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Jordan Pine

Spot the Fallacy: Jim Crow 2.0

Another hot topic these days is Georgia’s new voting law, which critics say is racist. President Biden has called it “Jim Crow in the 21st Century” and “Jim Crow on steroids. ” ACLU Georgia Political Director Christopher Bruce labeled it “Jim Crow 2.0.”

I have been looking for arguments supporting this claim. Most politicians and pundits have preferred to use standard “guilt by association” arguments. Because the bill came from Georgia, a Southern state that used to have Jim Crow laws, and from Republicans, a party that is often accused of racism, it’s obvious this is “Jim Crow 2.0.” Etc.

That’s too easy, though, and not worthy of a “spot the fallacy” game. Just about every headline-grabbing thing politicians and pundits say these days is some form of abusive ad hominem. I wanted to find someone who went on to cite supporting facts and see how sound their argument was. That’s when I came across the following:

“Gov. Brian Kemp and a slew of Georgia Republican lawmakers sped a sweeping election bill into a Jim-Crow-like law Thursday, imposing new voting restrictions in the battleground state. The law, wrongfully dubbed The Election Integrity Act of 2021, is a poorly disguised attack against the state's minorities following President Joe Biden's victory last November ...
 
“As for the bill's lowlights, these two measures standout:
 
- New identification requirements for absentee voters, despite reports that more than 200,000 Georgia voters lack a driver's license or state ID number. This measure will push voters to scramble to show proof of identity through other means like a utility bill, bank statement, passport, among others. Nationally, 25% of Black Americans lack government-issued photo ID, compared to only 8% of Whites.

- Under the new law, giving food and water to those waiting in line to vote is now illegal. This may discourage Black Georgia voters, who historically wait in longer lines than non-minorities and often in hot weather.“

Source: “Sports world should boycott Georgia over racist voting law,” Terence Moore, CNN

Sound? If not, spot the fallacy.

asked on Friday, Apr 02, 2021 04:02:28 PM by Jordan Pine

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Bo Bennett, PhD writes:

The question is, in what way are these voting laws like Jim Crow? I don't know enough about either to determine if this is a strong or weak analogy. But one would need to consider

1) all the ways they are alike (that matter)
2) all the ways they are not alike (that matter)

 

posted on Saturday, Apr 03, 2021 07:42:52 AM
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Jordan Pine writes:

So far, the consensus seems to be there are no identifiable fallacies. I submit there are, but perhaps I am seeing the arguments being made differently.

The first argument seems to be:

  • The new law requires ID to vote.
  • Nationally 25% of Black Americans lack government-issued photo ID compared to 8% of White Americans.
  • Therefore, the new law is targeting Black voters.

The second argument seems to be:

  • The new law forbids giving voters waiting in line food and water.
  • Black voters typically wait in longer lines than other groups, especially in hot weather.
  • Therefore, the new law is targeting at Black voters.

Is that a fair representation of the arguments? If so, spot the fallacy. If not, say why.

 

posted on Saturday, Apr 03, 2021 07:52:28 PM
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GoblinCookie writes:
[To Jordan Pine]

It's a fair representation of the arguments and there aren't any real fallacies involved.

[ login to reply ] posted on Sunday, Apr 04, 2021 05:39:53 AM
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Jordan Pine writes:
[To Jordan Pine]

So you see no fallacies in:

  • Using national statistics when talking about a state matter?
  • Starting with a broad definition of ID in a major premise, then using a narrow definition of ID in a minor premise?
  • Implying unsupported premises in support of stated premises (e.g. voters need outside food and drink when waiting in line to vote)
  • Ignoring or failing to explore other statistics that may explain disparities in ID possession or line waiting?

I’m sure I missed a few.

[ login to reply ] posted on Sunday, Apr 04, 2021 10:33:43 AM
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Bo Bennett, PhD writes:

[To Jordan Pine]

You have touched on a major recent phenomenon in reasoning that extends far beyond voting: this is conflating socioeconomic status (and other demographics) with race. For example, if I charge $100 for admission, one could argue that this is "racist" because it keeps people with less money from attending my event, and most people with less money are black (say in a given community). The fact is, I am charging $100 because I want more money, not because I am racist. But does my "policy" result in racial inequity?

