Screw You Communists, I’m Going Home!

Anyone who’s tried to discuss politics at UT knows that there are students at our school who do not know how to conduct a proper argument. This comes as a bit of a surprise to me as I know that in high school and college English classes you are required to write at least one persuasive paper. In the process of doing so, instructors generally give you some pointers on how to construct a formal argument and then defend that argument with supporting evidence. Maybe a few of us missed class that day because of a late night at Ybor the night before, or it just didn’t sink in.

I’d like to offer a crash course in constructing an argument and then defending it. The first thing you must start out with is a claim of some sort, also known as a thesis statement. In our example, we’ll use the statement “Ann Coulter isn’t crazy.” We all know that claim has no truth, but using proper arguing skills, we can make it appear true. One key in choosing to defend a topic is the belief that you can make your opponent believe that you are right. If you are easily flustered or humiliated, then live debate probably isn’t for you.

In order to defend yourself, you’ll need evidence to back up your claim. One way to do that is through the use of statistics. Coming back to our example, we could say “99% of the things Ann Coulter says are twisted facts.” When using statistics, you want to make sure that your figures come from credible sources and are not just numbers you came up with on the fly. Facts are the best way to defend your argument, however be sure to make the distinction between fact and opinion. A fact is something like, “Ann Coulter hates liberals,” whereas an opinion would be, “Ann Coulter lives in her own little world.”

When writing a persuasive argument either in the form of a paper or just e-mail correspondence, you generally want to address claims from the opposing view. As a transition during the process of pointing out inaccuracies of your opponent, you might say something like “I could continue on

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