Emotional Reasoning

Cry, baby... Grungy female portrait for your design

Boethius introduces us to “Lady Philosophy” in The Consolation of Philosophy (524).  He wrote it while awaiting execution in a Roman jail.  Lady Philosophy (Boethius talking to himself) helps him realize that nothing is miserable, unless you make it so, and nothing brings happiness, unless you let it.  Lukianoff and Haidt’s The Coddling of the American Mind (2018) second Great Untruth is emotional reasoning.  Passionate feelings are compelling but they often distort reality and impede cognition.  They list 9 cognitive distortions in Chapter 2 (pg. 38) that we would all do well to avoid.


The fallacy of emotional reasoning leads to emotional arguments. People who disagree with the cogency of the ideas in Lukianoff and Haidt’s book make up in intensity for what the lack in coherence.  Emotional arguments – repeated loud and often can still be wrong, biased, misguided and uninformed, notwithstanding the ferocity of the arguer. Even really smart people make these emotional arguments – they have to be smart in order to contrive a position that gives leftist ideology a modicum of moral sense (so as not to be so embarrassingly, obviously wrong). Extreme progressivism (Marxism, etc.) is incoherent – it is patently pathetic even as some scream at the top of their lungs that it is not.


You don’t get to tell us what our values and priorities in life should be – they are ours and we will not allow others to impose their values on to us. Its fine to have alternative values and worldviews, to which I and others can disagree, but not when those mistaken ideas produce policies that hurt people and schemes of taxation that confiscate our private wealth for re-distribution to whomever bureaucrats deem worthy. Next week, we move on to the third Great Untruth that casts me and many of my clients as evil; not for anything we’ve done or for what we think but simply because we belong to a demographic group that must be blamed, vilified and attacked. Fortunately, we are shielded by the capital in our Estate Planning War Chest.


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