Dissecting Anti-Capitalist Bias

A Strange Paradox: How can so many people believe that a political ideal rooted in ‘freedom from coercion’ is somehow tied to injustice, oppression, war, and even prison! This is nuts. But many people believe that non-coercion is somehow deeply tied to coercion.

A Strange Paradox: How can so many people believe that a political ideal rooted in ‘freedom from coercion’ is somehow tied to injustice, oppression, war, and even prison! This is nuts. But many people believe that non-coercion is somehow deeply tied to coercion.

I often encounter students that equate consumerism, greed, and authority, with ‘capitalism.’ It is an interesting phenomenon. It makes no conceptual sense, in that advocates of free markets are not advocates of any of these things. It does make sense on a practical level though since teachers and professors continue to preach that all the ills of humanity can be captured by the boogeyman: capitalism. It doesn’t survive careful scrutiny, as most vague emotional doctrines don’t stand up to anything. They are like silly putty: they can bounce around, and they can mindlessly copy news articles. Likewise, they become flaccid when you calmly and slowly examine them.

Since free markets require freedom, the level of coercion must be minimal (focused only on acting against violations of natural negative rights). (See Locke, Nozick)

Since free markets do not benefit from strife and instability, free markets are anti-war (wars do not improve the economy if you look at them objectively) (See Rothbard, Rand, Bastiat)

Since free markets encourage investment, saving, and long-term planning, free-market advocates encourage production, building, and cooperation. Yes, a business within any market wants you to buy from them. However, the important thing is this: in a free market (where it is that case that the government does not force you to buy anything, the only tool is persuasion). Assuming that persuasion is better than coercion, then free markets are clearly better than forced, inefficient, centrally planned economies. (See Problems with Central Planning)

Cronyism is ANTI-FREE markets! I’m shouting because I’ve seen too many students equate cronyism, where a certain business gets some special deal with the State, either a subsidy or some cheap loan, etc, think this is capitalism. But this isn’t capitalism. This is cronyism. The very idea that cronyism could be conflated with cronyism, or that fascism could be connected to free-markets, is absolutely insane. This is like saying ‘minimal authority’ is ‘maximally authoritarian.’ Or, ‘coerced markets’ are ‘free markets.’ Seriously, sometimes it is like we live inside of a chapter of 1984. (See Munger, Hayek)

A similar prejudice relates to a bias against profit (See Carter). To combat these prejudices, you can review my advice on avoiding fallacies, critically thinking through conversation, and learn how to refute arguments.

5 Reasons You Should Be A Classical Liberal (American Conservative):

This is a defense of Classical Liberalism, which is the philosophy that gave birth to the United States, and continued to develop it, until now. However, there are many misconceptions. The Classical Liberal (American Conservative) is anti-racist, anti-fascist, anti-discrimination, anti-poverty, and anti-coercion

This is a defense of Classical Liberalism, which is the philosophy that gave birth to the United States, and continued to develop it, until now. However, there are many misconceptions. The Classical Liberal (American Conservative) is anti-racist, anti-fascist, anti-discrimination, anti-poverty, and anti-coercion:

Anti-racist: The idea that human beings are made in the Image of God is a key idea to conservative American thought. Because there is a higher unity to humanity, the division into race seems strange. Christians, in fact, have been fighting slavery and racism for centuries. But to oppose the divisiveness of tribalism, you need a higher unity. This higher unity is first, a unity of humanity as a whole. A second and more profound unity is the unity of being something that God created. So, we have a shared nature, and we share a creator. 

Anti-fascist: Fascism is a modified form of socialism (see history of Mussolini and Hitler). Fascism is completely antithetical to American Conservatism. Conservatism opposes heavy centralization of State power: Fascism is the strong centralization power (there is more to it, but a necessary condition of Fascism is strong centralization; so, conservatives oppose the necessary conditions of Fascism). It is about as consistent to say that Rambo was pacifist, as an American Conservative is a Fascist. There is a lot of misinformation here, so you’ll need to look at some scholarly articles, specifically on Nozick, Sowell.

