Friday, June 23, 2006

Argumentation 101

Posted by Jabawacefti

Arguments are fun. Or, they should be, if conducted in a fairly reasonable manner with a hint of sarcasm and good humor. But there's this fun new mechanism employed in argumentation that seems to me to reek of stupidity and ignorance: when you disagree with someone's position, you declare their future expectations as a "lie." For example, I found this in the Daily Kos, although I feel like I see it all the time now:

The Vice-President repeated this lie again today as Democrats pressed for some sort of exit strategy in Iraq:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Withdrawing American troops from Iraq would embolden terrorists and leave the United States and its allies vulnerable to new attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney said Thursday. "The worst possible thing we could do is what the Democrats are suggesting," Cheney told CNN's John King in an interview at the vice president's residence. [...]
Neither an immediate nor phased withdrawal would confer any protection on the United States, Cheney said. "If we pull out, they'll follow us," he said of terrorists.

That's fine if you think that may or may not happen. But why does everything you disagree with have to be a lie, told with the intent to deceive?

Picture it this way. Let's say we're talking about raising the minimum wage:

JABS: Raising the minimum wage would be bad for employees.

Scott: No it wouldn't, they have to be innovative anyway, and this will just require more innovation. [I'm clearly rushing this to make a point.]

JABS: That's a lie, it would be bad for employees by making it less likely that the Company can compete and they'd have to fire the employees.

How annoying would that be?


At 12:53 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

Really annoying.

I'm not sure I'm "successful" at it, but I try to steer clear of grounding my arguments in stuff like this. It isn't necessarily a lie that Cheney's spouting. It may be utterly mistaken. It may be stone-cold fact. You can't say, because it's hypothetical.

Hyperbole is fun when it's knowingly wielded. It's less so when it's randomly spattered.

At 1:02 PM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

"I try to steer clear of grounding my arguments in stuff like this"


BTW, sent you a couple of emails lately. Did ya get em?

At 1:12 PM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

I don't think anyone's done it here, but I've read it a bunch elsewhere.

At 4:41 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

Thanks, Scott. As Jabs will attest, I'm a little difficult to get a hold of sometimes.

Part of this is my flakeishness, but part is also this site's account. Try resending anything you'd like to

And yea, on both sides of the divide, this sort of shit happens far too often.

But again, what I think it comes down to is an over-confident surety that YOUR side is right. The trouble is, Democracy's not designed to have a "right" side. It's supposed to have "sides" that come to "agreements" and "compromises."

At 4:50 PM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

Resent as one email.

My philosophy in politics is basically the same as my philosophy on religion. The whole mess is so screwed up by humans that no one has got it 100% right and God help us all.

At 5:36 PM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 5:37 PM, Blogger Jabawacefti said... bed.

God help us all in bed, Scott.

I'm sorry. I'm feeling juvenile.

At 8:32 PM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

Feeling a juvenile? See Morse!! He's a pedophile too. And by saying "too" I'm not admitting to anything. But jabba did, cause he said.. What? Oh. Oh. Okay, scratch that. He said "feeling juvenile". So... I've got nothing. Have a good weekend!!!


Post a Comment

<< Home