How to use a Polemic
To use a polemic, you need to take a position against an issue, and ideally have solid reasons behind that position. The most important thing to remember is that a polemic is an argument, not just the identification of a problem—it needs to be strongly against something, and in clear support of one side. So, follow these steps to develop a successful polemic:
- Identify two opposing viewpoints on an issue
- Decide your point of view
- Find the problems and weaknesses of the opposing view
- Powerfully argue against that opposing view!
You may be wondering, “do I need to support my own point of view with facts and opinions for why my opinion is the right one?” In terms of a polemic, the answer is “not necessarily”—a polemic is an attack against something, not an argument for something. Your goal is to show why one position is wrong or faulty, not prove why the other position is right.
When to use a Polemic
The time to use a polemic is when you have a serious opinion against something and want to share it with others or really carry out an attack on the problem. Of course, there are all different times or reasons for polemics to be appropriate or necessary. You may simply feel strongly about something and want to express that, or a problem may arise (like a current event) that creates the ideal context or environment for you to conduct your attack. For instance, polemics are widespread during presidential campaigns and debates, when candidates attack the things they find wrong in their opponent(s) in order to convince people that the opposition isn’t fit to lead.