Preemptive Rebuttal: A Persuasive Discussion Tip

by Jason John Bartholomew

If you are a person who engages in online discussion threads with people who hold different opinions views than you do (as opposed to summarily unfriending them all and then announcing to everyone what a great social justice warrior you are, 🙄), then at some point you’re going to find that you’re very familiar with the basic planks not only of your pet issue but also the oppositions position. At that point you can begin to employ what I’m going to call the preemptive rebuttal. What that means is that you work into the original stating of your case your response to the points you know opposition is going to bring up.

For example “I understand that the second amendment has gained a broad interpretation. that is popular and not going away anytime soon and I also understand there is this nostalgia of how guns play a big part in Americano and in our culture from the Wildwest to Hollywood to the Hunter with a rifle in a deerstand at dawn to the lone homesteader, and no one is disputing that. But it is possible to have common sense restrictions on assault weapons that have the sole objective of mowing down as many people as possible in as short a time as possible, without in anyway infringing upon hunters or southern boys getting their first hunting rifle on their 13th birthday or on Hollywood’s ability to continuing indulging our greatest fantasies vigilante justice and revenge.”

Boom. Not only have I saved time by addressing what I know I’m going to have to address anyway, I cut them off at the knees if they. only have the one talking point in their arsenal. Now when it’s their turn to speak, what are they going to say that I’ve havent already addressed? I have already covered gun culture in America and the second amendment and I even dressed it up in warm nostalgia. exactly like they’re planning to.

Of course this is only useful if your conversations actually have some back-and-forth and don’t immediately deteriorate into a name shouting blame fest after the first round.