PG got in a facebook chat recently. If you want to read, click on the link. It started when someone made a comment… “… examine the ways in which all of us enable that culture of violence directly or indirectly, perhaps particularly through our silence.” PG replied “If you are going to say something, please think first. Loud, ill informed rhetoric is part of the problem.” There was a nasty reply to this. PG tried to be reasonable, to no avail.
Lesson number one for today: some people just like to argue. The topic of discussion is irrelevant…they just enjoy the thrill of verbal combat. There is little to be gained by engaging these people. You should never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level, and win by experience. If you wrestle with a hog, you get dirty, and the pig enjoys it.
The idea that you should speak up, and call out, is popular these days. A popular quote, credited by some to Thomas Jefferson, says ” “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” The linked post continues: “The rhetoric alert started to flash. These days, the wolf and the sheep buy their clothes at the same Walmart. To hear some oppressors talk the talk, they are the ones under attack. It is tough to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Also, as the Kony fiasco showed, often you can make things worse by getting mixed up.”
The post goes on to list Four Principles of Quotation. 1 – Whenever you see a quotation given with an author but no source assume that it is probably bogus. 2 – Whenever you see a quotation given with a full source assume that it is probably being misused, unless you find good evidence that the quoter has read it in the source. 3 – Whenever you make a quotation, give the exact source. 4 – Only quote from works that you have read.
There are a lot of logical fallacies today. Two wrongs making a right. False equivalence. Whining about media coverage. Opinions are like elbows… everyone has two. Don’t talk about religion or politics. Don’t talk with your mouth full. If you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything at all. (The modern version: If you can’t say anything good, talk about the media.)
Are you trying to create change, or are you like a dog that likes to bark? If you are going to influence a person, you have to earn that person’s trust. If this person hears you repeating things that are not true, then they are not going to trust you. Once lost, trust is very difficult to regain.
You should think about things like cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias, and mythos over logos. People are hit over the head with a lot of rhetoric and polemic these days. Sorting out the conflicting claims can be tough. You can get into narcotizing dysfunction. This is where you hear so much about something that you tune out new information. When you call out someone, are you pouring water into a barrel that is already overflowing?
A while back, PG wrote a post about four part rules. The first is the Rotary Club “The Four-Way Test of the things we think, say or do.” Is it the TRUTH? Is it FAIR to all Concerned? Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned? (When these rules were first expressed, it was said by some: “This emphasis on truth, fairness and consideration provide a moral diet so rich that it gives some people “ethical indigestion.”)
The other four part harmony is The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz. Be impeccable with your word. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions. 4–Always do your best. Both of these quartets emphasize telling the truth when you speak up. This is in contrast to the rumor spreading in yesterday’s flap about the #PiedmontParkHanging.
One source of narcotizing dysfunction these days in racism. People get hit over the head with the r-word all the time. One post has a list of questions to ask Before You Call Out Racism. Is the accuser telling the truth? Have you heard both sides of the story? Do you know what you are talking about? Is it really racism, or is it a personal dispute where someone cries race? Is it institutional systemic oppression, or just someone saying something stupid? Is it any of your business? Will this do more good than it does harm?
Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.