14 September 2009

Facebook Politics

It's interesting how otherwise smart people get worked up by irrational arguments, usually involving politics or religion. A colleague of mine was flooding my Facebook recently with basically this argument:

Treaty T is bad because:
  • It is written by crooks in city F (F stands for "far away")
  • It gives more power to people in city F and takes it away from people in city C (C stands for "close by" or "capital", your choice). Voters know more about the people in city C.

Now, if you didn't spot yet why this is insanely illogic, let me help.

First, let us make clear the assumptions:

  • People in city F are crooks.
  • We (voters) don't know people in city F well enough for an informed vote but we do know people in city C well enough for an informed vote.

This begs the question:

How do you know some people are "crooks" if you don't know enough about them?

The assumptions are inconsistent. That should be enough to make any logician puke. But let's assume only one of them is false.

So, first we assume that people in city F are crooks. So what? It doesn't follow in any way that treaty T is bad. A treaty is good or bad depending on what it contains, not depending on who wrote it.

Now let's assume they may be crooks but we don't know for sure because we don't know enough about them. How is that an argument against the treaty T?? Since people get their information through television, radio, and Internet the distance is completely irrelevant. Of course, it may be that media (who pushes information onto the sheepish voters) makes a bad choice in selecting what is important. That may very well be, but that's an argument against the media, not against the treaty. If the media would suddenly decide to only talk about the private life of Paris Hilton, does that mean that we can't vote for anyone else because we don't know enough about them? No, it means that the media is fucked up.

To make it clear, I am not arguing for the treaty for the simple reason that I did not read it. Before I read it I do not feel competent enough to preach to others how they should vote. However, I would prefer to see a little less fanaticism and a little more reason in my "inbox".

PS: Since I spent enough time on this spamming issue, be advised I will not read any comment on this post. Feel free to comment if you need to vent.

1 comment:

mikolas said...

this is cool, a whole post about me! :)

too bad Radu will not read my response otherwise he would learn that I don't need to know certain people to know that they are crooks --- most people are. Nevertheless, I personally tend to look up more information that an average person so it's easier for me to tell that they are crooks.

Media will simply cover what is interesting for people, bunch of white collars are simply not and will never be.

Post a Comment

Note: (1) You need to have third-party cookies enabled in order to comment on Blogger. (2) Better to copy your comment before hitting publish/preview. Blogger sometimes eats comments on the first try, but the second works. Crazy Blogger.