Why do people resort to name-calling when making a political argument?

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  1. Everyday Miracles profile image85
    Everyday Miraclesposted 10 years ago

    Why do people resort to name-calling when making a political argument?

    I find this behavior highly offensive and have to stop myself from responding with the same tone of the original poster. I've always believed that people use name-calling as an argument when they cannot support their point of view and wish only to intimidate their opponents. Thoughts?

  2. profile image0
    cjaroszposted 10 years ago

    It's childish. They resort to that simply because they think it will help them in some way or another. However, most of the time it just makes them look bad.

  3. Vega Vallari profile image74
    Vega Vallariposted 10 years ago

    We're seeing that alot nowadays in this political climate. I think especially when  it occurs in the media and everyone is watching, it is a simple way to get those who are less intelligent, less refined to agree with you. I don't think it has so much to do with the individual they are arguing with, but rather who is listening and watching. If a Harvard and Yale-educated politician are arguing, it's likely that both have the ability to have an educated discussion about the topics they disagree upon. However, if the Yale guy feels he is losing, he will call the other a pork bellied pig or chimpanzee to get the support and cheers of those that failed to understand the debate in the first place- because they understand those terms, at least.  Unfortunately, here in America, that would be the majority smile.

    1. Ralph Deeds profile image64
      Ralph Deedsposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      This is nothing new. Here's Ambrose Bierce on Oscar Wilde:
      Lapham's Quarterly
      "The limpid and spiritless vacuity of this intellectual jellyfish is in ludicrous contrast with the rude but robust mental activities that he came to quicken and inspire. N

  4. M. T. Dremer profile image85
    M. T. Dremerposted 10 years ago

    I think most of the time they're just bullies. While I agree that the political climate is charged right now, I think that most people wouldn't go there. It's the extremists online who tend to be the loudest. I find the best defense is just to walk away. They have an infinite reserve of arguments, insults and conspiracy theories, so there is no point debating them.

  5. profile image0
    dragonflycolorposted 10 years ago

    Name calling is a result of absence of articulate information combined with intense emotion.  Political arguments create so much emotion because people have experienced certain things on a personal level.  It means something to them.  I have done it, everyone else has done it at least once and it's nothing to be repulsed by.  I'm glad you try to catch yourself before it happens and we should all try to do so.

  6. swordsbane profile image61
    swordsbaneposted 10 years ago

    They do it because they are frustrated.  It is a misconception that you win an argument by making the other person understand you.  People are constantly re-iterating themselves and don't always take the time to figure out WHY they are being misunderstood, believing it to be a failing in the other person, so they begin to see the other as an idiot or someone vindictively trying to screw up the debate.  When they become frustrated, they start the name-calling.

    You win an argument by understanding the other person and crafting an argument they can understand.  You win it by finding out WHY they believe the way they believe and showing them where they went wrong.  You don't win it by beating them over the head with what you have decided is the truth, and if you don't enter a debate with the understanding that it is you who could be wrong, you will most likely fail to convince anyone of anything.

    Most of us get into arguments because we hear or read something and say "That's silly.  I'm going to set this person straight."  We need a little more "That doesn't sound right.. I wonder why they think that."

    On the other hand, some people are just dicks.

    1. Everyday Miracles profile image85
      Everyday Miraclesposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I'm talking about when framing the argument in the first place, not once the argument becomes heated. A different situation. I understand frustration: Blind attacks I do not.

    2. swordsbane profile image61
      swordsbaneposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      It's the same.  They may not go into a debate frustrated with the other party, but they've run into the opposing view before and it didn't work, so they go in ready to be frustrated again, and they're not disappointed.  Self fulfiling prophecy.

  7. profile image0
    Larry Wallposted 10 years ago

    Name calling results for three reasons.
    1. The person doing the name calling was unable to intelligently debate, discuss or dismiss the claims of the person.
    2. Name calling draws a response and if it is in a national or regional forum may draw press attention and some still believe bad press is better than no press.
    3. The person has a juvenile mentality and is incapable of carrying on a legitimate and viable discussion and is unwilling to understand, much less, accept any view but his own.

    1. Jennifer Snelling profile image59
      Jennifer Snellingposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Or, if profanity is involved, they have a limited vocabulary and portrays a justification of why they should express themselves in such a vulgar manner.

  8. Snøwman profile image58
    Snøwmanposted 10 years ago

    The emotional part of your brain reacts quicker than your logical part of your brain.

    The emotional part wants your message to be angry and powerful no matter how right or wrong it is, which is where the name calling comes in, and it's not very logical. It's more concerned with who is right than what is right.

    The logical part of the brain works slower and is more concerned with what is right than who is right.

    Next time you want to say something that sounds angry, take a few minutes break to let your logic kick in. Think about what is right instead of who is right. Don't be afraid to stand up for what you believe, but also be ready to admit you're wrong.

