September 16, 2018

Accusations of recklessness or insufficient caring

This post is part of a series focused on political persuasion. Others in the series are linked from an introductory overview.

Much political messaging boils down to “They don’t care (enough)”.  Indeed, that theme is central to:

At the highest level, this is obvious.

As in so much else, debates about “caring” often hinge on credibility/confidence and/or importance.

More generally, claiming your opponent doesn’t care about something faces two inherent credibility challenges:

Thus, a “non-caring” claim often expands to some version of “Truly doesn’t care or perhaps just is ignorant”, e.g.:

Accusations of cowardice or some lesser form of wimpyness sometimes get into the mix as well.

One of the earliest examples of this I recall was a recording of a 1952 Richard Nixon campaign speech, in which he said – in the context of McCarthyish anti-Communist warnings — that Adlai Stevenson’s “loyalty” was not to be questioned, but his “judgment” was.

Finally, an old joke seems too relevant to omit:

“What’s the difference between ignorance and apathy?”
“I don’t know and I don’t care.”

Related link


5 Responses to “Accusations of recklessness or insufficient caring”

  1. Patterns of political persuasion | Strategic Messaging on September 16th, 2018 3:12 am

    […] That’s spelled out in a post about accusations of recklessness or insufficient caring. […]

  2. Poltiical messaging's secret sauce: "Cluefulness" | Strategic Messaging on December 17th, 2020 9:11 am

    […] So it was between Richard Nixon and Adlai Stevenson (in both directions, as outlined in my post on Accusations of recklessness or insufficient caring). So it was with many accusations of insufficient defense spending, or when Michael Dukakis looked […]

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