Why you should never argue with a fool

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Kevin Mangelschots

Everyone knows someone that’s impossible to deal with in an argument. Not because they’re particularly good at debating, but rather because they’re so absurd that there’s simply nothing to gain from the conversation.

You should never argue with fools since they’re incapable of rational thought, applying common sense, and because they’re downright ignorant at times.

Here are all the other possible reasons:

  1. They’re ignorant

    They’re ignorant because they’re either intentionally avoiding information (willful ignorance), or because they simply don’t know any better.

    The latter is forgivable since they don’t realize how much they don’t know, but the former is despicable because they know they should know better, but don’t do so to ease their mind, and to reduce anxiety. Sadly, realizing you’re intentionally disregarding information still creates stress, and will lead to more, and larger issues over time.

    Never argue with an ignorant person, especially not if they’re willfully ignorant.

  2. You can’t argue with an irrational individual

    You simply can’t argue with an irrational person since you can’t reason with them, and because they aren’t logical in the slightest. Both of these traits are required if you want to have a civilized debate wherein both parties become more knowledgeable.

    When employing feelings, there’s always an excuse, and never something concrete to base your conversation around. It’s simply impossible to get to the truth this way, since your feelings are variable, and are constantly subject to change. On the flip side, facts remain facts, no matter how you’re feeling.

  3. They don’t want to understand you

    Illustration how revealing and listening can lead to understanding.

    You can be the best instructor in the world, but you simply can’t teach others when they’re not looking to understand you. They won’t try to look at things from your perspective, and automatically assume that you’re wrong, and they’re right.

    Ignorance can explain why they don’t want to understand you. They might be so biased and prejudiced that they can’t fathom being wrong, and that someone else might actually know, or understand something that they don’t.

  4. They’re not capable of understanding you

    You shouldn’t be looking to argue just for the sake of winning the argument, or being right. The goal should be to learn something novel, and preferably to teach the other party something new and valuable as well.

    That automatically means that you shouldn’t debate them since they’re incapable of understanding you, especially those who are extremely ignorant, or biased. It’ll simply lead to frustration on both ends.

  5. It’s a waste of energy

    Ask yourself this, why would you waste your energy on something that’s not going to yield anything but irritations?

    That’s just not a smart way of living your life. That vigor can be used much more productively and effectively when trying to do, or change something that is actually under our control.

    People can only be aided when they want to be helped. If they don’t wish to learn anything new, or gain a better understanding of a topic, then no amount of forcing or trying your best will make them understand.

  6. It’s a waste of time

    Image of a blue clock lying in the bin, indicating that it's a waste of time.

    It’s a waste of time arguing with people who only listen to their feelings instead of using logic to gain a better apprehension of the topic at hand, and of each other.

    You’ll learn nothing new, can’t teach anything novel, and the only thing you can obtain is winning the argument. And that’s not worth it since it’ll simply validate your insecurity and need to be right to gain some external validation that should really come from within without having to argue with those around you.

  7. You’ll get annoyed

    Just imagine how annoying it is dealing with a person who’s not engaging in a conversation with you in good faith. On the contrary, picture that their only goal is being proven right, regardless if they’re actually correct or not.

    That seems far too pesky to me to even bother trying. Try to put in the effort, and spend time with those who actually value your time and presence instead of wasting it.

  8. You’re the fool if you argue with them

    You’re both the fool, and look like one if you’re trying to argue with idiots because you’re not going to change them, nor are you going to make them understand what they’re doing incorrectly.

    Nobody likes to look like a moron. That’s why you’re better off engaging with caring people who want to learn instead of those trying to be proven right, or attempting to project their insecurities and biases on other folks.

  9. They’ll try to manipulate you

    Illustration of two stick men with someone's hand pulling the strings and controlling the actions.

    Since they’re not engaging in this interaction in good faith, they’re looking to manipulate you for their personal benefit. Be it winning the argument, gaslighting you, or dragging you down by deceiving you.

    Needless to say, you shouldn’t make any time, nor should you put any effort at all in the people who are looking to pull strings for their own profit. There’s a surprisingly large amount of folks with a hidden agenda out there, so always be careful, and mindful about the people you choose to surround yourself with.