Anti-discrimination: I oppose grouping people by class, gender, and religion. To wrestle with demographics you might have to concede that such distinctions exist, however, Conservatives don’t start the analysis of every political discussion with ‘let’s divide everybody up by class, sex, color, etc.’ The fact is, your priorities are far more important.

Anti-poverty: Everybody should help out their community, and Conservative free-market principles have shown to do that the most, in addition to healthy charitable donations. Conservatives are against poverty, and anyone who says otherwise is guilty of slander or libel (not to mention the ad hominem fallacy; for more information on fallacies and policies go here)

Anti-coercion:  Tyranny from the State and violations of rights from other citizens are best illustrated by emphasizing coercion as an evil. Libertarian Conservatives want the least amount of coercion in society, this is why even the government is only licensed to use coercion against those that are guilty of coercion.

Positively, American Conservatism is: 

American Conservatives are proud of the political philosophy that broke away from classism, slavery, monarchy, and tyrannical government. Really, read a bit of history. You’ll have to go through centuries of political history, and the development of political and philosophical thought on law, jurisprudence, reflections on religious liberty, and the tensions between the state and worship.

This doesn’t mean that 1776 was the birth of Utopia. Rather, the Founders of the United States constitution forged the constitution with works like Utopia (that is the book, from Thomas More; I recommend it) in mind, as well the wars that have ravaged Europe, the wars between Protestant and Catholics, and the Freedom for self-determination. Conservatives draw from a rich wellspring of philosophical, political, and literary thought. Without education into these fonts, their vision cannot be grappled with.   

Now, one must consider the implications of this article. If I’ve been honest, that I’m a conservative because of these things, then it would be patently contradictory to equate Conservatism with anything related to the things that I oppose (either I’m wrong, misguided, hold contradictory ideas, etc).

What is a Good Citizen?

What do you think of as a ‘citizen.’ A citizen has to be more than merely a ‘responsible voter.’ So, here is my vision of a citizen. A nonpartisan citizenry is capable of understanding the core ideas of their republic. Additional, such a person would be able to detect fallacious reasoning and calmly question the partisan lines.

What do you think of as a ‘citizen’? A citizen has to be more than merely a ‘responsible voter.’ So, here is my vision of a citizen. A nonpartisan citizenry is capable of understanding the core ideas of their republic. Additionally, such a person would be able to detect fallacious reasoning and calmly question the partisan lines.

Such a citizenry would be able to take a step back, consider the different dimensions of a given policy, and examine these ideas, with and against the parties.

Such a person would be able to criticize both the Republican and Democratic parties. If one supports a given party, then this is a decision based on many factors. The sole factor, however, should not be from a kind of tribalism, that it is your party. Presumably, if it is your party, it is your party because it stands for something that you genuinely endorse.

Further, such virtues as this would be regarded as a common discipline. A free people can reach agreements through rational inquiry and nonviolent cooperation.

See my other articles about voting, social media, and logic, so that this bare vision is fleshed out a bit more. These stand as starting points for the philosophical ideas in practice. There must be something common to our community if we are above superficial divisions of race, sex, religion, and partisanship. Without which there is just the barbaric struggle of will, might, and force.

Here are some other approaches to the question (1, 2)

The Miracles of Easter

Cultures throughout history have celebrated spring. It is about fertility, rebirth, new days after long nights, and the ushering in of life and flowers and hope. Alas, in a culture of surplus information, coupled with a lamentable deficit of substance, it is sad indeed that both Christians and non-Christians often miss the twin points of Easter.

Cultures throughout history have celebrated spring. It is about fertility, rebirth, new days after long nights, and the ushering in of life and flowers and hope. Alas, in a culture of surplus information, coupled with a lamentable deficit of substance, it is sad indeed that both Christians and non-Christians often miss the twin points of Easter.

First, the non-Christians were on to something– we mortals live but a time, but we see cycles of rebirth, growth, waning, and waxing. Different myths are often told to explain this wonder. Some may have been stranger than others. But it seems more strange to miss the fact that spring is amazing, wondrous, and magical.

The Christian faith, historically based, is about a person unlike all others, who conquered death, submitted to both death and humiliation for our sins. Not only was He God, but He is the God that comes down to die, is reborn, all for our sakes (like a seed that dies, is planted, and then comes to life). The fact of the seasons is a miracle. The fact of Christ coming into His creation and humbling Himself even unto death is an even greater miracle.

