Fun with Logical Fallacies

The argument I made yesterday was just an example of some fun I have with logical fallacies. The “either you want wild animals dead or you want to kill kids” line is a false dilemma. I was, of course, ignoring a third possibility that some people would like to find a solution where animals and people can share the earth in peace. Sometimes I just like to make absurd arguments because I get bored.

Arguing from a logical fallacy will lose you points in a formal debate but in real life politics it scores plenty. The reason is because even though there’s always going to be someone smart enough to point the fallacy out the great masses are stupid enough to be swayed by such arguments, so much that it’s more effective to use such tactics than it is to use rational arguments. This is not to cap on the current powers that be because both sides do this in their campaigns. If either side came forth and admitted that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme that was doomed to failure from day 1, that side would sink any chance for election. People don’t want to look at the math, they want to hear pleasant and vague phrases like “working together to save Social Security.” You get more votes by promising a chicken, even if that chicken doesn’t exist.

Logical fallacies can also be used in the service of good. Assume you’re in power and you’re smarter than the general public. You need the voters to ok some tough measures that are going to be good in the long run. You give them a little jive talk, it passes, and you do what you gotta do. It doesn’t make you evil, it makes you pragmatic.

That said, let us suppose for a moment that President Bush thought that defeating Iraq and ousting Hussein were good for US interests in the long term. Not for filling his pockets or for oil, but good for long term strategic interests in the Middle East. Let us further presume that he knew that most Americans wouldn’t have the resolve to back a US invasion without some impetus. Is some misdirection on possible WMDs in that case an evil move?

What exactly is the role of the President? Is he supposed to reflect the will of the people by consulting opinion polls? Or is he supposed to steer the nation according to his best judgment (and that of his advisors)? If the long term interests of the nation are indeed best served by the present policy (and history has not rendered a verdict on that one yet) would that not justify the present body count? These are not rhetorical questions, answer y’all because I’m really asking.

30 Responses to “Fun with Logical Fallacies”

  1. Phelps says:

    That is exactly the difference between a democracy (which we ain’t) and a republic (which we is.). If our representatives were just supposed to do our collective will (what the founders called the fickle masses) then we could replace them with Gallup.

    That isn’t what they are supposed to do. They are supposed to use their best judgment, and we are supposed to elect the guy with the best judgment, not just the one that promisses us the greatest largess. That doesn’t mean they are supposed to lie to us, but they aren’t supposed to rule by poll either.

  2. mexigogue says:

    Not an outright lie. But a little “shucka” at the line of scrimmage before cutting to the outside.

    Sorry. All I got is sports analogies.

  3. guy in the UNLV jacket says:

    I say we run the country the same way they select the NBA all star team. Via internet voting. That way we can open it up to China and Yao Ming can be president!!

  4. mexigogue says:

    That was a valid point.

    Steaming masses. . .

  5. guy in the UNLV jacket says:

    I finally posted something at http://www.donotremove.net/ABG/. I’m not nearly as funny as Mexi, as whinny as R or Racheal nor do I rock as hard as HMT. But I am as sexy a Jenn…..mmmmmmmm Jenn

  6. HMT says:

    I imagine I’m the only one who will admit that I believe the pres. ACTUALLY believed Saddam had WMD’s. I still think Saddam’s fingerprints are on em’ somewhere, Syria or other.

    The role of the president is to appear on tv and smile at the idiots on the other side of the idiot box. It is the role of the president’s administration, and all of it’s subsequent cabinets, to do the heavy lifting involved in directing the functions of a country.

  7. Jeremy says:

    Logical fallacies can also be used in the service of good.

    But Padawan Mexigogue: ad hominem, false dilemna, appeal to authority – these are the sign of the dark side. Once you start down that path, forever will it dominate your internet reputation.

  8. mexigogue says:

    But the Dark Side has cooler costumes. I’m thinking Darth Vader as opposed to Luke Pansy Skywalker.

    Now I gotta go check out UNLV’s blog.

  9. mexigogue says:

    It won’t let me comment on your blog dude. It says in order to keep out unwanted spamming of blog it’s making me wait a short time between comments, but I’ve never commented the first time!

  10. Peggy says:

    Phelps makes a good point. Always thought a leader was supposed to lead (by definition-to guide on a certain way by going in front). Not wait until every interest group and poll-monitoring flak has had time to decide what will work best for the party in the next election. A good leader ought to make decisions based on available information and long-term goals and the good of the nation.

