Looking for a Way Out

If you make an error in what you say—even if it’s ancillary to the point you’re making—there are many who will seize the opportunity to focus on the error, and to ignore your main point.

And some will judge poorly in what they count as errors in your speech. For example, here are two common occurrences.:

  1. If you make use of an absolute in what you say, some will choose to argue on principle that you ought not use absolutes in your statements—even though they cannot provide even one good counterexample to your claim. This, too, is a dodge.
  2. If you use an unapologetic tone in what you say, some will choose to object to your tone on moral grounds, and disregard your point, even though they cannot refute it by honest, rational, and responsible means. This is also a dodge.

And even if you don’t use absolutes, and do include lots of apologetic language and leave lots of room that you might be wrong, or include plenty of warnings that this is only your opinion or your feeling about the thing, then many will decide that it must be simply opinion, and that it has no basis in fact whatsoever.

People generally have many different techniques of dodging truths they don’t like. They do it to themselves and to their friends, and they’ll do it to you, too. Few are nearly as good at recognizing the truth of a matter as they think they are.

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