March 2, 2013
The Logic of LiberalismBy G. Donald Allen
While liberals have always (at least for a century) claimed the intellectual high ground, they have at the same time been applying flawed or incomplete logic in their solutions to social problems. This is rather obvious with the issues of economics, education, immigration, and energy. However, in most cases the chain of reasoning is lengthy, making logical flaws difficult to isolate and making counterarguments difficult to construct. As our examples will demonstrate, liberals, with emotional and belief systems concomitant with their logic, have problems determining flaws in their logic, much less addressing them.
While liberals view their intellectualism as the final arbiter of logical argumentation, this may not precisely hold. On this note, we consider the chain of logical implications first from the liberal viewpoint, and then from the scope of a complete logical argument. Let's consider their propositional arguments, from the premises, through the logic, and then to the final conclusion(s). What's determined is that for liberals two common conclusions intertwine within their logic: spending more money, and the government as the centerpiece of all activities.
An important factor in the analysis of any argument is consideration of the premises, the general chain of reasoning, and the fully expressed conclusions. We assume here a common basis for arguments more-or-less agreed upon by both conservatives and liberals. We will look, therefore at the completeness and correctness of the arguments and the final, not intermediate, conclusions. In other cases, consideration of the premises, and in at least the case of immigration where conflicted and contradictory reasoning abounds, will prove valuable.
Liberal Logic of Economics. Economics is the bedrock of government. Control the purse, and you control the government. Make your argument about the money, convince the populace, and you sustain power. Let's look at current liberal economic logic in the USA. It may seem simplistic, but it's all there in six points, except the blatant printing of money.
1. Slow economic growth implies fewer jobs
The net result for the conservative: More taxation implies fewer jobs. The more simplistic, i.e the intellectual liberal, logic is incomplete. Call it Keynesian, progressive, economic justice, or the new normal, the current liberal logic never quite completes the argument and never gets to how the jobs problems are solved. Previously, they espoused hope that stimulus and other investment spending actions would just make this happen -- magically perhaps.
Liberal Logic for Green Energy Solutions. Green energy solutions have become a centerpiece of the current administration. Hundreds of millions have been poured into green energy programs, many without a single measurable result. Yet, the administration is convinced of the importance of green energy and is committed to further investment in this venue. Good or bad, there is a logic of sorts. Let's examine what it might be.
1. The continued use of fossil fuels imply global warming.
In this particular situation, it appears the hapless conservative is lost in the logic. However, the premises and initial implications of the climatic scenario betray the logic. It rests with the very first statement, "The continued use of fossil fuels implies global warming." Ancillary to this, the liberal logic indirectly and inferentially implies acceptance of a permanent increase of all fossil energy prices in order to make them competitive with non-competitive green alternatives.
To continue this logical strand beginning after " 6. Green energy solutions implies the need for supportive government intervention," the conservative argument thus proceeds...
7. Government intervention implies the need for further basic research and a business environment supportive of sustainable energy solutions.
While scientists of various stripes of credibility, and particularly by academics that know little about the thermodynamic processes of climate, affirm that this is accurate, there is no substantial, incontrovertible, and irrefutable evidence it is actually correct. Amazingly, there seems no call from scientists or politicians for such a determination. Where is the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) when you need them? The case, for liberals, is closed. Certainly there are anecdotes. A. Climatic models are partly validated using time reversal (i.e. models that use current data to predict the past). B. Emotional beliefs posit we are ruining our planet with coal-fired plants belching carbon dioxide and other nefarious chemicals into the atmosphere. The arguments against the (very mathematical) models are simply that climate is an irreversible thermodynamic process; meaning time reversed-based conclusions must be devalued if not deprecated. Indeed, it is the liberal, lost in emotionalism, who is the true hapless victim in this logical chain. But the international press sustains. While the climate may be warming, it is by no means clear it is the result of fossil fuels. The anecdotes, notwithstanding, do not measure up as evidence.
Liberal Logic of Education. Education in the USA is in rather deep trouble. We have masses of students graduating with hardly the ability to do basic math and basic language skills. We have high school dropouts at record levels. We have U.S. students doing poorly on international exams. A dearth of solutions abound. No one really knows what to do. But liberals have their patented resolution. Spend more money.
1. Our schools doing poorly implies that they need governmental assistance.
Problem solved? Not quite. Already, the USA spends more per student than all other nations but one, Switzerland. There is more. The government, through its Rise to the Top program promotes the Common Core curriculum, as if changing the curriculum can change educational outcomes. Even if the secret agenda is a national curriculum, the operational outcomes remain in doubt. The logic here is not only incomplete but is faulty. What can one say about a failing multi-billion dollar institution that promotes a change in the order topics are taught, and the type of end-of-course exams given? The conservatives, on the other hand, are totally lost on this issue; they would prefer to allow local experts to determine what is best for their constituencies. Is that wrong? The issues of education in the USA are so profound, so conflicted, so political, and so deep, it is difficult to even scratch the surface in the few words allotted here.
Liberal Logic of Immigration. The serious issues of immigration and naturalization are tricky, particularly in a weakened economy. Neither liberals nor conservatives know quite what to do. The liberal idea is, as usual, to spend more money, but even they are uncertain the net result -- except probably the accrual of more votes. Yet, even liberals who want the best for our country appear to be conflicted. Conservatives are simply lost in this logic.
1. A weakened economy implies fewer Jobs.
Herein lays the liberal/conservative conundrum. Liberals understand a good portion of the argument, the latter portion. Conservatives agree with the earlier portion, but have trouble with the latter portion, the increased taxation. Indeed, derived from point 6. "An increasing competition for jobs implies increased unemployment," we are led to the conundrum. The logic, while complete from an intellectual viewpoint, is incomplete from the operational viewpoint. Nowhere amid this logic can be found the answer to how new jobs will be generated by or be available to our newly-minted citizens. Neither liberal nor conservatives address this key point. Even the current champion and most articulate of conservatives, Senator Marco Rubio, offers little more than "it's the right thing to do," and then suggests solutions on how to do it.
The liberals are faced with the issue that by allowing dramatically increased immigration/naturalization, there obtains serious financial and employment encumbrances. In short, humanism carries a hefty price tag. Both sides are wrapped in the politics of this massively charged issue. The solution will unfold in Congress, and then the courts. Difficult, this one is.
In sum, the liberal solution almost always involves more governmental intervention, more governmental interaction, and particularly more taxation. Moreover, the liberal wants to be involved in everything; no issue is too unimportant for their watchful eyes. Interesting in the topics above is that each involves considerable expense, all generated by increased taxation on the rich -- whoever they are. One could justifiably argue that every proposed tax dollar increase is earmarked to be spent on three or more distinct venues. This small, though paradoxically large, detail is never explained by anyone.
Final note. Liberal solutions are heartfelt and almost always involve more government expense. They are not intellectual in content. In reality, liberals who need very much to feel they are doing the right thing and want to believe they are on a higher intellectual plane, prefer to remain oblivious to the operational aspects of any idea they may promote. Conservatives, on the other hand, consider all arguments closely and try hard to complete the logic mindful of operational reality.
Operational details have brought disparate parties together in both peace and war over many centuries. In a countrified version of a Tip O'Neill -- Ronald Reagan conversation: "How we gonna get this done?"
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