  11. R says:

    I think that if you’re even going to have a body count, people should know for real why their children are getting blown to pieces by IEDs.

    Unless, of course, you’re advocating a path that says “Sit down and shut up, children, for I know what’s good for you.”

    Collective good? Isn’t that a socialist concept? Shouldn’t our nation be driven by the dynamics that is each person playing for their own interests? Who gives a shit if neighbor Joe is safer from terrorists? My agenda is to make as much money as I can and screw as many college chicks as possible. I don’t give a shit about terrorists. Why should I have to pay for a war I don’t want? My money could better be used for hookers.

  12. R says:

    And that would be “whiny,” UNLV.

  13. Mexigogue says:

    A military is necessary or else there is no liberty left to enjoy. It’s not like the foodstamp office which we can totally do without. And since the military is an all volunteer force they are all there of their own volition and consent.

  14. R says:

    It’s all your interpretation of what “will of the people” means. You seem to think that once a leader is elected, he has the right to do whatever he feels is good for the population, whether they like it or not.

    Like I said, “I know what you need better than what you think you know you need.”

    That’s kind of scary in my book because if the population then accepts this, the leader can use this as justification for anything he wants to do.

  15. Mexigogue says:

    Legislators are already all about “I know what you need better than you do.” That’s why government should be almost nonexistent. The proper role of government is to protect the individual rights. National defense is a means to that end. The people should elect someone who will best achieve that goal.

  16. Peggy says:

    As to people whining and moaning about “the body count”–death is not a rare occurence. It is the normal end for us all. Very few people get to choose the timing and method of their own end, so whether someone dies after suffering for months with cancer or has their body parts separated by a mortar round, dead is still dead.
    And I have serious reservations about the motives of the people who are doing the whining. Is it the thought of people in general dying that breaks their hearts and causes such anguish for them? Or is it only the ones dying because of the invasion of Iraq that they are concerned about? Or do they really not give a shit about those who have died? Are they just using the statistics to posture and pretend and play the blame game?
    People who join the military services ought to know that soldiers, airmen, sailors, Marines, etc. actually might have to take part in a war.
    Shouldn’t come as much of a damn surprise. There are no conscripts, no forced entry into the services. As for their families, the decision to join rests with the individual, as does the responsibility for the decision. If the families have a problem with the facts, they need to take it up with the person before they join.
    The potential for dying because someone in charge makes a bad decision is a real one. But it needs to be faced before anyone signs their name, not whined about afterward. When you sign, you are making a commitment to your country. And it goes to the point Mexi and Phelps made. It is our responsibility to elect people who will do what is for the greater good, not someone who makes you the best promises.

  17. R says:

    Well then we fucked up twice in a row, didn’t we?

  18. Peggy says:

    And yes, I am in a bitch of a mood.

  19. Mexigogue says:

    How was John Kerry going to defend liberty and at the same time take it away by implementing socialist policies here at home???

  20. R says:

    Who said anything about Kerry? Ralph Nader for the win, motherfuckers.

  21. Mexigogue says:

    Wasn’t he roommates with Potsie and they got into a fight and put tape down the middle of the room?

  22. HMT says:

    Legislators are already all about “I know what you need better than you do.”

    Not the three I have worked for so far… but I agree, anomolies.

  23. rae says:

    Who the fuck is Peggy??

  24. Phelps says:

    Wow, it doesn’t take Rae more than a day to wig out anytime anyone with a female name shows up.

  25. Peggy says:

    Just another INTJ. And I’m only interested in Mexi’s mind. After all, when I’m a hundred years old, he’ll only be 88. Much too young for me.

  26. Mexigogue says:

    Not really. I’m into GMILFs!

  27. Jenn says:

    GMILF’s?

    Grr, I despise politics. Our current president’s role is to be a fucktard, get rich, and kill people. He’s doing a good job.

    Yay! UNLV got a blog. Took him long enough.

  28. Jenn says:

    Aww, you linked me! Mexican’s unite!

  29. RAE says:

    Phelpsie- Wig out- HAhahaha!! I just didn’t have anything to say political so I figured I’d just pull the “angry Rae” card and distract you from the real topic.

    All fun and games Peggy-I didn’t think you were trying to “get” Mexi-if you were though you can have him- I’m happily co-habitating with someone we call “Turgid Shaft”. INTJ’s scare me anyhow.

    UNLV got a blog- HOLY BADUNK-A-DUNK!!!!

    Yo Jenn- wanna make out later?

  30. R says:

    Wha….????