From Ask Figaro:
Scott Adams claimed some people have ripperitis (I think it is is a meme or snowclone…?) when they don’t understand logic and argument…this seems related to what you talk about. What do you think about ripperitis?
It’s an eponymic snowclone—a person’s name with a cliched ending (-itis). Not one of Adams’s better efforts, I’m afraid.
Adams claims that most people form their political opinions along these lines: “If you think Jack the Ripper was a doctor in his day job, and you think doctors are positive role models, you must support Jack Ripper and celebrate the killing of women. Die, you woman-hater!” The fallacy already has a name: generalization. Not all doctors are positive role models. Look how many play golf.
But the problem we face in politics isn’t generalization—that was going on in the Garden of Eden, when Eve rolled her eyes heavenward and sighed, “Men!”
What’s ruining politics today is an epidemic of values talk, or what Aristotle calls demonstrative rhetoric. Values talk defines what’s good and bad, and WHO’s good and bad. It strengthens your base, as they say in politics, while labeling those who disagree as evil. (“Woman hater!”)
Aristotle tells us she should be using deliberative argument instead. It focuses on the future, deals with choices, and has as its main topic the “advantageous”—what’s to the advantage of your audience. (“How is calling me a woman hater going to get me to support women’s rights?”)
Deliberative argument is what a civilized society uses to solve problems together. Values talk is what less civilized people use to form tribes.
So let’s not call the phenomenon “ripperitis.” Call it the Tribal Syndrome. That sounds even scarier.