While it is true that Republicans are implementing polices to make it more difficult for those who don't vote for them, they are targeting liberal voters. Does the fact that this group is largely non-white mean that it is "targeting" black voters? It depends. First, it is important to distinguish moral culpability from causality. In other words, are Republicans specifically attempting to target the black community, or is this just a result of targeting liberal voters? They aren't stupid (not all of them), they know that these laws make it more difficult for black people to vote, but is that same is me knowing my $100 admission will make it more difficult for black people to attend my event? I think there is a philosophical argument to be had here.

I also think there is a difference between claiming "the new law is targeting Black voters" and "Republicans are targeting Black voters." Again, causality/consequences vs. moral culpability.

[ login to reply ] posted on Sunday, Apr 04, 2021 10:43:29 AM
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Jordan Pine writes:
[To ]

Solid analysis. Yes, I have also observed this larger trend of conflating race with socioeconomic status. In fact, I would argue it's a form of implicit racism, which becomes clear when politicians slip and say things like: "Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids."

The only thing I would refine in your argument is the use of the word "liberal." I think this is less about liberal/conservative and more about Democrat/Republican. That is, it's about political strategies to favor one party vs the other. Since liberals (like Black people or people on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale) tend to vote Democrat, it looks like liberals are being targeted. But there are liberal Republicans, and in places where they run for office and win, I assume voting laws would be more favorable to liberals. I have also been observing an interesting trend where liberals and conservatives are joining forces on free-speech issues, which may result in political realignments down the road if Republicans become the party of free speech. In that scenario, liberal votes would obviously be welcomed.

Anyway, I agree with the point I think you are making: Republican changes to voting laws can fairly be called "voter suppression" in the sense that they are aimed at limiting votes by people who tend to vote against Republicans and for Democrats. Republicans will (fairly) say these changes are aimed at preventing voter fraud and restoring confidence in elections, but that's really just cover for what Republicans really want to do: Defeat Democrats in any way possible. 

Of course, the reverse is also true, and we can see it with almost every issue. For instance, more restrictive immigration favors Republicans, lax immigration favors Democrats. And so on.

[ login to reply ] posted on Sunday, Apr 04, 2021 11:25:43 AM
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Bo Bennett, PhD writes:
[To Jordan Pine]

I think this is less about liberal/conservative and more about Democrat/Republican.

Agreed. This is more precise and accurate.

[ login to reply ] posted on Sunday, Apr 04, 2021 12:14:11 PM
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Rationalissimo writes:
[To ]

This can be seen in reactions to the UK government's race report, which downplayed the supposed impact of direct racism (discrimination) on the opportunities of minority people, and emphasised things such as culture, poverty and geography.

Many left-wing academics and advocates have criticised the report, primarily for the suggestion that Britain is "not institutionally racist". They claim this is false, and have pointed to numerous racial disparities that exist in the UK - from Black Carribean children being excluded at a higher rate than White British children, black women having higher rates of maternal mortality, etc. But defenders of the report have argued that this is exactly the Government's point -  class and culture , not  race , is the pivotal factor behind these disparities.

Racial disparities are often argued to be racist by definition, because if they exist, either:

- there are essential differences between people of different races (scientific racism; discredited)  or

- something within society has gone wrong for minority ethnic people through no fault of their own (systemic racism; plausible)

No one will pick the first, so the second  must be correct!

Indeed, people are quick to point out that, due to  systemic racism  (namely previous institutional discrimination, even if it is not still taking place) in the UK, minorities are more likely to be poor, and more likely to live in geographically problematic areas (e.g. crowded cities). So ultimately, it is still  a problem of race, and still racist.

The issue - is this definition even congruent?

People often claim that "white privilege" enables whites to avoid racism the way that blacks and other racialised people cannot. However, in the case of "systemic racism" (which includes living in a poor neighbourhood), white people are also affected...so they  don't  exactly have that "privilege". Yet, we are told racism is taking place, so necessarily someone is underprivileged and, as a result, someone else is privileged. Contradictory much?

