Agree and amplify your way to Hell
February 9, 2013 § 17 Comments
I realize that I’ve written some promissory notes about looking closely at (some) particular techniques of Game. I should preface this by saying that I do think there are positive, true aspects of Game as techniques for feminized men to learn how to behave in a more masculine manner. If I didn’t think that I wouldn’t engage the subject at all. But there are plenty of places to find positive presentations of Game understandings/techniques. In order to actually contribute to the subject my own posts are likely to be critical, but don’t read too much into that. I’m not really a “Game skeptic” in some categorical sense. I try to look for truth wherever it lies and I’ll point out falsehoods wherever I see them.
Sometimes the positive and true aspects of a “Game” concept are intermingled, within the very same concept, with what is false and evil. A case in point is the technique called “agree and amplify“. (The link is just a Google search; many of the results are likely NSFW).
“Agree and amplify” is when someone sets a verbal trap which challenges you and, rather than confronting the challenge directly, you agree with the premise of the challenge and push it to the next level. A canonical example is answering “Does this dress make me look fat” with a smirk and “What dress doesn’t?” or some such retort.
When done as a joke and with good humor, even as a way of avoiding a loaded question, I don’t see anything morally wrong with agree and amplify. What I would point out is that agree and amplify is a reasonable social response to loaded questions in general. It works to deflate a man who is being unreasonable just as well as it works to deflate a woman who is being unreasonable. I take no position, in this post, on the relative frequency of such occurrences.
A key aspect of this as a social tool is the twinkle in the eye and the humor in the retort. Sometimes though the “agree and amplify” approach is taken more seriously, and the idea is to use an opponent’s ideas against him. This can be done by stipulation[*], where we make it crystal clear that we absolutely don’t agree with his premises but we show that by his own lights he ought to conclude what we say he ought to conclude; or it can be done without explicit and clear stipulation.
Done without clear stipulation, though, agreeing with a false premise is a form of lie. It is probably done with good intentions, of course. That’s what keeps Uncle Screwtape’s Paving Service in business.
[*] One example where the Magisterium makes it clear this this kind of stipulation is required is in Evangelium Vitae:
…an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality.