1. "That's Racist/Sexist/Bigoted/Etc..."
Ah yes, a classic. Leftists will accuse you of prejudice while debating nearly any subject, all the way from the viability of welfare to the sanctity of marriage. It's often used in places where it makes no sense at all, or is just thrown in a conversation by making a caricature of you, "Well I hear a lot of RACISTS say the same thing so I bet you're RACIST!"
How do you defend against it? Simple. Ask your opponent, "Why?" Why is that prejudiced? Force them to explain their reasoning and they'll most likely be left sitting there sputtering.
"You want to cut welfare?! That's RACIST!"
"How is it racist?"
"Well uhh, err..."
2. "I'm an Expert and You Don't Know What You're Talking About!"
Sometimes you will bring up something, and your opponent will roll their eyes, smirk, and say "You don't know what you're talking about!" This comes up most often with subjects such as global warming, where it's a very specific or scientific debate. Leftists will often claim to be an expert on subjects when, really, they barely know even the most basic of facts. The goal of the person using this is to get you to back down before the debate even starts.
The best way to deal with this is to just keep bringing up cold hard facts. Push them on their claimed expertise . Keep bringing up study after study, scientist after scientist that disproves them. It is very unlikely you will be able to change the mind of someone who does this, but if you're debating it in a place with a wider audience, you can at least inform a few others.
3. "Well, Everyone Else Agrees With Me."
This is an appeal to conformity. People tend to trust the majority opinion and distrust the minority, and this tactics tries to use that effect to manipulate you even when the opinion they're pushing isn't really the most widely held one. This is not always used by people actively trying to manipulate you, sometimes it's just someone who's misinformed and had the same tactic used against them, leading them to repeat it to others.
The best way to counter this is to try to push them to think through their position completely. If they're just someone who's misinformed, they most likely haven't thought about the subject too hard. If it's someone actively attempting to manipulate you, by going through their thought process step by step you can quickly reveal the "plot holes" in it.
4. Attacking You Through Humor
This one can be very frustrating. You're trying to debate a subject with someone, and they just keep cracking jokes at your expense.
This usually happens when your opponent is losing the debate and is trying to save face. They're starting to get the sense that they're wrong, but don't want to admit it, much less admit it to you. So they start cracking jokes in an attempt to get on your nerves, hoping you will fly off the handle so they can look like the better man.
The solution is to keep calm. Don't let it get to you. Calmly explain to them that you want to have a serious debate, keep them on topic. You may even be able to change their mind on the issue at hand if you can make them feel OK with being wrong.
5. The Guilt Trip
"How can you be so HEARTLESS! Don't you know the horrors that the poor / third worlders / uninsured / minority people have to go through EVERY DAY!?!"
People who do this come in two varieties:
- Again, someone who's just uninformed, but stubborn. They often do wish to help people, but don't understand that hand outs and welfare programs don't actually help in the long run. And that the people they view as "underprivileged", often aren't in the first place.
- Someone with an agenda. This person knows what they're saying is bunk, and is trying to manipulate people for their own gain.
It is usually pretty easy to spot the difference between the two with just your gut instincts.
To handle the first type, once again it's best to keep a calm head. Present them the evidence, and calmly go through it to show them the logic behind it. If you can show them that your way really is better over all versus handouts and welfare, they'll most likely listen.
The second type is... Well, a plain old huckster. They pop up all over the place, from politics to daytime TV, promoting one cause or another that will benefit them in the guise of "helping the needy." Countering these people directly as an Average Joe is difficult, but one of the best things you can do is to just disprove their hoax to whoever you encounter that believes it.
The Bottom Line
The NUMBER ONE thing to keep in mind when dealing with any of these is, keep calm. When dealing with leftists on a personal or on a general level, they will try to make you angry and rile you up. This makes it much harder for you to keep a clear head and to disprove their lies. So remember, KEEP CALM, keep informed, and always be alert.