Words have more power than just about anything. Words can get us married. Words can get us thrown out of bars. Words (in the form of outrageous lies) can get people elected to political office.
In fact, words have the power to change a discussion to a completely different topic.
As an example, look what words have done to the pro-choice / pro-life discussion. If an extraterrestrial NSA analyst was listening in on that debate, they might assume that the argument was over whether women had the right to buy Flintstone vitamins since the language speaks more to “healthcare” than pregnancy and abortion issues.
We don’t have to look far to see what kind of impact words have had on the gun debate.
Using our advanced underground particle literacy accelerator laboratory, located in an underground complex in the foothills of South Dakota, I’ve completed an analysis of words and their impact on the gun debate.
I think the phrase “commonsense gun laws” might be the most dangerous of them all. Using the phrase “common sense” is like a preemptive nuclear strike. When you throw out a term like “common sense” in the war of words, you’re immediately claiming the high ground and establishing your position as a given. It’s up to the opposing party to knock you off.
Heck, you can preface the most ridiculous of arguments with “common sense” to win virtually any debate.
“We should consider common sense solutions to America’s weight problem by doing things like banning large cokes.”
“We should think about common sense solutions to fairness in reporting by putting Piers Morgan in charge of the FCC.”
“We should pursue common sense solutions to population control by deporting everyone who likes turnips.”
Part of the reason “common sense” is so dangerous is that it sounds so disarming.
So how do you go about fighting common sense? How do you overcome being the bad guy resisting the warm and fuzzy argument that’s based on common sense?
I like to use a technique developed here in the southern United States. It’s called the “bless your heart” attack.
Contrary to the point of this article the phrase “bless your heart” has absolutely nothing to do with words. It has everything to do with demeanor, facial expression and a voice dripping with high fructose corn syrup.
Delivered correctly, “bless your heart” delivers 25 megatons of nuclear insult to your target.
Said to someone with the correct technique, it translates loosely as “you’re a tiresome lout and have the IQ of a can of spackle.”
So take a lesson. When someone tells you about commonsense gun laws, give your best politician smile and ask them to help you understand exactly how it represents ’common sense.
Example: “You’ll have to forgive me, I haven’t had my coffee yet today. How is that common sense exactly?”
One of two things will happen. First, if your opponent is simply parroting a talking point, you’ll expose them for doing so. Second, if your opponent has any knowledge of the subject matter at all, you have deflected the common sense preemptive strike and started an actual discussion, at which point victory is assured for you.
What’s the conclusion? Guns don’t kill people, words kill people! That’s just common sense.
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