Wednesday, July 25, 2018

FAKE ARGUMENTS



You comment on the gross level of inequality existing today. Someone responds by claiming you want an "equality of outcomes." But nowhere are you saying that, only that inequality should be reduced. Homeless people should have a roof over their head, you are not saying they should be given a 4000sq. ft. McMansion on a quarter acre in the burbs. Same goes for wages. These should be enough to cover one's needs, this is not saying everyone should get $50 an hour.

You have just endured the Straw Man Argument, the classic and most used tool of the fakers. Essentially with the Straw Man, the faker is lying about what you really believe, and trying to make out that this lie is YOUR position. Some of these fraudsters when challenged, will claim "Well, this is what you REALLY believe." For this, sleazy little trick, go down to the part called Innuendo.

You point out that most crime is drug related and that if drug addiction was treated as a medical, social problem the amount of crime would go way down. A phony responds with, "OK, let's do away with all laws, then for sure you would have no crime." Of course, doing away with one law is not the same as doing away with all of them anymore than cutting down one tree is denuding a forest. Nor does the faker distinguish between laws against committing harm to others – like murder, theft etc., and laws that have been enacted to promote someone's personal morality or prejudices. The former everyone agrees with, for the latter there is no consensus, since it is based upon some one's personal belief. Over time, we have eliminated these laws, examples being those against homosexuality, divorce, common law living arrangements, "loitering" and "vagrancy."

A faker is complaining about the supposed lack of respect for hierarchy and authority in society and how we need to have this so people can look up to someone and push themselves forward in their endeavors. They carefully ignore the fact that there are two different types of hierarchy and authority in society. One form is based upon ability and knowledge. This is the authority of the physician,the goalie, the carpenter, the musician, the scholar, the poet, the dancer etc. I see little if any evidence that people are dismissive of those who excel in these fields, or any other fields. Indeed, many of these people are idolized and youth want nothing more than to have a highly qualified person as their mentor. The other form of hierarchy is power based. You are forced to obey these people, and keep up some pretense of respect in their presence. The former is based on ability, the latter on violence. And of course many people have contempt, and deservedly so, for the latter. I suspect the faker deliberately confuses the two forms in an attempt to defend power hierarchies.

The slippery definition is a favorite bit of fakery. Right-wingers trot out the line that any bit of social reform – say public schools or old age pensions are "socialist." And of course, anything socialist is evil in their eyes. This would be news to all the rock-ribbed Tories who enacted social reforms beginning back in Dicken's day. If someone consistently thought that a five dollar bill was actually five thousand dollars, they would be judged insane, and I think this judgement well applies to the reactionaries who equate universally approved minor reforms with red-flag socialism. A variation on this fakery is to reduce all forms of socialism to state socialism, in spite of the fact that a few minutes with Wikipedia shows there are many kinds of socialism, most of which reject state ownership. Examples, syndicalism, guild socialism, self-management, mutualism, cooperative socialism and communalism. Furthermore, all the founders of socialism, including Marx and Engels were deeply opposed to equating socialism with statism.

Then there are the types who simply HATE the environmental movement. If you make a statement like "We ought to phase out oil" or "I am opposed to the Kinder Morgan pipeline", out comes the fakery. "Oh, you want to shut down the oil industry! You fool! We can't live without oil." Trouble is, that is not what you are saying (STRAW MAN!) – phasing-out is not turning off the taps, but a gradual process – as the new energy system comes on line, the old one fades away. It might take 30 years, just like oil did-in coal. Kinder Morgan is only one line, not all of them. Furthermore, most environmentalists think the bitumen should be refined in Alberta, not shipped abroad in this risky fashion.

A typical douche bag fraudster argument is pretending your poignant is a hypocrite because they don't live up to some high standard THEY have created for you, a standard, of course, they would never live up to themselves. Here's a classic; "David Suzuki is opposed to pollution, yet flies to a conference in Australia, what a hypocrite!" Since there are no passenger liners anymore, what is he going to do, row? Put on his Jesus boots? If you are going to do something about climate change it won't be from a handful of enviros not taking planes, but will come about through organization. Part of that process consists of conferences, rallies, and nothing helps these more than a "big name."

