By Scott Tibbs, May 27, 2014
Here is an excellent observation by Mike Adams on the state of modern political discourse:
|First, there is the tendency to respond to the tone rather than the substance of an argument. Second, there is the tendency to project motives of anger and fear onto others simply because they hold a different opinion. Gone are the days when we evaluated arguments. Today we evaluate emotions.|
This is a perfect description of how public discourse has devolved, especially on the internet. It also perfectly describes how a number of Leftists respond to the arguments I make - not by attacking my argument but by psychoanalyzing me as a person. A sampling of what's been said about me in Herald-Times comments:
|Look how often he employs "shame." That tells us much him as a person and his world. It informs us how he was coerced from stage 1 to stage 2. This is obviously an extreme and seemingly permanent form of stage 2 spiritual development.|
|I really worry about people who obsess about things that don't affect them at all personally. While so many other things that do affect them personally seem to go unnoticed... You seem to be a very unhappy and bitter man.|
|Fundemental Peck stage 2 compliance from Tibbs. The tragedy, of course, is that he can never experience God from that level. Stage 2 is submission.|
It is very amusing that people who have never met me can make these observations from behind a computer screen.
Analyzing someone's psychological profile is a quick, cheap and easy way to distract from the argument. It is not exactly new - I have been called hateful and bitter for the better part of two decades by people who do not want to (or are unable to) engage my arguments on a rational basis. It's the same ad hominem attack on the lines of "racist, sexist, bigot, homophobic" - designed to put someone on the defensive and make them defend themselves personally so the accuser does not have to deal with an uncomfortable argument or set of facts.
A large portion of our society has lost the ability to think critically and to evaluate arguments using logic. Because of that, people often react emotionally to something they dislike - they take disagreement with their beliefs as a personal affront to them. It should not be surprising, then, that they react to disagreement by directly attacking the person making the "offensive" argument instead of dealing with the argument itself. They certainly are not going to think critically about their own arguments and whether they actually are correct.
So how do we deal with this? There is not much that can be done to convince people who refuse to argue with logic instead of emotion. The way to deal with them is not to be distracted by their efforts to send the discussion down a rabbit trail and instead pound away with the argument and/or facts they refuse to address.
For the future, we should demand that our government school system teach critical thinking skills and (more importantly) teach those skills to our own children. There are few things more rewarding to a parent than a child pointing out where the parent is wrong - it shows that we have trained them well.