figure that the enemy of their enemy is their friend: if the left is attacking someone, he must be worth defending. But that’s not true…Don’t follow people. Follow princi­ple.”

9. If You Don’t Know Something, Admit It

“Don’t get caught in the trap of believing you have to know everything about everyt­hing. Your opponent will undoub­tedly know something you don’t. It’s fair to simply state, “I didn’t know that, but I’ll be happy to research and get back to you.” Another side-note here: don’t bring up a topic with which you aren’t passingly familiar.”

10. Let the Other Side Have Meanin­gless Victories

“Leftists prize faux moderation above all else; by granting them a point or two, you can convince them that you aren’t a radical right-­winger at all. After all, everyone can admit both parties are terrib­le!…If the left engages you on immigr­ation reform, your answer should be that you are for immigr­ation reform. Now, how do they define immigr­ation reform? That’s the key question. But because you’ve always granted the premise that you like the idea of immigr­ation reform, you don’t look like a naysayer off the bat…The conver­sation is meanin­gless until you force the left to define terms. Until then, we can all agree on useless platit­udes.”

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