The Unpersuadables

The Unpersuadables

The Unpersuadables

The UnpersuadablesI’ve realized what offends me about politics. It’s the same thing that offends me about litigation: It’s the fact that your opponents are unpersuadable.
Think about litigation: You can talk to opposing counsel until you’re blue in the face, but you’ll never convince opposing counsel to drop the case. (Yeah, yeah: Once in a blue moon, you find a document that proves that the other side will be sanctioned if it continues to pursue the lawsuit. The other side relents. But that almost never happens; in the ordinary case, your opponent is unpersuadable.)
Opposing counsel is paid to defend a position. Opposing counsel’s livelihood depends on asserting that position. So you can talk all you like; opposing counsel won’t budge.
Many opposing counsel won’t budge on subsidiary issues such as whether the deposition should be taken on Tuesday or Thursday or in New York or Chicago. Why should they? You’re the enemy; if you support something, then they oppose it. Unless they’re going to look unreasonable in front of a judge, opposing counsel will disagree with you.
They’re unpersuadable.
Politicians are the same. Democratic politicians will never say that the Republicans are right about something, and Democrats can never be convinced otherwise. Democrats’ careers depend on rejecting everything Republicans say, so Democrats are unpersuadable.
(Janet Yellen conceded a couple of weeks ago that she had been “wrong … about the path inflation would take.” The long knives came out: Yellen had been an academic, which was the only reason she was so silly as to candidly admit an error. Democratic strategists blasted Yellen for having essentially written the Republicans’ campaign ads showing how foolish the administration had been. I bet Yellen learned her lesson: In the future, she’ll never admit that she made a mistake, and she’ll never again be persuaded by anything. She will now be unpersuadable; join the club.)
Republicans politicians are unpersuadable. Trump acted properly on January 6. Trump actually won the 2020 election. You can say whatever you want. Republican politicians won’t care; they’re unpersuadable.
Fox is unpersuadable. Its ratings depend on defending the party line. You’ll never convince Fox to change its position.
MSNBC is unpersuadable. Its ratings depend on defending the (other) party’s line. You’ll never convince MSNBC to change its position.
On a personal level, the inability to persuade people makes argumentation boring. There’s no reason to listen to a politician; politicians are unpersuadable. There’s no reason to watch Fox or MSNBC; they’re unpersuadable. There’s no reason to watch interviews of politicians on the Sunday morning talk shows; the politicians can never concede a point or budge from preordained positions.
We’ll see whether the January 6 Committee can persuade Republican politicians. I suspect it won’t, because politicians are unpersuadable. The evidence and the arguments don’t matter. The politicians will change their minds only if the American public changes its collective mind first; that will change what’s necessary for political survival. So much for leadership.
When you find a place where people are persuadable – some issues are close calls; the other side has a point on something; newly discovered evidence has made someone change his or her mind – let me know. That’s a person I’d like to listen to – or maybe even vote for.
Mark Herrmann spent 17 years as a partner at a leading international law firm and is now deputy general counsel at a large international company. He is the author of The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law and Drug and Device Product Liability Litigation Strategy (affiliate links). You can reach him by email at inhouse@abovethelaw.com.
The UnpersuadablesI’ve realized what offends me about politics. It’s the same thing that offends me about litigation: It’s the fact that your opponents are unpersuadable.
Think about litigation: You can talk to opposing counsel until you’re blue in the face, but you’ll never convince opposing counsel to drop the case. (Yeah, yeah: Once in a blue moon, you find a document that proves that the other side will be sanctioned if it continues to pursue the lawsuit. The other side relents. But that almost never happens; in the ordinary case, your opponent is unpersuadable.)
Opposing counsel is paid to defend a position. Opposing counsel’s livelihood depends on asserting that position. So you can talk all you like; opposing counsel won’t budge.
Many opposing counsel won’t budge on subsidiary issues such as whether the deposition should be taken on Tuesday or Thursday or in New York or Chicago. Why should they? You’re the enemy; if you support something, then they oppose it. Unless they’re going to look unreasonable in front of a judge, opposing counsel will disagree with you.
They’re unpersuadable.
Politicians are the same. Democratic politicians will never say that the Republicans are right about something, and Democrats can never be convinced otherwise. Democrats’ careers depend on rejecting everything Republicans say, so Democrats are unpersuadable.
(Janet Yellen conceded a couple of weeks ago that she had been “wrong … about the path inflation would take.” The long knives came out: Yellen had been an academic, which was the only reason she was so silly as to candidly admit an error. Democratic strategists blasted Yellen for having essentially written the Republicans’ campaign ads showing how foolish the administration had been. I bet Yellen learned her lesson: In the future, she’ll never admit that she made a mistake, and she’ll never again be persuaded by anything. She will now be unpersuadable; join the club.)
Republicans politicians are unpersuadable. Trump acted properly on January 6. Trump actually won the 2020 election. You can say whatever you want. Republican politicians won’t care; they’re unpersuadable.
Fox is unpersuadable. Its ratings depend on defending the party line. You’ll never convince Fox to change its position.
MSNBC is unpersuadable. Its ratings depend on defending the (other) party’s line. You’ll never convince MSNBC to change its position.
On a personal level, the inability to persuade people makes argumentation boring. There’s no reason to listen to a politician; politicians are unpersuadable. There’s no reason to watch Fox or MSNBC; they’re unpersuadable. There’s no reason to watch interviews of politicians on the Sunday morning talk shows; the politicians can never concede a point or budge from preordained positions.
We’ll see whether the January 6 Committee can persuade Republican politicians. I suspect it won’t, because politicians are unpersuadable. The evidence and the arguments don’t matter. The politicians will change their minds only if the American public changes its collective mind first; that will change what’s necessary for political survival. So much for leadership.
When you find a place where people are persuadable – some issues are close calls; the other side has a point on something; newly discovered evidence has made someone change his or her mind – let me know. That’s a person I’d like to listen to – or maybe even vote for.
Mark Herrmann spent 17 years as a partner at a leading international law firm and is now deputy general counsel at a large international company. He is the author of The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law and Drug and Device Product Liability Litigation Strategy (affiliate links). You can reach him by email at inhouse@abovethelaw.com.

Source:https://abovethelaw.com/2022/06/the-unpersuadables/

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