Another issue is in terms of policy proposal. We now know "X is racist" implies two different things - 1) direct discrimination against group B (in favour of group A), or 2) different outcomes for groups A and B (where group B attains less favourable outcomes).

1) implies a different set of policies from 2), yet, they are treated the same ("racism"), and analysed through the lens of race, even though one has a class/culture/geographic root.

An example of 2) includes the oft-raised point about how most NHS COVID deaths were from black and minority ethnic people, which was cited as evidence of racism. Yet...guess what the base rate statistics looked like? Yep, BAME people are over-represented in the NHS' frontline staff, thus relatively exposed to more risk, which is reflected in the numbers. Nothing implies simply being a minority working in the NHS means you'll be more likely to catch the virus. So what's the solution? Stop black nurses from handling COVID patients, for instance? 

It is a fascinatingly slippery use of language. I hate word games as much as the next man, but I saw this conversation and found it highly relevant to matters I've been pondering over recently.

[ login to reply ] posted on Sunday, Apr 04, 2021 08:25:52 PM
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Jordan Pine writes:
[To Rationalissimo]

Thanks for your perspective. I see you hinting at several logical fallacies in the thinking of those who promote the "systemic racism" idea. I think that is the nature of the concept as what counts as supporting evidence is quite broad and loosely defined.

I thought of two such fallacies when reading your comments: an obvious one, ad hominem (guilt by association), and a less obvious one, affirming the consequentThe latter looks like this:

  • If systemic racism existed, certain groups would suffer disparities.
  • Certain groups are suffering disparities.
  • Therefore, systemic racism must exist.

I guess the above would also be an example of circulus in probando (aka circular reasoning). What do you think?

[ login to reply ] posted on Wednesday, Apr 07, 2021 05:38:06 PM
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Rationalissimo writes:
[To Jordan Pine]

Hi, sorry for the late reply.

If systemic racism existed, certain groups would suffer disparities.
Certain groups are suffering disparities.
Therefore, systemic racism must exist.

This is affirming the consequent as you have written it. A implies B, B therefore A.

However, someone like GoblinCookie might criticise this as overly simplistic. As we know, calling fallacy on affirming the consequent assumes that we cannot infer A from B, because the output B might have inputs other than A. However, if A necessarily leads to B, and there is no other way of gleaning B, it might be reasonable to consider that A is also true.

They (GoblinCookie) might parse the syllogism as:

P) If systemic racism existed, certain groups would suffer racial disparities.

Implicit P) In fact, absenting systemic racism, there would be no racial disparities.

P) There are racial disparities.

C) Systemic racism exists.

Basically, there is no good reason for racial disparities to exist, so the fact they do either implies scientific racism (discredited), or systemic racism (plausible).

You could take issue with any one of those premises, but in particular, the implicit premise that racial disparities would not exist if systemic racism did not exist. This implies that the above dilemma (either scientific or systemic racism exists) is false.

In the current form, that isn't circular reasoning. But this is:

P) Systemic racism exists because racial disparities exist.

C) Racial disparities exist because systemic racism exists.

It may seem similar to the above, but the implicit premise of the aforementioned argument saves it from being so.

[ login to reply ] posted on Thursday, Apr 15, 2021 01:34:29 PM
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Rationalissimo writes:
[To ]

But does my "policy" result in racial inequity?

I guess it would depend on the base number of people in each racial group within the community, how wealth is distributed among racial groups, and average wealth within racial groups.

For instance, in Boville, if whites are wealthier than blacks (on average), and wealth is more evenly distributed in the white population than the black population (e.g. even the poorest whites are gaining on the wealthiest blacks) you'll likely get inequality because a greater % of black people are being denied access to an admission (compared to whites).

We'd then need to look at the context for those stats, though. Why  are blacks poorer than whites?

[ login to reply ] posted on Sunday, Apr 04, 2021 08:38:34 PM
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skips777 writes:

You wrote this "The new law forbids giving voters waiting in line food and water"...this is wrong....

