Monday, September 15, 2008

Countering emotional appeal

Never get into an argument with people about their emotional reactions. If someone says they are supporting McCain/Palin because they are impressed by their life story, etc. then they are expressing an emotional reaction. If you try to counter that with a purely factual argument you will lose because emotions aren't based on facts and always trump facts.

Here's how I might approach it:

I respect that you were persuaded by McCain's compelling life story. I am impressed by it as well. But here's the thing that bothers me: To many con men throughout the ages know that they quickest way to win over a mark is to appeal to their emotions. So, when I see a politician appealing to my emotions, a part of me automatically ask, "What are they trying to sell me?" I look past the emotional imagery and ask myself, "What will a President McCain really mean for me?" And when I do that I find that <insert a list of 2-3 facts that argue against McCain>.

Not saying this will work. It probably won't. But at least you won't come off as belittling of their emotional connection to McCain.

Put it this way, you may have a strong emotional connection to many people in your family, but that doesn't mean you would trust them to run the country.

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