Comment: One sentence:

(See in situ)


One sentence:

"The market, if allowed to work, can provide goods and services, such as healthcare, at lower prices and/or at higher quality to more people than the government ever can."

...but one sentence isn't going to do it. One sentence means you're operating at the level of soundbites and slogans and, sadly, the winner of that game is the team who repeats their soundbite or slogan the most. An occasional conversation with a relative can't compete with several hours per day every day of TV. As long as a person remains in the habit of accepting others' opinions uncritically, as opposed to reasoning out his own conclusions, his opinion at any given time will be the opinion of the latest person he allowed to thus influence him: for most Americans that's a TV personality. They'll be absolutely led by the nose, their opinions (expressed in talking point form) changing with flow of the news cycle, without having any idea that their opinions aren't their own, where they really originated, or that they don't even know why they hold those opinions.

Proving an individual point in an argument with a person such as I've described is completely useless. Suppose they agree with you on some point. A week later, they'll have entirely forgotten this, and picked up the latest talking point from their preferred TV station, which might be utterly contrary to the point that they agreed with you on days earlier. But they don't see the contradiction. Because their knowledge is not systematic, it doesn't rests on principles, it is not understanding at all, it is nothing but a series of slogans or talking points; they cannot connect one issue to another. Prove to them that government regulation X is bad on Monday, and Tuesday they'll be telling you how government regulation Y is great. And you can prove to them that it's bad for the same reason as regulation X was bad, and they'll agree. Lesson learned? Nope, on Wednesday, they parrot the TV talking point that regulation Z is great. It never ends, because all this is just a jumble of unrelated data in their minds. That's why you can't make any progress with them. Though they might agree with you on some point, they aren't really learning anything. Why? Because they aren't really thinking. They are merely parroting. Parroting the TV, and then, if you convince them of your point, parroting you...till the next talking point comes along. But you lose the fight with the TV, because the TV is always on. It's not that they're stupid, it's that they have been trained to think this way - or, rather, to not think at all. Learning to parrot information rather than learning how to think critically: the fruits of public education.

The only solution is to get them to think critically. Presenting them with information won't do the job. Insofar as you do that, presenting them with your own opinions, you're only competing with the TV in trying to elicit a parrot-like response. Rather, they need to be critical of what even you are saying, and work it through for themselves, so that they understand why it's right. That's the only way to beat the propaganda machine, because it will always win the battle of slogans and talking points by sheer volume of materiel blasted out to the parrots.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."