Appeals to Society

by Joyce

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people talk about society: “Society should change …” “Society needs to be more …” “For the betterment of society …”

Society doesn’t exist, not in the sense of a living, breathing entity with a will of its own. It’s just a collection of individuals, all doing the best they can to get through life and spending most of their time looking out for Number 1.

I think this is precisely why this approach is so appealing: Since society doesn’t exist, it can’t argue back. If you were to tell me that I need X, I could tell you that you were wrong. But if you tell me that society needs X, I can’t argue, because society is supposedly bigger than me. So you can say anything you want without resistance.

Anymore, I simply tune out any argument that makes an appeal to society. It’s a lazy strategy. If the speaker can’t be creative enough to address me as an individual, then I figure it’s not worth my time.