Thursday, October 29, 2009

Since When Was Reductio A One-Way Street?

A self-styled "libertarian" clown (judging by the blog roll) plays reductio ad absurdum with my post, some questions on unemployment for economists. He's only playing with half a deck, though. The first mistake he makes (and it's a doozy) is to equate asking people questions with telling them to "shut the fuck up". On the contrary, when I ask a question, I'm actually inviting someone to speak.

The second mistake is to twist my point about the non-representation of the unemployed in forums on unemployment into a demand that only the unemployed should have a voice.

Based on those two total distortions, "Angus" proceeds to imagine some "logical extensions" of my argument, reductio ad absurdum: "Only the uninsured should have a voice in the health care debate." "Only soldiers should make our military decisions."

We'll no, Angus, that's not how you do a proper reductio. To do it right you must begin from your debate opponent's actual premise to show why his or her argument is absurd. If you first distort the premise, you've demonstrated nothing but your intellectual dishonesty and/or your incompetence.

So let me ask you a question, Angus, is it also your position that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 denied the right to vote to white folks because it upheld the right of African Americans to vote? That's how you do an actual reductio ad absurdum and not a phony one based on glibly distorting your opponent's position.


Anonymous said...

"Your". Also "your" position.

Sandwichman said...

Thanks, editymous.

Anonymous said...

Dude, what has you so worked up? A debate? You seem to be debating against yourself.

TheTrucker said...

It may be that Walker is having a reaction to the current self admiration phase that seems to infest rightardia. Within the rightarded bubble the ability to state a false premise and wrap it in a "have you stopped beating your wife" question scores major social credits. The "Where does the Constitution specifically give the Congress the power to force people to buy health insurance?" question is collecting massive merit badges and social points in rightardia.

When presented as a tax credit the answer is clear but that would require a tax hike and a rebate. The real objective of the rightarded is to score political points by forcing a tax increase on people booking less than $250k in income (and a rebate of course) thus breaking the Obama pledge of no tax increase on the middle class.

For the rightarded fascist it is all politics all the time. False framing, false analogy, and outright lying about the issue and/or your opponent's position are all part of what passes for "superior intelligence" on the "right".

Sandwichman said...

The righties don't faze me. What gets my goat is when folks who are supposed to be the good guys -- the James K. Galbraiths -- start channeling James K. Glassman because they "haven't seen a comprehensive assessment."