Saturday, 22 December 2018

If You Cannot Persuade by Logic: Use Harassment

If you followed my link to the petition to remove the current permit system for metal detecting in Sweden, you might (unless of course you read the blurb, considered the matter carefully and added your signature to it) be getting reminders every two days or so from the organizers: 'Paul, we’re missing your name Finish signing “Bring fair metal detecting laws to Sweden”...'.

What does that mean "finish signing"? How many internauts would type "Pau...", and then go away to make a coffee and not come back to add the rest of their name and close the window in the intervening week? The organizers do not seem to get the idea. They make a proposal and set out the case for it, we read it, think about it and then if we agree add our name to their petition. We sign or do not sign because of what we think about the proposition and the way they have presented their arguments, and putting that in context of what we already know and think. In this case, the proposers have not persuaded me and I am not putting my name under it.

I am, therefore, puzzled by their insistence that I should 'finish signing'. But I think the reason they give is characteristic:  Since you visited, this petition now has 1,756 supporters. Every signature helps — add your name today. So, go with the flow, be part of a group. This is a bit like the pathetically superficial people (particularly the neck-tattoo guy, number two) represented in this Sept 2016 video about Brexit voting:

This is what democracy has come to, people take 'decisions' on behalf of everybody else not because they have any opinion based on reflection on the facts, but because 'everybody else is doing it'.

Note also what has happened here, the petition organizers are addressing me by name, they have tracked that I visited their site, and (though I did not enter my email there) they now have access to my email address and presumably will continue pestering me to 'finish signing', until I give in and do it to stop them harassing me or until the petition closes. Well, that certainly is not going to make me a friend of the Sveriges Metallsökarförening (SMF), the largest Metal Detecting Organisation in Sweden. I invite them to read what I wrote about their ideas, and attempt to persuade me that I am wrong by showing where my reasons for not supporting their proposals are false, rather than simply pestering me:

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