Philosophical Musings

Philosophical Musings

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Hate as Debate

Increasingly, emotions are used in discussions about politics, religion, science, or just about anything. Logic & reason are short circuited with emotional cries.

I believe it is a tactic.. a deflection to avoid dealing with the real issues. Instead of facing human problems, you disparage anyone who disagrees with you by calling them a 'hater'. Some people, to be fair, are more emotionally driven, & tend to see everything through an emotional filter. But in a discussion about ideas, emotion should not be the primary driver of the debate.

If you attempt a discussion about the welfare state, for example, the response is, 'Why do you hate the poor?'
If you question the morality of abortion, 'You hate women!'
Challenge the science of global warming, 'You hate science!'
Bring up problems of crime, injustice, ghetto issues, 'Racist!'

It is an emotional dodge, deflecting from logical arguments, & turning it to passion. It is propaganda tactics, used to avoid criticism or scrutiny of the entrenched power structure.

If you challenge academia with facts of poor quality education, the knee jerk reaction is 'You hate education!' or maybe 'the children', but the tactic is still a dodge.. it is avoiding the issues by injecting emotion, rather than reason. 

There is no evidence of this 'hate', it only needs to be suggested.. accused. Then, in mob rule fashion, the accused is guilty unless he can prove his innocence. Instead of dealing with the issue, whatever it was, he is diverted & spins his wheels trying to defend the personal attribution of an evil emotion as his motivation.

Intelligent debaters should see this tactic as a ruse, to avoid the topic. But we don't. Instead, emotions fill the inter-webs & the media, rendering thoughtful discussion of any sacred cow topics impossible.

Logical fallacies are constantly used in polemical discussions, & have been for millennia. But propaganda tactics are newer.. they took root early in the last century, & have been a favorite of many ideologies. Most totalitarian & oppressive regimes use this kind of emotional appeal to rally their base. Logic & reality are not inspiring, but emotion, fear, & fantasy stir the imaginations of the masses, & are much more effective. So they use them.

“I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few.” ~Adolf Hitler
“State propaganda, when supported by the educated classes and when no deviation is permitted from it, can have a big effect. It was a lesson learned by Hitler and many others, and it has been pursued to this day.” ~Noam Chomsky
“The goal of modern propaganda is no longer to transform opinion but to arouse an active and mythical belief” ~Jacques Ellul

It is ironic that the most susceptible to this appeal of emotion are not just in mob dynamics, but with the elite, both the ruling & establishment elite, in whatever institution they are in. Academians, media, religious, entertainment.. all of these seem more susceptible to emotion than the mundane working man.

"Only the mob and the elite can be attracted by the momentum of totalitarianism itself. The masses have to be won by propaganda." ~Hannah Arendt

Humans are emotional creatures. But how much should emotion rule in out collective actions? Would not reason & logic be better tools for our organizations?

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