There’s a scene in the film adaptation of John Grishman’s novel The Rainmaker where a letter is read at trial that was written by the vice president of the claims department of the Great Benefit Insurance Company to the mother of a child who was dying from Leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant:
“On seven prior occasions we have denied your claim in writing. We now deny it for the eighth time. You must be stupid, stupid, stupid.”
The fictional Great Benefit Insurance Co. reminds me of the worldview of liberalism. Liberals get away with their corruption because they appeal to people who have never learned to think. Many government schooled graduates don’t know when someone is equivocating or using a post hoc argument.
None of this is to say that Americans are intellectually incapable of thinking. The ability to think straight is there; it’s just that few young people today have been taught how to think, especially when they were never taught the categories to put a good argument together or dismantle a bad one. This works to the advantage of governments that want ideological followers, not people who have learned how to think through an argument and end up questioning a policy.
One of the most egregious examples of faulty thinking appeared on the editorial page of the June 11, 2012 issue of USA TODAY (7A). It was written by Dr. Deborah Cohen, a senior natural scientist at the RAND Corporation. The title of the article is “Bloomberg is right: Portion control can reduce obesity.” The word “control” is key to understanding the ideology behind the article since “control” can be understood in different ways.
Even those who oppose Mayor Bloomberg’s anti-sugar-drink policy would agree that “portion control can reduce obesity.” But Dr. Cohen is using “control” to mean “to be controlled by government.” People who go on diets understand that they are the ones who must control their portions. Control is a matter of self-government, not civil government.
Dr. Cohen goes on to make a basic logical error. She engages in a “false analogy.” She compares “portion control when it comes to alcohol” to portion control when consuming sugary drinks. She writes: “The more we drink, the more likely we are to get drunk.” This is a true statement, but it does not follow that the more we drink “sugar-sweetened beverages” the more likely we are going to be affected in the same way as someone who drinks too much. Drinking 20 ounces of a sugary soft drink can’t be compared to drinking 20 ounces of Johnny Walker Scotch Whiskey.
I am amazed that so many liberals are jumping on the sugary-drink-portion-ban bandwagon. Whatever happened to keep your laws off our bodies and out of our bedrooms? Logic has never been strong with liberals.