Thursday, August 2, 2012


Rex W. Huppke lamented the death of Facts on April 18th of this year in an obituary in The Chicago Tribune. He cited Florida Republican Representative Allen West's assertion, “without a scrap of evidence or reason”, that as many as 81 Democratic members of the House of Representatives were communists.
While West's assertion seems an egregious example of abandonment of the truth to make a point, it is by no means the most dangerous kind of lie. The kinds of people who would believe such an assertion are probably not capable of getting themselves into a voting booth with a proper ballot come election day, even if they manage to remember that it's the day they are supposed to take America back—whatever that means.
No, the truly dangerous non-facts are the ones that persuade otherwise intelligent citizens to embrace positions and policies that are in their own worst interests. Here are a few examples:

  1. Wall Street only needs Main Street
    until they have ALL the money.
    Working stiffs in the Tea Party who have been persuaded that more tax breaks for the rich and another round of gutting banking regulations will somehow make us all more financially secure. These poor schmucks still believe, after 30 years of contrary evidence, that the Laffer Curve works, and that supply side economic policies are good for the middle class. How they can still believe this after their wealth has been stripped and redistributed to a handful of Wall Street pirates is a mystery to me, but believe it they do...and with passion.

  2. So...if there weren't any guns
    we'd all be dead?
    Gun nuts in the NRA who get apoplectic the moment anyone suggests imposing some restrictions on access to combat assault weapons. These bozos think they are protecting the 2nd amendment and ensuring that a well-armed citizenry is able to keep an over-reaching and ambitious government from enslaving us. Meanwhile, we've all been enslaved by a handful of banks without a shot being fired. Instead of protecting their right to own firearms, which has never actually been under attack as near as I can tell, the rank-and-file, touting the NRA's official line, have made it not just possible but easy for true nut cases to arm themselves to the teeth with lethal firepower. The only reason we need guns to protect ourselves is that we have willfully and without much forethought armed the people we need to protect ourselves from.

  3. Capitalism doesn't bankrupt nations.
    Capitalists do.
    Humanities majors who have been persuaded by the more strident voices of the Occupy movements that the same corporations that have brought us automobiles, computers, wireless communications, high definition TV, instant hair color, and Oreo cookies are in fact a monolithic cabal of evil that ought to be eradicated as soon as possible. Proving that ignorance and illogic are at home in both ends of the political spectrum, these lunatics want to scrap Capitalism wholesale because a few bad actors were greedy and unethical. That they don't have any viable system to replace the Capitalism that has served us so well on most fronts for so many years does not seem to damped their enthusiasm for its dismantling. There are many things in the various and nebulous Occupy manifestos that need to be addressed, but overthrowing Capitalism is not one of them.

  4. I don't know who could object
    to being prayed for, but this gives
    you a pretty good idea where
    these women are coming from.
    Choice advocates who believe that a pro-life stance is a stand against women in general and women's health issues in particular. They want to make the debate about women's health rather than what it is really about, which is when does life begin. That the issue is not women's health is, I think, adequately demonstrated by a Finnish study that shows that women who have an abortion are 4 times more likely to die in the year following their abortion than women who carry their child to term. The difference is so statistically significant that it can scarcely be denied, yet Planned Parenthood and other abortion-on-demand advocates have tried to suppress the information, maintaining, among other things, that the study does not prove causation. This reminds me of the tobacco lobby denying any causative link between smoking and lung disease or the coal lobby's claim that global warming isn't real. The sad thing is that it is women with real difficulties who will suffer most from framing the debate this way.

  5. Whoops! Sometimes scripture cuts both ways.
    Conservative Christians—usually also evangelical fundamentalists—who actually believe that they can make a cogent and persuasive argument with an agnostic or atheist by quoting Scripture. There is a logic and symmetry to all God's laws that exist separate from and independent of the Christian understanding. It is embedded in creation, whether or not you accept Creation, and is accessible even to science, although it often takes a metaphysical poet to understand the connection. This is where people of faith need to go to prove their points, because faith has to stand up to a certain amount of scrutiny to be valid. There are an awful lot of well-meaning Christians, I think, who need to read more than just the one Book.

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