A variant of this fakery is to condemn an enviro if they go somewhere by car, or attack a socialist because they are using capitalist consumer goods or institutions. As though someone could stand outside the system we live in, and once again, change comes through mass movements, not a handful of people acting in some Puritan manner.

Now we get to the really dirty stuff, a quartet of below the belt, Josef Goebbels type slime-ball tactics. These are; Innuendo, the Fake Quote, the Amalgam and Chain Quoting.

Innuendo is the favorite of McArthyites, the secret police, right-extremists and left-sectarians. "Joseph Kay was seen attending a meeting at which Communists, er pardon me, Commonists, were present. Hence, Joseph Kay hangs around with Commonists and therefore must be a Comsymp." That a hundred or more people were at the meeting, maybe six of whom were Communists, and the fact that Joseph Kay does not adhere to the Communist Party, is of course, beside the point. A variation involves someone with a hate-on for some writer or activist. They claim that Prof. X is in favor of tyranny. You point out that you have read all his works and not only does he never endorse authoritarian regimes, but expressly opposes them. Their priceless response, "Oh, he's just saying that. That's not how he really feels. He favours tyranny." You cannot win against such irrationality.

The fake quote seems to involve someone of extreme views projecting their anxieties on to some group or individual. In part it may be related to innuendo, as in "This is what they really think." Some political fanatic or secret police agent concocts a quotation that makes the target look unsavoury. The quotation is then passed around from extremist group to extremist group and attains a life of its own, sort of like the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" fakery. The classic fake quote is of Lenin supposedly saying that the best way to revolutionize a country is to undermine its morals. This quote cannot be traced to any source in his writings and is laughable considering what a Victorian prude Lenin actually was.

The Amalgam involves the use of a fraudulent syllogism. At some level, all people will have some interest, affection or idea in common.The faker then takes that commonality and uses it to "prove" that his target has the same worldview as someone really evil. Here is a classic example, "Hitler was a vegetarian. Hitler was a Nazi. Joseph Kay is a vegetarian. Therefore Joseph Kay is a Nazi." The Amalgam is a favorite, not only of the far-right, but of 1930s Stalinist sectarians who concocted the "Trotskyite Social Fascist" around the common theme of both the right and Trotsky criticizing Stalin.

Chain quoting involves taking bits of two different quotes from an author's works, adding three dots and claiming it as the authors genuine viewpoint. Thus, on page 94 of Prof X' treatise, he states, "It is to be deeply regretted that the democracies did not take the threat of fascism more seriously in the early 1930s." Then on page 95, "Fortunately, the democracies decided not to side with Hitler." The faker now takes "It is to be deeply regretted that the democracies..." and adds that to "... decided not to side with Hitler." Thus the complete opposite of the authors viewpoint now magically appears, "It is to be deeply regretted that the democracies... decided not to side with Hitler."

This bit of intellectual corruption DOES happen. Renowned Hegel scholar, Walter Kaufman, found that Karl Popper, of all people, was chain quoting Hegel to make him look like the godfather of totalitarianism. Of course, this was during the height of the Cold War and the ideologues were looking for scapegoats, and who better a victim than a difficult to read philosopher who had been dead for a hundred and twenty years!

Virtually all arguments from the right are composed of these dishonest tricks. Same goes with left-sectarians. The reason for this is sometimes complex, having to do with an authoritarian personality – one that always has to be right, manias, cultism and such. But in the main, fakery is used for the simple reason that it is difficult to counter the ideas they oppose. How do you come up with rational arguments that vast inequality, misogyny, racism, environmental destruction and oppression are nothing to worry about, indeed are good things? How can you make a rational argument against someone who thinks that all progressives should work together on a series of common goals? You can't. So rather than coming at least half way with your opponent – or the person you WANT to be your opponent, you fake it. Makes you feel superior, rationalizes your prejudices away. Peace in the valley again! Trouble is, it is all self-delusion and you actually look like a total goddam fool to everyone around you.

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