Illustrations from the Universal History of my Dreams

Contributors' Corner: Guy Benjamin Brookshire

Thrasymachus’s Guide to Winning Arguments (“Justice is the advantage of the stronger.”)

0. Surround yourself with people who think like you. Then act shocked if someone doesn’t.

  1. Don’t question your relationships or loyalties, especially if you are getting what you want. Power, luxury, and feeling good about ourselves are the only things that matter, and we need a team to gain and protect what we desire, and the team does whatever it needs to do to win. It is as simple as that. Don’t let anything stand in your way. If someone is criticizing you or your group, don’t take them seriously—take them out.
  2. If critiqued by a friend, change the subject by making the issue about your feelings and their lack of loyalty. Try saying, “How could you hurt me like this? I thought you were my friend!” or “Don’t you get it? We have to stick together.”
  3. Don’t argue to get what you want, just take it; argue to defend the seizure. Before you do something unreasonable, such as doing whatever you want despite the negative consequences because it doesn’t bother you that they will largely be suffered by other people, be ready with an excuse. (Something as simple as, “I can’t help how I am!” might work.) For extra points, convince people that your “mistake” is an example of human nature, which is fundamentally unreasonable, and nothing can change that.
  4. Focus on the negative side of life. It is much easier to do unethical things and make unethical arguments if you constantly emphasize how unfair, ugly, cruel and senseless the world is. Hey, if the world is brutal and unjust, why be kind and fair? Deny progress, focus on failure. Point out how dangerous the future is, so that aggressive acts seem defensive, and selfishness seems street-smart.  Whenever possible suggest that love, compassion, justice, and truth are luxuries we may not be able to afford. Ultimately though, your goal should always be to convince people that they don’t really exist and can’t.
  5. If you absolutely have to acknowledge your mistakes, blame others for them. “History” will do if you are struggling to come up with specific names.  You won’t have to work to repair anything if you can convince people that moving forward with a “clean slate” is preferable to digging into the history of an injustice to discover the truth and make reparations.
  6. Personally attack those who criticize you until nothing they say can be trusted, until they themselves—rather than their arguments—are the issue. Then you don’t have to bother dealing with what they are actually saying.
  7. Go along with the groups you are in. Then you won’t have to figure out anything for yourself. In argument, it is easy to parrot doctrines and principles and simply refer back to the authority of the group’s leaders and texts if you are challenged. Base as much of your argument as you can on articles of faith that by definition must be accepted or rejected without argument. Act offended whenever possible while defending a belief. If the authority of your group’s leaders and texts are challenged, accuse the challenger of being motivated by unreasoning, bigoted hatred for your group.
  8. Act out when you don’t get your way so people know that winning an argument with you is only the beginning of their trouble. If questioned about your outburst, look indignant and say, “I’m passionate. At least I don’t keep my feelings bottled up!” Or better yet, use the loss of the argument as evidence that you are disrespected. Demand your rights loudly and often, especially if they have nothing to do with the argument at hand. Make political power the issue, whatever the argument is about, and suggest that opposing you is tantamount to taking away your freedom. 
  9. Focus on getting what you want as the first element in any question of equity. Negotiations that do not begin on your terms should not be entered. If questioned, say, “If I don’t look out for number one, who will?” This will obscure the fact that the absence of equity is not an uncompleted project, it is a state of affairs that hopefully benefits you at someone else’s expense. And remember, even if you don’t benefit from the status quo, any agreement based on justice will never favor you unjustly, so hold out for an agreement that favors you.
  10. Refuse to accept that you have lost an argument. Just keep arguing. 
The Killer Prince:
Horror ends in horror, that is why it prevails.
Hello My Meat
The Future Proved Irresistible:
The future robs the past, that is its sustenance, the rays of the future are beaming from the past as it deflates, leaking through the apertures of now.
Frame: They won’t understand it until they are supposed to.
Visit on the victor as though you had finally figured it out, and simply have to see me to explain. You’ll still work for me in the service of the king. He has asked us to escort you to his apartment. There you will be informed of an intimate detail he will first tell only you, and your duty will be to communicate it to every person you meet. You will be his special envoy for this message, with a livery and a seal and your own verger. Deliver this message with all dispatch and you will be further rewarded handsomely.   

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