Buried in among the comments on this SQOTD is a disagreement between Jaded Voluntaryist and Rob Fisher.
There are certain positions that it is unwise to try and debate rationally – specifically because they are not rationally held positions. … nothing you say is really likely to change the minds of such people.
But have the debate anyway. Those who overhear it might then be prevented from joining the wrong cause.
I agree with Rob Fisher entirely. Jaded Voluntaryist says, and then repeats, that the people (“such people”) you argue with are beyond argument, which may be so. (Alternatively, they may just not want to argue with someone who keeps telling them they are being irrational.) But JV seems to me to ignore the point about those onlookers. Onlookers, particularly the silent ones, are what propaganda is all about.
Closely related to the point about arguing with those whom it is impossible to argue with, so to speak, is the virtue of repetition. Keep on having the arguments.
Repetition is actually humility. Repetition is recognising that what you say won’t reach the whole world, the very first time you say it. If others won’t repeat it for you (which is actually what reaching the world consists of), then if you think it deserves to reach at least a bit more of the world than it did first time around, you will have to repeat it yourself.
In the comments on this excellent posting at Counting Cats (a posting which restates some ancient truths about incentives but puts them in an academic rather than an “economic” context – highly recommended), you will observe commenters, many of their names being familiar from here, repeating to one another (as is entirely appropriate) many of the above truths about the need to keep on arguing. Are they talking only to themselves, echoing in their own echo chamber? No. One hitherto silent reader joins in, to say:
Keep it up guys, well done. … Every little anecdote helps.
I and many others have said all this many times before, which is because it deserves to be said again and again.