Editorial: Using children to gain moral ground

The question is raised as to whether children should be used for emotional appeals

Can we put a lid on the call to “Think of the children”?

This spin is so manipulative (and meaningless) that it actually has its own entry in wikipedia.

Here’s what they have to say:

“When used as a plea for pity, this appeal to emotion can constitute a potential logical fallacy…”

An emotion appeal becomes fallacious when it is intended to subvert rational thought. In other words, when an argumentative plea for pity hinges on the emotional appeal of “thinking of the children,” the speaker may really intending to shut down any other viewpoint.

In arguing in favour of constructing a bike park in the John Phillips Memorial Park, one could argue that such a park would show that the “fading generation” (coined by a Facebook fan of Sooke Mountain Cycle) cared for children, the future generation.

This sets up the parallel argument: if you’re against the park, then you don’t like children.

Nothing can be further from the truth. While I don’t have the statistical base to back up this claim, I’m willing to bet that there are many fine residents here in Sooke who sort of like children AND have a range of interests that go beyond a bike skills park. In fact, a bike skills park may not even be a part of their mental landscape. Yet, oddly, they may still like children.

Yes, there is a place in this world for a call to think of the children. The entry in Wikipedia ties it to social justice.

“While when used as an appeal for sympathy for weaker members of society, or the social good of the long-term health and viability of a society,” continues the entry in Wikipedia, “it can constitute an argument for social justice generally accepted as appropriate.”

In other words, issues like child labour, child soldiers, child abuse, access to education, food and shelter, the right to thrive … these are all viable reasons to plead for the reader/listener to think of the children. You might also include broader social issues like burgeoning debt, the erosion of the middle-class, insidious “internships” for bussing tables at Fairmont hotels, and unleashing science from political and corporate influence in the list.

Somehow, fitting a bike skills park into the argumentative call for the public to “think of the children” reminds me of that old Sesame Street, “One of these things just doesn’t belong.”

Just Posted

Driver convicted in death of Const. Sarah Beckett granted partial parole

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend an alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after fatal crash in Langford

Sooke Council to review Lot A and cannabis regulations

Reports will set the stage for future Council action

New childcare in Langford looking for toddlers and teachers

Willowbrae Academy puts an emphasis on healthy living habits

Mike Hicks steps down as SEAPARC chairman

Sooke Coun. Al Beddows takes on position

GALLERY: Shots of the lunar eclipse from Victoria and beyond

Amateur and professional photographers capture the stunning celestial event

WATCH: Celebration of Life hosted for 29 Victoria trees set to be removed

Community Trees Matter Network hosting “goodbye and thank you” for trees on Fort Street

MARS seeing influx of sick, injured eagles from north part of Vancouver Island

Factors for increase in eagle cases can be anything from lead poisoning to vehicle strikes

Doug Ford says the Liberals’ carbon tax will plunge Canada into recession

The Ontario premier said there are already warning signs of difficult economic times ahead

Kamala Harris opens U.S. presidential bid in challenge to Trump

The 54-year old portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Woman offers luxury Alberta home for just $25 and a flair for the written word

Alla Wagner ran into health problems, which forced her to list the 5,000-square-foot estate at market value

46% of Canadians $200 or less away from financial insolvency: poll

45% cent of those surveyed say they will need to go further into debt to pay their living and family expenses

Vancouver Island charity thrift store blackened by late night fire

All Too Good to be Threw profits were used to support Comox Valley Transition society programs

Most Read