A woman shouting in protest

How to Deal With Controversial Social Issues: A 4 Step Guide

Controversy is everywhere—the news, social media, even our day-to-day conversations. It can all be very overwhelming. What are we to do? How shall we respond? It’s a bit of a minefield out there, but do not despair. I have laid out some simple step by step instructions that are fully guaranteed (or your money cheerfully refunded!) to help you navigate even the most controversial social issues that might come your way in our very uncertain world. Just follow these 4 easy steps!  


Step 1: Find out your options.

Two one-way signs pointing in opposite directions
Image by Gerd Altmann via Pixabay

Whenever you come across a controversial issue, narrow it down to just two opposing points of view. You need to be very careful here: make sure that these two points of view are so far away from each other that there is no overlap whatsoever. Some folks make the mistake of assuming that some issues are complex, and that fully understanding them requires making the effort to see more than just two obviously contradictory viewpoints. Silly people! That requires a mental and emotional investment of more than 30 seconds. Who has that kind of time?


Step 2: Choose sides.

Us vs. Them
Image by John Hain via Pixabay

How do you choose between two contradictory positions? There are a variety of ways to go about this. Perhaps the easiest is to see what your favourite celebrities are saying; they’re always telling people what to believe! Similarly, you could select the dominant perspective within a particular group that you identify with (evangelical Christians, progressives, environmentalists, scientists, cool people, etc.). Alternatively, you could select the viewpoint that is most popular within your own social circle. Good friends will always tell you exactly how to think! Finally, you could base your opinion on your personality type; if you are a rebel at heart, just chose the one that is most countercultural. If on the other hand you are conservative by nature, try to stick to the status quo.

Now, if this all sounds complicated, do not fear. You’re probably better at this sort of thing than you realize. The truth is, by about age 12 most of us have learned how to identify the group we most want to impress, and instinctively capitulate based on our perception of their expectations of us.


Step 3: Gather ammunition.

Because we are talking about highly controversial social issues, we need to recognize that once we have taken sides, we might encounter pushback from others at some point. Therefore, it is crucial that you prepare yourself to defend your newly acquired perspective. This will take a little bit of effort on your part, but if you do it right, it won’t take that much.

All you really need to do is check in with others who hold the same opinion. (For the sake of convenience, hereafter we will refer to this group as The Chosen.) Start by talking to your friends and reading social media posts from other like-minded individuals. Whatever The Chosen are saying, memorize it so that you can regurgitate it later.

Social media logos in black and white
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A word of caution: during this process, be very careful to avoid paying too much attention to opposing views. You must discipline yourself to dismiss such heresies out of hand. Too much critical thought at this stage will just slow you down, and could even (perish the thought!) change your mind. By this time, you’ve come too far to waste time rethinking things.

On a related note, it is imperative that you stay away from any kind of fact-checking. That sort of thing borders on research which, as everyone knows, just complicates things. The rule of thumb is that if you come across something that supports your opinion, embrace it.


Step 4: Tell the World!

Two seagulls on a rooftop, one squaking
Image by chaoselly-foto via Pixabay

Unfortunately, this is where some people stop. They feel that having made up their mind, there is no need to spread the word to others. I know what I know, they tell themselves. Why bother other people with it? Live and let live! While it is true that such people protect themselves from the contamination of their thoughts that could possibly ensue upon interaction with others, it is easy to see the selfishness behind such an approach. Since they are part of The Chosen, they’re perfectly content to allow the unwashed masses to continue in their ignorance and stupidity.

Shame on them. The primary goal of The Chosen must always be the elimination of all those who hold a different view (henceforth referred to as The Enemy.) For what kind of world would it be if, on a daily basis, we were forced to rub shoulders with those who think differently from ourselves?  What might society become!

One way to eradicate The Enemy, of course, is through their conversion. Accomplishing this goal is fairly straightforward. The basic strategy is this: tell them you are right, and that they are wrong. Obviously, if they are even the least bit intelligent, they will see the light immediately. With slow learners, it may be necessary to repeat yourself. Here, volume is key. Speak loudly in absolutes, preferably in a shrill tone of voice. Start with twenty to thirty repetitions, increasing volume and frequency as needed.

Unfortunately, some people will simply refuse to acknowledge your intellectual and moral superiority. If The Enemy will not capitulate, then there is only one reasonable course of action: crush them. Common bullying can be effective—name-calling, exclusion, public ridicule, that sort of thing. While some may object to such actions on moral grounds, the vast majority quickly come to the realization that what is clearly wrong for most people in most circumstances immediately becomes justifiable when undertaken for the sake of a cause.

If The Enemy still insists upon daring to hold a contrary opinion after such tactics, stronger measures must be taken. Here, The Chosen must band together to establish power. If you belong to a group root out, then kick out, The Enemy. If you’re not part of a group, form one with other members of The Chosen. Grow the group to the point where it wields some form of political, financial or social power. Then you’ve got them. It will force the enemy to either give in and join you, or suffer in silence as victims of your wholly justified oppression. Either way, you win, and that is really all that matters.