Sunday, May 1, 2011
OCA Truth Playbook "Team Jonah"
1. CHARACTER ASSASSINATION.
Extremists often attack the character of an opponent rather than deal with the facts or issues raised. They will question motives, qualifications, past associations, alleged values, personality, looks, mental health, and so on as a diversion from the issues under consideration.
2. NAME-CALLING AND LABELING.
Extremists are quick to resort to epithets (racist, subversive, pervert, and so on) to label and condemn opponents in order to divert attention from their arguments and to discourage others from hearing them out. These epithets don't have to be proved to be effective.
3. IRRESPONSIBLE SWEEPING GENERALIZATIONS.
Extremists tend to make sweeping claims or judgments on little or no evidence, and they have a tendency to confuse similarity with sameness. The sloppy use of analogy is a treacherous form of logic and has a high potential for false conclusions.
4. INADEQUATE PROOF FOR ASSERTIONS.
Extremists tend to be very fuzzy about what constitutes proof. They tend to project wished-for conclusions and to exaggerate the significance of information that confirms their beliefs while derogating or ignoring information that contradicts them. They tend to be motivated by feelings more than facts, by what they want to exist rather than what actually does exist. Extremists do a lot of wishful and fearful thinking.
5. ADVOCACY OF DOUBLE STANDARDS.
Extremists generally tend to judge themselves or their interest group in terms of their intentions, which they tend to view very generously, and others by their acts, which they tend to view very critically. They would like you to accept their assertions on faith, but they demand proof for yours. They tend to engage in special pleading on behalf of themselves or their interests, usually because of some alleged special status, past circumstances, or present disadvantage.
6. TENDENCY TO VIEW THEIR OPPONENTS AND CRITICS AS ESSENTIALLY EVIL.
To the extremist, opponents hold opposing positions because they are bad people, immoral because they simply disagree, see the matter differently, have competing interests, or are perhaps even mistaken.
7. MANICHAEAN WORLDVIEW.
Extremists have a tendency to see the world in terms of absolutes of good and evil, for them or against them, with no middle ground or intermediate positions.
8. ADVOCACY OF SOME DEGREE OF CENSORSHIP OR REPRESSION OF THEIR OPPONENTS AND/OR CRITICS.
This may include a very active campaign to keep opponents from media access and a public hearing, as in the case of blacklisting, banning or "quarantining" dissident spokespersons. the goal is some kind of information control. Extremists would prefer that you listen only to them. They feel threatened when someone talks back or challenges their views.
9. TEND TO IDENTIFY THEMSELVES IN TERMS OF WHO THEIR ENEMIES ARE: WHOM THEY HATE AND WHO HATES THEM.
Accordingly, extremists may become emotionally bound to their opponents, who are often competing extremists themselves. To behave the opposite of someone is to actually surrender your will to them, and "opposites" are often more like mirror images that, although they have "left" and "right" reversed, look and behave amazingly alike.
10. TENDENCY TOWARD ARGUMENT BY INTIMIDATION.
Extremists tend to frame their arguments in such a way as to intimidate others into accepting their premises and conclusions. To disagree with them is to "ally oneself with the devil," or to give aid and comfort to the enemy. They use a lot of moralizing and pontificating, and tend to be very judgmental.
11. USE OF SLOGANS, BUZZWORDS, AND THOUGHT-STOPPING CLICHES.
Extremists generally behave in ways that reinforce their prejudices and alter their own consciousness in a manner that bolsters their false confidence and sense of self-righteousness.
12. ASSUMPTION OF MORAL OR OTHER SUPERIORITY OVER OTHERS.
Most obvious would be claims of superiority. Less obvious are claims of ennoblement because of a special relationship with God, membership in a special "elite" or "class," and a kind of aloof "highminded" snobbishness that accrues because of the weightiness of their preoccupations, their altruism, and their willingness to sacrifice themselves (and others) to their cause.
13. DOOMSDAY THINKING.
For extremists, any setback or defeat is the "beginning of the end!"
14. BELIEF THAT IT'S OKAY TO DO BAD THINGS IN THE SERVICE OF A "GOOD" CAUSE.
Extremists may deliberately lie, distort, misquote, slander, defame, or libel their opponents and/or critics, engage in censorship or repression , or undertake violence in "special cases." With extremists, the end justifies the means.
15. EMPHASIS ON EMOTIONAL RESPONSES AND, CORRESPONDINGLY, LESS IMPORTANCE ATTACHED TO REASONING AND LOGICAL ANALYSIS.
Extremists have an unspoken reverence for propaganda, which they may call "education" or "consciousness-raising." Symbolism plays an exaggerated role in their thinking.
16. HYPERSENSITIVITY AND VIGILANCE.
Extremists perceive hostile innuendo in even casual comments; imagine rejection and antagonism concealed in honest disagreement and dissent; see "latent" subversion, anti-semitism, perversion, racism, disloyalty, and so on in innocent gestures and ambiguous behaviors.
17. USE OF SUPERNATURAL RATIONALE FOR BELIEFS AND ACTIONS.
Some extremists, particularly those involved in "cults" or extreme religious movements and claim some kind of supernatural rationale for their beliefs and actions, and that their movement or cause is ordained by God. It's surprising how many people are reluctant to challenge religiously motivated extremism because it represents "religious belief" or because of the sacred-cow status of some religions in our culture.
18. PROBLEMS TOLERATING AMBIGUITY AND UNCERTAINTY.
Extremists exhibit a kind of risk-aversiveness that compels them to engage in controlling and manipulative behavior, both on a personal level and in a political context, to protect themselves from the unforeseen and unknown. The more laws or "rules" there are that regulate the behavior of others--particular their "enemies"--the more secure extremists feel.
19. INCLINATION TOWARD "GROUPTHINK."
Extremists, their organizations, and their subcultures are prone to a kind of inward-looking group cohesiveness that leads to what Irving Janis discussed in his excellent book Victims of Groupthink. "Groupthink" involves a tendency to conform to group norms and to preserve solidarity and concurrence at the expense of distorting members' observations of facts, conflicting evidence, and disquieting observations that would call into question the shared assumptions and beliefs of the group.
20. TENDENCY TO PERSONALIZE HOSTILITY.
Extremists often wish for the personal bad fortune of their "enemies".In each instance their hatred was not only directed against ideas, but also against individual human beings.
21. EXTREMISTS OFTEN FEEL THAT THE SYSTEM IS NO GOOD UNLESS THEY WIN.
For example, if they lose an election, then it was "rigged." If public opinion turns against them, it was because of "brainwashing." If their followers become disillusioned, it's because of "sabotage." The test of the rightness or wrongness of the system is how it impacts upon them.