Logic & Evidence vs. Abuse & Trauma

posted by Nima

January 27, 2011 · Posted in Philosophy 

I would like to point out a pretty good example of how it is that indoctrinated people “think” these days.

Somebody recently posted this question on reddit:

Reddit amateur economists and philosophers, what are the standard rebuttals to arguments against a progressive tax?

Let me first say I’m American, and in the south, so I get a lot of anti-government/anti-tax people starting conversations with me.

I get into it all the time with people who advocate “fair” taxes and flat taxes. I am of the opinion that these taxes are regressive and shift the tax burden to those who can least afford it, but I often find myself backed into corners where I have to admit that I want corporations to pay a large portion of their profits in taxes. What are some key points I can use to drive home the necessity of a progressive tax?

How can I prove that progressive taxation is the only feasible tax system for America?

You notice how he puts the conclusion first and then tries to look for every conceivable justification that amateur economists and philosophers can possibly throw at him?

This is not an isolated event. This is how most people try to tell themselves that they are participating in intelligent public discourse.

Why do we reasonable people quickly get frustrated with the thought-zombies around us who say things like the above?

Because our process is “Question >> Logic >> Evidence >> Conclusion”, we automatically tend to assume that everyone else goes through this process as well.

We forget that the majority of people around us went through “Mental/Physical Abuse/Neglect >> Trauma >> Coping >> Conclusion >> Contrive evidence and logic to back up traumatic conclusions”. – A childhood scar tissue in other words.

So then people like us often get frustrated if we don’t understand how this kind of traumatic mindset works.

We think that, since logic and evidence is at the root of all our conclusions, surely we can start with logic and evidence and gently guide them to the right conclusions that same way. We forget that it never was logic and evidence that got them to hold their conclusions in the first place.

Thus we have to show compassion, rather than frustration, with people who have been indoctrinated and traumatized in one way or another.

If we don’t, then this in itself is a failure on our part to use logic and evidence to arrive at conclusions on how to best communicate knowledge to those who were never taught how to think, to give them the proper “tools”, as it were, to reason through questions from first principle and arrive at reasonable conclusions themselves.

This is why I think I should try a bit harder to focus on communicating the method of logic and evidence to people, rather than force-feed them my own conclusions.

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