Ever get into an argument with a conservative? If you have, you know just how exasperating it can be. Ever wish you had a weapon that could destroy his argument? In his book Political Logic: Defeating Conservative Theories of Rationality, author Larry Allen Brown shows how to apply an approach that merges the "Zen" of martial arts and deductive reasoning, in which you use the weight of your opponent's argument against him. The conservative always uses inductive reasoning to make his case because he's pushing his own theory of rationality. But inductive reasoning can never prove itself as true. So, don't push back. The best weapon to use against the conservative is his own argument. Require him to demonstrate that what he's saying is true. He won't be able to do it. It requires him to justify his claims based on more claims requiring more justification for still more claims. His only recourse is to try to escape through circular reasoning which is itself a logical fallacy. In short, there is no rational justification for his position. The burden of proof is on the conservative. Don't forget that important element of critical thinking. He makes a claim as if it were true, justifying it through appeals to some authority. But what authority supports his claim? And, what is the authority behind that authority? This can be pushed to the point of creating what is known as the dilemma of infinite regress vs. his dogma. Ultimately, his irrationality is revealed and the argument is over. Simply put, he can't demonstrate the truth of his claim. The conservative is always on the attack. And he's a justificationist. Brown shows through examples that we see everyday exactly how this approach can change the way we look at the political landscape. Conservatives are famous for their claimed "values." However, the only value that matters is Truth and that point is driven home in this manual for defeating the conservative argument.
I don't consider myself a liberal or a conservative. My views sometimes agree with one of the parties but on other things, I don't agree with either and I have a completely separate idea about how things should be done. That being said, I love to get into debates with people. The main reason I enjoy this is because when you have a discussion about something like politics, you can teach the other person a few things and they can do the same for you. Anyway, Political Logic brought up several points that me re-think some of my own opinions. While I don't necessarily agree with everything written, I did give it my full attention and feel like I am a better person because of what I learned.
September 6, 2010
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for free. All opinions expressed are 100% mine. If you make a purchase using my Amazon or Barnes and Noble link, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.