Don’t underestimate emotion
Last month, in the U.S., the battle over SOPA happened. Wikipedia and Google launched dramatic campaigns against the bill and, convinced of their rectitude, I sided with them. This month, in Canada, our government is proposing an online surveillance bill that will give police unfettered access to our online activities. The Canadian government is framing this bill around child pornography insisting police are incapable of dealing with this heinous crime without these powers of surveillance. I thought about my position. I decided that any concern over the police seeing my inane Facebook posts or boring banking activities are meaningless compared to slowing down an internet industry fueled by the horrific abuse of children. And so I argued in favour of the bill.
But wait. My positions are inconsistent. On the one hand, I said the government should butt out and allow us our liberties. On the other, I was passionate with my, “Yes! Let the police in and protect these kids.”
Why did this happen? It came down to emotion. Instead of logically assessing my position to see if it fit with my overall view, I went with my gut and my heart.
The truth is most of us do. That’s why, in all likelihood, the Canadian government is making child pornography the bill’s flagship target. It’s smart presentation skills. It’s smart storytelling.
The truth is I still want the government to come up with a way to track bad guys online…but my emotions prevented me from looking closely at what they were proposing and wondering if there were alternatives.
Forget about the emotion and your audience is likely to forget about your idea. And, of course, the opposite is true.