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The Beauty of Personal Attacks

Updated on July 14, 2020
Ericdierker profile image

Political Science, Philosophy, Business were majors and minors in undergrad. Post areas in Law, Security, Insurance and Theology.

Just Soothing

Hike near Mt. Miguel.
Hike near Mt. Miguel. | Source

Evaluate

If you want you can “win” with the beauty of personal attacks. Personal attacks are standard in life. Please let me know I am relevant to the conversation by personally attacking me. That means you care. A personal attack is when the argument is cogent and the best defense against it is diminishing or attacking the character of another. It works. People just go that way. “He is lying because he is a liar”. Not because what he said was false or even wrong. That needs to sink in.

You do not like someone like a coworker. Perhaps no matter what they did you would hate it. And they buy your sister flowers on mother’s day. You will hate the flowers. So to cover up your childish thoughts you personally attack the coworker. Somehow now you are justified in hating the flowers. “How can it be that simple” you ask. You hate a politician and he lays a wreath for a WWII soldier. You hate the wreath. Yes it is that simple.

Now if I defend the laying of the wreath you have to call me names because you are without real justification. Yes, step two is really that simple.

Oh unless you think that we leave out those that are justified in both their assertion and the personal attack perhaps we over think it. If you are right or wrong in your argument or in your personal attack it really makes no difference. The fact that my mother is fat is almost irrelevant to you calling her fat. And does my fat mother have anything to do with me beating you in chess. If I cheated at chess against you, would that justify calling my mother fat? No it does not.

Personal attacks are appropriate in certain circumstances. One is like a misdirection. If an argument is too complex then a personal attack can make the person asserting lose track or miss things. If that circumstance is to prevent an injustice or further violence it is appropriate. And If you think that justifies you being nasty on Facebook you are mistaken in so many ways. I have yet to witness peace being accomplished by nasty Facebook entries – and neither have you. Many a hurt feeling and spreading of hate but not peace elsewhere or in the mind of the person personally attacking. It is a nasty virus.

Kind of a Personal Attack Song

Attack

Actually slithering away.
Actually slithering away. | Source

Syndrome? What?

Here is one for you. Personal attacks of any mention are attacks on the character of another. In court you cannot bring character trait into evidence. (like all good legal stuff, the rule has more holes in it than your kitchen colander.) So if in my defense I point out what great character I have, you can now attack it. Of course in a defamation suit you almost have to raise the issue.

So if I have been in 10 bar fights where I used a bottle to conk heads and I was in the bar when the victim was struck in the head with a bottle. Should my character of such bad behavior be allowed into the case against me? If you knew about the previous 10 times you would not even hear the matter and just vote to convict. Human nature which is wholly illogical. Because I rolled 8 ten times does not mean at all that I will roll 8 this time. The odds simply do not change because of repetition. The fact the sun came up this morning for the 44 billionth time does not mean it will tomorrow even though it is part of the characteristics of a sun. I know the sun does not do the rising so attack me as being dumb.

You do not like the politician because of her last four decisions. But the one today makes plenty of sense. Still you may personally attack her just because you hate her for previous matters. One of my favorites is attacking a politician as an idiot. I mean one that got elected by many, many people. That is just funny. Another is attacking there choices as you would do better. You see those are not issue based. Those are illogical hate based.

Now if I call your mother fat, you know I am just playing around. I am joshing you. Because of my character I do not personally attack your mom or you by way of her. But if I really hated you that would be a whole new scenario. Haters hate.

They have a syndrome now that is real. It is based on the idea of hating someone personally so much that you are deranged. Well they do not need a “syndrome” to label that as hate. There is no cause and effect of hate. It is within the hater. A choice that never goes well. Seriously mention down in the comments if you have even one example otherwise, even if it is just hearsay.

Beauty

Another Fall.
Another Fall. | Source

Whenever

Is Silence an Admission?

Now a real beautiful personal attack is not blatant, it is near subliminal. Even with my mask on I can signal that you are an idiot with my eyes. My four children are good at this because I taught them how to make faces. And one exercise is just using eyes. I did this because I noticed pouty faces suggesting I was mean needed to be understood as a choice to personally attack me to get what they want.

