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What fallacy is this?

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freeradicals Posted: Fri, Nov 5 2010 2:07 PM

I have heard these kinds of arguments now many times when I engage in debates about free societies vs statism. The other person will build up some fanciful story about how something would work in a free society, crush his own image and then use that as proof that a free society wouldn't work. It makes my blood boil as it sidesteps all logical discourse but what I am more curious about is what kind of fallacy is that?

Examples I've actually heard:

-- "In a free market two drug dealing companies could have billions of dollars to buy out all the private security forces and become a tyrannical force on the land" (Argument for why private security companies wouldn't work)

-- "In a free market one private security company with billions of dollars would be able to monopolize the field and become tyrannical" (Another argument against private security)

-- "With a private court system I could refuse to enter a law suit with any judge that you pick, perpetually, and even if I enter a law suit and a punishment is made I could just walk away and no one could stop me" (Argument against free courts where without the State somehow private companies would either be too biased or would not be able to enforce laws)

-- "With a private court system, let's say the penalty for theft is always an $X.XX fine, the person who steals to feed his family would be unjustly punished the same as someone who robbed a bank out of greed" (Argument against private law systems)

Now, it was fairly easy for me to destroy these terrible arguments so I'm not as much looking for counterarguments as much as the type of fallacy that I keep observing over and over. Some fancy scenario is set up and then proven to be ridiculous then that is used as a sound repudiation of a free market system. Which kind of fallacy is that? "Slippery Slope" or "Argument from Ignorance"? (or some other one?).

Also, in the course of your guys' debates have you commonly heard these arguments as well? I've noticed it's a common theme in my own debates. Thanks for your time

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Clayton replied on Fri, Nov 5 2010 2:11 PM

Strawman.

Clayton -

http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.com
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Thanks, I once took a course in college and learned all of these and since forgotten them. Now I'm back to learning again since they've actually become relevant. I swore I thought I looked up that one already and the description didn't match what I had in mind. I guess I'm just losing it. Thanks again!

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Straw man means you made up your own argument and then dismantled it, acting as if it refutes your opponents position.  If those are fallacies, that's what I would think they are.

In States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. ... In short, a law everywhere and for everything!

~Peter Kropotkin

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"Straw man means you made up your own argument and then dismantled it, acting as if it refutes your opponents position.  If those are fallacies, that's what I would think they are."

It's the most common strategy (fallacy) employed against my views whenever I engage in these debates. Is it the same for you?

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None of these are fallacies. We just disagree with your speculations.

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MaikU replied on Fri, Nov 5 2010 3:37 PM

You are all wrong (in my humble opinion, hehe).

 

The fallacy is more likely to be called as "Nirvana Fallacy". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirvana_fallacy

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(english is not my native language, sorry for grammar.)

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Ya, I could see them being nirvana fallacies in that they say something absolute about what will happen.

In States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. ... In short, a law everywhere and for everything!

~Peter Kropotkin

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DD5 replied on Fri, Nov 5 2010 3:59 PM

scineram:

None of these are fallacies. We just disagree with your speculations.

 

Nobody claimed that the disagreement itself is a fallacy.  But the argument being made to substantiate the conclusion contains logical fallacies.  Look up logical fallacies.

 

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DD5 replied on Fri, Nov 5 2010 4:03 PM

 

They all contain bare assertions.  Nirvana fallacy is different.

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MaikU replied on Fri, Nov 5 2010 4:26 PM

No, they do not state verbally this perfect solution, they simply imply it, or keep in their mind while asserting their absurd situations (gang wars etc.)

Maybe it's not exactly NF, but more expanded one so to speak.

Again, that's how I approach it at least. When you ask them "give me your perfect solution" they are stuck. When you ask for evidence they are stuck. When you say, that just because something is not perfect doesn't mean it is false, they are stuck.

And then they usually try to escape this dilemma with "lesser of two evils" card.

"Dude... Roderick Long is the most anarchisty anarchist that has ever anarchisted!" - Evilsceptic

(english is not my native language, sorry for grammar.)

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"No, they do not state verbally this perfect solution, they simply imply it, or keep in their mind while asserting their absurd situations (gang wars etc.)

Maybe it's not exactly NF, but more expanded one so to speak.

Again, that's how I approach it at least. When you ask them "give me your perfect solution" they are stuck. When you ask for evidence they are stuck. When you say, that just because something is not perfect doesn't mean it is false, they are stuck.

And then they usually try to escape this dilemma with "lesser of two evils" card."

I can see how the bare assertion fallacy is more descriptive of these cases than the NF. The premise is always assumed to be true, even though absurd. They just blurt out a scenario that may in fact never happen (and never prove that it can), and then arrive at some other conclusion that makes a claim about my own view. The Wiki page states NF is about comparing actual things with unrealistic alternatives. Where in these cases we are comparing two different theoretical scenarios and arguing about the validity of the overarching concept.