The new law prohibits anyone currently involved as an "employee or volunteer" in any given current political campaign to hand out food and water. It could have the appearance of soliciting votes for "whatever" and is reasonable.

'"Nationally, 25% of Black Americans lack government-issued photo ID, compared to only 8% of Whites."....30% of eligible black adults don't vote. So why is your 25% stat even remotely relevant? Seems like you're attempting to poison the well by stating or implying indirectly that some black people want to vote but are too stupid to know how to get the proper ID to register.

"....This may discourage Black Georgia voters, who historically wait in longer lines than non-minorities and often in hot weather.“ since this was based on previously lying about the law, I'll assume you're saying black people are too stupid to know how to prepare themselves for being out in hot weather for an extended period of time. Of course, I'm just guessing at why you make this comment about "supposed" black ignorance. Btw, I'm hoping by hyperbole you might see why claiming this is an issue is bullshit...btw New Georgia law is even less restrictive than New York State's or even laws in Biden's home state. Where's the dem outcry? Oh yeah, Dems realize their base is mostly made up of intellectually lazy people who are easily manipulated.

posted on Wednesday, Apr 07, 2021 03:19:09 AM
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Jordan Pine writes:
[To skips777]

I’m not sure to whom you are responding? It seems you are arguing with the person who wrote the opinion piece that I was quoting. That’s not the point of this exercise.

As the name suggests, the game is to spot logical fallacies in arguments we find in the media, etc. It is not meant to be an exercise in partisan debate. There is plenty of that happening on other platforms if you wish to join in.

If you’d like to re-craft your entry and try again, I think you are on to something with using national statistics to make a point about a state law. There’s a fallacy there.

Your first point is correct, but it’s not a logical fallacy to have a faulty premise. It just makes the argument flawed in another way.

[ login to reply ] posted on Wednesday, Apr 07, 2021 11:29:47 AM

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Arlo
1

I'll tackle "re-write version 1" of the issue -- and, not having read the new law and not being particularly familiar with Jim Crow, I'll work from what's presented in the initial presentation:

The new law requires ID to vote. [As I understand it, a reasonable premise that can likely be accepted.]
Nationally 25% of Black Americans lack government-issued photo ID compared to 8% of White Americans.  [ a 2-parter:  Part 1: fewer Black Americans have government issued photo ID than other citizens -- as I understand it, probably a reasonable premise; Part 2: we seem to have switched from "ID" to "government-issued photo ID".  If the reference to "utility bill, bank statement, among others" means that those form of ID are acceptable, the second premise becomes a non sequitur.]
Therefore, the new law is targeting Black voters. [We risk relying upon the ambiguity fallacy and an appeal to emotion when we use "target" -- an emotionally charged word that isn't defined here but in this statement implies a negative connotation.]

Also, there's also the implication that using ID other than government-issued photo ID is somehow more difficult that providing photo ID from the government -- I'm interested in knowing just what the law requires or prohibits with respect to ID.  I recall that, back in the good old days, (before our drivers licences had photos and before passports were as common as they are now, I often relied upon envelopes bearing my name and address, utility bills, bank statements, etc. as forms of identification, especially when new to a community -- it seemed pretty easy, as I recall.  If those same options are permitted under this new law, much of the negative part of "target" seems to have gone away.  

In fact, could provisions for "utility bill, bank statement, among others" actually be making it easier for folks who don't have government-issued photo ID?  I don't know enough about the exact context to answer that question, but it would seem to be important to know the answer before determining whether the ID-related parts of the new law are good or bad.

answered on Sunday, Apr 04, 2021 10:06:58 AM by Arlo

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GoblinCookie
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Seems pretty sound to me (what is being said rather than the idea itself).  Typical 'democracy', make sure you win the election by gerrymandering the electorate, the electoral boundaries or both. 