Causing a feeling of guilt is an excellent method of personal attack. It is best used as a counter-attack. You suggest I am stupid and so I exclaim that you are mean because you always personally attack me. A back handed compliment may achieve the same. “You are so good at arguing you always make me feel bad about my opinions.”

Here is a most beautiful personal attack; “Good job, you made your point this time without personally attacking me like usual.”

Nowadays playing a victim is too often just a personal attack. Look what you have done to me, now you cannot argue against me. Neat trick, especially when the action was not your own. Attacking someones group is very effective. And remember it is not the accuracy of the attack it is the horribleness of the action attacked.

Look here now. Religion is awesome in my view. If you do not believe me look at the food banks in this time of need. Donations into a church provide food for those in need. And wow is it easy to attack someone for their religion. I am supposed to lose the argument because of the inquisition hundreds of years ago. Genocide of indigenous is another one from half a millennium ago.

Bottom Line

Just me maybe, but I think the majority of people feel uneasy with personal attacks. They are the quiet ones who simply choose not to attack back. My perspective is straight forward, if you engage in a personal attack, I won the underlying argument. End of story. I do not need to state it. I do not have to declare it, it is just an “is”.

Evangelists, both secular and religious, use personal attacks. They are failures and need to go back to the drawing board of love. You do not win love by personally attacking another. You may gain some followers but only those who hate others. But let us be clear it is just human nature.

Comments

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    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      7 days ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Rania you are a blessing to me. Thank you.

    • Rania Heikal profile image

      Rania Heikal 

      7 days ago from Egypt

      Really excellent article that addresses a human nature that one struggle to get rid of for the inner feeling of justice. Thank you Eric.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      2 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Tracy. If it wasn't so hurtful to others it would be more fascinating.

    • Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

      Tracy Lynn Conway 

      2 weeks ago from Virginia, USA

      Lots of food for thought here considering the state of our politics and the current nature of social media. Personal attacks are really a cheap shot, but can be powerful and effective. It takes a great deal of confidence to ignore or deflect an attack and it can be painfully shaming to the victim as it is a form of verbal abuse. It is sometimes called an “Ad Hominem Fallacy.” Thank you for writing such a thoughtful article, I enjoyed the way you explored the topic with strong examples.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      2 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill I just can't remember what the result of the big question who she wrote it about. Fun stuff.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      2 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Not to get side-tracked from the article, which of course, was excellent. But, You're so Vain. No, not you Eric. I wouldn't attack you. but the song - it takes me back to when I was a junior in high school. I'm surprised I can even remember that long ago.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      2 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Denise I think so much about it that my next Sunday Sermon is really about that. Thank you for being my you.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      2 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      It is unfortunately human nature. But I find it so useless. I have enough struggle personally attacking myself, I don't need others to help. The first step is the learn to love yourself and you can then be free to love others! What do you think of that?

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      2 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Elmaya. Our job really is to love them. Tough but how easy to love our friends.

    • Elmaya Phillips profile image

      Elmaya Phillips 

      2 weeks ago from United Kingdom

      Lots of food for thought here and “comforting” to think that the other person is conceding defeat when they launch into a personal attack on me. Thanks Eric

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Nell I had a sociology professor suggest/conclude they were impotent to a degree. Hmm. I of course duly called him an idiot to which we laughed.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      3 weeks ago from England

      I have always said that any personal attack is based on jealousy. Why would they attack you? What makes them get angry? and so on. When I was studying psychology back in the 90s we covered some of this. Interesting stuff.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank KC. Seems like maybe how we take them is up to us.

    • profile image

      KC McGee 

      3 weeks ago from Where I belong

      Eric, giving this a moment of pause and thought, you clearly have a knack for making personal attacks sound good.

      Have a great day.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Avyukth thank you for coming by and letting me know. You are right on the money here. Agree to disagree. However I am more inclined to disagree period.

