Beware the Cherry-Pickers!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Thomas Sowell considering the methodology of the advocates of such left-wing causes as gun control, summarizes it quite well and asks a devastating question:

Most gun control zealots show not the slightest interest in testing empirically their beliefs or assumptions. There have been careful factual studies by various scholars of what happens after gun control laws have been instituted, strengthened or reduced.

But those studies are seldom even mentioned by gun control activists. Somehow they just know that gun restrictions reduce gun crime, no matter how many studies show the opposite. How do they know? Because other like-minded people say so -- and say so repeatedly and loudly.

A few gun control advocates may cherry-pick examples of countries with stronger gun control laws than ours that have lower murder rates (such as England) -- and omit other countries with stronger gun control laws than ours that have far higher murder rates (such as Mexico, Russia and Brazil).

You don't test an assumption or belief by cherry-picking examples. Not if you are serious. And if you are not going to be serious about life and death, when are you going to be serious? [bold added]
In the process of asking this question, Sowell comes very close to showing what is wrong with how most people think about political questions. There is plainly an admixture of seeking what one thinks of as good, ignorance, and wishful thinking. Were our culture not so rife with the problem of the moral-practical dichotomy (caused by altruism), people would more often approach political questions with the same ruthless logic they approach the other (often smaller) questions that they do understand and realize affect them personally.

-- CAV


Steve D said...

'How do they know?'

Because their ideology tells them so. The problem with conservatives like Sowell is that they always just miss making that key connection. The smarter conservatives realize that culture trumps politics but never ask, much less answer the more important question; what trumps culture?

Gus Van Horn said...

And here, the ideology "informs" them that guns are bad, period.