URLs du Jour

2009-04-02

  • Some people are noticing a particular Barackrobatic rhetorical tic: setting out two positions, and saying they represent a "false choice". An example, as recounted by Mark Steyn:

    "But I also know," [Obama] wrote, "that we need not choose between a chaotic and unforgiving capitalism and an oppressive government-run economy. That is a false choice that will not serve our people or any people."

    In this case, Obama presents two poor options (although, I gotta tell you: the "capitalism" choice, "chaotic and unforgiving" as it may sometimes be, is looking better and better to me every day). But Obama says: Hey, don't worry. You don't have to make that choice. You don't need to have either. Whew!

    Ben Shapiro recalls the inaugural line:

    As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.

    Here the choice is between two good options. But again: Hey, don't worry. You don't have to make that choice. You can have both! Again, whew!

    And Ben has another:

    "Throughout our history," Obama recently stated, "there's been a tension between those who have sought to conserve our natural resources for the benefit of future generations, and those who have sought to profit from these resources. But I'm here to tell you this is a false choice."

    Here we have (apparently) a good option, conservation, poised against "profit." I'm not sure whether Obama views profit as a good or bad. Doesn't matter, though: Hey, don't worry. You don't have to make that choice. You can have your cake and eat it too.

    The rhetorical advantages are obvious: when you can label choices as "false"—especially when you can make up the choices yourself—you can avoid further discussion, and obfuscate any areas where choices—hey, maybe even tough choices—might have to be made.

  • If you feel the need to read some sensible words on the ongoing crisis, Rand Simberg has two good links and quotes. Here's Richard Epstein:

    [When we attempt to bail out failing enterprises] we take them away from bankruptcy judges, who are experts, and give them to a collection of congressional individuals who are charitably called clowns. When you bring commercial decisions to Congress they become politicized, and politicized decisions become destructive decisions.

    Drew Cline kind of made fun of me for choosing an Epstein book over others when I won a recent trivia contest. But I'm a huge fan.

  • Correlation is not causation.

    [no it's not]

    Or maybe we should drastically increase our fresh lemon imports from Mexico. I mean, if it saves just one life

    (Via Megan McArdle and Derek Lowe, from an article by Stephen R. Johnson in the Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling.)


Last Modified 2012-10-08 8:46 AM EST