    • Avyukth profile image

      Avyukth Krishna 

      3 weeks ago from Bangalore

      Really insightful article. Nowadays, more and more people are resorting to personal attacks instead of debating the topic in a healthy way. We must learn to stop attacking others and just agree to disagree.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      thank you Aketuk, I like your sentiments.

    • aketuk profile image

      aketuk 

      3 weeks ago

      Personal attack is very common today in our society, but at the end the truth always wins, and the truth is silent.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Amanda. I asked a friend who ranted in a real mean manner if he felt better after it. He said he felt worse. Hmmm.

    • Amanda Allison profile image

      Amanda Allison 

      3 weeks ago from New England

      Wise words. Social media seems to be a platform for these attacks. Good advice!

      ~Amanda

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ruby it finally happened to talk to a fellow about the issue of schools. His wife said no going back and so does mine. We have somewhat different views. Never once did a person come up in the conversation. It was just issue based. We shrugged and gave that eye about who knows. I don't have the answers but get the issues.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      3 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Oh goodie, I was hoping you understood my feelings. I would never tell another person they're wrong to vote for anyone, my son voted for Trump, so he has a lot of people who like him. Cheers my friend.....

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ruby you are true to your word. You speak "up" and not down. Of course we are obliged to attack politicians but not others who may love them. 'The beauty of the attack' requires proper focus of the problem. If you think the politician is the problem, cut her down, but not those that support them.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dora I love to garden. My shirts get good and dirty. But it is a fine and healthy dirty. I think it is beautiful, yet it needs a wash, (which my wife sometimes requires to be washed outside in a tub and hung up in the sun :-)

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Flourish my mamma is so fat she takes up two time zones!! We had a buddy 8 and a 1/2 and he was so fat.... He won 20 bucks of me losing weight. But we be careful with guys like me who struggle just to be as fat as a pregnant whale.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill fun fun fun. If you meant point match yes. I always love a good love.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      3 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Eric, I'll need to think deeply on this. The only person I can think of is Donald Trump, do we keep quiet when he tries to sell out America, or do we speak up. hoping people will listen? Maybe I missed your point?

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Eric, you have a knack for pulling our thoughts outside the box. "The beauty . . . ?" Good job!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      3 weeks ago from USA

      You had me at “fat mother.” You really rock, Eric. This was thoroughly engaging.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      You are deeper than deep. Good thing I don't drink anymore or I wouldn't be able to fathom the meaning of this. :) I love to attack while playing tennis. Is that close to the point???

      Just playin' with ya

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Linda it just struck me as an odd slant that sheds light on the issue. Sometimes I think we just take for granted bias in words.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Pamela I was cringing at an attack I saw. I wondered why I had that reaction. I should have immediately recognized the impotence of the person and moved on. So I thought back and remembered why it is so powerful.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Lorna you are spot on. My Phil. Profs would let us use them but they were not considered an argument. They were just attacks. In debate you could use them but it diminished your points. Worth it sometimes to throw the opponent of off course.

      In graduate they taught it as argumentum ad hominem declaring it a true form of argument.

      Oops, I wax on as in ramble ;-)

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      John you just made me think of another thingy. What happens if you use it to protect the person being bullied? It would get the bully to now come after you? Hmmm.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      3 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      I'm going to have to come back to this one. Much to ponder.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      3 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      I never thought of personal attacks quite this way. I don't use personal attacks on anyone and no one uses personal attacks toward me. This is a very thought-provoking, Eric.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      3 weeks ago

      I remember in one of my Philosophy classes having a discussion about something similar Eric. Could this be referred to as an Ad hominem argument, where you attack the source of an argument, rather than against the argument itself. Please correct me if I'm wrong (don't attack me). Ha Ha. Regardless, I found this article very interesting.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      3 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Hmm I never considered personal attacks to be beautiful in any way. An interesting article and much food for thought.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks Manatita. I hope no one suspects I am attacking them ;-)

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      3 weeks ago from london

      You're not puling punches in this one, Bro. It's a go-getter-deal! Done! Stay blessed.

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