Question Pieties

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Thomas Sowell comments on the dishonest reporting behind a particular type of "news" story, in the process making a valuable connection and helping me make another:

Crusaders against such loans often make the interest rate charged seem even higher by quoting these interest rates in annual terms, even when the loan is actually repayable in a matter of weeks. It is like saying that a $100 a night hotel room costs $36,500 a year, when virtually nobody rents a hotel room for a year.
Sowell further elaborates as to why so-called "payday loans" have such high rates, before noting that the very people calling the practice "predatory" are themselves preying on ignorance in the process of furthering a political agenda.

That's perspicacious, but has Sowell also unearthed a general rhetorical strategy of the left? I think so. Consider any number of leftist crusades, as I did in yesterday's post:
Racial equality has practically come to mean government handouts and quotas; reproductive rights somehow became the "right" to purchase abortions with other people's money; and now, same-sex unions have been perverted into micromanagement of marriage chapels (among other things).
At the risk of stating the obvious, we thus have: race-based law in the name of ending racism, forced payment of an elective medical procedure by a third party in the name of "choice", and bossing chaplains around in the name of not bossing around homosexuals who wish to marry.

The rhetorical tactic is a sort of quickie form of what Ayn Rand identified as the "Argument from Intimidation", and if spelled out, it might go something like this: "Only a bigot (e.g., a racist, misogynist, or homophobe) could possibly oppose what I advocate, since I am denouncing bigotry."

Early in his article, Sowell notes all the repercussions leftists like to ignore about the policies they advocate. Perhaps it's time to call their bluff, and openly question their professed concerns.

-- CAV

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