how not to talk to an experienced liar

First of all, do not fall into the standard trap: that of creating a bond that would make it difficult for you to confront them. All those pats on the back, extended handshakes, chit-chat about what are you doing and where you are from are easy for them, but make it harder for you to charge them with your questions.

Next, do not go unprepared. Do your homework. It is hard to overemphasize the importance of knowing what you’re talking about. Say, AHCA does allow insurers to move away from guaranteed coverage, but does it (surprise!) in a multi-layered, convoluted way. Know the mechanics! Read Timothy Jost’s clear prose, or the transparent Sarah Cliff’s  explanations. The law is confusing, but you owe it to yourself, and people around you to understand how to argue about it.

Do not react to the liar’s lies. Take over the conversation. If they insist that ACA is not working, ask how they are going to make it work allowing less money into the HC industry (the government pays less, and all our premiums go down!). If they tell you an anecdote about their beloved relative, friend, acquaintance who was almost killed by ACA, Canadian health care, attack with statistical data (know your facts!).

Do not be sarcastic. If the liar repeats a slogan or a factoid he repeated a hundred times, do not laugh, but politely point it out, and ask whether he had any other arguments.

Do not for a second thank the liar for agreeing to talk to you. They need it, that is their MO. Insist on necessity of lengthy, detailed and public discussions, as the Founders insisted.

Don’t waiver. Be polite but firm. Don’t hurry with a reply. Think of what you want to say.

This is a craft, talking to liars, a craft we, unfortunately, are forced to learn. But we will, and the liars will wither, and retreat into the the crevices they came from. And America will be great, again.

(Did we mention Rodney, by the way? Oh, right.)


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