Decimation of Character

I have noticed a tendency for this reprehensible technique to be used in argument as follows:

Instead of examining a man’s opinion on any subject we examine the man himself , asking questions such as: is he wealthy? Does he break the law? What does he say about others? Is he a member of any groups? The intention is to invalidate anything he may have to say.

Along with this unpleasant practice we imply that in order to have an opinion on anything we must experience it directly. Only an expert footballer can criticise football; only a doctor the use of medicine; an artist only is competent to criticise a painting.

Just think if these media tricks were taken seriously very few would dare open their mouths. The media would close down and parliament would shut it’s doors.

5 thoughts on “Decimation of Character”

  1. It’s called character assassination and it is a legal trick adopted by the media used as a distraction device. Discredit the person, discredit the thoughts. Cheap trick, but the public is easily fooled.


  2. Not every statement is made from altruistic or honest motives. Often things are said out of self-interest. I see nothing wrong with pointing out possible conflicts of interest or of POTENTIAL (not necessarily proven) underlying motives behind what is being said. This gives the listener more information upon which to judge for themselves the honesty or veracity of what is being said that they might otherwise be unaware of.
    I’m thinking tobacco industry statements that smoking does one no harm here.
    I would also detest ad hominem attacks on a person because of what they are over what they say or do, but see nothing inherently wrong with making a point that when a person works in an industry or company (or political party) their views may well be biased to the interests of those things and might not necessarily be considered by all to be ‘fair and even’.


  3. You are right and we all tend to have our own interests at heart but when we see a selfless act its like a blinding flash of light that illuminates our selfishness.


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