It sounds rather like what you would expect from a state whose flag is actually based upon the original actual Confederate flag (not the battle flag). 

answered on Saturday, Apr 03, 2021 07:22:53 AM by GoblinCookie

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Jordan Pine writes:

Isn’t your second paragraph just another example of that “guilt by association” fallacy I mentioned in my introduction?

posted on Saturday, Apr 03, 2021 07:56:20 PM
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GoblinCookie writes:
[To Jordan Pine]

Isn’t your second paragraph just another example of that “guilt by association” fallacy I mentioned in my introduction?

Only if flags and symbols mean nothing at all (that includes words as well).  The ad hominem (guilt by association) is oft used against the actual members of the Confederacy to paint everyone involved as racist slavers, but nobody decent denies that the Confederacy in general is an institution heavily involved in those things (it is institutionally racist and pro-slavery).

The State of Georgia however is *not* actually part of the Confederacy at present.  The integration of symbol of the old confederate flag into their own flag is therefore not a literal symbol of Confederateness.  There is a difference between being a potentially dissenting member of a bad group displaying their symbol and adopting the symbol of a group that is not your own, the latter implies general support for the ends of the group while the former is merely a statement of membership.

The choice to retain the flag supports the proposition that the State of Georgia is an institutionally racist institution.  Granted their actions here could just as easily be explained as motivated by cynical partisan gerrymandering.

[ login to reply ] posted on Sunday, Apr 04, 2021 05:58:12 AM
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Jordan Pine writes:
[To GoblinCookie]

Let’s make your arguments syllogisms in order to examine them more closely.

First one:

  • The new law is a Georgia law.
  • Georgia’s flag is based on the Confederate flag.
  • Therefore, the Georgia law is racist.

Second one:

  • Georgia’s flag is based on the Confederate flag.
  • The Confederacy was a racist institution.
  • Therefore, the state of Georgia is a racist institution.

Feel free to disagree/modify my syllogisms if you feel they are not accurate representations of what you wrote.

If they are accurate representations, do you still maintain these syllogisms are logically valid?

[ login to reply ] posted on Sunday, Apr 04, 2021 10:18:40 AM
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Rationalissimo writes:
[To Jordan Pine]

I think GoblinCookie's point is that the Confederate battle flag is a symbol of racism as the Confederacy itself was heavily racist, so choosing to adopt the symbol (when it is not yours originally) indicates you support the racist aims of said Confederacy, and implies you are racist yourself.

P1) Organisation is racist, so flag is racist

P2) Adopting racist symbols implies support for racism

P3) Georgia has adopted a racist symbol (the flag)

C1) Georgia supports racism

P4) Supporting racism makes you racist

C2) Georgia is racist.

(And further evidence of C1 is this law).

This more closely matches the second syllogism. 

The first one as you've synthesised looks invalid (we've jumped from "flag based on Confederate flag" to "law is racist", which is a non sequitur). 

As for the second one, you could contest P1 on either part - (institutions are complex and therefore cannot generally be reduced down to one attribute, especially if they evolved over time, or an institution's failings do not represent the entire symbol), and thus P3 (Georgia's flag is not racist, it is only inspired by a symbol from a racist institution).

[ login to reply ] posted on Sunday, Apr 04, 2021 08:53:15 PM
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Jordan Pine writes:

[To Rationalissimo]

Your syllogism has too many terms and the final point in parenthesis is the main point of contention. It cannot logically be addressed as an aside if it is the main conclusion.

That said, with some refinement your initial syllogism would constitute a valid argument about the adoption of the Georgia flag:

  • Adopting Confederate symbols implies support for racism.
  • Georgia has adopted a Confederate symbol as part of its flag.
  • Therefore, Georgia supports racism.

However, that event (adoption of the flag) took place in 2003. The voting law was just adopted and has nothing to do with the Georgia flag. Therefore, it lacks proper relevance and you are correct in citing non sequitur as the logical fallacy.

Separately, I'd like to reiterate that comments such as 'just what you would expect from a state that has a Confederate symbol as part of its flag' are a form of ad hominem (guilt by association). An argumentum ad statinem perhaps? :-)

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Apr 05, 2021 11:41:21 AM
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GoblinCookie writes:
[To Jordan Pine]

They are not entirely accurate representations.  A better representation would be this.