In Good Friday and Easter Resurrection Day, we celebrate the master of both life and death, the architect of the Universe, and the hand of the Creator- who leads by example–the servant King.

In winter, we may be forlorn, and life seems hidden in the cold and dark nights. But seeds that were dead, come to a new life in the spring, and resound with the miracle of life, reborn, and hearkening to us, that in fact, new days are before us, and the Kingdom of Summer may await us.

Christ answers the longing for us to see death being conquered by life. He is the myth that is true. Those that lament that the word Easter is a Germanic word with pagan import miss the point. The people before Christ knew that there was a miracle of the seasons. Of course, they knew about spring! Only foolish people would discount and ignore the miracle of the changing seasons (perhaps our de-cultured situation). Should the early Christians have decided to place their Christian holy day on Easter? How could they not? If you notice the poetry of nature’s seasons, and then you found out that the Poet behind the seasons put himself in the poem…how could you not celebrate Him and his seasons?

Great poem for Easter:


Pre-Political Checklist with Chesterton: A Non-Partisan Primer for Intelligent Citizens

The inspiration for this article is the upcoming election cycle, and the impending and inevitable nonsense that will attend it. Two Chesterton quotes stand out for some helpful guidance. The first quote is this:

“Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up.”

This is not restricted to political discussion, but generally good advice about evaluating the past.  The second quote is this:

“The men whom the people ought to choose to represent them are too busy to take the jobs. But the politician is waiting for it. He’s the pestilence of modern times. What we should try to do is make politics as local as possible. Keep the politicians near enough to kick them. The villagers who met under the village tree could also hang their politicians to the tree. It’s terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hung today.”

Building on these two quotes, I think three distinctions should be made before you start to think about what to vote for, and who to vote for.

The first distinction separates promises from reality. This should not need mentioning, but from talking with students in the university, watching the news, and observing social media, this clearly is worth mentioning. A politician gains power, and keeps power, by selling a narrative. However, the sale’s pitch and the product, are different things. A pitch for the climate may be bad for the climate. A pitch for safety may make things more dangerous. This is why we want our politicians close: if you have a salesman that never has to explain why they didn’t produce what they promised…why wouldn’t he overpromise and underdeliver (for those unacquainted with good business, it is supposed to be ‘under promise and over deliver’)?

The second distinction separates ‘moral’ issues from the ‘empirical’ issues. Giving a million dollars to an orphanage will have good consequences. But what if I got the money by stealing from the bank (other people’s money)? If we assume government policies are only an empirical matter that can be counted and calculated, this is skipping a rather important aspect of the discussion. Also, going back to the first distinction, we might call the act of stealing from the bank, to ‘reappropriate’ it to the orphans, the ‘Property Preservation Act.’ This doesn’t address the moral issue at all, and simply assumes that the act is just. After all, the politician and his supporters said it was.

The third distinction separates ‘character’ from ‘policy’. This relates to the character of the politician. In a perfect world, we would simply select perfect people, with perfect policies, but alas, we have politicians because we don’t have a perfect world, and we have tons of bad policies because we often don’t know which policies are the best (and we’re gullible). Further, a man with severe character flaws can enact good policy, and a saint can enact bad policies.

This brings us back to the first quote about fences. We are born in a world of institutions, but we have imperfect people, finite resources, and imperfect institutions. However, before you can fix things, you have to understand how things work. To fix a foundation, you need to understand a bit about foundations. To fix a wall, one needs to know a bit about walls. To fix this country, one needs to know how it does work before one fixes it. One needs to be able to make the distinctions listed above, and a bit about history.

If you’re not willing to do this….perhaps you shouldn’t vote. It isn’t a good idea to shoot in the dark.

