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Aggressive debate training

Ciao Lucio,

I try in English and I apologize in advance (too passive? Who cares  😉 )

I've looked and searched everywhere on the web but looks it's imposible to find some verbal aggression training...I'm not speaking of a training about insulting people. I look for something to develop a Trump like  style (don't like him but like his style sometimes), something to put your opponent on the costant defensive.

Frame, verbal aggression, dirty tricks, use nasty banter too. Something in between Donald Trump and the imaginary lobbist Nick Naylor (from the movie thank you for smoking). I would like to develope a training for me (and everyone that wants to join) to develop this particular abilities, to become a nasty debate scoundrel, aggressive, funny, disrespectful, a feared mouth!!

Do you have some ideas? Some hints about books to read, videos to watch and exercises to do?

Thanx Lucio...and Thank you for the good work!

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

I think Lucio's videos on Donald Trump and Ben Shapiro were very interesting on the aggressive and nasty debate techniques.

Donald Trump

Ben Shapiro

Obama's debate was interesting too:

And not forgetting how to counter these nasty power moves with Jordan Peterson:

luca stralis has reacted to this post.
luca stralis

Thank you, great job! Looks a very good starting point Matthew, thanks!

Yeah, both Trump and Shapiro are good ones.

Peterson was a great example because of how he handled an aggressive debater.

The advantage of the aggressive debaters is that you can "win big" by going around and taking people's debating scalps (edit: and it might be a quicker way of rising to prominence), and the disadvantage is that you can also get your ass handed to you in two different ways:

  1. Someone beats you at your own game
  2. You meet a calmer debate that indirectly and calmly shows either the nastiness, or the nonsense of someone's argument (or both, like in Peterson's/Newman's case)

P.S.: check the "guideline thread" in my signature, one of the advice is to address the whole community, rather than a specific person since plenty of people here can add value.

And welcome here 🙂

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Peterson was a great example because of how he handled an aggressive debater.

Peterson was really masterful in handling the situation.
Even though I see what you mean that he should point Newman's tactics out more obviously.

I think Newman was not as shrewd as Ben Shapiro.
Ben Shapiro really knows how to undermine people and get under their skin.

Sadhguru also uses the smart-alec style in my opinion.
He hides behind Indian mysticism to create distance to portray aloofness and authority.

I suppose the guru style is one form of smart-alec style of dominance.
More mysticism and hiding behind the authority of religion.
Though Sadhguru did drop a science quote like it's hot in the video.

Ben Shapiro's smart-alec style is a bit different.
He aims to portray himself as rational with well-prepared facts and statistics.
He also goes a bit for the witty style mixing in sarcasm and covert aggression.

I have challenges handling the aggressive, smart-alec style of debating.
I find that smart-alecs can be very good at upholding their facade of intellectual authority.

For example, I encountered someone who said

Him: I really appreciate your opinion.
But, from my experience and scientific studies, this is how it goes ...

(frames himself as the authority which respects my opinion)

I cannot recall how I handled it exactly.
But I can remember that I could have handled it better to sound more persuasive.

I could follow what Lucio suggested at the end of the Sadhguru video on defending your point of view by alluding to multiple, possible perspectives:

Me: Indeed, there are many studies alluding to different conclusions depending on the individual situation.
In this situation, ...

Or what the comedian did on Joe Rogan's show on a topic that both don't really have expertise on. (can't recall the link to this example)
So, for example, the smart-alec tries to sound smart on a topic with no real knowledge:

Smart-Alec: According to health authorities, wearing masks indoors reduces the risk of transmission by a lot.

Me: Well, you and I can sit here and debate on this topic.
Let's leave the conclusions to the experts.

You indirectly call out the smart-alec's facade of intellectual dominance and fake authority.

I realised as Lucio says, smart-alecs are out for dominance and have honed the skills to appear authoritative.
But lots of them are actually not knowledgeable or insightful in any way.

Mental Side

Jordan Peterson handles the mental side really well.
He was so calm throughout the interview despite the incessant attacks by Newman.
I found that incredible.

For smart-alecs, I find that their condescending, smug style can be more annoying.
They start out already framing themselves as superior.
It's important to remain calm and not seem like you are rebelling against their intellectual frames.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Matthew, notice how he said:

I respect your opinion

That's a power move.

He framed yours as opinions, and his as "scientifically-backed" facts.

You could have also addressed that.
For example:

I also appreciate your informed opinion on this.
I do happen to have also researched this topic, so I don't see it as a clear cut case of facts VS opinion

Obviouly, that also depended on the situation.
If one really has credentials and knowledge, then one can simply just listen and learn.
But, as a rule of thumb, people with knowledge and people who are not playing power games are usuall far less prescriptive in the way they talk.

The comedian debating power move is here.
The video has been taken down -maybe Rogan's team didn't like it? :)-, but the dialogue is still transcribed.

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Thanks for pointing that out. I would not have noticed that frame of opinion vs fact.

On the prescriptive vibe, I resonate with that. I saw a doctor in the private sector who told me:

Doctor: I propose that we do a surgery on your shoulder to determine if repair is needed. If we see something wrong, we will correct it on the spot.

And this was at a reputable hospital.

I suspected the doctor wanted my money and framed himself as an authority on what to do.

Then I decided to go to a public hospital. The doctor said

Doctor: How's the pain? Let's check your shoulder mobility.

Doctor: I don't advocate surgery unless really necessary and you want to. Why don't we try physiotherapy and see the progress of recovery?

I am so happy that I seeked a second opinion and avoided the surgery.

So I realised that doctors and lawyers use these techniques too. It is especially difficult to challenge their point because they can point to their credentials.

A lawyer told me

We created legalese widely used in business so it's hard to understand and people will pay us to make sense of it.

Refreshing honesty. So instead of discussing simple business terms, we have to hire lawyers to debate with one another.

I came across some books on the dark side of healthcare. I should definitely check it out sometime.

In short, I totally see what you mean. The biggest way to tell a smart-alec from an actual intellectual is through the power moves and open-mindedness.

Also, the real intellectuals can break things down for easy understanding. Like this website :), Tom Bilyeu, etc. They don't use "tactics" to win the debate.