13 February 2012

Spot the Fallacies


Capitalism is currently undergoing its most serious crisis since the Great Depression. The solutions offered by the Right are the same as they were then: Do nothing and let the natural cycle of business (the invisible hand of the free market) straighten itself out. Well, that’s not going to work. Hoover did that for three years and had nothing to show for it. Rooseveldt’s [sic] approach of course made sense. Recessions and depressions mandate an activist state and its massive intervention, otherwise, you’re in Hell forever. But then, I’m a Keynesian, eh?

First, we have a little bit of term conflation to start things off. If capitalism is defined as anything approaching the free market, then what’s happening right now in America is not a crisis of capitalism.  Corporatism, maybe.  Or the-electorate-wants-all-the-benefits-of-socialism-without-actually-paying-for-it-or-allowing-the-government-to-regulate-them-ism (aka magical-rainbow-unicorn-ism).  At any rate, the current crisis is not one of capitalism, the free market, or laissez-faire, because none of those actually exist outside of theory in America these days.

Second, Hoover was not laissez-faire by any stretch of the imagination.  Unless laissez-faire now means interventionist statism.  The difference between Hoover and Roosevelt is like the difference between Bushitler and Obamao:  it’s of degree, not kind.

Third, the solutions offered by the right are not, so far as I know, “do-nothing.”  They might be non-interventionist, but that now requires removing market impediments (which, it should be noted, is the very definition of doing something).  At any rate, most of the right’s proposals ten to be along the lines of reducing* taxes, deregulating* businesses, and reducing* spending.

There are probably other fallacies I’ve overlooked.  If so, point them out in the comments.

* Note that all of these words are verbs, which are action words.  In essence, each of these words means doing something.

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