Boiled Down Points, with Video

  1. Rational action requires knowledge, not gut reactions
  2. Political Action without accountability is a bad thing (though probably common)
  3. Character and Policy are separable things (this isn’t directly to the Chesterton quotes, but related and relevant)
  4. Moral issues and Empirical Issues are different things (also related)
  5. Promises and Actual Effects are different things

Excellent Sites about Chesterton:

Similar Articles on this site:

How to Refute an Argument (and how not to)

What is the difference between an uncritical attack, on the one hand, and a critical refutation, on the other? Understanding what is wrong and right is quite different from feeling comfortable with a given set of ideas and positions (comfort does not necessitate rightness or truth). To this end, to know this difference between actually arguing and refuting, I will briefly explain what a refutation actually is (and isn’t). In the world of information, this is extremely important.

If you want to pinpoint the source of an error in a given argument, you basically have two fronts to consider: (1) the truth of the premises, and (2) the reasoning between the premises that lead to the conclusion (validity). Knowing this, we can also infer how NOT to refute something. That is to say, a true refutation does at least one of the two things we just discussed (or both). A false refutation is something that looks good on a superficial and emotional level, like something substantial is being said but doesn’t survive careful analysis (it isn’t actually substantial; flash without substance).

Boiled Down: uNDERMINE AN ARGUMENT BY SHOWING the FALSITY OF ONE OR MORE PREMISES, AND/OR SHOWING THAT THERE IS AN INVALID INFERENCE.

fOR A COMPLETE REFUTATION, HOWEVER, YOU NEED A COUNTER ARGUMENT THAT CONTRADICTS THE CONCLUSION OF THE ARGUMENT THAT YOU ARE ATTACKING.

Some popular fallacies are basically attacks (not on the actual argument, its premises, etc). Ad hominem (latin for ‘against the man’) is popular, which is simply to attack the character of the arguer or the platform that they have. For instance, rather than wrestling with the cited data, the interpretation of the data, or the reasoning, one could attack the style, or appeal to anything else that prevents another person from ‘taking it seriously.’ The ‘it’ here is the argument. The argument is important, the means that the communication is made, verbally, visually, etc, but these things are not important (only important in an auxiliary way).

This can’t be stressed enough. A bad person can make a good argument. A good person can make a bad argument. A smart person can assert something foolish and stupid. A fool can say something brilliant and true. This is why critical thinking and logic are so important. If we can cultivate the ability to reason together, examine arguments, and know what the ‘point’ of the argument is, then we can all jointly get closer to the truth.

With this in mind, if you read something that you think is wrong, the burden is two-fold: showing the falsehood of premises, and/or showing the illicit inference. That’s it.


Contrariwise, a false refutation is precisely when you make an attack that essentially tells yourself and others: ‘don’t wrestle with the premises and reasoning’. That is, a false refutation is an attack on the general credibility of the arguer instead of the argument itself.

There are some some notable things to be said though, regarding credibility of sources. A person known for lying might be lying. True. A news site known for fabricated stories might be fabricating stories. These are things that we should be aware of. However, if we are to be part of the critical discussion of ideas and truth, we have to demonstrate where the arguments go wrong, if we are to understand how to get things right.

In short, critical reasoning is hard, and we should be on our guard to not pretend we are doing it, when in fact, we are just attacking something without examining it carefully. An honest solution is easy. You can say, ‘I don’t know.’ Or, ‘I haven’t examined the studies yet.’ The worst thing that you can do though, is to pretend to think carefully when there was nothing going on but sheer prejudice (‘I don’t like this view, so it must be stupid and wrong’).

So, let’s talk about premises and reasoning because that is what critical thinking requires. It is hard. It is time-consuming. But it is better for everyone.

See also these articles on reasoning and logic:

The Statist Fallacy:

Fallacies come in several varieties, formal and informal.
There are many informal fallacies, and these probably constitute the bulk of our thinking errors, as they allow a person to weigh something too highly. For instance, an attack on a person (ad hominem), moves a person from thinking about a given argument that does not depend on a person at all, to thinking about the speaker (if the guy is racist, bigot, insert anything ‘ist’), then you don’t have to consider their argument. Or, overweighting a group of people, as if something is more likely to be true if a bunch of people says it is (but there is no necessary connection).

Here is a fallacy that I think deserves its own name. This is what I call the ‘Statist fallacy’, it is a form of false dichotomy, where there are only two options: either (1) you support cause ‘x’ and must use the government to implement policy in the causes’ name, or (2) you do not support cause ‘x,’ because government is the only means to effect the policy in question.

