Mr. Spock

A Treatise on Anger, Jesus, and Mr. Spock

Some people like what I have to say. Some people don’t. One complaint I sometimes hear from the people who don’t is that I’m “angry.” So I want to publicly explore this dimension of my writing, on the blogs, in the comment boxes, and other venues. I want to answer the questions: am I really that angry? Is my anger, to the extent that it is really anger and not someone’s misinterpretation of my words, justifiable? Is it rational? Or is it entirely detached from reason and logic?

These questions themselves might leave you perplexed. Aren’t emotions and logic mutually exclusive? I think most people understand on some level that they aren’t, but we aren’t used to hearing why. Instead, typical debate rhetoric implies that if one is displaying an emotion, one has given up on logic. As is often the case with rhetoric, this claim is an absolute fallacy, it is the product of either unclear thinking or deliberate manipulation – a cheap lawyer tactic.

How many times, for instance, do you see in the television courtroom dramas the lawyer try to rattle the person on the witness stand to get them to display an emotion, and then use that emotion to discredit the facts the witness presents or the logic of the opposing counsel?

I co-blog with a lot of lawyers. For the most part, I like them, and I hope I don’t offend them when I say this. (Really guys!)

Read the rest here.

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