When did people stop thinking?
"Logic!" said the Professor half to himself.
"Why don't they teach logic at these schools?
- C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
I have a serious beef with a current fashion in arguments. It goes like this:
Person 1: I support A.
Person 2: Then you must be violently against B!
Person 1: No, A and B are not mutually exclusive. I can support A and also support B.
Person 2: If you support B, you must be against A.
Person 1: Listen, why can't you say that A and B are both good?
Person 2: You can't support A and B at the same time.
Person 1: Why not?
Person 2: [Because the government and current fashionable modes of thinking don't support that way of thinking. Plus, all the memes I see on the internet support me.]* You are obviously a bigot/racist/etc.
*This is never actually admitted. I'm just including it for clarity.
Now, I will grant you that if A = civil rights, and B = slavery, then Person 2 has a point: you can't support civil rights and slavery at the same time... because they are mutually exclusive. By definition, they are polar opposites.
However, if A = "rape is wrong and should be punished", and B = "women should take reasonable precautions to protect their safety", then Person 1 is correct: they are NOT mutually exclusive. Just because rape is a heinous crime doesn't mean that it is reprehensible to suggest that women should not get blind-drunk, not tell anyone where they are going or when they should be expected back, and place their safety in the hands of complete strangers. It might turn out ok, it might not. Sure, if it doesn't, then the perpetrator should be held responsible. But lately it has become the fashion that we are unable to also say that the woman could have acted in a more responsible manner herself. Political correctness has now deemed that A and B are mutually exclusive.
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This is the same "reasoning" (and I use the term very loosely, since there is nothing of reason about it) that says that if one is pro-life, one must be anti-woman. This argument always makes me want to bang my head on a wall. The politically correct crowd has decided for us that the current fashion is that A and B in this case are mutually exclusive. Never mind that it basically says that to be "pro-woman" one must be "pro-murder of her children".
I stay out of arguments in general and especially online because to have conversations like the one I outlined above between Person 1 and Person 2 make me a crazy person and causes me to froth at the mouth. I asked Father what the deal was with the current fashion in non-reasoning, and he said it was simple: people are idiots. I guess there have always been idiots about, but now they are educated primarily through sound bites, bumper stickers and clever internet memes. Maybe the zombie-apocalypse is already here.