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Letters to the Editor

Generalizations

September 10, 2011

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To the editor:

Tom Shewmon’s letter (Journal-World, Sept. 3) asks if we are enjoying the new direction of the current administration. He attempts to illustrate that direction with one case: the EPA hobbling the coal industry with new rules and regulations without specifying what those rules are and the impact they might have. From this, he concludes that this administration would like to rule and regulate everything we do. This is nothing more than the fallacy of hasty generalization, which is, “Someone wishes to pass regulations and therefore they wish to control our lives completely.” Signs forbidding us to spit on the sidewalk are not from some administrative beast breathing down our necks, unless you have a paranoid view of politics.

The other element of his letter is juvenile name-calling: extreme left, radical, far-left zealots. He’s setting up a straw man to tag with sins, real or imagined, that he can then associate with the administration. It is the fallacy of guilt by association.

America needed railroads and the robber barons did, among other things, manage to provide them. Is this the capitalist model Shewmon proposes? It sounds more like a schoolboy’s wild West of cowboys and Indians or the world of hard-boiled detective novelists where man is wolf to man. Those are devastating models of total exploitation that are shockingly ill-informed. These models sometimes create fabulous wealth for a few but more often they create conflicts that avoid convincing insight and difficult analysis. Perhaps that works for Shewmon.

Comments

Liberty_One 2 years, 7 months ago

It's interesting that the LTE writer correctly points out a logical fallacy, but then goes on to make several of his own, the biggest being the straw man with the "capitalist" railroad robber barons. If getting land grants from the government, often taken from the original owners using the US Army to kill them or push them out, and then taking money from the government per mile of track laid is capitalism, then the word has no meaning.

What's funny is he then talks about being "shockingly ill-informed."

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jayhawxrok 2 years, 7 months ago

You don't get it rightwinger, tax cuts to the rich have done nothing but drive up the deficit.

More private sector jobs created under Obama in 2010 than in all eight years of Bush's presidency.

According to Moody's, for every dollar of tax cuts to the rich we get back a lousy 32 cents in economic growth. For every dollar of payroll tax holiday to the middle class we get back $1.24 in economic growth.

The GOP defends the former and wants to eliminate the latter. It's you who have no clue.

Bush didn't budget for either war, not once. Bush didn't budget for NCLB. Bush didn't budget for his gift to Big Pharm which specifically prevented states from joining to negotiate for better rates. His team lost billions in cash. After deregulating banking he handed out bailout money with no strings and we watched it pay bonuses to CEOs who'd ran their companies into the ground, not stockholders left holding the bag.

You'd think the GOP would learn from what happened when their sainted Ronnie Ray Gun deregulated the S & L industry and within a few short years the Feds had to create RTC and take over more than 740 institutions. The socialists!

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rtwngr 2 years, 7 months ago

The President's speech the other night laid it out nicely, I thought. The economy won't grow unless we have more government. He just doesn't get it. All of his economic policies have failed and still he wants more of the same. "We cut spending by $7 billion this summer and now I would like to spend another $500 billion." Are you insane?!!

Sorry Stu, you're as deluded as the President. Why don't you dry up and let someone that knows what they're doing run things. Barry needs to go home now. He's broken enough.

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Ken Lassman 2 years, 7 months ago

Thanks, Stu, for pointing out the logical fallacies that dominate the letter you are referring to, thereby dismantling the entire content of that letter. What would have made this a perfect letter in my mind would have been to resist attributing motivation to Shewmon with your final sentence, although the temptation was great, no doubt. It is, after all, a mandatory component for the comment section of this and most other websites.

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OonlyBonly 2 years, 7 months ago

Ummmmmm. Regulate coal, regulate oil, regulate auto. I think that's enough examples of regulations coming out of Washington - as for "juvenile........zealtouts" you seem to be on the other end of the bell curve.

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