General Question

wtfrickinfrack's avatar

Is it worth it to argue with this guy?

Asked by wtfrickinfrack (1347points) March 15th, 2010

I know this guy who is constantly trying to debunk the Holocaust. I realize that engaging idiots on such a level is fairly useless most of the time. Still, I can’t help but feel like it’s such a shame to just sit by and allow someone to spew ignorance and hatred all over the memory of innocent victims. So:

a) If you think trying to address the issue is a good idea – what would be some good resources for me to look into? Obviously the most useful tools would be websites, books, etc. that present verifiable statistics.

b) If you think trying to address the issue is a horrible idea – what would be some alternative approaches – if any?


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36 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

I think Holocaust denial is a serious illness, and it does not respond to reason. If it were me, I would ease such a person out of my life. I don’t need that kind of toxicity around me.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I agree, it doesn’t matter what facts you show this person – clearly they’re delusional.

jealoustome's avatar

I would try to debunk his existence by claiming you’ve never heard of him whenever he calls and pretending you have no idea who he is whenever you see him in person.

smokeweedeveryday's avatar

I think that its not worth your time to be dealing with his B.S. but if you feel really strongly about it you should find some really good facts that will make his shut up

njnyjobs's avatar

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Whenever he talks trash, just follow-up with a “Sure, that’s your opinion and your entitled to it. Nevertheless, your opinion does not change the facts. ” . . . and leave it at that. There’s no sense in arguing with this type of person.

marinelife's avatar

I tried engaging with such a person on Fluther and I put the lie to his specific claims, and he just steamrollered over me. Here is a link to the thread. You can read my posts which all have sources if they would be of any use to you.

I think the important think to do is to stop him from discussing it with others listening. So, I would think about saying something like, “Are you on that old hobby horse of yours again? Get over yourself!”

CyanoticWasp's avatar

It’s a losing proposition. The only thing that you can do (and even that is draining) is counter him when he posts such nonsense in public forums. And in that case you aren’t necessarily arguing with “him” as presenting facts to rebut his lunacy, so that children and other ignorant people can look at your facts and see the truth of the matter.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

No it’s not worth it. He’s already decided what he believes and when people argue with him about it, that’ll only make him dig in his heels.
Accept now, that you won’t change his mind and wash your hands of it.

wundayatta's avatar

If someone is a true believer, I try not to interact with them at all. If I have to be around them, I try not to respond to any discussion of that issue. I just ignore it. And the person. That usually is enough to not have to deal with it.

Of course it depends on the circumstances and why you have to deal with him at all. If it’s just some dude you have met, it’s easy to stay away. If it’s a fellow employee, that’s a little different.

Just know there are very few people who believe what he believes. He’s probably mentally ill. It’s safest not to engage on that topic. If you have to listen to him, just nod as if you are listening (but don’t) and get away as soon as possible. Say nothing.

judochop's avatar

A healthy argument does not need to make fists. Argue away.

CMaz's avatar

There is a mental illness. IT is not about the Holocaust. Just sounds like it.

It is about their inability to see the nose on their own face.

They lack the ability to reason. Usually coming from an abusive and isolated childhood.

Fred931's avatar

Congratulations, you’ve found Adolf Hitler!

Silhouette's avatar

I wouldn’t try. With all the information on the Holocaust available to every Tom, Dick and Harry who cares to look this guy has either chosen to ignore the proof, in which case you’re dealing with willful ignorance and you’ll never get anywhere but frustrated. Or, he is just being a dick and baiting you. Or, he is a conspiracy theorists who thinks Ronald McDonald is an alien spy and they are infecting humans with fat, one hamburger at a time so they can eat us later. Either way, you’ll never get anywhere, but if you feel like it’s your duty to at least try to make a dent you should try.

CMaz's avatar

“Ronald McDonald is an alien spy and they are infecting humans with fat”

This we all know is true too.

Silhouette's avatar

@ChazMaz Over 20 billion served!

Trillian's avatar

Try not to engage with idiots. Your time and breath is worth more and should not be wasted on futility.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I like a @jealoustome s idea. Treat his existance the way he treats the Holocaust. It’s a total waste of breath arguing with such people. They make up their “facts” as they go along: for each statement you debunk, he’s created 20 more. Like Dr. Goebbels said, big lies are easier to believe.

mammal's avatar

everyone is entitled to be wrong.

Ron_C's avatar

I would simply explain that Fox News is not really a news station and if he continues listening to it his brain will rot and he’ll have to be placed in a home.

