Individuals with psychopathic traits are often attracted to affinity groups—religious, atheist, political, or social groups of people who share common values, beliefs, or interests. The collective trust that members of these groups have in one another and their common belief system provides a perfect cover for the psychopathic person. A psychopathic individual can be highly skilled at accurately mimicking the group’s beliefs or values while in the presence of its members. As a result, trust is easily gained and his or her true motives or covert activities are less likely to be discovered or recognized as malicious.
An affinity group that has been victimized may have members who are unable to face the truth about a covert bully. Often, they will rationalize his or her behaviors and continue to believe that the person is basically good at heart.
Unfortunately, it is common for the group to side with the psychopathic person if he or she has targeted an individual member to exploit, abuse, or ostracize. With a well established virtuous public persona and respect from the group, skillful manipulation and deceit, and a careful choice of target, the aggressor will turn the tables and have others believe the victim is the guilty party.
“Thank you very much Bob, Matthew, Sean and Jerry for understanding and not making me constantly apologize to an irrational and unstable person.” —Gayatri Salunke
This is a loaded statement. It illustrates one of the common uses as a rhetorical device, namely, innuendo. Gayatri’s statement consists of several propositions, including:
• A person or persons (other than those named) have insisted that Gayatri constantly apologize to X.
•X is irrational and unstable.
No evidence is given.Loaded questions or statements are used in this way to slip claims into rhetoric without the burden of proving them or the necessity of taking responsibility for unproven assertions. In this example, innuendo has been used by Gayatri to rally sympathy for herself, make a person or persons look unreasonable or bad, and to single out one in particular as “irrational and unstable.” While her approach is dishonest and manipulative, she avoids direct lies by using innuendos.
Loaded language is a subfallacy of Begging the Question, which is any form of argument in which the conclusion occurs as a premise. More generally, an argument begs the question when it assumes any controversial point not conceded by the other side. It is a fallacious form of argument.