Saturday, May 14, 2005

How To Have a Political Argument

Political arguments are not like normal arguments. In the course of a normal argument, several points are made and each person involved goes away feeling just that little bit smarter and more informed on an issue.

In a political debate, on the other hand, neither side understands what the other side is saying, nor would they care to. In fact, it's even rarer for a person making a political argument to understand what they themselves are saying, either. It is in this atmosphere of mutual incomprehension that the best - indeed, the only proper - political arguments are made.

Another thing. You should never have a political debate without consuming copious amounts of alcohol first. It's a well known fact that Bob Hawke would never have been one of Australia's greatest prime ministers if he hadn't been an alcoholic. It is one of the tragedies of modern politics that the great tradition of parliamentary alcoholism has gone out of style. The more alcohol is drunk, the greater the incomprehension and befuddlement*. It also makes a handy excuse the day afterwards - you can blame any silly things you said on the alcohol. I recommend martinis, and can personally vouch for their ability to stimulate a lively political debate in which mutual confusion reigns supreme.**

A final point - no matter what you say in a political debate, no matter how little you understand about the topic, no matter how poorly expressed you thoughts are, and no matter how great your confusion - you are always right. This point must always be remembered and, indeed, it is the only thing you ever need to understand during a political debate.

*And therefore, the more political the debate becomes - see my first point.

**Other good drinks are gin and tonic, brandy, and vodka. Avoid wine or champagne, which leads to excessive leftism, and beer, which results in Unionism. Stay right away from the coffee drinkers. They're communists.

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