  10. You’ll be lowering yourself to their level

    If you’re arguing with a foolish person, then you’re lowering yourself to their level since there’s no way they can hold, or value logical observations and facts. You already know they’re going to reason with their feelings entirely, and twist it in such a manner that they’re never wrong, and always the victim.

    Don’t drop to their level, even if it would mean that you could win the debate. That simply shows your insecurity, and your desire to validate yourself by dragging others down, even if you’re right.

    Birds of a feather flock together, which means that like attracts like. Thus, better to let idiots search other fools to keep them company rather than wasting your valuable time.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Can you win an argument with a fool?

The quote, “arguing with a fool is the easiest way to become one” written in white letters on a black background.

You can never win an argument with a fool since they’re irrational, ignorant, and don’t reason with logic and facts.

They’re often not even looking to learn, and just trying to win the argument since that makes them feel better and affirmed.

That’s precisely why it’s a waste of time, effort, and energy since you’re unlikely to learn a lot when debating such an individual. Not to mention that this particular kind of people can’t be taught anything new since they’re convinced that they’re right, no matter how prejudiced and biased they might be in reality.

I believe Mark Twain said it best. He said, “never argue with a fool, they will drag you down to their level, and beat you with experience.” Meaning they’ll make you argue with your feelings by riling you up since they simply refuse to listen to reason, and then beat you through experience since all they do is debating with their emotions.

Why did a wise man once say, don’t argue with fools?

A wise man once said don’t argue with fools since it’s pointless, and amounts to nothing but frustration.

You can’t teach someone who is incapable of, or doesn’t want to learn. Facts and empirical evidence mean very little to nothing to a person who doesn’t value the truth.

They typically argue based on feelings rather than good sense. As a consequence, they’re too erratic, and unable to see past their fallacies to engage in an interesting and educational conversation.

Why does arguing with a fool prove there are two?

Arguing with a fool proves there are two because not only is the simpleton nonsensical, but so is the one attempting to debate and reason with that fool since it’ll lead to nothing but annoyance.

In short, there’s nothing to gain, and everything to lose when arguing with an ignorant, nonsensical individual.

What does the bible say about arguing with a fool?

The bible says a lot about arguing with a fool, and why it’s typically useless. It’s sometimes cited directly, and at times more abstractly.

The reason the bible says not to argue with an idiot is because the book of Proverbs says we’ll end up looking like a fool ourselves, since it’s useless to argue with them. This is directly state by Proverbs 26:4-5 “Do not answer a fool according to his folly or you yourself will be just like him.”

Direct quotes:

Proverbs 1:7 ESV

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 12:15 ESV

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.

Proverbs 15:2 ESV

The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.

Proverbs 18:2 ESV

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

Proverbs 18:6 ESV 

A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating.

Proverbs 20:3 ESV

It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling.

The word “proverbs” written in front of a mountain.

Proverbs 23:9 ESV

Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the good sense of your words.

Proverbs 26:4 ESV

Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.

Proverbs 26:11 ESV

Like a dog that returns to his vomit, is a fool who repeats his folly.

Proverbs 29:9 ESV

If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.

Proverbs 29:11 ESV

A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.

Indirect quotes:

James 1:19-20 ESV

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Romans 3:11 ESV

No one understands; no one seeks for God.

Proverbs 14:29 ESV

Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.

Mark Twain’s quote about arguing with fools

A black and white picture of Mark Twain.

Mark Twain, the famed American writer, publisher, lecturer, and humorist, once famously said, “never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”

Meaning that arguing with a simple-minded person will make both individuals look like idiots, since it’s futile to argue with fools.

Conclusion

If you argue with a fool, then you’re bound to lose by default. There’s simply nothing to gain from such a debate in bad faith, or with someone who’s incapable of rational thought.

A wise man once said, don’t argue with fools, and I believe that’s exactly the case. Choose the people you’re willing to contend with wisely because time and energy is valuable, which is precisely why you shouldn’t waste it.

That’s why simpletons are best left to their own devices since they’re not going to enrich your life in any way, shape, or form.