Letter: Hate and faulty logic

Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Hate and faulty logic

Hatred is an awfully strong word. Interestingly, you may have noticed that it’s something only other people have. Recent Monitor letters have attempted to shed some new light on hatred.

One letter argued that a “My Turn” writer showed hatred “for President Donald Trump and, by logical extension, hatred for every American who voted for him.” What? We can attribute traits to a candidate for office, and react emotionally to them, without imputing those traits to people who vote for that candidate. People vote for someone for many reasons. Each person weighs the complex factors involved and makes their best judgment. Appealing to a rule of logic called “extension” is completely bogus.

Another letter writer, recalling the “hate-filled tone of haikus and letters” toward the president, was not surprised that someone put feces on a marker near the State Library commemorating Trump’s 2016 primary victory. The supposed connection is that people who voice strong negative feelings pave the way or create a slippery slope leading predictably or understandably to someone spreading feces. How could this be? Future behavior can’t be anticipated based on the haikus people read. People have minds of their own. Such faulty reasoning has the odor of stuff you don’t want on commemorative markers.

Reports of hatred seem to often be used as attempts to defend someone by attacking their attackers. The strategy tends to backfire, though, because people remember this old adage: It takes one to know one.