Big-footed philosophy

The Yeti is considering a site redesign, but contrary to his self-effacing blogger cliche reference, this is a reflection of how the content has shifted in focus. He makes this point himself by wandering off into a tirade about weak rhetoric and discernment:

“There is a root to every argument - a need for self-expression that gives us our sense of worth. The polarization occurs when someone else threatens that sense of self-worth.”

This is a gem. I don’t think his examples support it quite as directly as they could, though. Consider “Drive an SUV? You must be a Nazi who hates the planet.” This mediocre over-generalization approach to understanding the world is much more insidious when projected. In the world we live in (which I dare assert exhibits a mean intellect and education level slightly above that of our culture as a whole), people are not that simple-minded. They are, however, prone to assuming that everyone else is. So the example above becomes “You don’t like my SUV? You must think I’m a Nazi who hates the planet.” Effective arguments must take great care to not only make their point, but also demonstrate that consideration has been given to the opposing view. Otherwise, any disagreement can be dismissed as unfair stereotyping that doesn’t apply, since “you don’t understand my motivations.”

I posted this in September 2003 during week 1542.

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