10-17-15 Hodgepodge

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Stossel on Censorship

After warning that a plurality of Americans support censorship in the form of laws against "hate speech," John Stossel provides other evidence that support for freedom of speech in our culture is growing dangerously thin:

As long as the leftist mobs don't use law or violence, they're still engaged in free speech. Private employers can impose most any speech rule they choose. The First Amendment applies only to government. But now some government officials are as eager to censor as the leftist mobs.

After the owners of Chick-fil-A said they oppose gay marriage, the mayors of Chicago, San Francisco and Boston said Chick-fil-A is "not welcome" in their cities. San Francisco's mayor said, "The closest Chick-fil-A is 40 miles away and I strongly recommend they not try to come any closer."

Since mayors may influence permits and zoning, their threats aren't idle. And no new Chick-fil-A outlets have opened in those cities. This is a clear violation of the First Amendment, although the politicians seem oblivious to that.
I highly recommend reading the whole thing.

Weekend Reading

"[B]y acting as if you don't believe in him or trust him to cope with living on his own, you're implying that you don't believe in him, either." -- Michael Hurd, in "Expiration Date for Your (Grown) Kids?" at The Delaware Wave

"The fundamental error of gun-control advocates is philosophical: They do not really believe that we have free will." -- Peter Schwartz, in "A Rational Case for Gun Ownership" at RealClear Politics

"Lying undermines your relationship with your employer and it imposes burdens on you." -- Michael Hurd, in "Lying's a Full-Time Job" at The Delaware Coast Press

"The antics of the pro-warming side of this 'debate' show that the real cause for alarm isn't global warming, but the kind of 'community' they wish to build." -- Gus Van Horn, in "The Climate Change Monster Roars Back" at RealClear Markets

"There are at least four common fallacies used to discourage big-picture thinking and breed opposition to fossil fuels." -- Alex Epstein, in "Four Fallacies That Fracktivists Use to Scare You" at Forbes

A Word of Thanks

I thank reader Steve D. for his comments on earlier versions of the column linked above.

In More Detail

The Alex Epstein piece linked above is lengthy, but I think it will prove invaluable for anyone engaged in just about any political debate today. This is not just because the fallacies Epstein describes are common, but that he is so thorough in describing and debunking them. (And, in the process of reading, one can easily see how these fallacies can come up elsewhere.) We see this in Epstein's discussion of the "Abuse-Use Fallacy":
Any technology can be abused. As we have seen, people are dying right now because of bad practices in the wind turbine production chain. It is irrational to say that because a technology or practice can be abused, it ought not be used.

I call this the abuse-use fallacy. It is a blueprint for opposing any technology. For example, [Gasland writer/director Josh] Fox could make Carland, which could show car crashes and then blame all of them on "Big Auto." Then he could argue that because car crashes are possible, we don't need cars. In fact, Fox could make a far more alarming movie than Gasland based on supposedly risk-free solar and wind technology. Imagine a scene at a rare-earth mine in a movie called Wasteland.
The other three fallacies that Epstein discusses are False Attribution, No Threshold, and the "Artificial" Fallacy.

-- CAV

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