Do you bother arguing with people about politics, world affairs, and the like anymore? I used to, I used to believe that rational argument had value. Now I think that the best way to understand someone’s argument is to try to understand (or at least make a snap judgment about) their psychology and prejudices. I don’t mean this in any kind of a nice way, I don’t mean that once you know where they’re coming from you’ll empathize with them and develop respect for their point of view. I mean that the person’s ability to reason, if it exists at all, has been short-circuited by privilege or narcissism or some other disorder. Therefore, you shouldn’t bother pretending that the two of you can have a meaningful high-brow debate. If you have any curiosity about why they believe what they believe, think about what’s wrong with them as people, not what’s wrong with the details of their arguments.
An obvious example is: No one cares about federal spending, they oppose social programs because they think all the money goes to black people, so arguing about discretionary spending as a portion of GDP is obviously a waste of time.
I now feel that the best way to address disagreements about politics with other people is to make fun of what they’re saying in a way that can’t understand. That makes them feel stupid, which plants doubt in their minds.
Update. Obviously trolling slightly here, and there are issues like health care where people may be open to reason and information, but those are the exceptions, not the rule. And I don’t especially mean conservatives in any of this at all, I specifically had in mind people who believe in austerity or the power of the bully pulpit of that the terrorist threat is scarier than Hitler and Stalin put together or who don’t believe in global warming and marriage equality. Certainly lots of centrists and even some self-described liberals in the first three categories.