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.

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