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Emotions vs. Reason - 2016/07/19
When it comes to making decisions there are many different methods which can be used to make a choice. Some examples are those such as authority, where a person or group of people that you have faith in tells you the choice that should be taken (such as in religion). Of course, the problem with authority is that you are not making your own choices but leaving it up to another person or group of people, which, to an extent, is what democracy is, but that is something to be left for another day and perhaps for one of my writings instead of a blog post (since it seems more serious as compared to what this is going to be which is me complaining a bunch). The two methods I see used most often that involve the person presented with the choice using are emotions and reason. Between these two to me it seems very clear which is the most superior in terms of making a choice that is based on reality and can properly analyze a situation, reason of course. However, when most people make decisions what I tend to see more than reason is emotions, something that upsets me. It would not upset me if these choices were only done when it were something personal that only affects the individual making the decision, but once that decision begins to affect others emotion is a completely invalid approach to making a choice. Of course, there may be exceptions to this, but generally reason should be used in place of emotions when it comes to making decisions.
For example, when making political decisions I find it laughable that political leaders will think that an emotion-based argument is acceptable when proposing a motion or law. Regardless of what the motion may be, it must be analyzed calmly through reason before it can be passed. I have seen this kind of behaviour in person when I was the district representative for my party and my party tried passing a motion in favor of the right to water in the city. Of course, everyone in the room was completely in favor of the right to water, however the motion was not being passed through the correct channel, that is, it should've been sent to the municipal council, not the district. The entire room was reasoning that it should be sent through different channels and therefore they would not vote in favor, but my comrades kept emphasizing the emotional arguments that there were families who needed water in the city (even though we currently have public fountains where citizens can freely get potable water from) and they further called towards people's emotions by bringing in affected families to the room which did nothing but to worsen the situation (especially as the families and some of my comrades began to interrupt the session by yelling at the chairman who was trying to explain why the motion could not be passed even if they all wanted to do so). In the end the motion was reformed to something that was actually passable and passed by a simple majority. In this circumstance my comrades were relying solely on emotion to back their claim when reason was saying that this is not the place nor the method to do so.
Of course, this was with a small issue in local politics, but it gets worse when people vote for national leaders according to their emotions, and then expect the national leaders to make their decisions based on those same emotions (which the they are forced to by their own voters if they want to win the following elections). This leads to nothing more than many badly made decisions based on nothing but 'muh feelings'. People say "gay marriage should be legal because they have the right to love as well!" when in reality there are many flaws with that argument, first of which being marriage does not have to imply love, nor do people that love each other have to get married, but more than that the correct argument would be "gay marriage should be legal because it is a legal bond that has little to no negative effect on others while it presents substantial benefits to the homosexual couple that wishes to get married". However, you'll notice that once real decisions need to be made even the politicians must resort to reason rather than the emotions of their voters since the emotionally-based decision would do nothing but to cause more problems (and people get angry at their politicians when they do this). This can be seen in cases with the refugee crisis that is happening in Europe, where the politicians are taking in a minimal amount of refugees in order to keep their voters happy, but there are still many suffering. This is because although no one wants those people to suffer, if I am a political representative of my country my role as a representative is to make decisions that defend the interests of those citizens that have voted for me (unless we're talking about the U.S. president, but that must be left for another day), and accepting too many refugees would do nothing but to destroy the social programmes in place such as those of universal healthcare, low-cost public higher level education (where I live it's about 800€ a year without scholorships), and other such programmes that would be flooded by people who, at least up-front, will have more needs than my actual citizens, therefore will be prioritized above my own citizens (naturally). Of course, if we lived in a different kind of society we might be able to accept refugees more easily, but in a capitalist system where things cost money that is impossible and priorities need to be placed. Not only that, but the larger issue with the refugees is how would we be able to provide them with employment? In other countries such as Germany, Denmark, or Sweden that might be possible for some of them, but then we are placing the burden on them to take all of them in, which is not something nice to do to someone you are in a union with. Hence, what the European countries are doing is taking in the few that they can and leaving the rest to their own fate. It seems harsh, but the other option if anything would end up hurting more people than the current solution.
Of course, people's decisions are not based on only one, emotions or reason, but they are based more on one than the other, and mostly emotions rather than reason. This is fine if we are speaking of personal decisions that affect no one but the person making the decision, but once it affects others it must be made using reason and any argument using emotions becomes invalid.