If changing the world were about winning debates, libertarians would have brought freedom to the masses long ago. The vast majority of libertarians I know are scary smart and can make convincing and rational arguments for their positions. The only problem is that changing the world has little to do with winning debates.
I have to confess that it’s hard for me to keep my mouth shut when someone makes what seems like a ridiculous argument. My natural instinct is to point out the flaws in an argument and to lay out the facts and logic from my point of view. I have to confess that this approach has never changed the mind of a single person I know. What’s worse, reacting in my natural way has made me look like a jerk a time or two. Or three. Well, OK. Way more than that.
Dale Carnegie famously said, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” In other words, even if you’re able to logically prove a point — and get someone else to admit that your logic is correct along the way — the typical person isn’t going to change what he believes in his heart. That’s a lesson that’s hard for hard-headed libertarians to learn.