Matthew Biehl
English 101, Section 40
September 4, 2007
SWA 3, Draft 1
Consensual or Adversarial Arguer?
Based on reviewing the argument styles and my past experiences with arguments,
I would consider myself to be a little bit of both. My style of argument depends on the
situation and how strongly I feel towards the topic. Also, I tend to take into account how
many people I am in an argument with. If I am arguing about an issue with a group of
people, I am more reluctant to take the consensual approach. Where as if I am arguing
with a single person, there is a good chance I would turn onto the adversarial road.
The consensual side of me usually comes out when there are multiple people
involved in arguing the issue. I feel that all the different points of view can be combined
into making one beneficial solution. Say there are five people in an argument and
everyone strongly feels that their position is correct. The chance of one person proving
their point and the other four admitting they are wrong is slim to none. I also turn into a
consensual arguer when I have strong opinions for both sides of the issue. For example, I
believe that the death penalty is cruel and harsh but at the same time it can be very
necessary based on the crime committed. Immigration is also another topic that I can go
both ways on. I believe that it is not fair that illegal immigrants don’t have to pay all the
taxes and medical care that a U.S. citizen has to, but at the same time they are helping our
economy by working all the dirty jobs that no one else is willing to do.
On the contrary, my adversarial traits will surface if I am debating an issue that I
have strong opinions towards with one or two people. I tend to be more satisfied with a
victory rather than a compromise during a situation like this. For instance, I will argue
any controversial sports issue for days until the opposition changes their opinion. If
someone were to approach me and say, “I truly believe Mark McGuire, Jose Conseco,
and Barry Bonds should be admitted into the Baseball Hall of Fame,” I am positive I
could crank out an essay in no time at all to properly convince the opposition that they
are wrong. Other issues I tend to become an adversarial arguer over are abortion, gay
marriage, and the war in Iraq. Although I have strong opinions towards all of these
issues, I can guarantee that it will be a justified argument for both sides and won’t just be
a standoff. One similar trait all of these adversarial arguments I take place in have is a
common ground. I can see where the opposing view is coming from; I just strongly feel
the contradicting solution is right.
In the end, if I had to choose, I see myself in the future as a teacher conducting
class discussions to reach a compromising solution rather than a lawyer in a courtroom
using all of my sources to persuade the judge and jury to believe me. Although at times it
is very necessary be an adversarial arguer, I would prefer to keep the community strong
rather than the individual.

Consensual or Adversarial Arguer?