An Informal Logical Fallacy
There is a discussion about my Restless Heart of Darkness essay here:
One comment I thought unintentionally revealing was this one:
I think it is very ugly.
Its author main contention seems to be that some sort of intrinsic beauty is left behind in a constant stream of new ideas. He briefly mentions these as “natural emotions and passions, honest human sentiments, patriotism, gratitude, appreciation of beauty and everything that makes us human” (paraphrased).
However instead of going into detail about the beauty of these things, the author instead uses his relatively fair control over the English language to go on a misanthropic crusade where it seems like only a wafer-thin veneer of politeness is masking extreme contempt for anything he finds disagreeable.
I can’t shake the feeling that what is thinly veiled by might even be more than mere contempt, and perhaps even dangerously close to hatred.
I found this to be a very disturbing essay. If it is a work of fiction, an imaginary monologue, it is very well done. If it is not I think its author should seek professional help.
Note that when asked about the ideas in the essay, the commenter instead speculates on the mental state of the author, me.
Apparently the reason I am polite is not that I have respect even for those with whom I have deep disagreements, but because secretly, unbeknownst even to me, my heart is filled with malice and madness. Hmm. Does this model indeed fit all the facts in evidence, I wonder?
I submit that my mental state is best apprehended by attending to the words which said mind concocts to express the ideas it contemplates. To that end, allow me to quote myself:
Being without a sense of the objective nature of reality, they are without a belief in objective morals. Being without a belief in objective morals, they lack honor, and, lacking honor, they lack courage, lack decency, lack courtesy.
Hence, their one, sole and only means of discussing their principles in debate is to accuse whomever dares question them of any and every thing they think evil….
(Including mental disorder)
The content of the accusation does not matter, only the relief of being able to accuse, and accuse, and accuse.
I wonder at the gay and blithe unselfawareness, if not hubris, it requires to read an essay describing a error in logic or manners or morals, to disagree sharply with said essay, and, while writing up the disagreement, to commit the selfsame error being denounced, and ergo unintentionally giving weight to the very point one meant to dispute.
I will ask a question, which I mean sincerely: what does it say about a worldview that rests so entirely on one informal logical error that its partisans are never found outside that error?