Criticize Ideas, not People

Why you should criticize ideas and not people.

Posted by Igor Gassmann on 13th Sep 2017

Here’s an idea. When confronting no sense make an effort to criticize the expressed ideas instead of the communicator.

This is a practice recommended in the software development field for criticizing people work. This rule can also be applied to many other situations.

Yes, ideas only exist because of people. I’m not saying that individuals are not accountable for the beliefs they hold. What I want to communicate is that if you want to be effective in convincing people or shut down wrong beliefs, you should criticize the ideas and not the people behind it.

Take the example of religions. There are many wrong affirmations in Islam and Christianism. However, Muslims and Christians don’t always follow the religion’s commandments. You could decide to criticize those people or criticize the beliefs. By choosing to criticize the religious people, you probably won’t be able to convince any one of them, and you’ll also probably get a bad image from the general public for being someone who’s always criticizing others. On the other hand, by criticizing the religions, you have more chances to not hurt someone feelings, and so people will be more sensitive to hear your arguments.

It's the same for politics. You can spend your time criticizing politicians and hoping that you’ll achieve social change by it. Or you can educate by criticizing the ideas that those politicians are communicating.