“I’m Offended And That Makes You Wrong”

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Many of us who frequent social media will have the dreadful “I’m offended” thrown at us at one point or another. But the question remains of how effective this tactic really is? To understand this we must first understand the various meanings and usages behind this tactic whether they are intentional or not.

What we find so often with the use of the offense taken sentence is that it normally comes when someone wants to go on the attack, someone wants to muster up a defense or when someone wants to do both at the same time. Rarely are these words utilized because someone is just offended and they leave it at that. After all being offended doesn’t mean someone is going to go on the defensive or offensive. At least not inherently anyways. Then that leaves the question of why do it at all if it is rarely used just to be offended?

To answer our above question we need to understand a few things about the people who use this line often. One, we should never misunderstand that being offended doesn’t generate an argument. Two, being offended doesn’t justify being more offensive than the very level of offense that a person is offended by. Three, these types tend to only be offended when it is convenient with a debate being a perfect example. Four, these types of people tend to be offended and use that to justify their world view as if their offended status is a true reflection of everyone else’s experience. And lastly the offended tend to flock in high numbers.

Let us go through each one of those points and see if we can spot the usual suspects:

  1. Christopher Hitchens said it best when he proclaimed that certain people shout, “I’m offended” as if that is an argument. In fact the sentence before this one is almost word for word what the man said. It is true. There are some people who believe that because they are offended that makes them right. Nothing could be further from the truth. One can be offended that the sun can cause blindness if one stares at it for too long. Does that change reality? One can be offended that black people are allowed to exist. Does that make that belief correct? No, it doesn’t and neither does being offended create a rational argument.
  2. Ever notice how a lot of the people who are perpetually offended by something turn around and justify or even engage in material that is far worse by objective comparison? For example there are those who would get offended if someone were to ask a woman to, “smile more.” But as witnessed by the author of this blog in that very same social media posting a person turned around the said that they would make a person lose teeth if they were asked to smile more. Do you see the lunacy in this? How can one be offended by something they deem offensive but then turn around and justify violence for a non-violent gesture? Another good example is how someone will complain about how someone sits on public transit due to rudeness but then turn around and advocate for laws for those people to be ticketed and even arrested for such a trivial offense. These are classic cases, but certainly not all of the cases, where being offended can become a weapon and even a justification for nonsense.
  3. This ties into point number one. Being offended can sometimes be an effective tool and a weapon in a debate. Someone taking offense to words and even statements can essentially erase rational arguments as if they didn’t even exist. Of course this doesn’t work most times because many of us can see right through this particular set of mental gymnastics. The idea is simple. One must be offended, declare it so, cast a label on the person making the statement and with that label comes outright refusal to hear the evidence. It is an effective tactic that is used in politics, social media and from person to person. For example if someone were to criticize a certain religious belief even if that belief has multiple racial identities participating it can be effective to call that person a racist even if it isn’t true or proof cannot be obtained. The reason why this can be effective is that it is a shaming and silencing tool. And believe this tool is standard issue for the perpetually offended.
  4. Finally, we have the, “I’m offended and you should be too” angle. This one is simple. It is not that hard to understand. This is essentially a person proclaiming that because they experienced something or don’t like something that everyone else should care. The problem with that word, “should” is that it is really an anger word. Yes everyone should be a nice person but there are no requirements to be that. Everyone should try not to litter but many of us do it. Should and reality do not mix. So while someone believes everyone should be offended at something that just won’t be the case most times and that is for any issue outside of rape, murder and other very serious crimes. For example if someone is offended at a certain word and don’t care to hear that word uttered by anyone that is that person’s opinion. In reality nobody has to listen or pay any attention to that person for being offended.

So we see where someone shouting that they are offended isn’t just something that is harmless. This is meant to either shut down discussion, shut down discourse, silence people or try to coerce others into being offended or joining a certain label. The tactic tends to work very well. Unlike other tactics if one were to look objectively almost any social group uses this and it is a major recruitment tool for many groups including religion, politics and what have you.