The last part you said is true from my experiences.

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These are not really fallacies, they are just confusions about the nature of economics.

A fallacy is an intentional diversion from an argument to prevent its resolution.

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These are not really fallacies, they are just confusions about the nature of economics.

A fallacy is an intentional diversion from an argument to prevent its resolution.

I tend to agree.  Some of them approach strawmen, but I don't think they quite get there. 

Fallacies don't have to be intentional, by the way.  Often they are simply mistakes.


faber est suae quisque fortunae

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"These are not really fallacies, they are just confusions about the nature of economics."

I figured these would be fallacies because they are intentionally setting up an argument in their favor in order to disprove me. It's not like they are just  asking me how something works or asking me what my viewpoint is, before they even hear me out they jump into disproving my claims on shaky logical grounds. That's not a  fallacy?

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The anarchocapitalist counterarguments are just as fallacious.

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scineram:

The anarchocapitalist counterarguments are just as fallacious.

 

examples? Sources?

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It's easy to refute an argument if you first misrepresent it. William Keizer

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DD5 replied on Fri, Nov 5 2010 9:48 PM

Stranger:
A fallacy is an intentional diversion from an argument to prevent its resolution

A logical fallacy has absolutely nothing to do with a person's intentions.  Logic has absolutely nothing to do with motives.

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MaikU replied on Sat, Nov 6 2010 10:51 AM

scineram:

The anarchocapitalist counterarguments are just as fallacious.

 

 

sometimes, yes.

"Dude... Roderick Long is the most anarchisty anarchist that has ever anarchisted!" - Evilsceptic

(english is not my native language, sorry for grammar.)

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Esuric replied on Sat, Nov 6 2010 10:59 AM

sometimes, yes.

An example? Just one would suffice.

"If we wish to preserve a free society, it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for the use of coercion."

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Rcder replied on Sat, Nov 6 2010 11:13 AM

Since we're naming logical fallacies, could someone help me label what the following would be called?

I was arguing with a fellow student a few weeks ago about whether or not World War II ended the Great Depression, and whether wars in general help the economy.  I explained to him how wartime spending diverts resources from the private market where consumer demands are being met to the public "war sector" where they'll be used to build tanks and airplanes and the like.  The debate got to the point where he began to decry economics itself, flatly saying something along the lines of, "Economics is just a bunch of loosely-constructed theories which are purely opinionative."  I'm not really sure how you handle something like that in a debate setting.  When your opponent completely shuts himself off to logic, what more can you do?  But regardless, would that be an argument from ignorance or an irrelevant conclusion?

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 "Economics is just a bunch of loosely-constructed theories which are purely opinionative."

Sounds to me like this could stem from a Hasty Generalization ultimately leading to a Bare Assertion as mentioned earlier if he's dismissing all of economics because he just says they are opinionated without proving why and how they lead to false conclusions. This also sounds like it could be close to a Argument From Fallacy, here is the general form

 

If P, then Q.
P is a fallacious argument.
Therefore, Q is false.

Sounds like he's equating the fact that because the theories are opinionated then your conclusions are false. 

In this case is it really worth it to keep trying with someone who doesn't appeal to logic? Would anything you say even change his mind at this point? If he's just being stubborn or he was angry at the time and just shut down maybe after several conversations and with you showing him some sources he will at least change his mind about a couple things. If I were you I would start citing sources as I've noticed people who don't appeal to logic will at least appeal to some sources.

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Sonik replied on Sat, Nov 6 2010 2:20 PM

said it before and i'll say it again: chop to the throat.

 

no, but seriously... tell him he's right.

that the allocation of resources on every scale is subjective and therefore "people's opinionated theories", but outcomes are quite objective (ie: dilluting the value of money makes it worth less, increased cost means decreased consumption, etc). what is economics, but the observation of this?

that might be the next step for his knowledge, seeing as he obviously thinks there are just selfish, dumb, irresponsable opinions in mainstream economics that from time to time might apply to him...

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MaikU replied on Sat, Nov 6 2010 2:45 PM

Esuric:

sometimes, yes.

An example? Just one would suffice.

 

sorry, can't give one right now. I just wanted to point out that even ancaps sometimes flow into fallacy land, they are not somehow unique or perfect :)

"Dude... Roderick Long is the most anarchisty anarchist that has ever anarchisted!" - Evilsceptic

(english is not my native language, sorry for grammar.)

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MaikU replied on Sat, Nov 6 2010 2:47 PM

Rcder:

Since we're naming logical fallacies, could someone help me label what the following would be called?

I was arguing with a fellow student a few weeks ago about whether or not World War II ended the Great Depression, and whether wars in general help the economy.

 

But sir, WW2 definitely ended great depression. Those who were depressed were simply killed.