1.

a) The new law is a Georgia law.

b) The law has the effect of reducing the vote of black people. 

c) The law has the effect of reducing the Democrat vote.

d) The law has the effect of making harder to deliberately defraud elections through casting of fake ballots. 

e) The new law is motivated by some combination of a racist desire to disenfranchise black people and a cynical desire to increase the relative Republican vote.

f) Alternatively, the law may be motivated by a desire to strengthen democracy by making it harder to defraud elections by casting fake ballots.

g) Georgia’s flag is based on the Confederate flag. 

h) Therefore, the Georgia law is motivated by e) rather than f)

2.

a) Georgia’s flag is based on the Confederate flag.
b) The Confederacy was a racist institution.

c) The State of Georgia is not presently in the Confederation.
d) Therefore, the state of Georgia is also a racist institution.

On it's own, the law fails to prove whether 1e or 1f are true.  The Confederate flag part is therefore needed to establish the institutionally racist nature of the State of Georgia.  2c is needed because displaying the symbol of something as a symbol of actual membership has different connotations to displaying it as a non-member, the latter implies general sympathy or agreement with the organization. 

The State of Georgia is not only not presently of the Confederacy, it also never was.  The Confederate State of Georgia was destroyed in the American Civil War (as were all Confederate states) and was then refounded after Reconstruction.  It isn't even the same State of Georgia as the one that joined the Confederacy. 

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Apr 05, 2021 05:22:09 AM
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Jordan Pine writes:

[To GoblinCookie]

Sorry, but I couldn't follow your first syllogism. It has too many terms. I think it may commit the quaternio terminorum fallacy (fallacy of four terms), but I'd need Dr. Bo to weigh in on that one to be sure.

As for the second syllogism, it commits the ad hominem (guilt by association) fallacy. Statement c) doesn't improve it. It just adds an unnecessary/obvious fourth term.

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Apr 05, 2021 11:52:13 AM
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Bo Bennett, PhD writes:
[To Jordan Pine]

Sorry, but I couldn't follow your first syllogism. It has too many terms.

It appears to me simply as a string of unrelated premises. I stopped counting at five terms :)

An argument with many premises works when each premise logically leads to the next. I am not sure what GoblinCookie was going for here, but perhaps some massaging of the premises to have those links or just present them as multiple arguments.

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Apr 05, 2021 11:56:18 AM
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Jordan Pine writes:
[To Bo Bennett, PhD]

Interesting. Question: Why are some syllogisms limited to three terms and others allow many terms? How can one tell the difference between these types of syllogisms “in the wild”?

[ login to reply ] posted on Monday, Apr 05, 2021 09:04:04 PM
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Bo Bennett, PhD writes:
[To Jordan Pine]

Here is a helpful page on this: https://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-syllogism.html

It appears that the categorical syllogism MUST have only three part (two premises), but the others can have more.

 

[ login to reply ] posted on Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 06:15:05 AM
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GoblinCookie writes:
[To Jordan Pine]

I am not sure what you are getting at.  You put my argument into your logical form, it was inaccurate so I added new statements so that it was a more accurate depiction of my argument.  In effect, what you were doing was constructing a strawman fallacy out my argument and now you are complaining that I have too many terms in my argument or something. 

Statement 2c is not useless, it is vitally necessary.  In order to avoid the fallacy of division I need to establish that display of Confederate symbols implies support for the Confederacy as a whole rather than simply membership *of* it.  Thus that they are not actually presently associated to the Confederacy, is a very important detail here, even if it is obvious. 

If you *not* part of something then your display of it's symbols has a different meaning than if you *are* part of something.  It cannot be taken just as a literal statement anymore.

[ login to reply ] posted on Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 10:38:20 AM
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Jordan Pine writes:

[To GoblinCookie]

It was not a straw man. It was an attempt to simplify and clarify your core argument using a standard three-term syllogism. Your argument didn’t get stronger when you added more terms. It just got more convoluted.

