The Insult as Argument

We have all seen and heard the use of insults as arguments. Instead of actually debating an issue, one of the debaters will retreat to name calling, badgering, and belittling, and often claiming your point of view is just ridiculous without attempting to say why. We hear it a lot on talk radio. The technique used by Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, et al, is to let the caller get about 15 seconds into their point, then repeatedly interrupt, then often cut them off while saying something like, “I’m not going to listen to any more of this. It’s insulting to our listeners (good Americans, god-fearing people, whatever).” It doesn’t address the question, and it implies that the question is so ludicrous that it doesn’t deserve a reply.

They also like calling you and your heritage worthless. These people don’t just disagree with you. Deep down inside they believe you are so wrong that you shouldn’t be allowed to express your opinions which they feel are absurdities.

I’ve been the brunt of similar tactics in web forums and here on my own blogs, though always under the cover of anonymity. In the end, though, the insult isn’t an argument at all,

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1 Comment

  1. “We have all seen and heard the use of insults as arguments…”

    Yep. And anecdotes used as evidence, feelings substituted for logic, or changing the subject thought to be “winning” the argument.

    I see this on so many occasions, with so many subjects… It’s tiring.

    (I really *want* to blame TV and talk radio, but it seems this sort of thing has been going on for a *long* time.)

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