Tag Archives: logic

Shock and Dismay at the Daily Beast

I may have mentioned in one of my earlier blogs that when writing an expository piece, it is good to use actual data to bolster your argument. That way, you don’t seem to just be flapping your gums and praying no one notices that the only thing coming out from between them is hot air. Now that we have some distance from the first presidential debate, also known as the Night of the Living Dead for those expecting some animation from the Obama side of the stage, we can see how the Left has taken it.

Badly, to say the least.

Now, bear in mind that Romney did little more than what one might expect at a spirited board of directors meeting. It was not rocket science. The man had one message, jobs, and he stuck to it. His rhetoric was not even particularly compelling. He let the message itself carry the load, and it worked. Now, several days later, the leftist media has finally settled on a reason for his resounding win: He lied!

That is the explanation we find all over the media, now that Al Gore’s altitude excuse and the “magic hankie” excuse have been debunked, and it is peppered throughout Andrew Sullivan’s latest rant at The Daily Beast called Did Obama Just Through the Entire Election Away? True, the brunt of his dismay and anger is aimed squarely at Obama, but he does accuse Romney of lying his way to victory, saying in one part, “Lies work when they are unrebutted live on stage,” to try and explain the massive swing in support away from Obama. Later on in the piece he laments Obama’s inability to recover from the debate losses by adding, “…when a president self-immolates on live TV, and his opponent shines with lies and smiles, and a record number of people watch, it’s hard to see how a president and his party recover.”

The problem that Sullivan and his cohorts in the Left Wing have is that they cannot pinpoint Romney’s great lies. When you call someone a liar, it helps to actually describe the lie. They have not done that. Let me, therefore, give them a hand:

  • Was it when Romney said jobs were his priority? He is a businessman, a jobs guy, if you will, so that seems pretty much in character.
  • Was it when Romney linked jobs to energy production? Any first year economics student can tell you there is a connection between low energy costs and higher economic output.
  • Maybe it was when he said Obamacare would destroy jobs? That is a tricky one, since few people if any have actually read all 2,700 pages of the Affordable Care Act and fewer still understand it. However, since it includes a large number of tax increases, and we know taxes on business inhibits hiring, it makes sense.

The bottom line is that Romney looked at Obama’s first term through the lens of a businessman and simply reported what was wrong with what he saw. If he actually was lying, I would love for someone on the Left to point out the lie. Until then, it is little more than whining and fingerpointing.

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Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

Whenever we write to persuade, we usually like to cite evidence. In fact, anyone who has gone through an English Comp class will recall that their professor insisted upon it. In our deeply polarized society, there are many strident voices making arguments from both sides of the political divide, and most people rely on their preconceived notions and “guts” to determine which side is right. That means that both sides are essentially preaching to their respective choirs and to people too lazy to think about what they are hearing.

Take a good, long, hard look at this nation, the problems we face, the leadership we have, and tell me that this thoughtless attitude by the public, an attitude fostered by our media and the political class, has done us any good whatsoever. So take that look, I’ll wait…

Still waiting…

Stepped out to have a Coke…

Now I am back…

Nothing? Didn’t think so. Let’s face it, we cannot afford to be this lazy or ignorant any longer, we cannot take things at face value any longer. We have to begin to think for ourselves again. For example, let us take a look at the hot-button issue of gun control.

If you were confronted with a statistic that told you that in a given year, almost 100,000 people are shot or killed with a gun (www.bradycampaign.org), your visceral reaction as a typical human being would be something like “That is terrible! Something must be done!” No argument there, it is terrible, something must be done. That is the reaction that the Brady Campaign would like you to have. Then they would like you to give them money to support their anti-gun efforts. If we were talking about 100,000 innocent people, then Brady would have a good argument. The problem is that we are not talking about 100,000 innocents.

According to the FBI, which does like to break down the big numbers into demographic components, we learn that the vast (and by vast, I mean overwhelming) majority of these shootings are related to drug crimes and gang activity among young males. In other words, it is bad guys shooting other bad guys, or cops shooting bad guys. Are there tragic shootings that fall outside any youthful drug or gang activity? Absolutely. There are accidents, suicides, there are other crimes, but if the gang and drug crime are eliminated from the statistics, the remaining shootings barely amount to anything (Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Dept. of Justice, www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs).

The problem is that both sides of this debate use the same statistics from the same sources and, depending on the emphasis they place on certain data, or fail to put onto other data, they can make the statistic demonstrate anything they want, whatever happens to coincide with their own position.

Mark Twain was right. When it comes to deceit, there indeed lies, damned lies, and statistics. If you rely on those—any of those—then you are lost. There is, however, a solution.

Do the unthinkable: Open your own eyes and look for yourself.

If you want to know which candidate has a better plan for your life, forget what they are saying to explain your current situation and use your own common sense. You pay too much for gasoline, so ask yourself what would most easily and simply lower those costs? Here is a hint, oil is a commodity, so the more there is, the less it costs. You want to know whether or not private gun ownership is a good idea or not, then look at places (stick to Western cultures where the issues are similar to your own unless you enjoy comparing apples to oranges) where guns are banned and see what happened. Great Britain and Australia come to mind at once, and both saw violent crime—rape, armed robbery, home invasion, etc.—rise dramatically.

Sure, it is all anecdotal, but it does get you thinking, it does make you question, and this day and age, those are two very good things to do!

Let me know what you think.

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Romney and the Joy of the Simple Message

There has been a lot of chatter today about last night’s debate. From the left the reactions range of excuses and good reasons for Obama’s performance to outrage over it. From the right, grins and gloating. The one thing that all and sundry agree on is that Romney won the debate. Why?

Consider Ockham’s Razor, the maxim that teaches us that when faced with differing and conflicting hypotheses, the truth will come from the one with the fewest assumptions. Last night, Romney’s performance was predicated on one—yes, one—assumption: The American people need jobs and it is the role of the government to foster an environment where jobs can be created. That was it. That was Romney’s message. Obama’s, on the other hand, was based on a variety of assumptions ranging from the old chestnut, “It’s Bush’s fault” to “taxes promote economic growth” to “Obamacare is identical to what Romney installed in Massachusetts” to “coal is evil and green energy is the way to go regardless of cost” to “the rich need to pay more in the name of fairness.” These are merely the ones that come to mind, but you get the idea. One assumption informs Romney’s economic views; many assumptions inform Obama’s.

I will leave it to you to choose which one is right, but the reactions this morning tell me that hitting that single, basic idea of job growth, and making that idea the centerpiece of his economic plan gave Romney an edge that Obama could not beat.

Trust in Ockham and his razor, it hasn’t let us down in over 660 years.

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