Burgess-Jackson Abuses Strawman

Here.

Analphilosopher has been calling attention to the obnoxious debating tactics of Brian Lieter. While Analphilosopher’s critique of Lieter’s abusive style is dead on, one wonders whether Analphilosopher ever pauses for self-reflection, as he is also want to fling ad hominem attacks. If the ad hominem attacks were confined to Leiter posts, one would think the overwrought snide comments were intended a parody. But criticizing opponents intelligence and motives rather than intellectual engagement seems to be endemic over at Analphilosopher’s shop.

The format of this post is both a tribute to Burgess-Jackson’s pursuit of Lieter and rueful disappointment with what could be a better blog.

At any rate, Burgess-Jackson sets up a straw-man in his post, titled “Leftist Stupidity“:

Burgess-Jackson summarizes the “leftist” view on charity:

“Charity will never replace government. The problem with charity is that it??s unfocused, uncoordinated, and inefficient. Those who have resources to contribute to the needy don??t know who the needy are or where they??re located. If they end up giving at all, they??re as likely to give to those who don??t need the resources as to those who do. Governmental agencies, by contrast, specialize in distributing resources to the needy. They do it efficiently and effectively.”

Actually, the leftists critique of the nightwatchman state is that private individuals will never give enough to alleviate the ills of society. It’s not an argument about the focus of the charity, is an argument about the amount. “Leftists” take a dim view of human nature and assume that most people’s innate greed will stop them from voluntarily contributing to the general weal in adequate amount*. Taxation, by making contributions toward the general weal mandatory, assures that society will be able to meet its obligations to the less fortunate. One can make reasoned arguments for and against this proposition, but one ought to actually deal with the actual “leftist” position. I doubt many people would argue, straightfaced, that government allocation of funds is rational and approriately targeted - witness the profligate, whorish earmarking of this Cogress.

* Leftists, particularly Communists’ dim view of innate human greed always struck me as hypocritical, since they assume that man is infinitely malleable. If we do away with private property, hold up a few Stakhonvite models, then people will suddenly work hard for the common good without anyone material reward. Once the New Soviet Man emerges, the state will wither away and we’ll all live in the People’s Worker’s Utopia. Um, I thought man was so greedy that he had to be purged, exiled, and re-educated.

5 Comments
Brian B said:

You’re right, that is disingenuous.

Here’s my take on why I disagree with the leftists on this point:If, as you say, “most people’s innate greed will stop them from voluntarily contributing to the general weal in adequate amount”, then how are we to believe that that same innate greed won’t stop them from ethically stewarding the general weal when it is taken involuntarily? In other words, government is made up of the same fallible humans, and I don’t trust the PEOPLE in government to do the right thing with my money any more than the leftists trusts me to give it in sufficient amounts.



One might argue, as our founding fathers did, that the “filter” of representation would bring higher-minded people to the fore. Of course, looking at our current crop of leaders, one might be excused for doubting the efficacy of our filters.



Brian B said:

Our founding fathers, though men of great vision and leadership, were not infallible. But if one were to use them as an example, one might argue that their attempts to limit the scope of government implies that they anticipated the failure of said filters over time.



I bet you wrote this whole post just to use the word Stakhonovite…



Found this from Celibate in the City. Interesting, I have to admit, and not what I expected.



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