Birthers & the Futility of Arguing With Irrational People

Conspiracy:  an evil, unlawful, treacherous, or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons; plot. (here)

There seems to be no shortage of conspiracy theories surrounding the public release of President Obama’s “long-form” birth certificate.  Both simple and elaborate theories abound of the supposedly evil, surreptitious plans hatched by forces too secret to even know who have duped the American public into thinking that President Obama was actually born in the United States of America (if you consider Hawaii part of the union).

At last count, there are at least twenty different conspiracy theories regarding the just-released birth certificate.  All of these theories, in one way or another, seek to show that President Obama’s birth certificate, released by Hawaii’s Department of Health, is somehow a fake or forgery.  All I can say to that is, “WOW!”

As someone who disagrees with almost all of the President’s policies and positions, I would never be described as a fan of Mr. Obama.  I think that he is, next to Jimmy Carter, the worst President that we have had in the last 100 years (perhaps ever, but that’s a closer question).  I did not vote for Candidate Obama in 2008 and I will, under no circumstances, vote for his re-election in 2012 (although I would have to hold my nose if Donald Trump was the nominee).

However, one of the circumstances informing the electorate that should now be off the table is the issue of President Obama’s birth and citizenship.  I think it fanciful — some might say irrational — to believe that there is a massive conspiracy afoot regarding the now public birth certificate that has heretofore been secure in the Hawaii Department of Health’s archives.  To pull off such a huge conspiracy — which, of course, the President would have to have knowledge of and prior consent to — is simply not believable.  Certainly not on a par with the alien crash in Roswell, NM!

Is it believable that a Republican, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, a former director of the Hawaii Department of Health, would be involved in the conspiracy?  In an interview with CNN, she said that she has “no doubt” that Obama was born in Hawaii. Is Dr. Fukino lying?  Does she have a history of embellishment or fabrication?  Can anyone attest to a character that is less than stellar?

Is it believable that the current Governor of Hawaii, Neil Abercrombie, is lying about his relationship with Mr. Obama’s parents?

The Democratic governor slammed critics, noting his relationship with Mr. Obama’s parents. “President Obama’s mother and father were dear friends of mine, and we must respect their memory,” Mr. Abercrombie said. “It is an insult to the President, his parents and to the Office to suggest that he was not born in Hawaii.” (full article here)

I could go on, but the point would be lost on some.  You see, it’s difficult — even futile — to argue with irrational people.  Now, not all people are irrational and not all people are irrational all the time, but some people can be irrational on some issues and some people can be irrational all the time.  We’ve all met people like that.

I was reminded again today, not just because of the wild conspiracy theories floating around, but because of personal conversations with people on unrelated issues, that trying to have a productive discussion with irrational people is useless.  I don’t mind people who are passionate about what they believe and can talk about it in a rational and reasonable way.  Those are good debates to have.  The opposing view always (or at least should) cause you to think about what you believe.

But, trying to debate someone who doubts the reality of the moon landing or who questions where President Obama was born or who believes the American and/or Israeli governments were responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks will end only in a pounding headache.  Sometimes you have to be reminded that trying to argue with irrational people is in itself irrational and futile.  That doesn’t mean we won’t try.  But the less we take the bait, the more emotionally peaceful we shall be.  So, next time, don’t let an irrational person steal your joy.  It’s just not worth the argument!


4 comments for “Birthers & the Futility of Arguing With Irrational People

  1. Tom Bryant
    April 28, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    Good article.

    I heard this statement today but cannot remember the original author but it is apropos, “You can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into.”

    • April 28, 2011 at 5:54 PM


      I think you are spot on. I had a conversation with someone on the phone today that I think fits your description to a tee. I lose too much sleep trying to reason — from the Bible and otherwise — with people who simply cannot be reasoned with. Thanks for the comment and God bless,


  2. April 29, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    Kinda reminds me of trying to discuss biblical issues with a King James Only person. Reason and rationality don’t work. Tom is right.

  3. Bennett Willis
    April 30, 2011 at 10:36 AM

    I always remember the comment that a person I know made once when (as he passed the talk) he was asked his opinion about a discussion similar to the one here. “If the world was full of people like you, I’d be king in a week.”

    Of the three involved in the event, one doubled over in laughter, one was speechless, and one went on about his business–at least this is the way he told the story. 🙂

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