Everywhere we look it seems we see the ugly head of stupid reasoning attaching itself to every issue we face today. Issues are not debated, they are attached. By that I mean velcro strips of “arguments” are thrown at statements that do nothing to actually argue the real point, or offer enlightenment in their own right. They usually obscure, deflect, and defeat real argument.
Case in point is false-equivalency, or as it is known in the GOP dumbed down inopposite: comparing apples to oranges. You see, a perfectly good way to end an argument is to just stroke one’s chin and utter, “ahh, but now you are comparing apples to oranges,” and then sagely walk away, while your befuddled opponent scratches their head and wonders how to respond to that.
For uttering the words, “apples and oranges” is not an argument, but rather a clever device to stop everyone in their tracks while they ponder how what they just said could be of no more worthy comment than to point out that you failed comparison class. But did you?
I know the term false-equivalency is a big mouthful, and something that requires neuronic interplay, so bear with me dear GOP friends. I’m writing this slowly in the hopes that by reading it slowly you just might get a hint of what we are talking about. I’ve been engaged in a couple of conversations recently and all seem to succumb to the “I really don’t have an argument, so hey, I’ll just throw this canard your way, and Good Day!”
Case in point:
The GOP has been Halloween scary when it comes to this Ebola thing. And as the GOP often does, it presumes its sad cadre of listeners/followers can’t remember last Saturday from Mother’s Day, so it says stupid things figuring it can get away with it. While all the GOP was running around in their clown cars lighting everyone’s hair on fire with the “WHO’S IN CHARGE” allegations, they conveniently forgot that they were IN CHARGE of blocking the obvious person to be in charge.
You see, they blocked the nominee for Surgeon General Vivek Murthy a good while back. Dr. Murthy drew this scorn because he had had the temerity to suggest that gun violence in this country was a national health concern. Even though, as SG Dr. Murthy would have zero control over gun laws, the NRA wizzed it’s collective pants and ordered its minions to put a stop to the nomination, which they did.
Now I would be the first to tell you that in all likelihood, the Ebola fright week would have happened in any case, since the GOP is firmly convinced that frightened Americans tend to vote Republican and thus will miss no opportunity to so terrify where possible, but rational people see the GOP walking into their own poop as it were.
Enter the equivalency provocateur, who told me, “aw shucks, you guys wouldn’t approve of Bork. So nominate someone who can get confirmed, and stop whining”.
Essentially, all denied nominees are the same.
This is false equivalency. Nominees have been rejected by both sides in the past, but ostensibly it is because they are unfit in some manner for the office to which they are intended. Such was not the case in Mr. Murthy’s case–his medical credentials are unassailable. He simply was unacceptable to a small lobbying group. Murthy undoubtedly would make the same argument regarding the need for better safeguards in cars. And it would be as repellant for him to be dismissed from consideration by the auto lobby.
In fact, as regards the Consumer Protection Agency, the GOP was actually clear: Richard Cordray had been denied the job for years by recalcitrant Republicans, not because he was not qualified, but because they hated the agency and were trying to make it powerless, by keeping it headless. They fully admitted that Cordray’s credentials were impeccable.
Claiming that “both sides do it” is not an answer, its avoidance of the real issues of why one party has decided that not governing is the new way to govern as the minority. Instead of working with the majority and trying to tone down legislation that has majority support, they aim at obstructing all legislation and such has been their stated decision since a week or so after Obama entered the White House in 2009.
Case in Point:
Among the other asinine arguments about how we aren’t doing enough about Ebola, is the usage of it, as a means to whine about the border security issue again.
We can talk all day about border security, how more people have been deported under Obama than Bush, how more agents have been deployed under Obama than Bush, how more fences have been constructed under Obama than Bush and on and on, but of course, that doesn’t fit the meme the GOP wishes to pursue, so instead we talk about how terrorists who are carrying Ebola will be crossing our borders willy-nilly and infecting everyone before they die.
When we again remind them, then why aren’t we talking about the Northern border too then, we get the “that’s comparing apples and oranges”.
When asked to explain that, they figuratively, smile slyly and walk away.
Because of course it is not comparing apples and oranges. The Northern border is more than twice as long as the Southern, and as best I can learn is “secure” to about 1%, I’d hazard a guess that is mostly at the Great Lakes, which presents a sort of barrier itself and the St. Laurence, and at points of entry such as Sarnia, Windsor, Buffalo, and Niagara. Other than that, its wide open and as everyone knows, a few thousand of our citizens entered Canada to avoid Vietnam a few years back if you recall.
Who’s kidding who?
If you were a terrorist, might you consider it in fact easier to enter through the north than the south?
If you buy any of that nonsense in the first place that is.
Case in Point:
Some one posts about Cheney and Haliburton being responsible for the existence of ISIS in the first place.
Now that’s probably a stretch. I suspect that they have a part to play in the rise of ISIS to be sure, pushing a needless war that allowed war profiteering companies like Haliburton to make billions at the expense of over a 100,000 Iraqi lives to say nothing of our own losses. That is something we could discuss.
But the response we get is not a defense of Cheney and company, but rather, a “let sleeping dogs lie” kind of theory because “history can’t be changed”.
No indeed history cannot be changed, but that is hardly an argument. It’s not even rational good sense on it’s own merits. To know and learn from history gives us the hope at least that we don’t make the same mistakes. So said George Santayana however inelegantly he might have worded it. And as others point out, we are constantly learning it better; we seldom write one definitive history of anything, but continue to gather information and reflect on the subject from myriads of angles.
But it does offer to shut down the conversation does it not?
And that’s all that the GOP seems good at.
At all costs, we must avoid what we don’t want to confront. I think you get that when you sign the card, “I register as a Republican,” along with your requisite button and US flag pin.
These are false equivalencies, or simply avoidance period. Don’t be confused. It’s the first line, and usually the only line of defense you will get. We don’t argue with the uber right to convince them, for that is usually not possible, we seek to inform the fringe who are listening in and actually want to learn.
Continue to be clear with your facts, scrupulous in your research, and quick to admit any mistake. You can count on the fact they won’t do any of these things, and a fair listener/reader will end trusting your version. The point is after all, truth.