Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Logical Fallacy

Driving south to Oregon City this morning (at a truly uncivil hour of the pre-dawn) I was pulled from my post-sleep/pre-waking numb by the pickup in front of me, which was doing some sort of cross-lane carioca.

In southeast Portland you have to be circumspect dealing with erratic drivers in the pre-dawn hours. They may be weaving around only because they're coming off the night shift and their errata comes from mere exhaustion. But there are also a lot of tweakers and all-night drunks down here. And no few of them travel strapped, so getting into an altercation with one of these brain-baked bastards can cause you to contract a case of death or serious injury.

So I tend to give these gomers a fair amount of room.

As I backed off this guy I had some time to study his rig. All things considered it was pretty restrained for SE Portland. No rubber scrotum hanging from the trailer hitch, for one thing (these "truck nuts" are sort of the wattles-and-comb of the alpha SE Portland male, the latex finger shot at the rest of Stumptown for it's contempt and distain for his blue-collar cockitude). None of the other sorts of goofy redneck colors that these guys tend to fly; no rebel flag, no "Bad Boy" stickers, no mudflap nudes.Just an NRA logo in the rear window and a single bumper sticker:

"Annoy a Liberal - Use Facts and Logic".

Maybe it was because I'd been reading about the latest GOP candidate debate and the Rise (or is it the "Re-Rise"?) of Newt I had been thinking about just that.

And I had to wonder - does this guy, and, by inference, guys like him - really believe that American conservatives, people like Newt, and the Romneybot, and Michelle the Girl With The Faraway Eyes, and Rush, and...well, you probably know the rest...are coming up with their ideas based on "facts and logic"?

And I had to admit that they probably do.

I've dealt with a fair number of "movement conservatives" over the past 30 years. I'd say that probably in the last twentysomething I've seldom met anything but the common or garden-variety GOP-er, the sort of people who are uncomfortable with Mitt Romney because he once actually endorsed something kinda-sorta like Obamacare because he was the then-governor of Massachussetts, thus having to worry about people in his purview getting sick or incapacitated and ending up on the public purse, and concluding (using, y'know, "facts and logic") that using said public funds to PREVENT them from getting sicker and unable to work might actually save the public money in the long run.

And that led me to thinking about the sort of things that modern U.S. conservatives are "supposed" to believe, and wondering - how many of them seem to be based on actual "facts and logic"?

Tax cuts.

The by-God Ultima Thule of modern American conservatism appears to be tax cuts. In good times and bad, in war and peace, for richer, for poorer, the conservative answer to any question appears to be "tax cuts".

I cannot see how this has anything to do with "facts and logic".

Would you consider a driver who drive in a howling sleetstorm the same way he drove on a sunny summer day to have been guided by "facts and logic"? Would a surgeon who operated on a ingrown toenail using the same procedure as one operating on a triple bypass seem to be employing "facts and logic"?

So how does this square with the conservative fixation on tax cuts?

I don't see how it does.

Fighting land wars in Asia, regardless of whether they're "on Terror" or not?

Deregulating, well, everything?

Considering the actions of "big government" innately Evil yet trusting "big business" to be inherently Good?

Preferring pre-partum fetuses over post-partum women? Considering regulating things like workplace safety, environmental cleanliness, and financial fraud to be an unmitigated wrong? Talking loudly about fear of "government" yet trusting that government with great powers of secrecy and espionage - providing that government is "conservative" and promises to use those powers against "enemies of the state". Talking loudly about "job creators" while watching the unemployment lines grow, the median wage drop and the concentration of wealth at the top increase?

Facts and logic?

What are these? Because if modern U.S. conservatism springs from "facts and logic" I am Dorothy Lamour.


Pluto said...

I've had more than a few conversations with the Tea Party crowd and the discussions all go the same way.

On say, Obamacare, they rant and they roar about "socialized medicine" and "death panels" and work themselves into a lather about how much they hate it. Then I point out the facts of the current situation (healthcare is 17-18% of the economy and growing at 1-2% per year) and ask what they would recommend.

The Tea Party person never argues with the facts, they KNOW the facts. They don't argue with logic either; for example they realize that healthcare is rationed in the US by cost. But they NEVER have an answer. They just sigh and slump and tell me how screwed they are (even the wealthy ones) and how little hope they have for the future. They don't blame anybody but themselves (which is usually an accurate assessment of the cause of their problems in my opinion).

These people are bleeding and they know it and they're afraid (sometimes they are most afraid of admitting it). They are lashing out in their pain and fear and they are hitting the first available target, the government (usually presented to them by Fox News, which shows the stories in the Tea Party's preferred format).

Mainstream Republicans are usually a totally different matter. I'll mention a fact or two and they just whiz by like I hadn't said anything. The more I talk the faster they talk. There never is anything resembling a dialog.

Labrys said...

Ah, Dorothy, you look darling, you do. Seriously, the truck nuts thing? Everytime I see those I want to order them in bulk and send a pair to every Democrat in Congress....

But ignore me, I am snarly today. I had to start my day before coffee, even, by watching my beloved Harley loaded for shipment permanently away.

I am werewolf minded now...

Lisa said...

Cognitive dissonance and logical fallacies seem to be affecting most, today. To warp Neil Sedaka, "waking up is hard to do"!

"Annoy a Liberal - Use Facts and Logic" lacked the logical rejoinder, which is, "-- because they are so unaccustomed to our doing so." But then, it shouldn't necessarily be "annoy", but more at "flummox".

FDChief said...

Pluto: Same here. I have no idea how some of these people manage to actually make a living, they seem to have no capacity for actual critical thinking; observation does not lead to analysis.

And they're a third of the U.S. public AND the most amped-up and noisy third.

What an effing mess.

Labrys: Well, damn. I'm sorry to hear that. I actually sold my scoot (I brought my little '86 Sporty back from Panama) back in the Nineties because Oregon drivers are scary bad about not seeing bikers, and because riding in the rain just wasn't fun. But I remember how much I loved that bike. I'll bet you're ready to bite someone.

Add to that the despicable caving on the Defense bill and the person I'd happily bite right now is spending the night at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

I do get a laugh when I see those damn trucknuts, though. I always think "Gee, pal...do you ever feel...puny...next to your own truck? Did you think this through?"

Lisa: I think it's not so much the "facts and logic" but the annoy part that is important to these guys. They don't really care so much about...well, anything, just so long as it pisses off some liberal somewhere.

A lot of them remind me of Cleavon Little in "Blazing Saddles" with the pistol to their own head; "First one moves and the nigger gets it!"

They appear happy to completely rape and pilalge their own society if it makes a hippie cry.

Fucking idiots.

rangeragainstwar said...

i recently saw a bumper sticker on a well to do white guy.my age.
it was a NRA endorsement of Scott for governor. it said-vote for freedom.vote rick scott.
now ain't that Amurica.
little brick houses and all.

rangeragainstwar said...

the bumper sticker was on the guys truck, not on him.
maybe it should be affixed to his fore.....

Lisa said...

Spot-on Blazing Saddles analogy.

Schadenfreude is probably not the first thing on their lips at breakfast, but Republicans in particular seem to enjoy this sport. I wish everyone would learn that this pleasure is not comme il faut, esp. when it comes at the expense of your nation.

Barry said...

Labrys said...

" Ah, Dorothy, you look darling, you do. Seriously, the truck nuts thing? Everytime I see those I want to order them in bulk and send a pair to every Democrat in Congress...."

*I* think about hedge clippers, loops of wire, etc.