The “Economics” of Argument

As boys (or man) we can discover quickly that “mouthing off” is a quick way to get a fist where our words were. We find that argument for the sake of argument is a waste of effort (and teeth).  We find out that beilligerence is dettered by violence or the threat of violence, the law of the jungle. The problem for many marriages now is that there is a threat of violence that hovers over every marriage (see Dalrocks “Threatpoint”). The other problem is that many women don’t understand completely the nature of the threat OR the way that threat is perceived by their husbands. Instead of being taught to argue economically, women have been trained to negotiate every issue and to voice every concern in a collaborative effort. Weilding the indestructible sword of the State (wittingly or unwittingly) and not understanding the destructive cost of argument they will often wade into “negotiations” without a thought to the damage that is done. What the perceptive husband will see is a highly belligerent person armed to the teeth with doomsday weapons and an itchy trigger finger. It’s akin to Gandhi attempting to use civil disobedience to negotiate a peace with Ghengis Khan. The whole while the wife will be saying “All I want is for you to wipe the toothpaste out of the sink, is that too much to ask?” Flipping this around, imagine asking her to take the trash out, at gunpoint.

I lifted the following post from CF where it was santitized to suit the audience:

The “Economics” of Argument


At no point in this post do I hope to imply that either might makes right or that war = peace, however I have some thoughts that if not considered carefully might be construed in that fashion.
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Growing up I learned something, not every argument is worth making, I learned to “choose my fights”. How did that happen? As an example, if I didn’t like the way a neighbor kid looked at me I might start a grudge with him, being 7 year olds we might start an argument over something trivial such as which of our mutual friends would play where. What did the grudge cost us? The loss of friendship, hard feelings, a bloody lip? Yes, the argument had a value in what was lost or in what was actually destroyed.
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I learned that while some points were worth making to my parents that not all of them were. If I stuck to my “guns” on some issues it would just get me in trouble, a well thought out point might instead get a concession. So, I learned to balance the risk and reward of “arguing” with my parents. Always fighting about everything, whether on the playground or from the backseat of the car was virtually a sure fired way of losing. Of missing out on the good times, of assigning myself to misery.
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I learned on the playground that angry impasse was a thing to be avoided, that getting punched or giving punches (something I was relatively good at) usually meant either an ice pack or a trip to the principles office, so i got a life lesson in the economics of argument. I was considering today how the internet (in most forums) takes much of the economics out of argument. We arrive here and no point is too small to debate, no point can be conceded, and angry impasse can be extended into perpetuity with no resolution. I would say that the internet teaches us that there are no underlying economics in argument, that there is no need to to deter belligerence since the social cost seems so small.
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Woe to us who takes that “lesson” into “real life”. Belligerence IRL ALWAYS HAS A COST. It costs us relationships, marriages, money, job opportunities, even violence, and on and on. I would humbly suggest that we carefully consider what it costs us, to realize that it does cost, that it robs us of our joy. I want to remember to count the cost, not every fight is worth having, not every grudge is worth bearing and some points are imminently conceedable. While I like to debate, more than anything (believe it or not) my friends know that I’m all about fellowship. I do care about people and I’m always praying for God to help me see those people that I disagree with the most through His eyes. I’ve often learned that those people are the ones I can learn the most from, if not in agreement, then in civil disagreement.
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3 thoughts on “The “Economics” of Argument

  1. So much of the issue regarding this is the opportunity cost involved. People tend to be much more diplomatic and willing to concede when they have a potential of it costing them something. You see this in how people behave on the Internet. So many are willing to be more confrontational and abrasive and say things that would be “fighting words”, beyond what they would be IRL simply because they are hiding behind the screen in perceived anonymity.

    Same goes for divorce. Given the advantage the State gives women, they barge ahead without thought or consequence towards their own will. They know the State will back them up, so it turns from an issue of willing compromise of both parties to forced coercion. This is not coincidental, but a quite purposeful move of feminism.

  2. As I see it, a big part of argument outcomes is the different styles pursued. Men prefer logic, facts and rational, task-focussed dicsussion. Women prefer subjective, feelings-based negotiation.

    The former approach leads more naturally to considering the outcomes of actions. The latter does not.

    The west has been infected by the latter approach. The subjective overrules the objective. Facts are portrayed are degrading. The literal truth becomes irrelevant. Only how it affects people, and who is happy from the results.

    The consequences of beligerrence are subsumed by state intervention. Easy money? No problem. Ditch hubby? Sure, sign here. Free money for single mommas? Consider it done. Overeat? Get subsidised health care. Can’t afford health insurance? We’ll make everyone else pay. Need food stamps because you can’t afford to eat? Easy!

    The state is completely amoral. It will continue until it cannot. But I have little faith that a democracy will be replaced by anything more appealing. Hans Herman Hoppe called democracy a devolution of theocracy, which in the OT was itself never considered desirable, either.

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