"Dude... Roderick Long is the most anarchisty anarchist that has ever anarchisted!" - Evilsceptic

(english is not my native language, sorry for grammar.)

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In my experiences in debating economics online, I often see people begin a narrative in the middle or in a contextual vacuum, and then declare victory because others cannot address their assertions as presented. It's a very disingenuous tactic consisting of context dropping and question begging. If you find yourself in this situation then focus on the form of the argument and don't get distracted with the particulars.

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MaikU replied on Sat, Nov 6 2010 3:01 PM

Alan Chapman:

In my experiences in debating economics online, I often see people begin a narrative in the middle or in a contextual vacuum, and then declare victory because others cannot address their assertions as presented. It's a very disingenuous tactic consisting of context dropping and question begging. If you find yourself in this situation then focus on the form of the argument and don't get distracted with the particulars.

 

this just happened to my once again right now.. on YT... god

If I say black is black their response is: NO IT"S NOT.

wat..

"Dude... Roderick Long is the most anarchisty anarchist that has ever anarchisted!" - Evilsceptic

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Esuric replied on Sat, Nov 6 2010 3:03 PM

sorry, can't give one right now. I just wanted to point out that even ancaps sometimes flow into fallacy land, they are not somehow unique or perfect :)

And yet, you can't give me a single example that demonstrates your point.

"If we wish to preserve a free society, it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for the use of coercion."

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"this just happened to my once again right now.. on YT... god"

Was the debate about economics? If so I'll jump in. :D

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MaikU replied on Sat, Nov 6 2010 3:37 PM

Well, it was about the state in general. But I succeeded (I think). He admited finally that state puts you in jail if you don't pay taxes... That means he admits (even if he deny this in comments) that state and mafia are very similar organizations. I invited him to mises.org, so maybe he will come up..if he got balls, lol.

 

the video is here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wmq9Fzx-N_8

"Dude... Roderick Long is the most anarchisty anarchist that has ever anarchisted!" - Evilsceptic

(english is not my native language, sorry for grammar.)

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boniek replied on Sat, Nov 6 2010 4:05 PM

 

Rcder:

Since we're naming logical fallacies, could someone help me label what the following would be called?

I was arguing with a fellow student a few weeks ago about whether or not World War II ended the Great Depression, and whether wars in general help the economy.

Broken window fallacy and correlation is causation.

 
"Your freedom ends where my feelings begin" -- ???
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Valject replied on Sat, Nov 6 2010 9:14 PM

 

(I know this wasn't about counter-arguments, friend, but I've a feeling my brain will thank me for doing this out of fun:)

-- "In a free market two drug dealing companies could have billions of dollars to buy out all the private security forces and become a tyrannical force on the land" (Argument for why private security companies wouldn't work)

(How would they continue to grow their company if they spend so much on security?  Why would private security personnel continue to work for them when they're tyrants?  What's stopping me from putting a bullet in one of them when they go outdoors?  Who's buying anything from them?)

-- "In a free market one private security company with billions of dollars would be able to monopolize the field and become tyrannical" (Another argument against private security)

(Monopolize the field with money?  I thought they needed customers...  And there's a broad assumption that someone working for the company would not quit under these circumstances.  What if they were offered more by a rival?)

-- "With a private court system I could refuse to enter a law suit with any judge that you pick, perpetually, and even if I enter a law suit and a punishment is made I could just walk away and no one could stop me" (Argument against free courts where without the State somehow private companies would either be too biased or would not be able to enforce laws)

(Who said anything about a lawsuit?  I'll just shoot you if you try to take my stuff.  People will only come after me if they think I've done wrong in a free society.  I just have to make sure it's justifiable or I may get a bullet myself, from some angry relative.  Or I may have to shoot that angry relative when they come after me.  Sure, there could be a private court system, but when you can protect yourself it is more likely that law suits won't crop up too often.  In less extreme cases, like car accidents, I don't even have to worry.  I could buy insurance if I am worried, and likewise that person will have trouble getting insurance.  If he likes driving around without insurance...well, he just totaled his ride, so have fun with that, buddy. I'm covered.)

-- "With a private court system, let's say the penalty for theft is always an $X.XX fine, the person who steals to feed his family would be unjustly punished the same as someone who robbed a bank out of greed" (Argument against private law systems)

(Well, shouldn't they be punished the same?  The system we have now does that, if not moreso.  At least the same person won't be arrested for buying Sudafed to relieve his headache from thinking about the fine.  And besides, where would such a fine be?  More likely people will invest in protecting their stuff from thieves.)

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scineram:
The anarchocapitalist counterarguments are just as fallacious.

Three days ago you were asked for examples and/or sources to back up this assertion.  So far, you have failed to proved any.  I don't see how this could be accidental.

Next time, troll harder.

The keyboard is mightier than the gun.

Non parit potestas ipsius auctoritatem.

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