Essentially, then, government is the only kind of group-agent/collective that can do the work….for basically everything. Of course, the problem is that it is completely untrue. A person may support a cause, whole-heartedly, and think that the government is not the most efficient mechanism tackle the cause in question. You can have voluntary groups, like private schools, private businesses, church, etc (these are all voluntary; they are not coerced to exist by outside forces, like the government)

Take gun control: there is evidence that having guns actually protects people (society as a whole, and citizens in particular). https://www.forbes.com/sites/paulhsieh/2018/03/20/any-study-of-gun-violence-should-include-how-guns-save-lives/#300c20155edc Additionally, gun rights, as a measure against growing government tyranny, as well as an extension of individual rights to safety and protection. See an article from Huemer here.

Take free markets: someone might believe that there is both a moral and an empirical foundation to valuing and promoting the freemarkets. See here.

Now, with these in mind, the unscrupulous thinker might find it offensive that somebody is advocating for less government intervention in healthcare, gun control, and the free market. This unscrupulous thinker might argue that the person advocating for free markets, gun rights, and less government meddling with healthcare, is arguing these things because he wants more murders, more medical tragedies, and more greed. However, if you’ve read this post, then you would be able to point out that because someone adopts a given policy, this does not mean that they oppose the cause that actually stands behind it (because only the government can solve problems, and if you’re against government doing something, then you must be against the cause too! Monster). That is, there are people that actually believe that people will be happier if there is a free market, more self-reliant people, and that government can often actually make things worse when they are operating outside of their proper sphere. Shocking, I know, but true.

Should you uncritically adopt any position? No. Should you assume that I have done my research and that I am right to support gun rights and free markets? No. Additionally, however, you should not assume that if someone says “I’m not sure the government should do ‘x’, […]” then this person is opposed to a thriving country, more equity, justice for all, etc. Some people believe that the government shouldn’t do something because– historically– there are reasons to believe that the government often does things inefficiently.

Now, it does not follow that because someone has done their research, that they are necessarily right. Nor does it follow that because somebody believes something different than you, that they have bad intentions in their heart. However, it does follow that if you assume the other person has nefarious aims that poison all of their thoughts, and they are, therefore, necessarily wrong and evil, that you will be unable to objectively evaluate what they are saying.

Provisional How-to for Voting (without being a lemming)

Don’t assume that voting issues are binary (neatly divisible by two; R vs D), because that is simply absurd. There are at least 100 crucial moral, scientific, and historical issues that need careful consideration, in order to make informed policy decisions and voting well. The very idea that all of your political positions can be comprehensively represented by two different parties is indescribably silly…

  1. Don’t assume that voting issues are binary (neatly divisible by two; R vs D), because that is simply absurd. There are at least 100 crucial moral, scientific, and historical issues that need careful consideration, in order to make informed policy decisions and voting well. The very idea that all of your political positions can be comprehensively represented by two different parties is indescribably silly. If you think that the political complexities are suitably covered by two categories, please don’t vote. It is likely that your reasoning is ill-informed.
  2. Don’t assume that every policy that promises something as just, is really just. Only a fool would simply assume a politician is telling the truth. Quite often, a policy that is marketed as just is unjust. Or, something for the poor, may not actually help the poor.
  3. Understand the principle of ‘cui bono’, and invested interests. Politicians thrive on emotional appeals. Cui Bono?: this simply translates to ‘who benefits?’. It is a good question, regardless of what the issue is. It isn’t decisive, but it is important to keep in mind. Politicians stay in power, and expand their power, by appealing to the ‘greater good.’ (this includes Third Reich, USSR; this is not a crude ad Hitlerum, but a simple appeal to the facts of history: politicians appeal to emotions, and get power through this)
  4. Suspend judgment (if you think you understand all of the issues of politics without much thought, you are either a bona fide genius, or you’re an utter fool)
  5. Evaluate issues independently: Each issue, and the corresponding political solutions, these need to be considered independently, as well as with other policies, historical context, means, etc. However, since we have a tendency to get wrapped up in emotional and irrational passions, it is wise to isolate things to their barest components before one can seriously evaluate what the issue really is, and what the appropriate response should be (sometimes inaction is preferable to inappropriate State action)
  6. Understand different aspects of policies:
    1. Know how moral issues differ from empirical issues (not strictly speaking, empirical; a policy might be immoral, even if does something that a group of people likes)
    2. Know how empirical issues (factual issues about the actual world) differ from moral issues (issues about right and wrong). For instance, empirical issues, strictly speaking, are not about moral principles. Moreover, sometimes a given policy isn’t obviously wrong (morally), but history may show that it doesn’t provide what it promises, or is grotesquely inefficient; like this$2 million dollar bathroom)
    3. Know how political theories underpin a given policy because some political theories are bad (this isn’t easily captured in a parenthesis, and requires a longer article; see Politics Without the Labels)
    4. Know how economic theories underpin a given policy (if a given policy is based on disproven/bad theory, that is a reason to not support it)
    5. ‘Good consequences’ don’t mean that it is the right thing to (otherwise, robbing a bank would be good, provided you distributed it properly; hint, it is still wrong)
    6. If you can’t separate these issues, this means that you should probably do some research, and after critical thought and discussion (assuming you have friends that are willing and capable of doing this), you can then revisit the underpinning issues later, with a clearer head, so to speak.

