The last few decades and the rise of mass media, the choice between two options what I term ‘dichotomies of dualities’ has become the root of news television. The application of this principle has led to the idea of classification of society in micro and macro elements as right vs left, secular vs Islamists, etc. Such a doctrine, if not the most dominating, is among the top factors of TV media today.
Since television and election campaigns constitute a major part of a success story, the necessity to identify, criticise and benefit from these dichotomies of dualities is crucial. To make the case, I will present two arguments. One of ‘hope and fear’ and the other of the deductive reasoning mostly used by PM Imran Khan and inductive reasoning used by former PM Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
Contextualising the last four decades of American politics in the framework of election campaigns, the repetitive philosophy of hope and fear, by the Republicans and Democrats, is astonishing. Bush wins through the campaign of hope with the Republicans, using psychology of hope against the tainted, not so moral and upright image of Clinton and the Democrats, accredited to the Monica affair. As for his re-election in the second term, the entire school of thought was reversed to ‘fear’, accredited to the necessity of defence and consequences of 9/11. Similarly, after Obama’s two terms as an idea of hope and change, a Republican victory was incumbent and predicted. Subsequently, Trump triumphed with a campaign of ‘fear’ — fear of losing jobs, immigrants (Muslims/Mexicans), patriotism, etc.
US politicians use services of political strategist, speech/rhetoric and annotation specialists, etc. We have examples of Lee Atwater and Mark McKinnon who have explained why and how they use such philosophies to use psychological impulses of people in terms of hope, fear, threats and opportunities. This is the case of the language, media and psychology. One can concede an intelligent election campaign is a scripted story telling with context of ‘hope and fear’ and whichever party produces the stronger narrative, storyline, villain and climax, wins.
The second argument is of Logical Reasoning. Inductive and Deductive Reasoning. Deductive is from the general propositions to specific, and inductive is the opposite, from specific to general. A Deductive science is logical, linear, facts, math and science, destination-oriented and computations. Inductive science on the contrary requires creativity, imagination, journey orientation, rhythm, feelings and day-dreaming.
A formal rhetoric analysis of PM Khan’s speeches follow a strict pattern of deductive reasoning, establishing propositions and premises in explaining and justifying the social, economic and political conclusions. On the contrary, former PM Zulfikar Ali Bhutto repeatedly used inductive reasoning in his speeches prior and post-elections. His style, rhetoric and annotation, was enigmatic, imaginative and creative. The deductive Khan is predictable yet stable. Certainly we want a stable premier, however we simply cannot afford a predictable head of the state.
Since the world and the modern education system is dominated by deductive reasoning, and that it destroys inductive reasoning in children, majority of the world adheres and succumbs to deductive and few survive and nurture the inductive in the sociocultural evolutionary prospective of the subcontinent. It would be stupidity to say one is correct. The Ottomans, the British Empire, the Renaissance, the American dream, all are a product of the algorithms of strongly- dominated Inductive and Deductive leaders and entrepreneurs.
Understanding the formula of Inductive and Deductive reasoning in theory and practice is imperative for the success of the PTI leadership and PM Khan. Surely, Hitler or Napoleon for that matter would have conceded that a U-turn should be the last strategy and too many U-turns will take us nowhere except for running in circles.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 23rd, 2018.