martes, 19 de septiembre de 2017

Seeing through a rhetorical trick |September 19, 2017|MercatorNet|

Seeing through a rhetorical trick

|September 19, 2017|MercatorNet|

Seeing through a rhetorical trick

The question in Australia's plebiscite is skewed towards a Yes vote
Brendan Triffett | Sep 19 2017 | comment 5 

Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry? This is the question which is being put to Australians at the moment in a postal plebiscite. Voters have only two options: Yes and No.
We should not be influenced by the fact that one way of voting is expressed positively, as a “Yes”, and the other way of voting is expressed negatively, as a “No”. On a superficial level, it might seem that a “Yes” vote embodies a positive human attitude —a more open, life-affirming stance— compared to a “No” vote.
But that is only a trick of language.
Perhaps you think of yourself as a “Yes” person overall. Perhaps you place a high value on open-mindedness, on optimism, on enthusiasm, on being receptive to new things, on being progressive. Perhaps you believe it’s a good thing, even imperative, to embrace life in all of its richness, to welcome life, to make way for the new.
That alone might persuade you to vote “Yes”. After all, you want to be a “Yes” person, and you think being “positive” is always better.
But what if the question had been been, “Are you in favour of traditional marriage?”
The fact that someone is on the “negative” or “against” side in a debate does not by itself make that person a “negative” person, someone who is pessimistic and closed.
After all, those who are in favour of redefining marriage are for that reason against something—the traditional understanding of marriage. And those who are against redefining marriage are for that reason for something—the traditional understanding of marriage (in most cases at least).
Those advocating for same-sex marriage have the rhetorical advantage. They are able to associate their cause with a “Yes” and condemn the opposition as being nay-sayers.
But we need to see through this bias as we consider the question. We need to look beyond the trick of language, which makes “Yes” appear brighter and more positive. 
Whichever way you vote, you will be a “nay-sayer”. If you vote for same-sex marriage, your Yes will amount to a whole series of Nos. No, you do not recognise the rights of a child to have a Mum and a Dad. No, you do not recognise the rights of parents to educate children as they see fit. No, you do not recognise any right to religious freedom on this matter. No, you do not think there is anything particular special about the traditional marriage arrangement. No, you do not take seriously the common wisdom of the vast majority of people through the vast majority of centuries.
In the plebiscite on same-sex marriage, No means Yes, and Yes means No.
Brendan Triffett holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Tasmania and specialises in metaphysics and meta-ethics. He currently works as a lecturer at Alphacrucis College, Hobart.


September 19, 2017

To illustrate our fascinating lead article today, a book review of the memoirs of the German philosopher Dietrich von Hildebrand, I found an image of Austrian schoolgirls ecstatically greeting a German soldier. He and his comrades had just arrived in Vienna to annex their country. It was March 12, 1938, the end of Austrian democracy and the beginning of seven years of horror.

What fascinates me is the rapturous joy on the faces of the girls. They are deranged with delight, overflowing with love for the Anschluss – and their new leader, Adolf Hitler, was filled with love for them. “There met me such a stream of love as I have never experienced,” he recalled. In a plebiscite a few weeks later 99.7% of the besotted voters voted Yes to annexation by Nazi Germany.

One of the slogans in Australia’s own plebiscite is “Choose Love, Vote Yes”. Perhaps my eyes are failing, but the same girls seem to appear in the rallies for same-sex marriage in Sydney and Melbourne. Both events remind me of the old saying: “Be careful when you follow the masses. Sometimes the M is silent.” 

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