17 January 2013

Control The Frame, Win The Debate


Mark Thoma laments:

The one thing I'll note is that "free market rhetoric," which is said to have played a key role in winning (or at least shifting) the battle of ideas, was the vehicle for defending other interests, e.g. business interests in having as few environmental regulations as possible. It (free markets) was not the goal in and of itself. [Emphasis added.]

Just a friendly reminder that, in this modern age, as well as in time immemorial, rhetoric tends to win the popular vote.  Facts and logic are nice, but they are not essential to winning a debate. As such, those who appeal to facts and logic without once speaking to emotion will lose to those who engage in fiery, emotional rhetoric.

One application, then, that can be made by gun rights advocates is that it would be best to appeal to the emotion of security in the defense of gun rights.  Sure, it’s nice to say that we should have gun rights because statistic show that they keep us safe, or because gun rights are an extension of property rights.  But it’s far more effective to ask people if they wouldn’t want some sort of readily available defensive weapon in the event they’re attacked.  Guns suddenly become less scary if you’re pointing them at a would-be attacker.  And this fundamental emotional truth trumps all the statistic and logic in the world.

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