How far does the rabbit hole of horrors go? Let us take a peek into the nonsense and not to claw out our eyes in disgust. Here are a few examples:

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Remember this lovely story? Well it is about Tim Hunt who is a Noble Prize winner who was fired after supposed “sexist” comments. Someone got offended and because of that someone got fired. Notable people such as Richard Dawkins and Brian Cox came to Tim Hunt’s defense. As it turns out and despite major media and social media demonizing of Tim Hunt the whole sexism story started to have more holes poked in it than swish cheese being assaulted by an automatic machine gun. But the Twitterverse went to action as soon as the story made waves. People were “offended” even though it is clear that at least 99% of the offended were not even present to know if Tim Hunt committed the offense or not. Remember when I said the perpetually offended tend to flock like birds of a feather? What do you think happened here? This is where being offended can be used as a weapon.

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Remember this little gem? Matt Taylor did what many before him thought to be impossible. He landed a man made object on a space object traveling at speeds many of us will never witness even if E.T. landed on Earth tomorrow. The suggestion by this social media posting is that Matt Taylor is contributing to the relative lack of presence of women in STEM fields. So in other words some people got offended by a shirt (made by a woman by the way) and because of that offense attention was taken away from the monumental accomplish of this guy and placed on attire. What is hilariously hypocritical about all this is that the very ideology and social group attached to most of the outrage contain many people who’d say, “violence and crime is not justified by what someone wears.” Yet in a lesser degree they have no problem in reducing a man to tears on live national television because a few people don’t understand that someone has the right to wear what they want with or without their approval.

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Now this is where it gets interesting. Similarly to how an army may attack a supplier that may not have anything to do with the actual war this attack on a company is so similar that it is almost sickening to see. Because someone got offended and interpreted a game as “transmisogyny” this person has the nerve to tell someone else what they should or should not back based off of their level of being offended. If this doesn’t represent the greater problem nothing will. Someone being offended is one thing but someone being offended (if they really are or not and aren’t just doing it for attention) should have no bearing on everyone else if others will not be seriously harmed in the process. One really has the burden of proof on them to demonstrate that a video supposedly displaying “transmisogyny” (a term probably coined out of outrage) is going to harm anyone since we known video games have not caused violence or sexism in any conceivable way and we have studies that demonstrate this.

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Finally we have the easy way out of the offended and that is by being more offensive. How does one compare over a hundred people losing their lives in a single event to what happened on a college campus where nobody lost their life? Remember the black lives matter movement on the University of Missouri campus? Out of that protest came rap songs titled, “Fuck Paris.” Out of that protest came Asian journalists being harassed and assaulted for being a, “white supremacist” as if the KKK are suddenly taking Asian membership. Out of that protest came students being harassed and one female student in particular being referred to as a, “racist cunt” just for not wanting anything to do with a bunch of people bursting into a library and causing all sorts of ruckus. This is the offended on the attack. Remember when I mentioned how someone could use their offended status to go on the attack with a sword and then use a defense of being “marginalized” or “misunderstood” as a shield? There are few examples better than this.

Now we have a good picture of what shouting, “I’m offended” really means. It just means the person wants to be able to attack without you being able to defend yourself. It also means this person is out of intellectual ammunition and need you to the instigator of your own demise by labeling you something in order to have a weapon against you. Recognize these patterns and overcome this. In order for us to progress as a society in the West we need to recognize and defeat these tactics.

Sources:

IJ Review

Kung Fu Liu (WordPress Blogger)

Logical Fallacy Series: “The False Cause and False Effect”

Logical Fallacy Series: “The False Cause and False Effect”

By: Dion McNeil

The false cause is a logical fallacy that sometimes some people invoke to explain something or to be intentionally misleading. Now of course there are other reasons but for the purpose of explaining this logical fallacy better we’ll just focus on those two lines of reasoning. To explain this logical fallacy better we’ll use simple explanations and simple conclusions based off of those explanations to hopefully leave the reader with a better idea, if a better idea didn’t already exist, about what this logical fallacy is and how to better identity the false cause when witnessed.

false-cause-failed-examSo what exactly is the false cause? The IEP or Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy describes the false cause as, “Improperly concluding that one thing is a cause of another. The Fallacy of Non Causa Pro Causa is another name for this fallacy. Its four principal kinds are the Post Hoc Fallacy, the Fallacy of Cum Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc, the Regression Fallacy, and the Fallacy of Reversing Causation.” In other words a person can be guilty of committing this logical fallacy by looking at something and determining one thing is the cause of that something. To put it simply it is a way of rushing to conclusions that has a name, can be explained and can be identified. Today we’ll explore some examples of this fallacy and see if you can spot where the false cause is.