If you don’t like my three-term syllogism, feel free to create one, or a set, of your own. If you insist on using more than three terms, try following Dr. Bo’s guidelines and have them build on each other in a clear way. Then I can properly assess and consider your argument.

As to your second point, I don’t think anyone would agree it is “vitally necessary” to include the fact that Georgia is no longer part of the Confederacy in your argument — except perhaps Captain Obvious.

More to the point, you wrote:

If you *not* part of something then your display of it's symbols has a different meaning than if you *are* part of something. 

I suppose that’s true, but your preoccupation with the obvious has you writing in the wrong tense. If you were part of something, you would include it in your flag since flags often include symbols of heritage. The question we have to ask is what aspect of Georgia’s heritage the inclusion of that symbol was meant to represent. (I’ll bet it’s not the slavery part.)

[ login to reply ] posted on Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 08:02:26 PM
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GoblinCookie writes:
[To Jordan Pine]

 I suppose that’s true, but your preoccupation with the obvious has you writing in the wrong tense. If you were part of something, you would include it in your flag since flags often include symbols of heritage. The question we have to ask is what aspect of Georgia’s heritage the inclusion of that symbol was meant to represent. (I’ll bet it’s not the slavery part.)

It'll be the Racism part. 

Flags seldom include symbols of heritage that the entity is ashamed of.  The German flag is not going to include the swastika anytime soon simply because Nazi Germany is part of it's heritage. 

Flags are not museums.  They are not neutral repositories of the history of the entity whose flag it is, what's on the flag (or in this case almost entirely what the flag is) is not neutral, it represents the identity of the present-day entity and by referring (always selectively) to their heritage they are trying to draw a connection to elements of their past. 

The present State of Georgia was never in the literal sense part of the Confederacy.  An earlier State of Georgia was, but that Georgia was destroyed along with all the other Confederate States.  The heritage then is actually that of the entity's people rather than the entity itself.

But it's not the same people is it?  The Confederate Georgia's people definitely did not include black people, be they slave or not.  Which brings us to the interesting part, the links between the Ideologies of Democracy, Nationalism and Racism. 

[ login to reply ] posted on Friday, Apr 09, 2021 08:32:09 AM
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Jordan Pine writes:

[To GoblinCookie]

The German flag is not going to include the swastika anytime soon simply because Nazi Germany is part of it's heritage. 

The error in reasoning here is equating symbols of the Confederacy with a swastika. Those two things are not alike. Or, at least, you have not made that case. You are begging that question.

For your comparison to be correct, we'd have to be talking about an Old South symbol that is unambiguous, such as the crest of the KKK. 

Symbols of the Confederacy are ambiguous and have different meanings to different people. The attempt to equate Confederate symbols with symbols of hate is relatively new. As recently as 2015, a majority of Americans viewed the Confederate flag itself as a symbol of Southern pride and not a symbol of racism (Source: CNN/ORC polling data). Those percentages had remained stable for 15 years, and even one in four Black people held that view.

It's only in the last five years, due to political activism and a shift in narrative, that opinions have been changing. But, again, keep in mind: Georgia adopted its latest flag in 2003.

(BTW: I'm a Yankee, born and bred. I have no love for Confederate symbols and think they belong in a museum. Not sure why people would want to fly flags and erect statues honoring losers, but that's just me.)

The present State of Georgia was never in the literal sense part of the Confederacy.  An earlier State of Georgia was, but that Georgia was destroyed along with all the other Confederate States.  The heritage then is actually that of the entity's people rather than the entity itself.

This is a distinction without a difference.

[ login to reply ] posted on Friday, Apr 09, 2021 10:21:12 AM
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GoblinCookie writes:
[To Jordan Pine]

 
The error in reasoning here is equating symbols of the Confederacy with a swastika. Those two things are not alike. Or, at least, you have not made that case. You are begging that question.

For your comparison to be correct, we'd have to be talking about an Old South symbol that is unambiguous, such as the crest of the KKK. 

