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Ginger Paque July 06, 2018

I'm enjoying this series of blogs, and look forward to the next one -- thanks Bi! Two things resonated particularly with me in this one. First, the point: 'Since discussion by assertion tends to advance the interests of those who shout loudest' screamed 'tweeting in caps' at me. It amazes me that this so-transparent technique can work. I put it down to the gut-appeal, or rather gut-effect -- because how can that be appealing? -- mentioned in the hasty generalisation blog. The second was the apparent inclusion by exclusion (of opposing views) and the dangers of choosing whom to include (or not) in our choice of minorities that seems prevalent today. Perhaps after this series explaining the traditional fallacies in current debate, you could do a series teaching us how to refute them in discussions, and overcome them in ourselves :)
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Biljana (not verified) July 14, 2018

So glad for your feedback and encouragement, thanks Ginger! Regarding tweets, here is an article that looks at the YELL factor, Trump's use of all-caps, and how capitalisation is (and has been) used for different purposes: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/02/10/how-all-caps-came-to-signify-shouting-as-in-trumps-see-you-in-court/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.fb5fa0968d55 Regarding how to handle fallacies in debate, I'd love to rise to your challenge - maybe we could do it together! Since heightened awareness is the name of the game, I'll carry on trying to shed light on the inevitability, and even the occasional desirability, of logical fallacies. Suggestions for topics are welcome!
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Dragana Markovski (not verified) July 18, 2018

This is such a thought-provoking post, giving a deeper insight into the universal human tendency of othering anyone who does not conform to the cultural, ideological, or religious norms, to name just a few. The NTS move becomes even acuter in the arena of identity politics where the neverending debate on who is to decide about someone else’s identity and their right to express it freely, is the very reason of many conflicts between nations too. The recent example of this is the resolution of the decades-long dispute between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, over the usage of “Macedonia” in the formal name of the country that was constituted after the break up of Yugoslavia. As in any breakup, always a traumatizing experience, science tells us there are stages of grief (desperate for answers; denial; bargaining; relapse; anger; initial acceptance; and redirected hope). It seems that the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in a hasty need to articulate its voice and ensure the existence in the times of chaos, jumped directly to the last stage of grief – redirected hope by hanging to the ancient Macedonian insignia and iconography. Presumably with a hope that making a national identity based on a name succession, even though historically questionable, would ensure international and regional recognition (by the way of divorcing from the Yugoslav federation) and a smooth entry into the big boys club – e.g. other nation-states, by becoming one itself. And right there, a sort of a silent war over a stolen or hijacked identity, or, better say, a heated debate on who is a true Macedonian started and lasted for almost 30 years. The rest has already become a history satirized in a meme that circulated on Facebook after the dispute was resolved (https://www.facebook.com/Slavorum/photos/a.150450068426667.30744.150441718427502/1080541272084204/?type=3&theater) It displays a fictional dialogue in the style of the film Lord of the Rings, between a Persian king and Alexander the Great (images are taken from the historical drama, Alexander, and the Lord of the Ring), when the first one says: “You fool. No Greek can kill me”, and the other replies: “I am no Greek.”, and then curses in the Macedonian language. The NTS move in the “No true Macedonian” case puts under the spotlight the question of all questions in intercultural communication dialogue: when making an assertion about or defending a value of an in-group (in this case identity), what of who gives us the right of asserting the superiority of our own points of view. And almost always at the expense of solid arguments. Even more complicated, in a situation when opposed standpoints are backed with solid arguments, who is to decide about the right and wrong, or which points of reference are valid in deciding so? To me, the right answer would be a readiness and determination to compromise, but most often it takes a long time until conflicted sides take that path.

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