Food for Unthought. — Appeal to reason through rational argumentation does not work well today because the mindset of secular leftism is irrationalistic. That mindset is also disjointed, incoherent, and given to distraction. Hence, one moment a man is claiming that rational argumentation is “mere word-games”, “fiddling with language”, etc, and the next, he is claiming something on its basis.
The secular leftist accepts no greater authority than his own desires. Reason cannot lead him. (Nevertheless, to a promissory idol of those desires, he may give the honourable name of reason.) As long as rational argumentation remains the slave of those desires, he can praise it, but otherwise he scorns it as unconnected with reality, which for him is merely the occasion for his desires. (His inheritance from romanticism.)
Since he will go only where his desires lead him, regardless of whether those desires are rationally ordered, rational argumentation has little force against him. Indeed, he even draws strength from the rational argumentation made against him. For argumentation suggests to him a matter open to question, and anything that is open to question, but which is not in accord with his desires, he finds easy to dismiss.
Secular leftism, like all evil, is parasitic upon good. Rational argumentation is food for secular leftism as blood is food for leeches.
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Adapted from a comment made to Bruce G. Charlton, “The Counter-Productiveness of Arguments for the Reactionary”, Bruce Charlton's Miscellany (weblog), 24th October 2012.