7/18/2009

Circular Logic

The crazy right wingnuts (Yes, I am comfortable with the redundancy of that phrase.) are trying to pull off a logical fallacy on par with the argument that caused God to vanish in Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy.

"Now it is such a bizarrely impossible coincidence that anything so mind-bogglingly useful [as the Bable fish] could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the nonexistence of God. The argument goes something like this:
"'I refuse to prove that I exist,' says God, 'for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.'
"'But,' said Man, 'the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED.'
"'Oh dear,' says God, 'I hadn't though of that' and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic."

The equally loony wingnut argument begins with the idea that the far right and the far left are so corrupt, despotic, and anti-democratic that they are the same; an arc that meets in the end and, therefore, is a circle without ends. Since the circle is continuous, there is no need for both the right and the left to be involved and, hence, all corrupt, despotic, and anti-democratic regimes are of the same ilk. If they are the same, they might as well all be called "socialist" or "far left," leaving the far right innocent of ever engaging in such immoral acts.

Part of the "logic" involved in this manipulation abuses the fact that the official name of the German Nazi Party was Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (abbreviated NSDAP), before that the Workers' Party, and is commonly known in English as the Nazi Party. While the Nazi's were fond of gibbering about the failures of capitalism, they were allied with all of the elements of Germany's far right; including most of the nation's religions institutions. Much of the socialist reputation of the Nazi's came from their penchant for confiscating substantial property from wealthy Jewish business men and transferring it to their own followers. The Nazi's did, however, have a strong "small business" following among Germans.

This is a short distance from the equally crazy religious fanatics' claim that the worst human rights' abuses in human history are connected to atheist regimes; Stalin, Mao, and Hitler. The first two are most likely accurate, but Hitler was far from atheist and much of his staff and most of Germany were religious, superstitious, and appeared to believe the most dangerous of human fallacies; that the gods were on their side.

In 1998, Jesse Ventura launched the American Reform Party into national prominence as a candidate for Minnesota's Govenor. It took exactly one election cycle, 2 years, before the religious right took over the party and crazy Texan Ross Perot jealously took back the reins of the party for his own purposes. Their Party chairman, Russell Verney, demanded (as Perot's spokesman) that Ventura resign from the party. Two years after that, one of the nuttiest wingnuts ever, Pat Buchanan, and his collection of religious whackos took over the party and Ventura left. Now, based on the party name and Ventura's candidacy, it would be possible to imply that Buchanan's wingnuts represented the original ideals of the American Reform Party, but that would require disrespect for and ignorance of reality.

Likewise, pretending that Hitler and his henchmen could even spell "Karl Marx," let alone imagining that they made an attempt to act as communists or socialists or human beings is an act of self-delusion. One of the greatest skills of the right wing is their ability to sell bags of crap to folks suffering from overflowing toilets. Call it "spin," "propaganda," "marketing," or "advertising," but whatever you call it you'll need to have a limited knowledge of history, an easily distorted grasp of reality, and some sort of vested interest in the underlying purpose of their story to be taken in this easily. The big pitches of the last 30 years has been family values, abortion, and a completely dishonest faith in capitalism. Characters who have the most to gain from exactly the thing they claim to dislike the most, creeping socialism, pretend to be advocates for "the free market": the military-industrial complex, the energy industry, finance, and medicine, just to name a few dependent-on-government-handouts usual suspects.

The right's claim to a chunk of taxpayer income is always based on public ignorance, fear-mongering, and corporate conspiracy (the activity that antitrust legislation once attempted to regulate). The right's claim to be the protectors of capitalism is as believable as Dick Cheney's patriotism.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7/21/2009

    Like the Economist said in an article this month, "Banks and free lunches traditional go together. Lenders are run for private benefit, but taxpayers underwrite them when things go wrong." The people with the most money are the least likely to believe in "the magic of the market."

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