Arguments from Emotion and the Totalitarian Left
This post is a spin-off of The Totalitarian Left series, part one of which is here. That series maintains that liberals are soft on terror because they consider arguments from emotion to be legitimate. That is, if someone feels strongly about something, the passion of their feeling, alone, is enough to:
Make their gripes be considered reasonable;
Make their claim be considered proved;
Create an obligation that their demands be met.
My auntie Patti and I (in the mainland you might say surrogate mother or second mother- in
Patti: Nana's been getting her pills from
Me: They’re only cheaper in Canada because the Canadian government makes it illegal for them to sell them for market value. And somebody has to pay the difference. So Americans are actually supplementing Canadian health care.
Patti: They wouldn’t sell them in
Me: No, if she can do it more power to her. I'm just saying the SECOND pill costs fifty cents. The first pill costs fifty million dollars to research and develop and test and get approved. Americans pay for the first pill. Canadians pay for the second pill. If you take away the profits they won’t make new pills.
Patti: Bullshit. These corporations are making billions of dollars. I wouldn’t mind if they made reasonable profits.
Me: These are publicly traded companies. You probably own some stock in them. They aren’t full of bogeyman.
Patti: Well who is going to pay my mom’s bills? You’re talking about economics and I’m talking about my mother eating dog food because she can’t afford her medicine and food! She gets 500 dollars a month from Social Security.
Me: Nobody is eating dog food, Patti. Is Nana eating dog food?
Patti: No, because of me! But people do!
Me: Nobody is eating dog food. Nana is alive because somebody made these new pills. If you take away the profit they aren’t going to keep on making new medicines.
Patti: Well, good luck on finding a gynecologist for your wife. They’re being sued out of business and moving to
Me: She has one…
I didn’t record the conversation, (I wish I had so I could post it so you could hear the passion in her voice when dog food entered the conversation) but that is a faithful and very accurate report of it. I’m sure conversations like this take place all over
1. Patti attempted to demonize corporations… This is a liberal cliché- countered with the conservative answer, which I believe has only been around for the last ten years or so…
2. Argument from emotion 1- that Nana will have to eat dog food. She said this passionately, and it was supposed to shut me up. But I countered with reality- Patti is rich and will never need to eat dog food. Then I said nobody would. Now, I don’t know this, but that’s okay, since Patti doesn’t know that anybody is or will have to eat dog food. The specific response to an argument from emotion DOES NOT MATTER – arguments from emotion are inherently weak, and you need only deny them flatly.
3. Argument from emotion 2- Having failed in making me agree with her out of guilt that Nana would eat dog food unless I did, (lol) Patti goes for the jugular by saying my wife will not have an OBGYN if medicine isn’t socialized (this would be effective, if I respected arguments from emotion, that is, because my wife and I are encountering difficulties in conceiving a child). My reply was true- but even if it wasn’t- wouldn’t the solution to her claim be tort reform? I’m not sure if she threw that in as a red-herring or not. Anyway, my response ended the conversation.
More on this tomorrow.