Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Ad hominem is not an argument. Nor it is politics.

I watched in disbelief how the lefties in the USA turned every stone to find the imaginary Russia collusion. But now the right wing started to catch up by turning stones on Seth Rich and the Haiti investigator "suicide" and several other suspicious deaths of people who were uncomfortable to Hillary Clinton. After all, if your opponent makes a complete clown of itself with nothing burger conspiracy theories, keep up!

The problem with these conspiracies isn't that they are likely not true. It's that them being true would be totally irrelevant for any argument on politics or even the elections. These are about deciding where the country should go. The politicians leading it are just working there. The president is an institution, not a guy. Trump voters didn't vote for his non existing charm or relationship ethics or whatnot. They voted against migration, international trade, globalist wars and enforcement of leftist culture, the issues Trump championed. Trump being impeached for collusion wouldn't make them go away, they'd just vote for the next guy (Coulter? Cruz?) who offer these.

Similarly, just because Hillary goes to jail for killing people or stealing charity money, lefties won't stop chanting "no nations, no borders" nor stop demanding that every company CEO must be a black transwoman. They just follow the next candidate (Warren? Harris?) who carries the same banner. Hillary "rallies" were empty, no one was interested in her charm, yet she got 65M votes because of the issues she championed. And some of those voters were alive citizens, imagine that!

Even further, the objective value of these ideologies aren't affected by the personal fate of the current flag carriers. The migrants either integrate into the society and become valuable citizens or stay aside and remain leeches, criminals and terrorist. The companies are either producing more GDP with a diverse staff or don't. Children who claim to be trans either grow it out or commit suicide if not allowed to change sex. All these debates will be closed 50 years from now and those who were on the wrong side will be remembered as idiots. Finding the correct solution needs research and debate over ideas, not ad hominem attacks, regardless of their validity. Sure, criminals should go to jail, but that belongs to the criminal justice system and not to pundits, journalists or voters.

What I want to say is that please don't participate in these retarded non-issues and focus on the real political issues if you choose to be political.


Anonymous said...

you cant vote for a candidate that represents all your views. well trump and clinton could vote for such a candidate but the rest of us cant.

so instead we try to find a candidate who represents more of our views than the other options. we need to trust the candidate to do so. this is where a candidate being a moral person becomes important. that and limiting the damage a single winning candidate can do in a single term.

Anonymous said...

You are again confusing the theoretical with the practical.

You are correct; if you are a professor holding a seminar or in a debate club, one should ignore the sideshow. But if you are in politics, then I argue they are at least/more important than the policy.

A turning point was the 1960 election where many argue the presidency was decided not on policy but was swung by who did better on television (televised debates.) Over half the voters today get their news from Facebook. The Dems, and I assume Republicans, spend money on online ads to preclude targeted voters from seeing the other side of an argument.

As an engineer, I remember objecting to a salesman about some promise and was told "Don't confuse getting the business with doing the business." The future of the country/world and the policies you discuss depends on who is elected. Most races are close enough that your candidate getting elected, regretablely, depends on them/their party not losing the side issues.

Anecdotally, I was in Georgia(US) for a couple of weeks while the massive advertising was going on for GA 6. Over $30M in ads for 200K voter when I got there. The Dem ads frequently mentioned that his opponent had chosen a luxury SUV and spent $15,000 on office chairs while Secretary of State. That is not a sophisticated argument about policy. But their testing must have shown it worked or they would not have done it.

maxim said...

Ideas that don't manifest in reality are worthless.
Being able to put away Clinton is an indicator of being able to "drain the swamp", which was one of the campaign promises.

On a completely separate note, 99% of politics are about relationships between individuals in power. Democracy is only relevant at major turning points, such as presidential elections. The fact that Clintons are getting harassed is more or less irrelevant to society at large, but can very well be in the interests of someone who wants specifically Clintons being distracted specifically now, because some scheme hinges on it

It should be understood that these kinds of campaigns are almost never fired off just for the hell of it. That's simply too much of a waste of resources. There is always some sort of power grab behind this sort of stuff

Gevlon said...

