1 + 1 = 2, therefore you are an idiot

Facts are stubborn things, said John Adams.  But being stubborn does not always win you an argument.  We have all been in “discussions” in which we were correct and the simpleton on the other side of the table was not.  We laid out the facts as plainly as anyone could.  And they remained unconvinced.

Maybe they found comfort in character assassination, or muddied the waters with irrelevant information.  Maybe they just threw up their hands and left the room.  Maybe they even took a swing at you.  What they didn’t do, though, is change their mind.  Facts had nothing to do with their position, either before or after the discussion.

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Would an idiot do that?

One of the speakers at my nephew’s recent graduation quoted Dwight Schrute, a character from The Office (because no one on television has said anything worth quoting in the last ten years).  Dwight said, “Whenever I’m about to do something, I ask myself, ‘Would an idiot do that?’’  And if they would, I do not do that thing.” 

As simple and irrefutable as that logic is, I can’t help thinking it is needful in our day and time. 

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