7. Exercise a little skepticism about policy promises, especially when someone is appealing to darker vices (revenge, envy, division, blame). Of course, sometimes people are to blame, but if the blame is assigned by getting carried away by tribalistic us-vs-them sentiments, you have to exercise MORE caution.

8. Look at strong defenses for both sides, and don’t formulate your positions by looking at caricatures from one opponent mischaracterizing the other. For instance, free market capitalism isn’t about greed, consumerism, and the destruction of the environment. Really. There are principled, well-meaning people that think that free markets make life better culturally, financially, politically, etc, without being pro-greed, pro-consumerism, and anti-environment. Likewise, though some capitalists may actually advocate for these negative things, it would be foolish to judge an entire group of people by the least coherent, and objectionable person that MISREPRESENT the position.

9. Don’t assume that there is deep-seated racism, bigotry, etc, etc, etc, simply because somebody disagreed with your beloved party. It is just silly…and annoying…and stupid.  If you put on colored glasses….guess what, everything you see will be….wait for it…colored. It will look different if you look at things from different angles and arguments. Consider what I call the Statist Fallacy: assuming that if you somebody does not think that the State is the appropriate mechanism to address a given ill in society, that this necessarily that such a person is against the given cause (e.g. State-run education vs. private charity). Understanding this fallacy makes it clear that it is not valid to conclude that since a person advocates for a private solution for a given problem, it is not necessarily because this person that does not value education itself. For instance, one can intelligently and coherently maintain that one means is more appropriate than another means towards a given end. Research and thought are needed to determine this, not gut reactions, ad hominem’s, and hysterics.

Much more can be said, obviously, but these are essential aspects to voting responsibly. Have any suggestions to add to this? Let me know.

Reflection on Love (Biblical)

If you’ve heard of how the Bible talks about love, then you may have wondered how that connects to how we commonly talk about love. There are some big differences about how the Bible discusses love, and how popular secular culture talks about love. So, I thought a few words would be helpful.

Biblical Conception of Love

The Christian notion of love is one that is not emotional, in the sense that though love may be felt, the feeling itself is not the most important part. For instance, consider the light of the sun. You can feel it on your skin. However, the feeling of the suns rays should not be confused with the light itself. The light from the sun exists whether or not the light is felt, just as the room still exists, even if you close your eyes. Likewise, love may be felt, when we’re in our proper frame of mind, but we are commanded to love regardless of our emotions at a given time.

However, if love is an emotion (and nothing else), then love is no suitable basis for anything; not marriage, not righteousness; not parenting, not anything. If love is fundamentally an emotion then the Christian doctrine is false. Love is connected to God’s very nature, and therefore reflects humanity’s unfallen nature too.

Saying that love is an emotion is not merely an inconsequential opinion, but it reflects a belief that undermines all the fabric of ethics, marriage, politics, and all of human life. It is that serious.

