PJ Media

Top 10 Ways to Convince People You're Right and They're Wrong

The internet is nifty. You can communicate and share information with people across the world instantly. There’s just one big problem with all this open discussion: Not everyone’s opinion is the same as mine.

I’m minding my own business giving extremely detailed reviews of canned corn on Amazon, and then I see people in an article or on Twitter or a five-star Green Giant review being all wrong about everything. It’s extremely irritating, and it makes no sense. This is the future. My phone has a quad processor in it. Yet there are still people out there holding on to primitive beliefs about socialism and what not. Am I just supposed to put up with this?

No. I need these people to know they’re wrong and then they need to apologize to me for being wrong. I don’t think that’s very much to ask. But how do you get people to change their minds? It’s not easy, so I’m rating the different methods of convincing people.


Trolling: This just involves yelling angrily at people you disagree with to make them angry. “Of course you think that about the minimum wage, because you’re a drooling nazi communist. Die in a fire.” It’s probably the least effective of the methods, but it’s also the most natural. I’m actually not sure there is a single instance in human history of trolling leading to someone changing his or her opinion. But it’s also so much fun.

Rating: * * (two stars)

Logic: This is where you use careful, reasoned arguments to explain why someone else’s views are wrong. This is considered a higher form of arguing than trolling, but it has only a marginally higher success rate. That’s because all humans are good at wielding logic in service of themselves and are always really convinced their own logic is right. Like right now, I could be spouting absolute gibberish, but I’m really convinced I’m making an airtight, logical argument. And if you tried to tell me otherwise, I’d probably get so mad I’d bite you. So really, logical arguments are only good if you’re trying to have an argument with a computer. But no matter what you tell a computer, it will probably conclude the proper opinion is “kill all humans.”

Rating: * (one star)

Emotional Appeal: This is where you avoid any sort of coherent philosophy and try to convince people to side with you because things just “feel” right or wrong. You kind of sob and scrunch your face and make everyone think you really really care. It makes me want to punch myself just talking about it. At the same time, this does seem to be effective with the same sort of people Jedi mind-tricks would work on. Still, I would never use it as — not to sound sexist — feelings are for six-year-old girls.

Rating: * * 1/2 (two and a half stars)

Protest: The idea here is that if someone sees a group of people who took the time to organize together and wave placards and yell rhyming slogans, that person will say, “Wow. They must really care about this. I should carefully consider their opinions.” Though more often the reaction is, “Who are these smelly, noisy morons? Whatever their opinion is, I will take the other option.” The problem is — as we saw a lot in Occupy Wall Street — protests attract people who don’t really even have an opinion but really like being angry and yelling.

Rating: * * (two stars)


Raing: * (one star)

Bribery: So how much do you like your opinion? Can you put a dollar amount on it? Theoretically, this one should work pretty well. Like if someone gave me a million dollars, I could make myself see the positive aspects of the Export Import Bank. Of course, the more deeply held the belief, the more it will cost to get someone to change his mind. Also, I hate people who disagree with me; I don’t want to give them money.

Rating: * * 1/2 (two and a half stars)

Media Saturation: Hey, everyone in your favorite TV shows thinks global warming is super serious, so you should too! If you can control most of the media, then you can make it look like your own opinions are the only good and popular ones. Of course, the problem with this is you have to control most of media (harder with the internets). Also, while it might work on people without strong opinions, for people like me, it just makes me want to punch people. Or headbutt them. Sometimes kick. I’m not usually big on kicking, though.

Rating: * * 1/2 (two and a half stars)

Bullying: “Nice business you got there. Wouldn’t want your wrong opinions to get in the way of that, would you?” This is a favorite tactic of the Social Justice Warriors — the sociopaths for tolerance — where they go after different individuals until people are too scared to express other opinions. Seems to work decently well, but if pushed too far it could lead to the next item.

Rating: * * * (three stars)

Civil War: This is the one the right likes to fantasize about since they have all the guns and most of the military on their side. Basically, if pushed far enough, they could win every argument ever in about a weekend. The whole concept of the civil war is the people better at shooting the other people have the better opinions. Strategically then, it might be good to have opinions shared by psychopaths. The nice thing about this option is it does seem to settle arguments for a good, long time. The disadvantage is millions dead.

Rating: * * * 1/2 (three and a half stars)

Openness: One known way to influence someone is to make a connection by truly wanting to understand and consider his or her views. So, to influence someone, you have to be so open to them that you are ready to be influenced yourself. But if you can get your own views changed, that sort of ruins the whole point of this exercise of getting other people to admit they’re wrong.

Rating: (zero stars)

So there isn’t really any great way to get people to change their minds — despite how wrong everyone is. So what I usually do is just pretend that everyone who disagrees with me is just being ironic and that makes the internet much more enjoyable.

Heh. Everyone other than me is so funny.