Review this explanation and see if you spot the false cause:

“Jane goes to the supermarket. She likes to eat sample foods there. After going home and preparing dinner Jane weighs herself. She has gained weight. Jane only ate the sample food at the supermarket. Jane enjoys making only fatty foods. She concludes that the food she ate at the supermarket caused her to gain weight.”

Now could Jane be correct? Of course. But could she also be incorrect? Yes, she could also be incorrect. In this case she is. What is more likely to be the cause of her gaining weight? Remember the part that says, “Jane enjoys only making fatty foods”? Well it is more likely that the fatty foods she likes to cook is the cause behind her weight gain. She could also not exercise or have some sort of medical condition. But for her to conclude that the sample food at the supermarket is the sole cause of her weight gain is a fine example of the false cause. Jane didn’t bother to look at other causes and certainly made an incorrect assumption.

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Let’s look at a more sneaky example:

“Bill is bored one night and decides to go roller skating. Bill always loved going out when he is bored. When he arrives at the skating establishment he gets excited. He starts skating and feels joy. Bill declares that skating is what made him happy.”

Sounds reasonable enough, right? Think again. It is a sneaky example because at first glance some people might say that there is no logical fallacy here. Well just because he committed the logical fallacy doesn’t mean it is necessarily a bad thing. Remember that Bill loves to go out when he is bored. So is it really the skating that causes his happiness or is just the act of going out? It is going out because the only thing we know about Bill is that he likes to go out and that skating really doesn’t have much to do with his happiness. He could like skating but the skating in of itself didn’t dictate how happy he felt as he could have skated at home.

Now we need to look at a more real world example. We need something that will help us look at situations another way if we haven’t already. Sometimes the false cause can create a stereotype or a falsehood that can insult some people or put people into a box. Here is a pretty good example:

“So many black people have won track and field events! Black people are fast!”

Do you see the false cause here? The statement is generalizing and is indeed a false cause but it is also a racial stereotype. This implies that because there are many black people who have won track and field events that speed is inherently a black trait. Of course this statement is not only a logical fallacy but utter nonsense. Many have competed in track and field events who were not black people and many of those people are faster than the average person.

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Another example of this logical fallacy in action is the false cause that is turned into a weapon. Often times what we see is that the false cause tends to come in the form of stereotypes of the strawman and/or ad hominem logical fallacy course. When we witness this it isn’t a bad idea in some cases to call it like we see it. Take this example and see if you can spot the false cause:

“Those damn white people! Their ancestors enslaved and killed people! White people are evil!”

Do you see now how the false cause can be used as a weapon? This statement implies that because there were some white people, but certainly not all, who engaged in horrible acts that all white people must be evil. In fact the statement doesn’t just imply this but push this off as an absolute fact. Now of course this sort of statement can come in the form of an angry outburst or misinformation and maybe even perhaps some personal bias. The reason is irrelevant. All that matters is that we know this is a false cause and isn’t true as all white people are not inherently evil or enslaved and killed people.

Now we get to the juicy part. This is where the false cause can be utilized as a defense mechanism. Often times we see this false cause fallacy used in this case to try to deflect and cast a broad shadow on an issue or a person(s). Take a look at this example and see if you spot the false cause:

“It’s not you that I don’t like. Please don’t be offended. Men are always trying to hit on me! Men are nothing but horn dogs who just want to get in my pants! Men frighten me!”

Not only is this statement is broad generalization, not representative of reality for all men or really logical but this is also used in concert with a potential appeal to emotion logical fallacy. The person here is trying to manipulate another person into believing that it isn’t them they don’t like but it’s just men in general and the “please don’t be offended” part is just icing on the cake. Is it really true that every man on Earth wants to try to have sex with this person? Is it really true that all men are nothing but horny beasts or that every man this person has come across has tried to make a pass at them? Of course not.

In conclusion being guilty of this logical fallacy isn’t inherently bad. However being guilty of this fallacy while using it as a sword or a shield is questionable behavior. Try not to be the false cause devil.

Thanks for reading!

dionsbc

 

Dion McNeil is a writer for the Soap Box Corner. Dion is a 29 year old stay at home dad who specializes in psychology and social issues. If you want to contact Dion please do so at phalanxmedia@mail.com or feel free to comment, discuss and share. As always please be skeptical, question everything and always be rational.

