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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Generic Accusations

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to bully? No, not at school. Well, that's easy, too, but I'm not talking about school kids. I'm talking about adults. Here's the most common approach. Make up a generic accusation and yell it ... really loud. You don't have to have proof. It doesn't have to be true. It just needs to sound bad. The worse, the better. Hold up an accusing finger and wail about how someone is ... and use this generic accusation.

Sure, you've seen this, right? From the far right you'll hear, "Obama is anti-American!!" There, see? It's generic. What "anti-American" means isn't relevant1. What proof is offered is beside the point (because, after all, without a definition to start with, proving it would be silly). But it sure is bad for an American president to be anti-American, so ... it's bad! A generic accusation we all think we understand but don't have any actual definition or proof for.

Of course, the far right is not alone in this. Indeed, compared to the left, they're mere amateurs. How many times have we heard that those who disagree with Obama's policies are racists? No one, apparently, disagrees with his policies because they disagree with his policies. Generic accusation. No proof, but it sure sounds bad. If you're a conservative, you're "anti-woman". If you believe that unborn children shouldn't be murdered, you're "anti-woman" and "anti-choice". If you believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman you're anti-gay. What? How does that even work? Doesn't matter. They said it; it must be true. They said it repeatedly and loudly, so it is a certainty. Oh, you believe that the Bible teaches that homosexual behavior is a sin? Well, now, prepare for a shopping list of generic accusations. You're a hater, a bigot, anti-gay, narrow-minded, homophobic (Does anyone actually know what that means?), intolerant, judgmental ... sorry, have to breathe at some point in here.

Generic accusations are really useful. You don't need to prove your accusation. It just has to sound bad. So when the news media or your favorite politician (I'm using the term as if it's real, like "unicorn" or ...) accuses the opposition of "partisan politics", which we all know is bad, then it is true and those rotten "other guys" are rotten. How are they playing "partisan politics"? No one is really clear. "You mean, they don't disagree on the basis of principle2?" No, can't be. Didn't we just say it was partisan politics? Sheesh! Pay attention!

They're really useful, I say, because they are helpful in bypassing any genuine discussion in favor of rudely labeling the opposition with an emotionally-charged albeit unsupported name. It is, as such, a really cool form of bullying, considered effective and acceptable in today's political or other societal conflicts. Bunch of losers, that's what they are. I just wish these anti-Christian commies would all be quiet.
1 As it turns out, what is usually meant by "anti-American" is "He/She doesn't agree with my version of what's good for America. I think that what he/she wants to do will be bad for America." Of course, they'll never start with that, but that's where it usually ends up. They don't typically mean what you might think -- the person in question is actually consciously opposed to America.

2 Just to be clear, "partisan politics" is defined as taking positions or making decisions based on one’s own political party, not on the basis of any sense of values, ideals, or principles. It is a replacement of values, ideals, or principles with the party's version. Partisan politics, then, would be when a member of a political party opposes the positions of the other party simply because the other party holds them.


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

These "good" assertions are useful for marginalizing your opponent's position. You don't have to argue their position, just assert that they are something disagreeable and you've prevented the argument from being heard.

Pretty good offensive policy if you want to quash your opposition. After all, there aren't very many discerning people any more who will say, "Wait a minute - you didn't address the argument!"

Stan said...

Indeed. Avoiding addressing the argument is the point of the method. And, oddly enough, they may follow this method with "You haven't given any reasons for your position."

Dan said...

Obama IS anti American.