Bad Meme ‘Logic’ on Full Display
“Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will also be like him. Answer a fool as his folly deserves, that he not be wise in his own eyes” (Prov. 26:4–5).
Logical thinking is rare these days. Most schools don’t often teach courses in critical thinking. A short course in formal and informal logic (see this extensive list of informal fallacies) would go a long way to help people see through most fallacious thinking. It’s my guess that most people don’t want to think logically. To do so would mess up their worldview.
No one likes to be wrong. The thing of it is, even when lack of specific evidence and fallacious reasoning are pointed out, many people still won’t change their opinion. This is human nature. The problem isn’t so much in the mind but in the heart. There’s often much to lose in a change of opinion based on fact and logical thinking. Consider this humorous and sad display of illogic and failure to support a position with facts:
Charlie Kirk Spent Some Time Talking To Anti-Trump Protestors At The Border. They Insist The President Is A Racist, Yet They Can’t Name ONE RACIST THING HE HAS DONE! WATCH THIS!
Posted by Turning Point USA on Thursday, November 1, 2018
What is often missing in the study of fallacious argumentation is a moral component. Logical thinking does not necessarily require a moral conclusion. Given materialistic assumptions about the origin of man, there is no way to account for morality. One could make the case, therefore, that faulty reasoning does not violate any moral requirement if a particular policy is thought to be justified. It doesn’t have to be logical, moral, or workable.
It doesn’t matter, therefore, if a person is involved in faulty reasoning. The goal is to defend an already chosen position by any means possible. We’ve seen a great deal of this strategy. Consider “Argumentum ad baculum (appeal to the stick, appeal to force, appeal to threat) – an argument made through coercion or threats of force to support position.” Rep. Maxine Waters has used this strategy with great success:
If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.
This is a diversion strategy. Why is such a tactic used? To keep people from asking legitimate questions about a position. How many times have you seen on-the-street interviews with people who have no idea what a particular candidate believes? It’s because critical thinking is the enemy of falsehoods and connective logic. Free college and free healthcare are lies, but they are feel-good positions. Logic demands us to ask, Is anything really free? Someone will be paying. Then comes the moral question: Is it morally right to use force to take from some people so what’s stolen can be given to others?
I saw the following meme on a Facebook post:
Here’s some of what I wrote in response to the meme.
Who said that black NFL players can’t kneel to protest the police killing blacks? Given the meme’s logic, it would support NFL players wearing Nazi emblems and giving the Nazi salute at football stadiums. What people do in private with their own money and time is protected speech. Even what NFL players do on the football field is protected speech if their employers allow it. As a business owner, I’m not interested in having employees bringing their politics to the office, especially if the politics is going to drive away customers. It’s that most people want to watch football and not be confronted with politics. Football used to be an escape. Now it’s become a time for a lecture.
The person who posted the meme offered the following response:
U sound foolish Gary, first, it’s before the game starts and doesn’t affect the game whatsoever. Second, it’s a peaceful right as an American whether on or off the job. Third. You act like its personal its not affecting u as a business owner.
Here’s my response:
Saying something’s foolish is not an argument. Deal with the points I made. The players have plenty of opportunities to protest, go into neighborhoods where questions of police impropriety is taking place, starting businesses to help young blacks learn employment skills, revitalize communities with their combined billions of dollars, etc.
There is no such thing as “before the game.” The players are employed to play football on a particular day and time. It begins long before the game actually starts. If the owners allow them to protest, then they can protest. If not, that’s the owner’s call.
As to the fans, they have a right to say they do or don’t like what is happening no matter what the reason. The owners have a right to allow it or not allow it. It’s not a “right” if an employer says it can’t be done while he or she is working, that is, on the job.
It’s not personal. As a business owner, I understand how businesses run. I don’t care either way about what the NFL does. It’s not my business. I don’t have any investment in the NFL. What I do care about is bad arguments. The meme is a bad argument, not only with the points I’ve already stated but also because it assumes that those doing the protesting are Republicans.
The person who posted the meme accused me of bringing politics into the argument. I pointed out that the meme brought in the politics by claiming that those in the picture are Republicans without offering any evidence. I could assure him that if some football player who claimed to be a Republican draped himself in a Nazi flag and gave the Nazi salute would have been booed out of the stadium by every Republican there and condemned on every talk show from coast to coast.
Nazi sympathizers generally don’t vote. And don’t think for a moment that the Democrat Party doesn’t have its share of KKK supporters. Consider the late Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV):
In December 1944, Byrd wrote to segregationist Mississippi Democrat Senator and two-term governor Theodore G. Bilbo:
I shall never fight in the armed forces with a negro by my side … Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds. — Robert C. Byrd, in a letter to Sen. Theodore Bilbo (D-MS), 1944
Yes, Byrd later repented and renounced his involvement in the KKK and his segregationist ways, but that does not mean that every Democrat has.
In the end, it’s all about morality, something the Left and Right always talks about but never want to discuss when it comes to government coercion on numerous issues. The following is a short video from Ben Shapiro on the topic: