In full contact Filipino martial arts (FMA), overcoming your opponent in the ring is only part of what needs to go in your favor to win a match; you also have to win over the judges, who do their best to score the fight objectively, but also look for other things.
FMA judges also look for four items: good offense, good defense, ring generalship, and respect for the art. When applied to the world of electoral politics, these criteria for judging full-contact FMA show us dimensions of political combat that could help us, as voters, more easily extract meaning from complex, confusing, and deceitful political campaigns.
In this third installment of four, I unpack one potential use in electoral politics of the FMA value of ‘ring generalship’.
On ring generalship: FMA judges look for a fighter’s ability to cope with all kinds of situations which may arise in the ring/match and to foresee and neutralize an opponent’s attacks, thus, convincingly demonstrating full control of the ring/match. A fighter who is viewed favorably is one who knows and demonstrates clear control of the tempo, rhythm, and ultimately outcome of the match.
Applying ‘ring generalship’ on voting. As voters, this discussion helps remind us that our voting behavior is under our control. No matter how hard campaigns try to sway our vote, the voting decision ultimately rests on us. Sounds needless to say, but campaign ads have a way of sowing confusion and doubt in our own independent judgment; and for good reason, for to convince you to vote in a specific way is the design of campaign ads.
More importantly, we are susceptible to errors in reasoning, otherwise known as fallacies; in fact, there are hundreds of these common fallacies that we commit, some created unintentionally, others created intentionally in order to deceive. See here for a list of 207 fallacies and their explanations.
Fallacies, again reasoning errors, are persuasive when they should not be. But if you view your mind as the ring in a full-contact FMA match, then it is clear that in the battle to sway your vote, to sway your voting reasoning, you must control the ring.