Whether they have been the passionate instigator or the reluctant opposition, many a college student has found themselves deeply entrenched in a political debate at best, or a screaming contest at worst.
This past weekend, a USC research team decided to investigate into whether or not political arguments have any point. Their results concluded that in fact, 99% of debates over political issues, be they formal or informal, are effective in convincing one side to change its position at the conclusion of the discussion.
“It was surprising, to say the least,” says Howard Band, one of the leading researchers involved in the study. “I always thought getting into heated arguments like that was such a waste of energy, but it turns out it’s just the opposite. It’s entirely necessary.”
According to this study, nearly every disagreement about politics ends with a clearly defined, universally acknowledged ‘winner.’
Lizzie Tank, a sophomore, agreed with the study’s findings. “I think it’s part of human nature to listen to all points presented from both sides and then calmly choose the best one.”
Greg Newman, a senior, added “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten into a political discussion completely set in my beliefs, and then listened to the other side’s well-made arguments and said ‘You know what, I see now that I’ve been wrong about this all along.’ “
The study even found that political disputes are significantly more effective at family gatherings and holidays.
As Howard explains, “if there’s anything to take away from this new information, it’s that you are more likely to change everyone’s minds about how to fix the economy at Thanksgiving.” He pauses before adding, ”funerals are really great too.”
Similar to family gatherings and holidays, the research generated a list of other prime situations for starting political arguments, such as first dates, job interviews, meeting your girlfriend’s parents, and religious ceremonies.
“It’s safe to say that pretty much any situation is appropriate,” explains Howard.
The next time you find yourself faced with a long tiring debate, embrace it, because how else is that idiot going to see it your way?