 

Sources:

Glogster

False Cause and Effect

Truly Fallacious

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

The Logical Fallacy Series: The Scottish People

Logical Fallacy Series: The Scottish People

By: Dion McNeil

Now if it is one thing some of us have seen time and time again it is one particular logical fallacy. Some of us know this fallacy all too well. This logical fallacy can be summed up as someone trying to dismiss criticism or play the mental gymnastics game where one essentially proclaims, “these people or this person is not like these other people because they don’t subscribe to the exact same belief the way I believe it to be.” There are people who say that every time they encounter this logical fallacy they can mentally see the Loch Ness monster being a physical representation of the person committing this logical fallacy. We need some examples in order to discuss this fallacy and inform the audience on just how to spot it when they see it.

Of course the news media is responsible for perpetuating this logical fallacy. And yet many of us will recognize that no place on Earth will have more Scottish people running around than social media. Consider this Facebook post for example:

 

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Now, pay attention to a certain line. “Feminism isn’t all about women having it better.” Of course by the dictionary definition that may be the case. Or is it? A dragon can call itself a kitten but it wouldn’t change the fact that it is a dragon. It isn’t about what one calls themselves but for this situation actions matter more so than words or definitions. But of course one has to wonder why feminists, especially in this particular day and age, are mentioning definitions of feminism while there are many feminists who are actively involved in “Dictionary Gate.” Hard to tell someone a definition of feminism when we see feminists actively trying to get a dictionary description of a definition or example of a definition which in no way has anything to do with feminism. None of that matters. All that matters is that this person is essentially a Baptist telling a Methodist that they are not Christian because they don’t subscribe to the exact same version of Christianity. No, ma’am, you are a Scot as well as the other Scots.

Oh but the feminist mindset isn’t the only mindset that would make someone say another person isn’t really Scottish. It’s just that we tend to see this so often out of so many feminists to the point where some of us believe Mel Gibson should write a movie about it. We tend to see this out of Islam, Christianity and many others who say that their version of whatever group they claim to belong to is pure and that those who identify as being apart of the same group are not really apart of that group due to a call to purity. Feminism is just an easy target to explain this but we see this all over the place.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATake the Westboro Baptist Church for example. Many Christians would say that these people aren’t really Christians because they violate many rules located in the bible including not judging others and leaving judgement up to God whilst they cast stones and so on and so forth. However many of the things the members of the Westboro Baptist Church believe are in the bible. And if Christians who say members of the WBC aren’t really Christians then those who violate the ten commandments aren’t Christians either, right? After all if cruelty is the only measure of who is Christian and who is not then that surely means there less Christians in the world than we imagined. After all if we willing to say that just because someone is cruel, condescending, vindictive and a little crazy that they cannot be Christian then that is quite a broad stroke to place on Christianity. It would seem that, to the people who believe that these aren’t really Scots, that one must be the purest of the pure in order to be considered a Christian or not really do anything that would make Christianity look bad. How many Christians would really live up to that standard?

But of course the question becomes, “what harm will this do?” There is a simple truth about the No True Scotsman logical fallacy and that simple truth is that it is too often used and applied across a broad spectrum. Even when it comes to racial identity the idea that something is, “too white” or “too black” is used often to dismiss criticism of someone or a group in order to create a call to purity. For example if there is a crime committed where the perpetrator steals chicken wings someone may say that this resembles a crime a black person would commit and dismiss any possibility that a white person may have committed the crime based off of the description of the crime. This is a serious misconception because someone could create a call to purity by saying, “white people don’t do stuff like that” thus feeding into the negative stereotype that only black people steal.

These calls to purity ignore a simple fundamental truth that no matter how one wants to box themselves, tell others that their group or identity cannot do or would not do something or take part in something based off of their description and the un-withering belief that a call to purity will solve their criticism dilemma that this will somehow make others ignorant to this particular brand of mental gymnastics. One doesn’t just get to jump over a fence, have others wear the same colors as them but because of differences that can be great or minor exclude those people as a means of saying, “they don’t do it like me so they can’t be called the same thing as me.” It doesn’t work that way. The world will never work that way.

Thanks for reading!

dionsbc

Dion McNeil is a writer for the Soap Box Corner. Dion is a stay at home dad who specializes in cultural issues and psychology.

 

 

 

Sources:

Logical Fallacies (www.logicalfallacies.info)

Empowered By Christ Blog

Washington Post (Dictionary Gate)

David Shankbone