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Stine’s pro tip: Bring data when you plan to argue a point

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

I have always been a fan of allowing someone to speak their piece. In some way, it is a bit of a compulsion. I like having conversations with people who hold positions that I fundamentally disagree with.

For example, I’ll talk to socialists, Marxists, people who like Marvel movies — anyone with whom I think holds a horrible, uninformed, and tasteless opinion. I think of it as mental exercise, in which I don’t try to debate the individual, but rather I try to take in and empathize with their position — whatever it might be.

However, I have noticed a strange consistency in conversation with people who hold radical social agendas. There is often no data. None. Mostly it’s just a lot of hot takes and proclamations as to the “unfairness” of a system. Not always, but often enough for me to notice this is a habit with my friends on the left.

Recently on KIRO Nights, I had on Reverend Bianca Davis-Lovelace to discuss the “Cancel The Rents” platform. I was happy to talk to Reverend Davis-Lovelace and would have her on again, any time. But at one point, I asked something to the effect of, “How much money are you asking for?” and “How would you pay for this?”

To my surprise, I did not get a clear answer on these simple questions.

This wasn’t a debate and certainly wasn’t time for a “gotcha” moment, but I couldn’t help but notice that this simple question went completely unanswered.

If I could give a piece of advice to people when they discuss their position on an issue: Have more than just a policy in mind, have some numbers to present, have something to cite, give me something to latch on to. Otherwise, what do I have to focus on? That we should cancel the rent for some people, at some amount, for some untold duration, to some effect?

To all of my lefty friends out there, take a page out of my playbook. When you show up to chat with a person who is genuinely curious about the way you see the world, have some data and state your case.

I’m all ears.

Listen to KIRO Nights with Jack Stine weeknights from 7 p.m. – 10p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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