Monday, June 24, 2013

La la la, progressives can't hear you.

Progressives of my acquaintance seem convinced that drug prohibition is solely the fault of the private-prison industry and of small-government types. No amount of logic or evidence to the contrary will sway them; even the glaring contradiction inherent in blaming drug prohibition on small-government types escapes them. Once I said to one of them, "If only our elected officials would step in and do something." He not only thought that I was being serious but even expressed agreement with me.

If I didn't know better, I'd almost start to think that progressives refused to blame government for anything except not doing enough. More generally, I'd almost start to think that they deployed invincible ignorance (a/k/a the "La la la, I can't hear you" fallacy) against any logic or evidence that countered their world view. As I've said before, reality is negotiable; dogma isn't.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The straw-man apocalypse, or: How not to convince me that I'm wrong

One difficulty that I have found in arguing with progressives is that when they want to attack my position, they often do not actually attack my position, but instead set up a straw man or even a whole army of them. By "straw man," I mean the following:
The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person's actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position.
For instance, the other evening, I was informed that libertarians agree with Republican flip-flopping on health care, the "get your government hands off of my Social Security and Medicare" viewpoint, crony capitalism, the religious right's social positions, and even drug prohibition (which, in case you didn't know, is entirely the fault of the private sector and of limited-government types). Setting up straw men does not make the other side look wrong; instead, it makes the side setting them up look either ignorant or dishonest.

See also The straw atheist and the straw Christian.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Religious right or P.C. left? Quotes 45 and 46

In this series of blog posts, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read each quote and guess, before doing a Web search, whether someone in the religious right or the politically correct left said it.


The reality is that humans are born male or female. At birth we don’t “assign” sex to a child arbitrarily, as the analysis of this bill implies. We recognize the child’s sex – it is a physical reality. But in the world of this bill, that reality doesn’t matter. Like Cinderella in a fantasy world, a person may choose or change his sex, saying, “I can be whatever I want to be.”


What struck me in reading your document is that those who are biologically female is a simple category (persons with XX genes and genitals) but the other category is not clearly defined, it is so foggy that it could be expanded to include the class of all males on the planet (theoretically). No matter how you define the gender-trans category you run into difficulties. That’s why you have ways of defining that are highly subjective. If it’s “my gender is what I say it is” then persons with dissociative personality disorder or with multiple personalities, would be understood as changing genders more or less frequently.