Seriously, there is no use arguing with people like that. The main reason they argue such ridiculous nonsense is that it supports their deeply held prejudices. I would separate myself from that person as soon as possible.

figbash's avatar

I agree with everyone else here. You absolutely cannot reason with these people. They’ve already made up their mind and they have an agenda whenever they discuss it. They’re not looking to be enlightened or to know the actual truth, they’re trying to engage you so that they can use it as an excuse to spout their venom. Don’t take the bait.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@figbash: Obama wanted to meet with the Muslim president of Iran who denies the Holocaust ever took place. You say “you absolutely cannot reason with these people” but yet Obama says you can. Why do you think Obama is so foolish as to believe this?

josie's avatar

I wouldn’t bother. Plus @mammal makes a pretty good point. There is no crime in being wrong or stupid. Why cause distress for yourself when you really get nothing out of it.

CMaz's avatar

“Why cause distress for yourself when you really get nothing out of it.”

@josie – That pretty much says it all.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@josie Because it’s not always about me or you – but about what people’s damaging opinions can do to others.

Berserker's avatar

I’m thinking anyone trying to say the Holocaust never happened can’t really be reasoned with. I mean how stupid does someone have to be to make such claims? It happened not even 100 years ago! I’d dismiss them.

josie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir If any of us had the persuasive power to change people’s minds with a phrase or a gesture, then we would all agree with that person on every contentious issue on earth. If you were that person, there would be no holocaust deniers.

But there are holocaust deniers. Therefore, nobody has that skill, and probably you do not either. Probably happen won’t any time soon. Face it, there are still people who think that communism is good, that the South will rise again, and that the tooth fairy exists. Like I said, why frustrate yourself for no good purpose.

Theby's avatar

It is my belief that holocaust deniers are just out to cause friction and attract attention to themselves. It is very obvious that the holocaust did happen and saying it didn’t is ludicrous. Don’t play into his hands by giving him the attention he most probably craves. I would give him a wide berth.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@Theby: This is not why Muslims deny the holocaust. Many wish to “wipe Israel off the map” and the holocaust gives Israel credible historic precedence to point to while defending themselves from those who would have them destroyed. Muslims wish to portray Israel as an aggressor while Israel believes its actions are in prudent self defense.

JeffVader's avatar

While I admire your desire to counter this idiots ramblings, I really don’t think it’ll do you any good. People with this view are almost always extolling this nonsense due to their politics & views on the world. If they had the capacity for honesty they would admit this to you themselves, but they don’t. Treat this person like the social cancer he is, & cut him out of your life.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@josie I make the decision as to who has potential for logic – it’s not always worthless.

josie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Please do not imagine that it worries me what you do about it. It is your business and your nervous system that you put at hazard when you worry about holocaust deniers and other morons. The truth is, the worse thing that happens is that people like the guy in question wind up with very few friends, certainly none of them Jews. If all he does is claim that he doesn’t believe it, so what? Life goes on for the rest of us. If he starts killing people or something, that is a different story. But I am always curious why it seems that these days so many people get anxious when somebody isn’t holding all the proper ideas. It’s kind of like global warming, racist America, and Christopher Columbus. If someone expresses a notion that is against the current popular dogma, it is not enough just to let it go and go talk to somebody else. It seems that many folks will not rest until the person with improper thoughts gets their mind properly adjusted. It makes for a fun stream on Fluther to be sure, and I think the person who asked the question secretly knows that it is a waste of time to engage the person with websites, book titles etc.

But the question is poignant in that it reveals a contemporary notion that a person with contrary ideas has to be confronted somehow. Why?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@josie, clearly we need a tag for “Excellent Answer.”

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@josie Have you never felt hurt because of someone else’s ideas or are you the type of person to say that only you choose how anyone else can make you feel? Because I am not that kind of person and it matters to me when others are hurt because those with ‘contrary ideas’ are dangerous in more than just words – there are plenty who go on to affect hateful policy and the such with their financial support, for example.

josie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Hateful policy? Financial support? I really do not know what you are talking about. But, have at it – with my blessing. It seems that you are passionate about this particular issue, and all of us wind up being passionate about something. Good for you. I still don’t know what you mean. But I admire your passion

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@josie Well many people in power have opinions that many of us would consider as delusional as the holocaust denier up there – like the people supporting financially the anti-gay ban in Uganda which would lead to death for gays there. Sure, I can ignore the tripe that comes out of these people but there’s more to their reach than myself and my ego.

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