@everyone: I don't question that ad hominem ads work on the dumb voters. If I was some campaign boss, I would do them too, whatever works in A/B testing, works.

The post was written to simple voters like yourself (assuming that Anonymous is not secretly a DNC boss and Maxim isn't some spin doctor on the All-Russian People's Party. You can't decide what politicians do. But you can choose to not spread more ad hominems and focus on policy when debating with fellow voters.

Raziel Walker said...

argumentum ad hominem: an argument "calculated to appeal to the person addressed more than to impartial reason".
Both argument and logical fallacy.

Unknown said...

Question is: how many of the voters understand issues at hand on logical level, and how many on emotional level.

Some issue, like immigration, or "swamp" exist well on both of those levels, though solution-perception would vary. Logical-minded person would be satisfied with presenting long-term solution plan and step-by-step implementation of it. Emotional need will only be fulfilled only by very public executions, right now.

Also, emotions are not equal, there is limited spectrum of acceptable emotions - and it is limited by social perception of where "crazy" line lies. Somewhere after emailgate but well before pizzagate. Thing is by focused agitation in echo-chamber of each social group you can shift the crazy line, making consensus seeking something unacceptable (major factor in current political landscape if you ask me)

So you can have two people that see issue as a problem, but there is little common ground as far as solution goes. And there is election every X years.

Possibly relevant article:

Also there is this outtake from "yes minister" regarding polls that can be applied to whole process too

Phelps said...

Ad hominem is absolutely an argument. It's also a logical fallacy, but that doesn't make it a non-argument. It's also very persuasive, done properly.

Gevlon said...

@Phelbs: if ad hominem would work in politics, Trump would finish "50 points" behind Hillary.

Phelps said...

Ad hominem did work. You're just misjudging the American people. As much as they dislike Trump, they hate the media, so the argument was, "you can't trust anything she says -- the media likes her."

Gevlon said...

@Phelbs: they chanted "build the wall". That's policy. The left screamed "black lives matter". That's policy too.

This election wasn't about Trump vs HRC . It was about "wall" vs "diversity". Both Trump and HRC were very flawed candidates, yet they won their respective primaries, because they stood for the ideas of their "tribes". Jeb, Cruz, Rubio or Paul were all much "better men" than Trump. But Trump won the primary because he wasn't a globalist conservative but an isolationalist. Sanders filled stadiums with his charm, but lost by large to HRC because he stood on a socialist instead of social justice platform.

Phelps said...

Sure, you've got a better grasp of American politics than I do. That makes sense.

Build the wall was a nice rally (and good policy) but "that horrible woman" did a lot more. Sanders didn't lose to Hillary on anything -- he just got screwed by the party machinery (and in fact would have had a better chance of beating Trump, because he's such a mouse that ad hominem would fall flat against him.)

Esteban said...

Sanders filled stadiums with his charm, but lost by large to HRC because he stood on a socialist instead of social justice platform.

The misfortune of Sanders was that he was four years too early. And while the DNC machinery under Wasserman-Schultz did screw him in Brooklyn (a psychologically important home ground for both candidates) that was not by itself enough to account for his loss.

Anyway, to quote old Heraclitus, 'character is destiny'. The fact that Trump thinks he is entitled to grab the pussies of strangers because he has money and fame is not disastrous for the country in and of itself, although sexual assault is repugnant. It speaks to the core of his character, which is a colossal sense of entitlement, self-love and the firm belief that he is above ordinary accountability. This bears directly on his instincts once in power.

In 1936, Hitler was doing pretty well. He renegotiated the (rigged! unfair!) terms of Versailles concerning German reparations and arms limits and invested massively in infrastructure, dropping unemployment from six million to about one. But... he was still the guy who wrote Mein Kampf in 1923. One would have predicted the future better if one looked to character instead of policies and metrics.