Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Straw Man That Walked Into Conservative Home

Via Simon Cooke, I see Tim Montgomerie has read Wikipedia's article on a Straw Man argument, and decided to write an article following their template.
The straw man fallacy occurs in the following pattern of argument:
Person 1 has position X.
This being the libertarian (person 1) idea of minimal state spending and interference. No libertarian party worldwide has ever advocated the eradication of the state, just a much-needed and radical reduction in its scope and influence.
Person 2 disregards certain key points of X and instead presents the superficially similar position Y. The position Y is a distorted version of X
In Montgomerie's case (person 2), the superficially similar (well, it's not even that) position is ordered anarchism.
A measly 5% chose a libertarian brave new world - which our question described as "a society where individuals are almost completely free of both government control and assistance, and rely entirely on themselves, their families and job creators to make a good society".
Err, that's not libertarianism which - in the real world and not Montgomerie's desperate pro-Cameron fantasy - is overwhelmingly minarchist by nature. It's, instead, a good description of the ordered anarchy espoused by spotty teens who used to daub a capital A in a circle on public buildings in the mid-1980s. Who mostly used to vote Labour, funnily enough.
Person 2 attacks position Y, concluding that X is false/incorrect/flawed.
And Montgomerie's attack?
Most voters (95% in this poll) want some role for government. When Conservatives are constantly bashing government it puts middle-of-the-road, moderate people off and it frightens people who depend upon government help for part or all of their income - or who, may be wholly independent today, but who wouldn't want the safety-net dismantled.
And off he goes arguing against a position which is entirely of his own making - with some quite astonishing contortions of fact - and not remotely recognisable by anyone who lives in the real world.

And that's the reason why people are not confident in voting Tory anymore. It's not a libertarian view that they are scared of, in fact a decent majority when it is explained would consider themselves naturally so anyway. They're not voting Tory anymore because the Westminster-addled cronies, addicted to their opinion polls and vested interests, simply don't represent anything the public recognise as being useful to the real world they now live in.

Labour went down that road years ago, ceasing to represent the working man and woman properly once Blair and his Shiraz-quaffing Islingtonites got involved. Now Montgomerie proves conclusively that the Tories have decided that they also don't want to represent the traditional support that brought them many years in government in decades past.

Meanwhile, they talk about voting by text and internet, while scratching their heads and wondering why diminishing numbers can be arsed to wander down the road and put a tick in a box on election day.

Perhaps they might consider that if even their self-installed 'independent' supporters are pumping out festering bilge like this, they're past us making the effort to do anything to support them. What's the point? They do what they damn well like anyway, whether you like it or not.

Including making up arguments for their own existence which are only fit for being citations at Wikipedia pages on how not to debate with integrity.


Gewyne said...

Noticed the BBC are reporting Chapman's cigarette user licence - when you get to the stage people are approached to actively debate/counter the proposals as if they are somehow credible proposals then you know you are a slippery slope...

Gewyne said...