Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Can you follow the logic?

Another thing that really sticks in my craw is when someone with a voice- whether its a politician, a pundit, or a proll- posts, publishes or speaks something with gaping holes in logic. Conservatives are notorious for this, of course, and the less said of Rush Limbuagh, the better.

One reason this bugs me so much is that slipping mis- or disinformation into a discussion/news story/commentary is an insidious act. It not only shows a lack of respect for your audience, but demonstrates bad intentions. The disinformers are counting on listeners to be too stupid to notice the errors of logic. They NEED us to be stupid. Consider that, even now, nearly a decade later, there are STILL people who believe that Iraq had something to do with the 9/11 attack, and that was why we invaded Iraq. The continuous inplication (and outright lying) brainwashed millions of Americans, and some of the weak-minded still haven't figured it out.

But just today, one pundit posted a rather bizarre commentary on CNN. com that made me shout at my screen. Jack Cafferty is an outspoken and occasionally controversial commentator (I only know him from CNN, and loved all the coverage he gave to Sarah Palin).

I thought this might be a good time for a little game of "Spot the flaw in logic." If you can, then you might be ready to debunk some of the more conservative pundits, or "nutjobs," who use their positions of celebrity to influence the weak-minded.

Let's play!

In his blog posted on CNN today, Cafferty suggests that the war on drugs is not only failing, but actual insanity. He thinks "its time" we consider legalizing drugs. Now that's a valid opinion, and not without merit. Surely we can have a discussion about that. Lastly, lets not overlook the devils advocate option- that Cafferty is being deliberately provocative in his role as commentator and CNN contributor. Heck, if people don't go to CNN or watch the channel, he's out of a job, right?

We're not going to discuss the war on drugs here, we're looking at LOGIC or common sense.

Cafferty takes us through the following train of thought. You can read the whole text of course, and h makes a good case, but I'm providing bullet points here:

  1. "The United States is the largest illegal drug market in the world. And they're willing to pay big money to get it."
  2. "The drug suppliers are only too happy to oblige."
  3. They're everywhere: Anchorage, Alaska; Boston, Massachusetts; Atlanta, Georgia; and Billings, Montana. The Mexican drug cartels now have operations in 230 American cities.
  4. "They have been able to infiltrate those 230 cities because we have not bothered to secure our borders. "
Do you see the sudden left turn at the end there? You see how its not related to the above 3 statements? Even if there were NO MEXICO, there would still be people who want to buy drugs in Anchorage, Alaska and Boston, Massachusetts, and people willing to sell it to them.

The border doesn't have ANYTHING to do with the drug war; its just means the players are different.

Did drugs enter those 230 cities ONLY since the Mexican Cartels started peddling them there? Or has there been drugs there before. Have we not had books, movies, news and (god save us) commentary on "drugs in the big city" since... well since we've had cities? Does anyone remember Scarface? The French Connection? Does anyone think that if, by some miracle, the Mexican Cartels decided to close up shop, there wouldn't be some other player to step in the very next day?

Cafferty writes: "Someone described insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time." [Editors Note- it was Albert Einstein] One such example of insanity is blaming all our troubles on others, or, specifically, blaming all our troubles on "the border."

Close all the borders you want, Mr Cafferty. The people will still buy, the dealers will still deal, and someone will still find a way to get the stuff into the country. Mr Cafferty's argument has a lot of merit, but when I run into a stumbling block like that, my brain screeches to a halt as I try to reconcile an otherwise cogent argument with the infusions of insanity some pundits include.

Dear Pundits:
Every time you make a ludicrous argument, every time you try to pervert the truth, I'll be there to poke a hole in your little fantasy. I refuse to be stupid. I refuse to allow the people around me be stupid, and I plan on calling you out each and every time you try to slip something like this past us.

And stop peddling false solutions and preying on the fears of the weak-minded.

1 comment:

Scoopernicus said...

Hey lets not forget the flow of drugs coming from our neigbors in the North.

Granted it's mostly US seniors desparate for affordable life saving medications...