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Help Identify a Fallacy

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KevinDW78
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I am commonly confronted with this fallacy but I don't know what type it would be. the argument basically goes like this: If the government didn't tax people, who would take care of x (of what the government currently does). The fallacy I see is that I present a complete change of the entire picture but then they want to look at one small piece of the puzzle as it exists now, point out that it no longer fits into the puzzle (because I have completely changed the puzzle) and then concludes that my puzzle must be false because their piece no longer fits. In other words, just because the government isn't taking care of something in my scenario doesn't mean that some other system in my scenario isn't.

Is this a hasty generalization? or a Straw man? or what?

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I am commonly confronted with this fallacy but I don't know what type it would be. the argument basically goes like this: If the government didn't tax people, who would take care of x (of what the government currently does).

As SNerd says, it's a faulty premise. In your case more likely the premise that since people cannot or will not do X, then the government must compel them to comply with X, or government must do X. Usually without questioning the nature or morality of X, much less of government compulsion regarding X (or regarding anythign else).

I run accross that one a lot particularly when discussing poverty. "But if the government does not subsidize/give aid/welfare/etc then how will the poor eat, go to school, get health care, etc?"

A good answer is that if government continues to reward poverty, it guarantees the existence of poverty for a long time to come (this is a quote from someone, but I don't recall whose).

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A good answer is that if government continues to reward poverty, it guarantees the existence of poverty for a long time to come (this is a quote from someone, but I don't recall whose).

Another way to put it that I heard once and remembered is this:

Money is like fertilizer. Put it into something, and that thing grows. Why should we as a nation want to grow more poor?

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Turn their premise on them. Ask them something like if they would forget how to drive if government stopped issuing drivers licences.

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At first glance, it does not look like a typical fallacy.

It is a typical argument used here in New Zealand. But then NZ is a socialist paradise. :D

Turn their premise on them. Ask them something like if they would forget how to drive if government stopped issuing drivers licences.

That is actually quite an interesting idea. I doubt it'd affect their views at all, but I'd be an interesting experiment.

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Stop wasting your time on people who are that far gone. I call this the fallacy of "trying to talk reason to the unreasonable."

When someone exhibits such dogmatism, to the point where they reject out of hand any proposition that does not agree with their own conclusions, they are not worth talking to.

Edited by sanjavalen
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Stop wasting your time on people who are that far gone. I call this the fallacy of "trying to talk reason to the unreasonable."

When someone exhibits such dogmatism, to the point where they reject out of hand any proposition that does not agree with their own conclusions, they are not worth talking to.

I think sometimes it is funny to see that sort of people try to squirm their way around such arguments. That is why I wanted to try it as an experiment.

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I think sometimes it is funny to see that sort of people try to squirm their way around such arguments. That is why I wanted to try it as an experiment.

Well, I suppose if you want to bang your head against a brick wall and call it entertaining, thats your prerogative.

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Another example of this same argument I encounter goes like this:

No charity can function solely off voluntary donations so if you eliminated taxation all the charities in the country would go under. The obvious point being that in a scenario where we weren't taxed, we would HAVE more money with which to voluntarily be charitable.

Of course the premise that charities must exist is balderdash in the first place.

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No charity can function solely off voluntary donations so if you eliminated taxation all the charities in the country would go under. The obvious point being that in a scenario where we weren't taxed, we would HAVE more money with which to voluntarily be charitable.

Of course the premise that charities must exist is balderdash in the first place.

First problem: the people that "charities" help MUST be helped, the way they are helped is irrelevant, they simply must be.

Second: What about all the charity that, you know, DO function solely off of voluntary donations?

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Ah, but charitable donations are tax deductible. If government financing were voluntary, there would be no incentive to donate to charity at all. Therefore we must force people to be voluntarily charitable :)

And that's a big load of BS, of course.

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Ah, but charitable donations are tax deductible. If government financing were voluntary, there would be no incentive to donate to charity at all. Therefore we must force people to be voluntarily charitable :)

And that's a big load of BS, of course.

That still leaves the problem of my first objection. It was my first one for a reason.

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That still leaves the problem of my first objection. It was my first one for a reason.

If you mean that charities must be helped. Of course the asnwer is no. There is no moral imperative to help people for no reason.

Helping people for a reason is different, however. I'm sure most people are generous enough with their property and/or their time to donate a part of it when they judge it necessary, useful, helpful (to themselves), or valuable (this last often gets me questions, so consider donations to a museum you like to visit, or a symphony you like to attend).

Myself, I donate to the local Ree Cross because chances are if I'm involved in an accident a Red Cross ambulance will be first responder. I also donate to private charities that finance schools, because I think an educated populace benefits me in the long term. I often donate either money or goods to disaster relief operations. Sometimes I'll donate to private charitable hospitals and clinics. Less so now, because there's a low-cost farmacy chain that offers medical consults for $2, plus clinical tests at steep discounts.

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I am commonly confronted with this fallacy but I don't know what type it would be. the argument basically goes like this: If the government didn't tax people, who would take care of x (of what the government currently does).

If someone must must take care of x, and if only the government can take care of x, and if the government must forcibly tax people in order to take care of x, then, if the government didn't forcibly tax people, nobody would take care of x which would be bad or impossible.

Most likely the faulty premise is "only the government can take care of x", but it depends on what x is. If x is courts, military, or police, then the faulty premise is that the government must forcibly tax people in order to take care of x. Another possible faulty premise is someone must take care of x at all. Depends what it is.

Edited by Bold Standard
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Well, I suppose if you want to bang your head against a brick wall and call it entertaining, thats your prerogative.

No, I wouldn't do that. That would require actually trying to argue the point. I am talking about merely saying it and laughing inwardly as they unknowingly back themselves into a giant hole.

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No, I wouldn't do that. That would require actually trying to argue the point. I am talking about merely saying it and laughing inwardly as they unknowingly back themselves into a giant hole.

I can't imagine whats remotely funny about that.

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Another way to put it that I heard once and remembered is this:

Money is like fertilizer. Put it into something, and that thing grows. Why should we as a nation want to grow more poor?

Money is more like a catalyzer. It makes economic interchanges happen more rapidly and readily than pure barter.

ruveyn

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