Logic vs. EmotionSteven Lieberman
Logic v. Emotion
I want you to think of the color green.
Really think about it. Imagine the most perfect form of green there is. From a car, to a freshly cut lawn… yes, you can even think about money, if you would like.
Now, realize that it is entirely possible that you are the only entity who exists in this universe that perceives green the way that you do.
This same divide exists between those who espouse logic and those who rely on emotions.
A number of years ago, I watched as a group of anti-hunters held a protest outside one of our Safari Club events. (Safari Club International is a hunting organization that generates more money for habitat preservation than Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund.)
These people were triggered.
Veins were on the verge of popping as they shouted, “murderer” and “butcher” at us as we headed into our function.
What was their goal?
Did they really expect that one or two of us would stop and listen to them shouting at us, and then turn to each other and say, “Larry… do you hear that?!? They think that we are murderers! Boy, they are mad… really mad! Just look at them. Hmmm… we really should do whatever is necessary to make these good people feel more comfortable. What say we just stop hunting right here and now? You good with that?”
Of course they didn’t expect that. Their emotions were the single driving force of their actions. We could amass all of the scientific data available to show that the North American Model of Game Management did more to save species than any other policy enacted. We could explain the ethics and morality of hunting. We could even point out the hypocrisy of eating meat from a grocery store or restaurant, while being opposed to hunting. Yet, all of these arguments would have fallen on deaf ears.
They could never process what we were saying, because we were speaking two entirely different languages. Theirs was the language of emotions; ours was that of logic.
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Over the last few days, Sandy and I have replied to many Facebook and direct email messages of individuals who are appalled that we 1) Support the Second Amendment, and 2) Have the audacity to display our affiliation with the National Rifle Association.
Our responses are always measured and logic oriented.
They are met with diatribes, and invectives.
The Antis have always asked for a “dialog on common sense gun reform.” Well, this time they got one… and they have been less than pleased that their ideology is being held up to rational scrutiny.
You see, theirs is a doctrine of emotionalism. Ours, by contrast, is one of logic. True, we have our emotional side as well. Reliance on historical precedent is, by definition, an emotional argument. Both sides of this divide have attempted to wrap themselves in the cloak of history. Yet, our use of history is far more nuanced than that of our adversaries. They try to use a form of revisionist history to suggest the Second Amendment should not be interpreted as anything more than a footnote in the Constitution to protect against a federal standing army. We use history as a means of showing the philosophical underpinnings of the Second Amendment.
The Antis are also not particularly receptive to cogent responses to their queries. During one email exchange, I was told emphatically that my interlocutor was, in fact, a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. I thanked him for supporting the Constitution in its totality, and asked where then does our disagreement lie?
He responded by stating he cannot understand why I am against… you guessed it… “common sense gun reform.”
I asked exactly what that meant.
He then issued a litany of proposals that were, in fact, already law.
I pointed that out, and his response was that these laws are not nation wide.
Yet, in my state they are present, and we still have gun crimes.
Well… that is because all of these “illegal” guns were coming from neighboring states where there were “lax” gun laws.
I suggested if that were true, then the aggravated assault and murder statistics should be higher per capita in these neighboring states since, by definition, gun acquisition was easier there. Yet, they are not… so the only rational inference is that the “gun laws” present in my state are either ineffectual, or perhaps actually responsible, for the increased crime.
He responded by calling me a Fascist.
Since Florida, we have been consistently frustrated by anti-gun “experts” educating us on the dangerous nature of our weapons with clearly little understanding of even the basic nomenclature of our guns. (I swear, if I hear someone say “Full Semi Auto” again, I’m going to lose it!) We have also seen the rhetoric of the Antis become completely mired in the emotive nature of persuasion. Pathos must be tempered with Logos. When the Antis rely on the collectivist infallibility, they betray the weakness of their argument. Without a logical armature, their arguments resonate only in an echo chamber.
Those who must be persuaded… the ones with the guns… are not moved by their protestations.