Oh, No! It's Making Well-Reasoned Arguments Backed With Facts! Run!Commentary • Opinion • ISSUE 45•22 • May 28, 2009 By Matthew Barnes I I think it's finally over. Our reactionary emotional response seems to have stopped it dead in its tracks. If I'm right, all we have to do now is smugly reiterate our half-formed thesis and—oh, no! For the love of God, no! It's thoughtfully mulling things over!Run! Run! It's making reasonable, fact-based arguments!Quickly! Hide behind self-righteousness! The ad hominem rejoinders—ready the ad hominem rejoinders! Watch out! Dodge the issue at hand! Question its character and keep moving haphazardly from one flawed point to the next!All together now! Put every bit of secondhand conjecture into it you've got!Goddamn it, nothing's working! It's trapped us in our own unsubstantiated claims! We need to switch fundamentally unsound tactics. Hurry, throw up the straw man! Look, I think it's going for it. C'mon c'mon yes, it's going for it! Now hit it with the thing that one guy told us once while it's distracted by our ludicrous rationalizations!Gah! It's calmly and evenhandedly deflecting everything we're throwing at it. Our deductive fallacies are only making it stronger! Wait what on earth is it doing now? Oh, no, it has sources! My God, it's defending itself with ironclad sources! Someone stop the citing! Please, please stop the citing!The language is impenetrable! For all that is good and holy, backpedal with all your might!Where are the children? Someone overprotect the children! They cannot be exposed to this kind of illuminative reasoning. Their young, open minds are much too vulnerable to independent thought. We have to shield them behind our unshakeable intolerance for critical thinking.What?!? Noooooooooo! Richard! For the love of God, it's convinced Richard!No time for tears now. Richard's mind has been changed forever. But we mustn't let it weaken our resolve. Mark my words, our ignorance will hold, no matter the cost. Now, more than ever, we have to keep floundering ahead with blind faith in our increasingly fallacious worldview. For Richard's sake.What's that? Now it's making an appeal to reason? Never! Do you hear me, you eloquent, well-read behemoth? Never! We'll die before we recognize what we secretly know to be true! The cognitive dissonance only makes our denial stronger!We have but one hope left: passive-aggressive slights disguised as impersonal discourse.† Okay, everyone, careful now careful if this is going to work, we have to arrogantly assume that it won't be smart enough to catch on to our attempt to salvage some feeling of superiority and—oh, God, it's calling us out! Quick, avoid eye contact and stammer an apology! Tell it we were just joking! Tell it we were joking!Arrgh! Our pride! Oh, Lord, our pride! It burns!All is lost. We don't stand a chance against its relentless onslaught of exhaustive research and immaculate rhetoric. We may as well lie down and—Christ, how it pains me to say it—admit that it's right. My friends, I would like to take these last few moments of stubborn close-mindedness to say that it's been an honor to dig myself into this hole with you. Unless wait, of course! Why didn't we think of it before? Volume! Sheer volume! It's so simple. Quickly now, we don't have much time! Don't let it get a word in edgewise! Derisively cut it off mid-sentence! Now, launch the sophomoric personal attacks! Louder, yes, that's it, louder! Be repetitive, juvenile, and obstinate! It's working! It's working!We've done it! It's walking away and shaking its head in disgust! Huzzah! Finally—defeated with a single three-minute volley of irrelevant, off-topic shouting!Ironic, really, isn't it?