I settle peaceful disputes peacefully.
Anyone who’s communicating wants to be understood. Otherwise they wouldn’t bother. In fact I think the question here is posed to better understand. And we’re not all the same but many of us share views. So people find a shared definition which describes what they think. A category to simplify communication. And remember a goal here is to be understood by other people.
Strategically, a category is a lever for your opponents. It’s a means to undermine an argument without confronting it. If you have a million people calling themselves Libertarian or AnCap then, other things being equal, it’s a million times more valuable to attack the Category instead of their arguments.
Watch me. Libertarian means you hate the poor and want people to die of minor illnesses. You’re a tax cheat who shuns responsibility. Libertarians claim support free choice but lots of them deny women the freedom to terminate a pregnancy. So Libertarians can’t even make up their minds on basic issues. They aren’t consistent at all. Libertarians are socially destructive and anti-community.
I don’t agree with that attack, but if I say it 100 times – now you’re dangerous. Now you have no argument in most peoples eyes.
People act like attacking a category is a logical way to argue a point. But they never even hit the mark and it doesn’t matter. The moment you have a label, you can overwhelm rational thinking by filling up a persons head space with logical fallacies to redefine what that label means.
Questionable cause, guilt by association, begging the question, and on and on.
Public debate is the only sphere of competition where incompetence decides who wins. And all politics is like this.
It’s been two years but if I say Crooked Hillary and Lying Ted, readers will know that this is what Trump used to reframe every thought about Clinton and Cruz. Labelling someone’s actions, rightly or wrongly might be the first step to winning any debate of public concern but permitting yourself to be irrational has a cost.
The fact that irrational people, who sometimes claim that words have no meaning also support 70 new words that define gender is a first indication about the utility of categories for advancing a rational argument.
Its exactly the other way around. I think categories are a means to complete misunderstanding. So I settle peaceful disputes peacefully.
Thank you to Chalon Hutson for making this work possible.
If you wish to support posts like this please consider becoming a patron.