Gotcha Equalizing

One of the techniques used to rationalize a position and ameliorate guilt is that of gotcha equalizing. This technique is that of matching faults. When someone finds a problem on your side, you seek out some problem on his side you can rationalize as equivalent. You got me, I got you, we are equalized – Gotcha equalization.

The problems with this approach are several. One is that is a cycle of destruction. Another is that it is dishonest. A third is that the motivations change from finding fault to fix a problem to finding fault to dimish the opposition.

Let’s compare: taking down a hack for a little-known website vs. challenging the head of a global news network. I’ll let you decide which story is more important.

Pure objectivity in humans doesn’t exist. We all have opinions and agendas that intentionally or not seep into what we write and create. The best we can hope for is intellectual honesty. Openness would hold more people accountable.
[Sean Hackbarth. Gannon/Jordan. The American Mind. 10Fb05]

The Gingrich episode is another example. He brought down opposition through a post office scandal so his opponents filed 80 allegations and accusations against him. None of these allegations or accusations were found to have any substance. But they got their equalization.

Many Clinton episodes were similar with threats as well as character assasination and other techniques used against anyone who raised a question or allegation. This technique shows even in the Presidential Library displays which impugn the special investigor as part of a vast right wing conspiracy.

The obstruction to judicial nominations also shows this technique. The ‘you stopped ours so we are stopping yours’ argument is often used as a rationale for obstructionism. The techniques being used to obstruct are, in themselves, rationalized by trying to make comparisons to the past that conveniently ignore unpleasant factors.

Gotcha equalizing depends upon people not engaging in critical listening. It is up to the listener to hold people using this technique accountable. Don’t let yourself get swindled. Listen critically, be skeptical, and learn to detect intellectual dishonesty.

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