    1. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I agree the emotional part of your brain acts quicker, but as individuals, we have to learn to curb our emotions & not always say the first thing that comes into their head. Many careers, political and private sector, have been lost because of th

  9. profile image51
    Jeff Rogersposted 8 years ago

    I think that name calling is often used in political arguments because it stokes tribal emotions.  The fact is, most of the time the candidates are smart of enough (not always) to use intellectual arguments, but this often requires them to spend 2 - 3 minutes, sometimes longer to make their point.  Unfortunately, by then you may have lost the audience.  Name calling is a way to show dominance and show that you are in charge (even if you are really not). 

    I think that Trump has taken this to a level not seen recently in the more established settings, such as debates, etc.  Typically this kind of name calling was isolated to the pundits and talk show hosts of talk radio and other political media outlets.  This is why I think that his name-calling is throwing people off, because in a Republican Debate or some other more official forum it is something you did not do.  Even though Mitt Romney and Barack Obama took stabs at each other through back door channels like talk radio or campaign ads, they were surprisingly cordial to each other in the debates.   

    While it does not work with everyone, name calling is often effective with someone who has made up their mind and helps solidify the support of those who already like the name caller.

    1. profile image58
      billys1posted 8 years agoin reply to this

      To some it may be an effective way of making a point but to me it is nothing short of political murder for them.  I turn off to them.  I stop listening and seek someone that is making sense without resorting to using this tactic.

  10. profile image58
    billys1posted 8 years ago

    Personally, I feel it is a combo of emotional instability, cheap shots at sensational attention getting and a very definite lack of imagination.  I would hate to have anyone elected that feels that they "have"to resort to this low life level of campaigning and would never vote for someone that used them.  However, as we have all seen this happens.  Donald Trump is the latest sad example of someone that feels that he can gain the public's approval by attempting to trash his (or her as the case may be) opponents, especially women! 

    I am a man and I am totally offended by this.  He has nothing of real substance to say for a real constructive future for this country, its people or me so he uses these sensational tactics to gain attention and the approval of a few people.  If you disagree with him he slanders you with vicious and demeaning accusations.  Can you imagine how the world would laugh at the USA if by some unthinkable means he were elected to the most powerful position in the world, the President of the United States of America?  But, that is just my humble opinion.

  11. profile image54
    Hayley 11posted 7 years ago

    It's an attempt to make up for their powerlessness I believe. It is a way to put someone down to make them inferior, due to ones own inadequacies. I believe to resort to something so immature, they are running low of actual intellectual things to say in an argument in certain circumstances. I think intimidation does work as a tool to intimidate their opponents.

  12. Jennifer Snelling profile image59
    Jennifer Snellingposted 7 years ago

    I believe that the people who resort to name calling are the ones who have no extensive educational experience to express themselves in a more intellectual manner. For instance, YouTubers who have viewed videos based on political topics, ranging from issues dealing with the (i.e. Trump) administration to social issues that we deal with every day stand alone (i.e., climate change). If there is something about the video or what one commenter (especially if he or she has not used any profanity or has put down a particular group profanely) posted about the video that an inconsiderate commenter did not like, he or she tends to mouth off with peppered profanity, mainly s-bombs and f-bombs, and/or racial, xenophobic, or misogynistic slurs. This devalues the purpose of (1) the YouTuber posting the video, and (2) the nature of commenting on the video viewed. This practice is merely trolling to a degree of the user further provoking with a grand possibility of cyberbullying.

  13. wba108@yahoo.com profile image78
    wba108@yahoo.composted 6 years ago

    The 5th rule of Saul Alinsky's rules for radicals is as follows:

      “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions."

    I believe ridicule is often used as a purposeful tactic to where one's opponent down.

    1. wba108@yahoo.com profile image78
      wba108@yahoo.composted 6 years agoin reply to this

      That is to "wear" one's opponent down.

  14. Nancy Owens profile image81
    Nancy Owensposted 6 years ago

    When people resort to name calling, the intent is to wound, and to spread negativity about the subject of their wrath. To start rumors. To cause others to believe the rumors. If a person doesn't like something someone else said, they automatically accuse that person of being or doing something that is social unacceptable.

    For example: A person who isn't performing well at work and gets in trouble for it will often accuse the boss or employer of discrimination (fat, elder, sexual orientation, disability, race, religion, ethnicity) because they know that is the one thing companies are most afraid of. The company then bends over backward to accommodate the marginal employee because they are afraid of a lawsuit.

    Not everyone who claims discrimination is lying, but this writer has known coworkers who have literally said this: "I am a middle aged homosexual black woman. Do you really think anybody is going to write me up for doing X" She new she was committing a significant infraction, but also knew the organization would not reprimand her or fire her for fear of being sued.

    In the political environment today, many people are being swept up in a frenzied wave of hatred. By shouting things like, "racist", "bigot" and other slurs, the person feels they are labeling someone else in a way that cannot be refuted.

    Many protesters, when asked, are unable to articulate what it is that they are protesting. All they know is that they have anger and hatred.

    It is my belief that some of these people do not see that they are being manipulated. That some politicians may be deliberately using these crowds of people to distract, and to steer publicity in a way that they wish. What they do not seem to understand, is that once their usefulness is over, they may find out that the particular politician no longer cares about that group of population. Then where will they be?


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