There are some people who have a knack for being convincing. They can share a thought in a way that has just the right mixture of succinctness, humour, humility, conviction, righteousness, and taunting against opponents, that it entrances the mind, makes it nearly impossible to resist in the moment.
I certainly do not have that knack, and never have. I’ve always been in awe of those who possess it, been attracted to their speech.
They aren’t always the best conversation partners, though. They’re usually wrong, for one thing — the very simplicity that makes their message so appealing, and the contempt for contrary views that lends their words such force, must conspire to ensure that they are giving only one side, dealing inadequately with the best arguments against their position.
What’s more, along with being wrong, they are used to being believed, habituated to being victorious. They are easily angered by disagreement. You don’t have to win an argument against them — just express reservations, withhold assent, put off agreement. It drives them mad not to have the confidence of everyone around them.
I admire them, and often wish that I could do what they can, especially when I see them arguing for something moral, noble, praiseworthy. I wish I had that power.
And yet, at the end of the day, I’m happy to surrender all their advantages, if it might allow me to avoid their faults.
I’d rather convince no one of the truth, while pursuing the truth wholeheartedly, than be someone who can rest happy in my half-examined opinions, persuading many and enraged at all who dare see differently.
If it’s a choice, then it’s an easy choice.