When trying to make a point one should be very careful not to overshoot their argument. I’ve seen many potential paradigm shifts fall into the realms of absurdity because the argument did not stick to the core ideas from which it derived. People will rationally adopt a principle and then make irrational conclusions based off that principle. Not only is failure to recognize this irrationality dangerous but it also tarnishes the good name of the principle in question.
Wherever you find good ideas, you’ll find bad ideas stemming from them. This can be seen not always, but sometimes in the ideals of PETA, pacifists, libertarians, feminists, and atheists just to name a few. For example I support animal rights, but isn’t it going too far when PETA claims that animals should have the same rights as humans? Meaning they cannot be owned (this includes as pets) and they should be given a trial after committing a crime?
An argument that has been overshot lately is one for the weight acceptance movement. I agree that people should not be mistreated for being overweight but things have been getting out of hand. Instead of arguing that overweight people should be accepted, the argument seems to be misconstrued into saying that the acceptance of skinny people should be replaced with overweight acceptance; hence leading people that may not be able to help being underweight to feeling that they are “less than,” because of it. Blogs, Facebook memes, and many other things on the internet immaturely talk about how “curves are better” or “no one wants to have sex with a skeleton”. Smaller women are now being shamed to elevate bigger women when the argument could have just stopped at “everyone, regardless of their weight should be treated properly”.
If people are concerned with young girl’s self esteem and don’t want them to be attacked for their weight, then they shouldn’t bring people who aren’t being attacked into the fight. The fight should be gotten rid of all together. People have the right to pursue what they find attractive and to pick their own preferred sexual partner. This is one of the core arguments for the gay rights movement, and the weight acceptance movement would do well to adopt it too (the two movements are supported by the same people usually).
This whole ordeal is the perfect example of overshooting an argument. Instead of accepting that everyone has a different standard of beauty, certain people are instead trying to persuade everyone to accept their own standard of beauty. This is simply wrong. Big girls are not more attractive than small girls and vice versa. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
When you want to change someone’s mind be careful, because if you overshoot your argument you might turn them off from the core principle you are trying to express. First impressions count, and I would say giving someone a bad impression of something that matters is a terrible crime. Let us all keep in mind that not only should we ask good questions, but we should also find good answers.