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Author Topic: False generalizations and politics
LetterRip
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It is really common to see in politics a mention of Evil Historical Leader supported policies X, Y, and Z; therefore X, Y, and Z are bad, and anyone who supports policies such as X, Y, and Z are actually evil.

Is is a surprisingly effective tactic, and I'm curious what makes people susceptible to it? Should we teach students to be aware of this type of faulty reasoning?

The absurdity of the reasoning can be illustrated pretty easily if you switch it to food preferences, or hobbies (Hitler liked sports and encouraged the youth to participate in sports - therefore anyone who likes sports is evil).

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Mynnion
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This is one of the key frustrations I have had with our two party system. If an idea is viewed as liberal then it is immediately demonized as evil or at least bad by the conservatives. The same holds true for "conservative" views. While it is certainly not universal I have always been bothered by individuals who claim to be pro-life but only when it comes to abortion. Capital punishment, war, poverty, social justice don't seem to matter because they are liberal beliefs.

It seems that to most people it has become easier to be spoon fed a set of ideas and beliefs by someone that supports whatever their particular hot topic is and all other beliefs are viewed through that individuals lens rather than their own thoughtful research.

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D.W.
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How do you go about teaching children the pitfalls of propaganda, faulty reasoning and indoctrination while staying neutral? (or claiming to)

I could see a debate class maybe, but that was not part of mandatory or core curriculum in my schooling. For it to be valuable it would be required early on in schooling.

Teaching kids to think rather than just memorize information. There are so many topics where even questioning is offensive. How can a teacher possibly retain their position when being charged with such a task? Maybe that’s why we teach subject material rather than critical thinking and just hope that’s a pleasant side effect of schooling?

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TomDavidson
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I introduced my daughters to this site a few years back: https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/
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D.W.
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Reason 5 is compelling... Or it could just be time to find lunch.
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Bernie
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A wise man once wrote, "I've come to despise the whole right/left package, since there's no particular reason why somebody who favors gun control should also favor gay marriage, or somebody who opposes the death penalty should also support abortion." I wholeheartedly agree with that statement, and I think we would have a much more pleasant society if more Americans would think that way.

Source: http://www.hatrack.com/research/questions/q0021.shtml

[ July 06, 2015, 01:24 PM: Message edited by: Bernie ]

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Bernie:
A wise man once wrote, "I've come to despise the whole right/left package, since there's no particular reason why somebody who favors gun control should also favor gay marriage, or somebody who opposes the death penalty should also support abortion." I wholeheartedly agree with that statement, and I think we would have a much more pleasant society if more Americans would think that way.

Source: http://www.hatrack.com/research/questions/q0021.shtml

From George Washington's Farewell Address:
quote:

I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

The problem isn't just bad thinking or partisan political tendencies; it's the political system at present that teaches and encourages both. When bad logic is taught to people as patriotism and virtue the people will become stupid.
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