Some of the highlighted quotes from “Winning Arguments”.
“Conflict, not agreement, is the default condition of mortality”
“Knowledge, even deep knowledge, of the techniques of argument, is no defense against them.”
“Argument is everywhere, argument is unavoidable, argument is interminable, argument is all we have.”
“If the power of argument can, like faith, move mountains, it can do so in the service of bad as well as good motives. Argument’s strengths are also its dangers.”
“Conversion is what argument aims for, but never finally achieves.”
“Arguments about the world come first; the world comes second. Words make the world.”
“Academics always know what they can say and what they cannot say, and that knowledge remains a hallmark of their membership in the enterprise, even when it is being debated.”
“The more practiced you become in rehearsing the talking points of your side, the less likely it is . . . that you will change your mind.”
“Marital arguments erupt when a conversion goes out of control – things being said that shouldn’t be said.”
“The aphorism “sticks & stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me” is false. Words can eviscerate you.
“The same argumentative moves that bring about an outcome you can like can . . . bring about an outcome you don’t like – the fall of man or the victory of tobacco companies. A merchant of doubt is a merchant of doubt even if he flies your colors.”
“If you are waiting for outrage at gun violence to turn the political tide, don’t hold your breath. If it happens, it will be by a route no one had anticipated.”
“In politics, arguments alone can’t win the day; the time must be ripe, the setting must be favorable, and the slogans like “marriage equality” must be catchy and stand as arguments in their own right.”