Straw Man Material Fallacy – Tired Of It Yet?

By on Sep 17, 2009 in politics (caring for civilization) | 0 comments

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In response to an arguement that “I would argue that anyone in favor of “big government” hates capitalism”:

Using said argumentative device (a material fallacy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_fallacies), one could state: “Republicans love torture”, “Anti war factions hate freedom”, “People who sign up for the military must like killing” ” If you are a fan of Pee Wee Herman, you are a pervert”, “If you are Muslim, you must be a terrorist” and so on.

Taking someone’s stand on a particular issue and extrapolating a belief system for them on their behalf is a divisive and bullying tactic that allows pundits and propagandists to prop up their opinions with a fabricated “other”. These straw men serve no citizen, voter, faction, population, or nation well except to provide the egos behind them with the temporary sensation of having followers rally to their flanks, resulting in… RATINGS.

Over the last ninety years we have been vacillating between and experimenting with Capitalism that leans either Hayuk or Keynsian. Sometimes one is a better answer to a situation than the other – there are valid points to each. The larger point I am trying to make is that:

Economic systems and philosophies are not religion and no 1st world country that I am aware of operates on anything but a mix of political, economic, and social philosophies.

A dogmatic approach to applying any of them would lead to ruin in and ignore the lessons learned from experiments like Communism and Socialism (both of which were conceived as utopian, albeit naive, solutions that addressed vast disparity in the distribution of wealth and had the best interest of humanity at their core – NOT baby mutilating, Satan worshiping, philistine godlessness – well, maybe godlessness, but not the philistine variety).

If you were really an enemy of Socialism you would refuse to pay taxes – especially Federal (which you can technically do). You would also believe that all roads, schools, medical, and scientific research should be developed, built, and maintained by private industry. You would believe that the airlines should regulate themselves. You would want food safety to be left up to mega corporations who’s right and legal obligation is to create wealth for its board members above all else. You would think that we would be better suited having our states protected by privately funded militias rather than a centralized power.

The fact is, we all believe in Socialism applied intelligently and for causes we are behind (Newt Gingrich recently supported and lobbied for government funding of Alzheimer’s). Our pooled resources, tax dollars, are far more effective at accomplishing certain things that are in the best interest of our country than if private industry attempted to do so. Although I have mixed feelings about both, the FDA and EPA have protected countless lives and increased the prosperity of our citizens in immeasurable ways, by placing limitations on industry. The laws of human nature demand that we take more and more regardless of how rich or powerful we become. It is just what we do.

If the people negatively affected, usually the poor or disenfranchised, and have no means of protecting themselves then we are losing a vital part of our American identity – champion of the weak. In other words, equal rights and equal opportunity. No person, be they corporation or human, should have the right to benefit at the expense of another without expressed consent.

There needs to be a way to redress issues of conflict in this regard. Without it things like seatbelts, child safety laws, child labor laws, teacher’s unions wouldn’t be around and children would still be running through clouds of DDT from the spray trucks that roll down the streets on warm summer evenings. Through the use of your tax dollars, Socialist principles within our government, and Socialist tactics of organization, your life has been made safer and more comfortable.

This country was founded as a free market Democracy – governed by the many. The “many” being voters, not corporations (which are inherently neither good nor evil but didn’t exist in in their modern form in 1776). The problem is that our media, politics, and powers have evolved in such a way that an alarming amount of control is being taken by the few through corporate political influence and mass media. That only happens because we allow it through complacency and laziness, not demanding more from our news sources, and not living our lives with questioning minds.

Those who dissent (THE MOST American of traits) and would see the power scale shifted back to being in the hands of the people would be foolish and ignorant to arm themselves as opponents of capitalism. Time and time again, it is proven, that a free market is absolutely critical to any successful economy, regardless of whether it is leaning more Socialist or Libertarian.