Here’s a tip. Whenever somebody uses the phrase, “I’m all for ____,” they’re not really all for it at all. They’re really all against it. One time I heard a commercial on the radio for an SUV. The narrator was some mom, and she said, “I’m all for the environment, but safety is my priority when buying a vehicle.” You have to get past the fact that, this lady isn’t who she says she is, she’s an actress. So it’s really the car company itself speaking directly to you, telling you that they’re all for the environment. But what they’re really trying to tell you is, “We don’t care at all about the environment. And you shouldn’t either. Buy our Canyonero.”
I’m all for healthy eating, but if food companies want to use trans-fats, who are we to say they can’t? I’m all for portion control, but I don’t want the government telling me what size soda I’m allowed to buy. I’m all for gun rights, I just don’t think that people should be allowed to buy semi-automatic firearms, stockpile hoards of ammunition, or carry concealed weapons. See what I did there? I don’t care about gun rights at all. What I was doing was stating my argument while at the same time countering any arguments that might say that I’m anti gun rights. Which is false. It’s just a clever trick of the English language.
But you can use this trick in a more abstract way. You can make a really broad general statement, like, “I’m all for personal liberty.” And then you can follow it up with a statement that has nothing to do with the first part, thereby invalidating whatever you’re talking about. I’m all for personal liberty, but I’m don’t think New York Jets fans should be allowed to wear any team merchandise in public. I’m arbitrarily slamming an entire sports franchise and its fan base while at the same time standing up for something vague and general, in this case personal liberty. Who is going to argue against personal liberty?
When you’re engaged in an argument, or you’re making an argument, you’re always supposed to maintain some sort of civility. It’s just nice. When I’m arguing, I like to say stuff like, “Well, I disagree,” instead of saying, “No, you’re wrong.” That way you can get your point of view across without alienating whoever you’re engaging with. “Well, I would argue that …”
So on the surface anyway, “I’m all for,” really should be a nice thing to add to a conversation, to a disagreement. And maybe it was when it was first used. But whenever I hear it being thrown around, it’s always in a way to trivialize whatever it is being argued against. Go back to my SUV example and the woman on the radio. “I’m all for the environment, but what I care about is safety.” What’s going on here? To me, what I’m hearing is, “The environment? That’s cute. OK, sure, we’re for the environment too. Having said that, it doesn’t matter. Safety.”
That’s another trick. Just say safety. Arguments for safety basically trump anything. Why don’t high schools or colleges sponsor ski trips anymore? Why is marijuana illegal? Why did we go to war in Iraq? Safety, safety, and safety. But the safety excuse isn’t even applied universally, because we still encourage kids to run at each other headfirst every single day at football practice, we still allow people to buy and consume unlimited quantities of alcohol, and there are still a ton of other despotic countries in the world that we aren’t invading and overthrowing. Look, I’m all for head injury awareness, but football is ingrained in our culture. There’s no way we’re ever going to change anything. Look, I’m all for the free market, but we cannot stop until the war on drugs is won. Look, I’m all for diplomacy, but listen up Saddam, you have twenty-four hours to get out of Iraq before our tanks start rolling in towards Baghdad.
And seriously, nobody really needs this detailed of an explanation, but I’m running out of things to say here. I had something to say, and yeah, it took me a little long to cut to the chase. Or, it didn’t really take that long, but I added a bunch of unnecessary words. I’ve never really figured out how to be concise. Something about ten words where one will suffice. But listen, if you’ve got any advice, how I can tighten all of this up, let me know. I’m all for some constructive criticism.