Wednesday, 2 February 2011
To define positions or beliefs by labels is a useful shorthand for conveying information quickly, generally speaking. But when it comes to discussing relative merits of those positions or beliefs, labels start to become problematic. The danger becomes arguing against the perceived connotations or weaknesses of the label, rather than discussing the relative merits of the arguments. It's then about what people identify with, rather than stressing the importance on what the position is and how it's justified. Because when using the label, it's arguing to a meaning held in one's own head - minimising the significance of the arguments that don't conform to that label.