by Anthony Weber
It seems clear that the battle to think carefully and reasonably is being lost. Oh, don’t worry – I’m not here to gripe! Rather than bemoan the loss of our ability to think with clarity and depth, we should embrace the new way of forming opinions quickly and painlessly: MemeThink!
As a template for how to frolic in the shallow end of the intellectual pool, I offer for your consideration the meme I encountered online last week. It provides a great example for how to engage serious subjects by building an argument that does not require any heavy lifting on your part. You, too, can change the world one fallacy at a time! So with no further ado, I offer some advice for how to flourish in our brave new intellectual(ish) world.
1) Swear. It’s a simple way to challenge stuffy prudishness. If someone can’t see how cool an edgy it is to be vulgar in even the most ordinary of conversations, you probably don’t want them to be part of the discussion.
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It’s also a great way to show how much you have invested in the topic. If you don’t swear, how will anyone know you really mean it? Why settle for, “It’s none of my business!” when “It’s none of my damn business!” is available? Don’t worry if the language makes no sense in the sentence (why is your business damned, anyway?); nobody who reposts it will notice, and it gives permission for all the sycophants to swear as they talk about your meme. Next thing you know, people who disagree will bail from the conversation as they tire of the juvenile language, and …. boom! You and your friends can mix the Kool-Aid without the threat of civil discourse threatening to rob you of your basic vocabulary.
2) Don’t bring up any issues that undermine your claim. For example, you could say, “I’m pro-sweatshop labor!” or “I’m pro-Sterling!” or even “I’m pro-people who refuse to photograph same-sex weddings!” because it’s none of your damn business what other people do! But readers with even marginal intelligence might realize that your claim doesn’t actually work for them all the time. Strangely, most people do actually care about how people live their lives in certain situations – they just draw the line at different places. Don’t let this moral and logical dilemma dissuade you: most people will just re-post your meme without thinking, so you should be safe…