Epiphany. Paradigm shift. Awakening. All three describe a fundamental shift in how one sees the world. This site provides time tested tools for analyzing the world around us. Understanding the basics of Logic and Economics allows us to view this world with clarity, and in the process, throw off the chains of rhetoric. Armed with these tools Politics look dramatically different.
The Basic components of Logic are the Statement, Conclusion, and Argument. A statement must be true. Not “I hope its true”, or, “I’d like to believe its true”, but factually accurate and unassailable. There must be at least two statements before a Conclusion can be drawn. Arguments that have only one statement and a conclusion are not really arguments at all, they’re well, worthless.
A conclusion must be drawn only from the statements and not contradicted by omitted statements. Many conclusions appear to be logical until one looks for statements that are missing. When one analyzes why a critical statement is omitted one can then see behind an argument to discover the hidden agenda or bias lurking in the background.
An argument is logical when two or more statements are used to generate a conclusion that is not contradicted by any omitted statements. All other arguments are not logical.
Logic is not a fuzzy science. It has specific rules and follows predictable patterns. But there are a lot of imitators out there. We list, as a service to you dear reader, the most common False Logical arguments. Learn those and you will be amazed at how often you see them used by folks who want you to take them seriously.
The two big themes in Economics is scarcity and incentive.
Scarcity is why the saying, “There is no free lunch”, is 100% accurate. There is a finite amount of any material, any product, and any service available. The amount of gold and crude oil available at any one time is limited. The amount of jewelry and gasoline likewise. Heart surgeons, Oscar caliber actors, carpenters, even “Boy Bands” have a limited supply. Resources will switch between various competing materials, products, and services based on their relative value but they can’t all get priority treatment. Since everything has a limited supply everything has a cost. The cost may be lost opportunity rather than monetary but it is still a cost nonetheless.
Incentives drive choices. You will get more of what you reward and less of what you punish. Reduced taxes, tax credits, subsidies, bonuses, etc. are forms of rewards. The person, product, or service benefitting from these rewards will increase in use. Sin taxes, tax increases, tariffs, fines, etc. are all forms of punishment. The person, product, or service affected by these punishments will decrease in use. People and businesses respond to incentives. After all, the sole purpose of advertising is to provide you enough incentive to purchase the product or service being advertised.
Analyzing political policies through the prism of scarcity and incentive will be a mind opening experience.
One of the most important concepts in politics is Equality. All sides talk about it but did you realize that equality means different things to different people?
Liberals/Progressives define equality as meaning equal outcomes. Conservatives define equality as equal opportunity. These definitions aren’t just different – they’re opposites! It is impossible to have a system that produces both equal outcomes and equal opportunities.
Equal outcomes yield disparate opportunities. An example is a “handicap” horse race. In these races the faster horses must carry more weight (jockey, tack, and weights) than the slower horses. This adds a ‘handicap” to the better horse and gives the slower horses a chance to compete for the win. Race tracks do this to induce betting on the slower horses and to make predicting the races more difficult. In order to try to make the outcome equal the horses are not allowed to compete with equal weights – the best horses must be held back.
Equal opportunities yield disparate outcomes. An example is a “stakes” horse race. These races feature the best horses in which all are expected to compete for the win. They all carry the same weight and so start as equals. Because of the inherent differences in horses, training regimens, jockey skills, starting position, etc. there is usually only one winner (except in the rare case of identical position in a photo finish). The best horses are not held back and all horses vie for the win.
How fairness is measured depends on how you define equality. This site analyzes how fairness and equality work in politics.
Our Critical Concepts page is a must read. There we take the most critical lessons from this site and condense them into 5 key concepts.