If you do not grasp the objective nature of love, then you will always be confused with the responsibilities and realities of the goodness and sorrows of this life.

Relevant Interrelatedness of Love

Loving your spouse, or your neighbor, or even your human enemies, is a commandment (Matthew 5:43). This commandment does not take account for the ephemeral feelings of the individual, but simply requires obedience to God. One might wonder how can this be. However, if love is not primarily an emotion, it isn’t very mysterious. Love your wife and be faithful, whether you are temporarily discontent or not. That is what an honorable person does. Love your neighbor, whether they are nice to you or not. Love your enemies, whether you dislike them or not.

If this seems strange, then there is maybe a kind of confusion in how we conceive the concept of love. You can place your wife’s health and goodness before your own, or your child, for instance, no matter how you feel at a given time. It is definitely hard, and that is why we revere those that do it well. You can treat your neighbor in a way that encourages their health and goodness, despite ephemeral childishness, irrationality, and pettiness. You can even sincerely pray for your enemies’ salvation and goodness, no matter your practical antagonism. That is to say, the Christian conception of love is transcendent–beyond–mere feelings. Perhaps this should be a dividing line between adults and children: adults can get past the feeling, and live up to the duty of love. It isn’t easy, and that is why it is a mark of the mature.

Influence of Concepts to Virtue or Vice of Love

Since God is love, and we’re designed as the Image of God, we must be loving or cease to exist fully (i.e. we get diminished when we act contrary to love). Loving is a duty. If we do not love, then we cannot be full. However, the objective nature of love has a deep bearing on what hate is too. Just as we must love what is good, we must hate what is evil. This is not contradictory. Love indicates priority, and high priority connects to love, and low priority connects to hate. There is no contradiction in hating the sin of a person while simultaneously loving their being, their existence, and their health. And since human health is objective also, hating sin is just as simple as hating poison. Poison is objectively adverse to health, as poison countermands the structure and functioning of human physiology.

4 Aspects of Christian love:

  1. Love is not merely emotional (‘feeling love’, and ‘love itself’, are different things)
  2. Love has a rational dimension
  3. Love has a dimension of character (what you love reveals your character)
  4. Love transforms you (you become, in some sense, what you love)

Virtue is excelling in human activity and acts of love is the purpose of human activity. Vice is demonstrating human activity gone wrong; it is a kind of weakness, ignorance, and imbalance. Vice is not hating itself, but an imbalance that often leads to hating the wrongs things (and understanding hate, too, as nothing but emotion, this would be a similar mistake).

So, let us love what is “true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8.

Great Related Articles:

Learn your fallacies, and save the world! (Yes, this is hyperbole, but there is something to it)

Is this an exaggeration? Yes! Learning your fallacies may not save the world, but it will make it a little less irrational, and that is a very good thing. You could, of course, go the completely free route, and look at Wikipedia, and the many lists of fallacies, or check out some great free podcasts.

Is this an exaggeration? Yes! Learning your fallacies may not save the world, but it will make it a little less irrational, and that is a very good thing. You could, of course, go the completely free route, and look at Wikipedia, and the many lists of fallacies, or check out some great free podcasts.  Also, you can check out my article Intro to Logic for Commenting on Social Media (aka, how not to be an idiot, when reading, thinking, and posting on social media).

If you only are going to spend a few minutes…then simply read on.

Bad reasoning is typically divided into two major types. The first is a problem in the logical structure relating to a problem in form, or a formal fallacy. The other type of problem relates to a problem of content (the material, or matter, of the argument). Both are important, but if you are not going to spend your time studying logic (be honest), then the most common errors will be discussed here, which can be broadly captured by two camps of errors about the matter of an argument: ‘appealing to the wrong things’ and ‘being hasty.’ Common examples of appealing to the wrong things can be appealing to popularity, authority, force, feelings, pity, envy, etc. The biggest issue that you need to realize is that fallacies screw up your reasoning because they do have something to them, and often they do get you rules that often work out (but they don’t always, and often mislead us). Consider being a poisoner. Would you succeed in poisoning someone if you leave out a contained labeled “POISON!”? No, but you might succeed if you hid the poison in things that look like non-poisonous things tea, coffee, and doughnuts.

