Argumentum ad passiones is a logically fallacious style of argumentation. Argumentum ad passiones–aka argument of emotional appeal–uses human emotion as its base or root. Where a logical argument relies on facts and figures, an emotional appeal relies on gut feelings. For example: if a city wants to increase taxes, but doesn’t have the votes to do so, they will often employ the “children, police and firemen” strategy. This strategy uses the emotional appeal of children and heroes to pull on the heart-strings of the average voter, goading them to vote for increased revenue to help schools, and prevent police and fireman layoffs.
Democrat Congressman Luis Gutierrez recently used emotional appeal in a big way to sell amnesty:
“What we need to understand is today, someone is going to die in that desert trying to return to their families; women and men are going to die in that desert…Someone’s going to lose a finger, a hand, an eye, a life today because an unscrupulous employer is going to put them in harm’s way. Someone’s going to die…There’s a woman that’s going to be raped in a field somewhere in America today because she has no rights in this country, and we need to end that…There are children who are going to cry and there are marriages that are going to be destroyed because someone is going to be deported, and there are going to be children that are going to be left orphaned in this country…For all of those reasons, we would accept that [the Senate’s bill]…”
And the Oscar goes to… There is not even a bit of factual evidence employed by Gutierrez in his argument. Everything in his appeal is set up to tug at our emotions. We are just supposed to bow our heads, cry and write a tear-stained letter to our local Representative, urging them to support amnesty.
The Democrats have no facts with which to argue. They have no logical, legitimate stance to take. So rather than accept defeat, they are turning to emotional appeal. Emotional appeal is the last bastion of the desperate and pathetic. The worst part is that people will be moved by this slop. They will fall right into the obscene trap that has been laid out for them.
We cannot be swayed by emotions if they stand in contradiction to facts. If we allow ourselves to trade hard evidence for feelings, we’ve lost everything.