My Problem with Sheer Exaggeration and Loaded Words in Argumentation

Prelude

I have been thinking about this one for a while. You see, I am very interested in regional politics (“region” here comes from the Latin “to Middle East“…), and I like to read about it in as many places I could, including blog posts of course, and I often comment when I feel compelled to share or add.

But I dislike exaggerated points and wrong facts, logical fallacies, an unfounded appeal for emotion, loaded non-arguments, etc. In normal conversations, these might not be that common, but when conversation shifts to politics or religion, where people are passionate about their arguments, often extremely committed to one side — blind to all the rest, these logical “mishaps” become more and more imminent.

When reading such points, I am often compelled to write back, with a counterargument.

The reason I share this now is because, in the Jordanian blogosphere, most points that bother me just so happen to be concentrated on one side, and as a result, most counterarguments I make happen to be concentrated on the inverse side. And I’m not a hard-liner-loyalist, but increasingly I feel that this is what it seems. And its something I’m used to, anti-religious friends, upon conversation, often deem me as extremely religious, while religious friends often deem me as extremely anti-religious. That is because, by my very nature, I like to respond to one-sided arguments (arguably, all passionate arguments are one-sided, but I disagree) with a one-sided counter-argument.

But to cut the crap, and go directly to the real unambiguous point:

Jordan, is a state with its own strengths and weaknesses, achievements and counter-achievements, perks and downsides, and ultimately, the government, is both right and wrong, depending on the issue. I am all for the continuous improvement of the country, society, and the establishment, and I understand and support that this entails criticism of the wrong.

As such, the arguments I try to fight are those that say its all good and dandy, and those that entail its all bad and horrible. But can’t we engage in more balanced critique where we can actually know where Jordan really stands — what are the upsides and downsides of establishment, where to improve, where to reform, where to revolutionize, and where to simply support?

Just because one might be dissatisfied by Jordan’s attitudes towards certain aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict, doesn’t mean that we should criticize the Abdali Regeneration project as a plan to suppress Ammanis, or even criticize all aspects of the attitudes towards the conflict to begin with. And when one is dissatisfied by internal policies, linking them to a national plan of intellectual suppression isn’t helpful either; it ignores real growth and real improvement in some places. All I say is, know where you stand, know where Jordan stands, and then engage in activism accordingly.

  • Ali

    Eyas you are clearly pro-Jordanian government.

    Firstly, you ignore the fact that most of the challenges facing this country are due to the government. This country has major challenges, starting with education, and the mentality of the people. Sorry to break it to you, but it is a very backward country that if the government doesn't decide to put tribal issues and corruption aside, those issues will never be resolved and Jordan will remain a hopeless, poor state just like most of the corrupt Arab states.

    Secondly, you seem to ignore the fact that the Hashemites have had a long and complex relationship with Zionists even before Israel's establishment. Golda Meir visited Amman several times. You seem to ignore the fact that she visited King Abdullah I on May 10, 1948. Just four days before the establishment of the State of Israel. What about when the Jordanian-Egyptian relations came under strain when it was thought that the Jordanian King gave Israel details about when Egypt will invade during the Yom Kippur War? Everyone knows Jordan will never become an enemy of Israel. It has helped in the creation of the State of Israel, and its benefits is with Israel.

    What you're saying is that, the Jordanian government does wrong things, and is pro-Israel and it is to blame for many issues, but it is still a good government that does right things. Eyas, I assure you that the “wrong” things, alongside with corruption and all that, outweigh the “right” things it does, if there is any.

  • Ali,

    Clearly, you missed my point.

    Firstly, I ignored more facts, many facts, or, more precisely, all facts. In that little post of mine, I discussed absolutely no history, absolutely no facts, and nothing on the ground. Because in this little post of mine, all facts are side-facts (or side-issues).

    I very well understand the Hashemite position from Zionism and the creation of a Jewish state. I am familiar with King Faisal's remarks, King Abdullah's efforts, and criticism of the Sharif Hussein's correspondence. As am I familiar with the events of 67, 68, 70, and 73.

    To the contrary, the sheer point of this post that I am DISAPPOINTED that I have recently been giving counter-arguments to posts I felt one sided, and that my position in these posts appears consistently pro-government. Furthermore, I wrote this post as a rationale, to sort-of justify why I do so.

    My point is not that we need to acknowledge whats right (though its cool to acknowledge economic growth, some aspects of what resembles political development), but that when we acknowledge whats wrong (corruption, and greater aspects of political non-development), we need to know where we really stand, how can we target the issue.

    The quick example is a response to the Queen's remarks over at the Black Iris blog. While many criticized it legitimately by saying that actions speak louder than words, I was silent, because I agreed, and it was pointless to disagree. However, when the point shifted to “the government has always been silent and made no remarks, why now?” which is a false exaggeration, I responded. Not because I'm pro-government as you insinuate, but because arguments against the government are welcome, but they need to be true.

    I hope this explains my post.