This isn’t really about ranting. Ranting is really just talking with additional saliva projection, which is why it’s more tolerated online than in person.

But if you have wondered why so much of what you read on policy questions is so useless and frustrating, I’m here to explain that for you. There are two(2) things someone should be trying to do in public debate, and one(1) secret code-breaking strategy that is available here, free of charge to those (you) who have navigated the tricky terrain of the Post website to get in here and see what I have to say.

The two things someone needs to be when making an argument: 1)correct, and 2)persuasive. A lot of people assume the first covers the second, or the second can overcome a problem with the first. When they think ‘persuasive’, they are usually thinking that a lot of emotionally driven signifiers, seasoned with real or implied saliva, is the formula. This is very not true and why our discourse has deteriorated so badly. Another common variant of unpersuasive is to construct a tendentious description of the situation and then fudge the logic pivot and arrive at your pre-ordained conclusion with a condescending smirk. Unpersuasive.

Persuasive is this. Describe your opponent’s position in a way that makes sense. Then explain why it just doesn’t make as much sense as an available alternative. Pretty simple, right? And how often do you see that? I rest my case.

And the secret decoder ring? Always watch for what ISN’T said. Ask yourself, if YOU were arguing for that position, wouldn’t you be mentioning that obvious missing thing? If an argument is missing the obvious thing, the real argument is quite possibly about something else entirely. It happens!

Apply this template and it will save you a lot of time by skipping arguments that aren’t worth listening to. If you want oversimplification, read the cartoons.