Sunday , May 19 2024

The Political Fallacies

Political beliefs depend on the many assumptions that we accrue during our lives.  The young voter is particularly prone to fallacious assumptions because of lack of experience.

The worst fallacies are the caring fallacy, the fallacy of reasonableness, the globalization fallacy, the fallacy of historical responsibility and the fallacy of the planned economy.

The caring fallacy is an example of a fallacy that is common among younger voters.  It is the belief that governments and political change can produce a society that really cares, a society that cares for people beyond providing material and money.   This fallacy is believed because 18 year olds have been nurtured by families and usually families do indeed really care.  As any parent can confirm “really” caring for two or three people is a full time job and an utter commitment.

The caring fallacy is most dangerous because it devalues the role of families. When people do not understand that most love and caring is due to their family and believe that “society” can replace the family they can be led into a succession of consequential fallacies such as the state being able to provide “care” for children or the state being able to replace the family or that it is unproblematic to ignore the need to support families.

The fallacy of reasonableness is the belief that all cultures are “reasonable”.  The most famous example of this belief is Chamberlain’s Munich Peace Agreement with the Germans.  Some cultures even have words for how it can be necessary and honourable to dissemble when negotiating with foreigners (cf: Taqiya).  The view of the world from a British university or from Islington can easily involve the fallacy that, given the chance, every “reasonable” person would love to be the same as them.  Certainly other cultures may have reacted to overwhelming Western power in the twentieth century by signing up to lists of Human Rights etc. but many non-western cultures don’t truly believe what they have signed.  The fallacy of universal reasonableness is most prevalent among young voters, the middle classes and academics who have not been cheated often enough to know that the world is not “reasonable”.

The globalization fallacy originates in the fact of Western (Allied) hegemony after the Second World War when the great and powerful cultures of Japan and Germany were taken by the scruff of the neck and forced to be what we now call Western.  The ex-colonial states in Africa and around the world were carefully shepherded into the Western orbit.  A global trading bloc was created under GATT/WTO to cement Western values.  The current Globalisation was the result of the post WWII settlement and it ruled.  The globalisation fallacy is that the settlement was achieved through globalisation (not vice versa) and it was voluntary.  It is even often believed to be the dynamic achievement of Multinational Corporations.

The current Globalisation was imposed and it is now experiencing four major disturbing forces – the Americans are running out of dollars to finance it, the Multinational Corporations currently see the global trading instruments as their fiefdom, the Chinese wish to take over these trading instruments and the Islamic World is uneasy about being a part of any of it.  The globalisation fallacy leads its believers to imagine that globalisation is a magic, consensus construction that just needs us all to believe in it to “save the world”, yes, this sounds like they have been indoctrinated.  Sadly it is the Anglo-American indoctrination that was introduced to support the new system that has created the globalisation fallacy and the true believers are now working against Anglo-American interests.  The globalisation fallacy is always coupled with the fallacy of reasonableness which leads to the idea of global government and because everyone is reasonable there is no need to confront the problem of being governed by China.

The fallacy of historical responsibility holds that today’s French or British are responsible for the excesses of the French and British Empires and are living on riches gained from these empires.  People living in Europe today are obviously not responsible for the excesses of empires that happened before they were born, furthermore they are not living on any pot of gold from these empires.  Most of Europe was severely damaged in World War II and it was the enterprise and hard work of Europeans that allowed the continent to rejoin the developed world.  In general it is the economic activity of the current generation that defines the prosperity of a Nation.  As we saw in the UK in the 1970s a country can slip towards poverty at an alarming rate if governance goes wrong.  The fallacy of historical responsibility is the strangest of the popular fallacies because it is so obviously wrong.

The fallacy of the planned economy holds that it is possible to have a prosperous and happy society if the economy is controlled centrally.   In the late twentieth century it was evident that all experiments at planned economies had failed.  The collapse of the Soviet Union and the change in China from Communism to National Socialism were the final and incontrovertible proof.  Now, only a generation later, many left of centre parties are selling the idea of state control again.  The key to the long lived fallacy of the planned economy is that those who support it cannot conceive how someone could get any personal reward from serving in a clothes shop and saying “how can I help you?”, “that dress looks wonderful on you”.  Clothing is a form of art and for some people it is a very worthwhile activity.  So it is for the engineer who sighs with satisfaction after he has produced a better gear box or even the antique shop owner who lovingly cradles a piece of porcelain.  Again it is academics, the boring government workers and the young who support the fallacy because they have no understanding that for many people commerce is the public validation of their creations.  The desire for a planned economy is no less than the old classist bias against “trade”.

This post was originally published by the author on his personal blog:

About John Sydenham

Dr John Sydenham has worked in International Pharmaceuticals and for one of the "big four" International Consultancies. He ran a successful company for 15 years and after selling the company devotes his time to travel, science, black labradors and freedom.

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