Saturday, December 29, 2012

Debating fundamental differences with gun banners

Robb likes to say that we have facts and figures, and they have penis jokes.  The futility of arguing details with people who disagree with you on fundamental principles is futile.  Eric Raymond has an old post that's worth your while - he describes superstructure (individual logical arguments) and substructure (basic first principles) and suggests aiming for the substructure:
I listened to the others on the channel offer polite, reasoned, factually correct counterarguments to this guy, and get nowhere. And suddenly…suddenly, I understood why. It was because the beliefs the ignoramus was spouting were only surface structure; refuting them one-by-one could do no good without directly confronting the substructure, the emotional underpinnings that made ignoramus unable to consider or evaluate counter-evidence.

The need, here, was to undermine that substructure. And I saw the way to do it. This is what I said:

“You speak, but I hear only the bleating of a sheep. Your fear gives power to your enemies.”

Ignoramus typed another sentence of historical ignorance. My reply was “Baa! Baa! Baaaaa!”

And another. My reply was more sheep noises, more deliberate mockery. And you know what? A few rounds of this actually worked. Ignoramus protested that he wasn’t a sheep. At which point I asked him “Then why are you disarmed?”


The conversation afterwards was completely different, and ended up with ignoramus speculating about meeting with one of our regulars in his area to do things with firearms.
I think that this is particularly useful.  I've said before that gun banners argue from emotion and we argue from logic.  That's true, but that's not the way to get our message across.  Even worse, I'd go so far as to say that few of us have convinced ourselves to own firearms by logic; rather, it's a different sort of emotion (we refuse to be sheep).

OK, then.  Say it to the gun banners.  It's direct, it's honest, and it's transmitting on a frequency they're tuned into.  They may not agree, but the debate will be over first principles, not irrelevant minutia.  RTWT.


Broken Andy said...

Excellent point, and the comments at ESRs blog are quite enlightening as well.

Old NFO said...

Good point, and it does make sense to address the underlying issues...

Printed Fabric Banners said...

Interesting article as always. I hope that you can continue working on new information to continually give us here on your blog. These banners are excellent for sending a message.