Washington, they say, is Hollywood for ugly people. It’s also debate club for the logically impaired. The past year included its share of fallacies, sophistries, oversimplifications and utter absurdities.
But a few prominent arguments committed the worst offenses against rational thought. Below are the three worst arguments made in Washington in 2013. These weren’t illogical brain freezes or odd beliefs spouted by backbenchers. These arguments were deliberately devised, promulgated and repeated by prominent politicians, which makes them all the more embarrassing.
“If we can save only one life…”
The demagoguery started early in 2013, as Democrats tried to push gun-control laws in the wake of the December 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Conn. The White House argued for gun restrictions using a litany of facile talking points, most absurdly this gem by President Obama: “If there’s even one life that can be saved, then we’ve got an obligation to try.”
Vice President Joe Biden echoed the line: “As the president said, if your actions result in only saving one life, they’re worth taking.” White House spokesman Jay Carney repeated the mantra: “If even one child’s life can be saved by the actions we take here in Washington, we must take those actions.”
It sounds nice — in a high school Model Congress sort of way — that we ought to take any action that would save one child’s life. But we all know policies have costs, in terms of freedom, unintended consequences and using up enforcement resources. Obama’s “just one child” argument pretends his gun control proposals have no costs.
Outlawing party balloons would save the handful of kids who choke to death on them. Outlawing swimming pools would save hundreds of children who drown in them every year. A national speed limit of 10 mph would spare untold numbers of Americans who die in automobile accidents. Why didn’t Obama push these laws in 2013?
The data suggest that for every life saved by gun control laws, some lives are lost. But Obama wanted Americans to forget about the people unable to defend themselves and think only of the intended consequences of his law.
Read the Rest by TP Carney –Washington’s three most irrational arguments in 2013