Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Nothing more than Feelings...

Recently I sent this article to a number of people whom I thought might find it interesting. Of particular interest were the number of historical references about the Middle East that most people are unaware.

When a friend's spouse replied that she was "insulted" by my email, I was dismayed to have upset her, but was also curious about what could be "insulting" in the article? In my reply, I pointed out there were no historical misrepresentations or factual errors as far as I could tell. Besides, she did not even make that accusation. Even if there were inaccuracies, why would that "insult" anyone? There were no negative racial stereotypes or derogatory epithets employed, which I agreed would be insulting.

I really wanted to know what upset her to the point of writing a longtime friend of she and her husband a rather harsh response.

No such luck. What I received in return was a reiteration of the first reply minus the personal attacks.

What is so interesting to me, if you haven't figured it out yet, is the use of "insult" in lieu of an argument. Unless you consider the charge that I don't "get it" suffice for debate.

This is what is meant when the charge is made that liberal beliefs are more guided by feelings than by reason and logic.

Rather than being personally "insulted", I suspect a more accurate description is her feelings were being "assaulted". Instead of confronting unpleasant facts that may challenge her world view, she became agitated and ended all further discussion (and thought) by being personally insulted. Certain perceptions just aren't to be faced or questioned. It also makes sense when someone's positions are based on feelings rather than logic they are more likely to take offense at disagreements.

This helps illustrate why it is so difficult to change certain people's minds on certain subjects. Yes, people can have different opinions. You like yellow, I like blue. But on a whole host of issues we can't both be right. When someone chooses to be insulted rather than choosing to debate, I know which of us is.


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