When I edited this, I realized something: It doesn’t make sense. Then I realized something else: who gives a fuck?
I don’t know what a “straw man argument” is.
Take that back…I learned TODAY what it is.
I’ve heard accusations of it before. I just never gave a shit. Once when it’s thrown out so many times, it sounds like a lazy excuse to dismiss people’s arguments. You: “Hey, you should really wipe your ass after you shit.” Me: “Straw man!”. I doubt those that throw out the accusation know what it is.
I don’t know, maybe I judge the merits of people’s arguments alone without lumping them into a “logical fallacy” to dismiss them. It sounds like something assholes say to sound intelligent.
Luckily, I’m a dumbass.
You know what else I don’t know?
I don’t know what the fuck “rights” are.
It doesn’t matter who’s doing the talking. “We have the right to bear arms”, “health care should be a universal right.” I don’t know what they’re saying.
It’s a meaningless term.
I live my life. If I decide to lick the sidewalk and piss on your doorknob, that’s something I permitted myself to do. Representatives of the government can choose to do with those actions what they will.
In some ways, I think of “rights” as something I grant myself. The public and governing body can condemm it, celebrate it, or whatever. Libertarians love to throw out talk of “negative rights” and so on. But as with the “straw man” and “logical fallacies”, I don’t give a shit. They sound like more meaningless terms that people use as shortcuts to be proven right. It’s not really “thinking”. It’s just regurgitating shit you’ve heard other people say. And that’s how people seemingly define “rights”…as something that other people give you.
Am I making sense? I don’t want to get lost in the weeds here.
In common discourse, under my observations at least, “rights” get thrown out there as a means to establish an argument’s moral validity. “I have the right to own a gun, therefore owning a gun is established as good and moral”. (I’m explaining this argument through the lens of a categorical imperative-like perspective: by turning ownership into a universal maxim, where everyone SHOULD own a gun for protection , suddenly we’re in a world where a shootout could break out at any moment. But that maybe neither here nor there for this discussion). Same thing with healthcare as a right (although the categorical imperative works out a lot better here). I’m not being anti-democratic here. Sometimes “rights” do relate to moral superiority. Sometimes…not so much. I’m not knocking the idea of “rights” as some noble societal ideal. I’m simply asking us to assess it for what it is: nothing…not an actual thing “out there” in the void.
It’s easy to lose track of that through the fiery rhetoric of political discourse. But when we start arguing about “rights” and “fallacies”, we don’t sound intelligent…we just sound like nerds.
Yeah, my reasoning in this post leaves a lot to be desired. I’m aware of that. I’m a dumbass, remember?
But my point is this: regurgitating definitions aren’t a substitute for original critical thinking. We can’t throw out “logical fallacy” and “it’s my right” then call it a day. It takes more than memorizing some bullshit theoretical priciple within your favorite ideology (I’m looking at YOU, libertarians!). If we do that, then we’re stuck in a tyranny of definitions. This is why conservatives can’t read Slate and liberals can’t read the National Review. This is why so much bullshit in culture goes unchecked. It’s bullshit stacked on top of bullshit. That’s how intelligent people can rationalize bullshit to themselves. We’re all using the “straw man” arguments (still don’t know if I’m using that correctly).
There’s no shortcut to using “logic”…which probably isn’t a real fucking thing either. Maybe I don’t have the patience for moral argumentation. But here’s a better way to evaluate our judgements, actions, and political opinions:
Just ask yourself:
“Am I being a dick?”
“Would people get harmed if these thoughts were enacted?”
“Am I a sociopath?”
If ‘yes’ to any of those…you probably need to reassess.