Psychologist Jeremy Shapiro writes: “Fierce partisans on both the left and right, not content to simply point out errors in each others’ reasoning, frequently accuse each other of outright malevolence.”.
While the “war” metaphor may win media coverage and rile voters, it prevents Americans from having the type of debate that could lead to more effective responses to our society’s problems.
The problem, Shapiro explains, is that “The war metaphor means something different; it says opponents are not well intentioned but are engaged in a purposeful attempt to harm.”
He offers a list compiled from mainstream politicians and commentators:
|The left accuses the right of waging:||The right accuses the left of waging|
|War on the poor||Class warfare|
|War on working people||War on business|
|War on the middle class||War on the middle class (yes, both)|
|War on immigrants||War on savers|
|War on the family||War on the family (again, both)|
|War on children||War on marriage|
|War on the elderly||War on the American way of life|
|War on public employees||War on religion|
|War on teachers||War on Christmas|
Our politicians and pundits should give up this manipulative form of rhetoric. And citizens should support leaders who exchange this cheap emotional ploy for the hard work of evidence-based reasoning and persuasion.
Jeremy Shapiro is a psychologist and director of YouCutTheBudget.com.