Fallacies are like that, they are sneaky little blighters.

You probably would go right, most of the time, by taking your doctor’s advice, but just because a doctor advised something does not mean that it necessarily is the best course (doctors can be wrong). You’d probably get it right sometimes if you polled people on uncontroversial topics like the weather. But here’s the problem: with controversial things, we’re trying to sort out the BS, and to do that, we need to be less hasty, less credulous, and more critical.  To accomplish this, we have to take to heart to some hard lessons, like: facts don’t care about how you feel (it doesn’t necessarily mean anything except that you feel a certain way), doing something doesn’t mean you should (even if a bunch of people think it is ok), believing you are right doesn’t mean that you are, and even thinking carefully–even this– still doesn’t mean that you are right.

The first major camp of informal fallacies is basically about appealing to things that don’t really matter (though it seems relevant), if you think carefully (even if that method often works well normally). The second camp relates to being hasty. This is obviously related to the first, but is a little different, because it has less to do with appealing to something, than with assuming that one’s premise gets you more than it really does.

For instance, consider statistics: correlation does not equal causation. E.g.  100% of serial killers drink water. Coincidence? Put that water down you sicko! This might trick us though, because when there is a causal relation, there will also be a correlation.

Another popular fallacy, also with statistics, ignores this: disparity does not equal injustice. E.g. Two equally trained people do the same things, but one gets paid much more than the other. Injustice! But this is clearly problematic, what if one person is working while in jail for murdering pregnant women and their unborn babies (and working in the prison)? This could also make sense when one person with equal training, background, etc, simply does a better job than the other, despite otherwise equal backgrounds. But in this case, one person was working in a prison, while the other was doing the same job outside of prison (relevantly different than).

Or take an economic fallacy that is driven by the uncritical conviction that equal ‘labor’ should net equal pay (as if labor and calorie expenditure are more valuable than, say, productive value). Contrast the differences between a person that creates an entire industry and makes a billion dollars, and works 70 hours a week, but his twin works 70 hours a week too, but at McDonald’s, and makes far less. If there is an injustice, it requires an argument, rather simply saying that if there is a disparity, then there must be an injustice. In this case, one person took risks, built something that otherwise wasn’t there, and created a complex system of layered planning, cooperation, and voluntary exchanges, on the one hand, while on the other, this person took no risk, built nothing, invested nothing in terms of long-term plans/energy, etc, made naught but a sandwich, created no systems, and did not need to know how to facilitate multi-layered, voluntary exchanges.

This is nothing but a sketch, of course. I’d recommend that you do your own research, try to jump to fewer conclusions, say ‘I don’t know’ a lot (unless, of course, you do), and try to name the fallacies that you think you find in the news, what you read, and what you say. We make mistakes all the time. It is just silly to assume otherwise. So, let us all try to make fewer bad appeals, less hasty generalizations, and help each other seek the truth, encourage civilized discussion, and become self-educated in the best sense of the word. If we do these things the world will be a little better off.

Some other websites with fallacy examples:

https://carm.org/logical-fallacies-or-fallacies-argumentation
https://www.bethinking.org/apologetics/logic-and-fallacies-thinking-clearly
http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/index.html

Some Free Podcasts:

https://player.fm/series/mastering-logical-fallacies

Good Books to Buy:

Socratic Logic: A Logic Text using Socratic Method, Platonic Questions, and Aristotelian Principles, Edition 3.1
With Good Reason: An Introduction to Informal Fallacies

Some other websites with fallacy examples:

https://carm.org/logical-fallacies-or-fallacies-argumentation

https://www.bethinking.org/apologetics/logic-and-fallacies-thinking-clearly

http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/index.html

Some Free Podcasts:

https://pintswithaquinas.com/podcast/28-7-common-logical-fallacies/

https://player.fm/series/mastering-logical-fallacies

Good Books to Buy:

Socratic Logic: A Logic Text using Socratic Method, Platonic Questions, and Aristotelian Principles, Edition 3.1

With Good Reason: An Introduction to Informal Fallacies