Saturday, October 25, 2008

Arguments and Politics

Grandpa looked over my shoulder and began reading the assignment given me for my Political science class. When he was finished reading he told me to delete about half of all I wrote. When I looked up at him and asked why he had this to say.

"I hear a lot of complaints around town of the hatred being spewed about by everyone. Yet, you still can enter into arguments where you hear none of it. Dialogues, within these arguments, are civil with each person showing respect for the other’s viewpoint. It’s as if each side is trying to understand the other side’s viewpoint rather than trying to impose their own on the other. There are actually questions asked when a person does not clarify his point rather than making assumptions and accusations.

When discussing a particular issue that may have been the subject of an op-ed in the paper I have often been aware of the fact that, during debates, one person will end up trying to change the focus of the argument made. I have often wondered why they did so. Changing the focus adds nothing to the argument nor does it take away anything from the argument made in the op-ed. Changing the focus ends up doing only one thing, it tries to win by deception.

The use of name calling in an argument is another thing I never quite understood. This does not mean the use of names should be invalid all the time. If we use them as a means to identify a person rather than as a means to win an argument then that is a legitimate use of them. However, it should only be done in terms of the conclusion of the argument not as a premise to be taken into consideration of the argument itself.

Another problem I see very often is the use of generalizations as responses as opposed to the use of specifics when needed. The primary thing that results from the use of them is that the other person ends up making unnecessary assumptions in order to try to respond. This does not mean to say that generalizations should never be used. There are times when they are necessary as in illustrating or the presentation of a principle.

The attribution of the behavior of the few as being typical of the whole group is another accusation I hear used often. In other words the use of stereotyping. The biggest problem I see in regards to this is the use of it always in regards to negative behavior but the unwillingness to use it in regards to a positive behavior. It's a hypocritical use of stereotyping.

I could sit here and continue citing tactics used to win arguments that appear to be foolish but doing so would not make my point any clearer. My point being that the use of these tactics is to use tactics of deception to win an argument. We see far too much of it and we see its results, accusations of hatred. Furthermore, it never will serve the purpose and intent of those that win by those tactics unless they are of a radical group. As far as I’m concerned, we are already seeing too much radicalism being practiced these days even in this country.

Boy, one last thing, differentiate extremism from radicalism. While two person may hold to the same position the difference will be in regards to how far they will go and what they will do in order to implement those beliefs."

"Yes, grandpa" I grumbled as I began deleting those paragraphs he pointed out to me.

Grandpa just chuckled and patted my head as he walked away.


BB-Idaho said...

I rather suspect Grandpa has read and reread this little book
...would that more of us did..:)

Gayle said...

Good job, Griper. I get a lot of that in my comment sections. The latest one is the statement left in one of my threads: "Sarah Palin is as smart as a bag of rocks."

Wish I had come here before I left my answer which was: " Now there's a brilliant, intelligent critique, Daniel. It's so easy to make uninformed declarations like that. I don't think you are in any position to be calling anyone dumb, especially an elected Governor of the largest state in America. You guys are laughable! I don't like Obama or Biden or their politics - which means I don't like your politics - but I don't call either of them dumb. On the other hand, you are a different bag of worms entirely."

Well, sometimes I do get a bit ticked off! Calling Sarah Palin about as smart as a bag of rocks is very mild compared to the comments I don't publish.

The Griper said...

"...would that more of us did..:)"

so very true bb. and i'd recommend that site to anyone who enjoys debate. though i'll admit i fail at times to follow my own rules. lolol

yes, gayle, emotions are a big factor in using these fallacies. we speak without thought. lol

the big problem i have is when people try to justify their use of them.

i have to laugh when i see it done tho. it reminds me of the conversations between Spock and the good doctor and how frustrated Spock could get the Doctor with his logic.

Average American said...

One point I would add, Griper, is the near constant repetition of lies. You've heard this before I'm sure, if you hear a lie often enough, it becomes the truth. Both sides, but especially the liberals are stretching that saying to the breaking point. It is just SO infuriating! I try to discuss, with the hopes of converting friends to our cause, only to smack against that rock wall of ignorance. Many people have heard things so often, that they won't even question the veracity of the information. The first example is "4 more years of Bush". I wish I had a dollar for every time I've heard that line.

Karen Howes said...

Some great food for thought, Griper.

The Griper said...

a little advice. use their ignorance against them. their ignorance will always place you on the defensive and that is not the way to win games, offense wins games.


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