The Rockin Johnny B

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Isn't emotional reasoning interesting? Example: gun control. Whenever this issue comes up, people who are NRA gun owning right wing-nuts go absolutely crazy. “The sky is falling, the sky is falling, that is, they are coming in black helicopters to take away my guns.” Clearly, that is not the case. Nobody is coming to take your guns away, Mr. NRA. They are not coming at all...period.

This is emotional reasoning at it's most visible. Here's what I mean. If it feels bad, therefore, it must be bad, or, it feels good, therefore, it must be good. This is emotional reasoning. You see it all the time on Faux News, and in Right Wing Press's and talk show hosts. They are the voices of doom and gloom [Glenn Beck/Rush Limbaugh] and they always point out the worst possible scenarios. They are pandering to the two biggest, and worst, of emotions: Fear and Anger, and they are dangerous.

This type of reasoning, is, of course, illogical and usually wrong. Because something feels bad doesn't necessarily factually mean it IS bad. Point in fact: Social Security. In the 30's, when FDR proposed and national social type retirement program for all working people, the Righties screamed Communism/Socialism/Nazism. Three emotion producing words. Was in hind sight, Social Security a bad thing? Of course, not. However, the right wing-nuts would have had you dump it before anyone gave it a chance.

The National Debt. Oh My God, what'll we do? The United States is doomed because we owe big money. Phooey. Let me quote Paul Krugman [Nobel Prize winner for Economics and a professor at MIT:  "This [the National Deficit] is, however, a case in which what everyone knows just ain’t so. The budget deficit isn’t our biggest problem, by a long shot. Furthermore, it’s a problem that is already, to a large degree, solved. The medium-term budget outlook isn’t great, but it’s not terrible either — and the long-term outlook gets much more attention than it should."] In other words, we need to worry much more about other national problems before we get so upset about the deficit. Emotional reasoning says, the Deficit feels bad, therefore, it IS bad. It may be bad, but not nearly as bad as some would have you believe. Yes, we owe money, so...LET'S JUST PAY IT BACK and stop all the alas/alack and woe is me.

We literally drive ourselves crazy using this type of reasoning. Some folks have actually been diagnosed with disorders that are caused because of emotional reasoning. One of the reasons for clinical depression, for instance, is emotions. Our brains work with a couple of neurotransmitters [dopamine/serotonin] that are controlled by the individual's emotional state. One can lose one's mind when these two transmitters are upset by illogical reasoning.

Abortion. That one word is another great emotional reasoning subject. To the right, it connotes murder [Pro-Lifers]. On the other hand [Pro-Choicers], it means a woman's right to choose how she uses her body. People have actually been murdered over this word.

I can't get over how vitriolic the emotional outpouring of reasoning during this last election campaign. You would have thought that President Obama was the second coming of Beelzebub or Stalin and Hitler. People actually called him a Nazi and a Socialist and doubted his birthright. What rot. If this was a dictatorship, those people would have been eliminated with prejudice. But we are not a dictatorship, we are a Democratic Republic and we are supposed to be above all that rhetoric. Obviously, we aren't - above it all - that is.

As a therapist, my job is to realign a client's thinking so as to help h/her find a mental balance and hopefully h/she can find happiness or at least comfortable mental attitudes.

It seems nobody is above Emotional Reasoning. I would like to believe only the uneducated among us think illogically, but that is absolutely not the case. Our government's law makers reason emotionally with the best of 'em. This scares me and it ought to scare you too. This lack of cogent reasoning has gotten us in a lot of trouble and killed thousands of people in illegal in illogical wars, and/or, police actions throughout the world. One need only look back to the last administration and the Iraq War to see emotional and illogical reasoning in action. The worst case of this type of reasoning was President G. W. Bush. We entered into war with the Iraqis without valid intelligence. Thousands died. The war was probably even illegal. It was definitely not in our best interests. But George Bush wanted to get EVEN with Saddam Hussein for his jihad against his father. Emotional Reasoning. Saddam feels bad, therefore, he is bad and, by definition, is doing bad things and he shouldn't, therefore, he must be eliminated. How many people died because of that type of reasoning? Hundreds? Thousands?

I hope I've made my point. Emotional Reasoning is dangerous as well as mentally unhealthy.

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