I just got sucked into the silliest online argument…
A friend shared one of my posts. One of the points in that post was the reality of meth addiction. I’m not going to go and read it again because it was written a long time ago, but it came down my criticism of the series Breaking Bad, which I never watched.
I criticized the show for romanticising the usage and the manufacture of methamphetamine. The reason for that section of the post was merely to point out the reality, as I know it to be. And the reality is, meth users tweak. They spend most of their time doing nothing at all. They spend most of their time delayed. For instance, a meth addict might spend three or four hours on combing his hair, or packing and repacking a desk drawer, or searching for something in the drawer. Searching is the worst… You get stuck on trying to find something, then search and research the same place for it, neither seeing that it is there right in front of you (in the case that it is), nor searching anywhere else. Like everything else you do on meth, for a while it becomes an obsession, and you can’t stop (and don’t want to stop) compulsively doing whatever you are stuck on doing. It’s like a computer program stuck in an endless loop, repetitively doing the same thing, which achieves nothing, in endless iterations until somebody kills the task.
Meth cooks are the same. They also end up addicted, because meth is such a dangerous substance, everybody directly involved with it ends up using it. So a realistic show about meth cooks would involve a lot of sitting around, much staring into space, much talking nonsense, some poor fool counting and recounting his money over and over again, and people acting like clowns, but it would feature little action. Mostly it would feature someone walking around his or her house for several hours, busying him or herself with mundane tasks. It wouldn’t air past the pilot episode, because it would be the most boring show you ever saw.
The person arguing with me made a smug and dismissive comment about not wanting to guess which fallacy this is… And the fallacy is: fallacy of composition. Yes, I didn’t watch the show. Yes, I don’t know every meth cook on the planet, so you can argue that I’m applying the little that I do know, the part, to that which I do not know, the whole.
However, I have known a few meth cooks, many meth addicts, many meth dealers, and several cops who dealt directly with meth. They all had one thing in common: They all became meth addicts. That’s just the way it is. If you handle the substance at all, sooner or later, you use it. And therein lies the problem… Meth seems great when you first try it. You feel alert and super-confident, as well as happy. However, the euphoria of a meth high is not as intense as popular fiction would have you believe. It’s subtle. You might not even notice it. But it’s just enough for you to try it again, especially after the first or second use has no consequences. But meth is pernicious, and sooner or later, almost everybody who uses it ends up with the symptoms I’ve briefly described above. Unfortunately though, when you deal with it, you don’t see others in the worst of the states of meth addiction. You see the positive side, the energy, the apparent benefits of the drug. Seeing that is enough to get you to try that first hit. And it only takes one hit to start the ball rolling.
I know of one person who used meth who did not end up an addict. One.
I’m not saying nobody makes money off meth. Obviously people do, but not the ones who deal directly with it. And I don’t know everybody who deals with meth, but I met enough people in the 8 years or so of my addiction to make these generalisations. I’ve seen what it does, and it isn’t pretty.
In short, I understand what happens to people who deal directly with meth, because I have seen it many times. Once exposed to users, using becomes acceptable, group dynamics come into play and you become a user yourself. I don’t need to know all about meth cooks to conclude that they are all addicts too. Heck, most of them probably get into it because they want to make meth for themselves.
I wonder why some people always argue online. It makes sense if you are an expert, but arguing with what you feel is correct, against somebody who actually does have knowledge, is just silly.
A tactic employed by the person who argued today, and I hadn’t seen this one before, was a bait-and-switch technique: Attack my statement about a TV show that romanticized meth use (claiming that it does not), then after I answer, switch the argument to the fallacy about meth cooks. (My argument only appeared fallacious. It was based on what I know about meth and those directly involved with it. I don’t have to know all meth cooks to know what happens to people who cook meth, any more than I have to study all aspects of the Bible to conclude that it is nonsense.) Note that was two different arguments, neither of which was relevant to the main focus of my original post. I’ll be sure to remember the technique, and use it if ever I feel like trolling anyone. That is, attack them on one front, and if they reply with anything rational such that the current line of reasoning might not work, switch to a tangentially related, but different argument. That way the person never gets to make their full case, because the goal posts of the argument move before they can.
(Seriously, I’d hate to debate anyone who uses the bait-and-switch technique. It’s likely to be highly effective at satisfying the confirmation bias of any listeners/readers who agree with the person who does it, and might fool others who don’t recognize that the tactic is being used.)