Symbols of the Confederacy are ambiguous and have different meanings to different people. The attempt to equate Confederate symbols with symbols of hate is relatively new. As recently as 2015, a majority of Americans viewed the Confederate flag itself as a symbol of Southern pride and not a symbol of racism (Source: CNN/ORC polling data). Those percentages had remained stable for 15 years, and even one in four Black people held that view.

It's only in the last five years, due to political activism and a shift in narrative, that opinions have been changing. But, again, keep in mind: Georgia adopted its latest flag in 2003.

(BTW: I'm a Yankee, born and bred. I have no love for Confederate symbols and think they belong in a museum. Not sure why people would want to fly flags and erect statues honoring losers, but that's just me.)

The terms are not mutually exclusive, if you ask a question that counterpoises heritage vs racism you are asking a leading question.  There is really no problem with having a racist heritage and being proud of it because you are yourself a racist. 

Also Appeal to popularity, just because a majority (or a large number) believe that something isn't racist does not mean that it isn't.   The reason Georgia keeps on changing it's flags, it precisely because it's flag *is* controversial and they keep ducking and weaving about.  The Georgia flag might well be all but identical to the original Confederate flag, but it is not common knowledge that *that* was their flag for the war and not what has become known as such.  This is substitution, they are substituting (ironically the actual symbol) for the forbidden symbol it has become unacceptable to display.  

The swastika is similar in one crucial respect to the Confederate flag, it was a flag of an earlier version of something that is reprehensible (Germany).  So a modern US State using the Confederate flag is roughly equivalent to some region of Germany adopting the swastika because it was once part of Nazi Germany and this is therefore part of it's 'heritage'. 

This is a distinction without a difference.

In that case they simply cannot claim the Confederate flag as part of their heritage at all, since they aren't the same State of Georgia as the one that joined the Confederacy.  It is not their heritage, but that of an earlier State (and people) of Georgia which they aren't.  Remember that none of the Confederate States actually survived the Civil War, they were all recreated. 

This is an example of the link between Democracy, Nationalism and Racism.  If we simply take things objectively (and a-democratically) then we'd end up with the conclusion that the People are just the sum of the current minions of the State. 

The ideology of Democracy on the other hands rests upon the People somehow existing on a higher plane than the State, so the People can claim the State as their servant and construct.  The People could be defined territorially except that the territorial boundaries are set by the States among themselves.  So we start needing Nationalism, the concept of the nation is needed so that the changing it's State's borders or the inviting of foreigners into those borders does not undermine the sharpness of the definition of the People. 

This democratically understood Nation-People however is a rather sterile thing.  Since to admit new citizens allows the State to define the People, this cannot be accepted as happening.  Instead the only way the Nation-People is allowed to expand is by physically breeding new members.  At this point the Nation-People becomes the Race. 

Black People, as Slaves were not included in the original American definition of 'The People'.  Because of the above (il?)logic, they are still considered as akin to recently immigrated foreigners (aka Latinos or whatever) even though they have in fact been there as long as White People have. 

[ login to reply ] posted on Sunday, Apr 11, 2021 01:07:58 PM
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Jordan Pine writes:

[To GoblinCookie]

Sorry, but I couldn’t follow most of your argument. It’s quite the word salad, an argumentum verbosium in the literal sense.

 

The swastika is similar in one crucial respect to the Confederate flag, it was a flag of an earlier version of something that is reprehensible (Germany). So a modern US State using the Confederate flag is roughly equivalent to some region of Germany adopting the swastika because it was once part of Nazi Germany and this is therefore part of it's 'heritage'. 

No, it’s not. That’s false equivalence and is really begging the question at hand. More to the point, I have demonstrated a majority of people did not share your opinion of the Confederate flag (that it’s “reprehensible”) when the Georgia flag was adopted in 2003. You cannot dismiss that as an ad populum and then counter with a blatant ipse dixit.

they simply cannot claim the Confederate flag as part of their heritage at all, since they aren't the same State of Georgia as the one that joined the Confederacy.  It is not their heritage, but that of an earlier State (and people) of Georgia which they aren't.  Remember that none of the Confederate States actually survived the Civil War, they were all recreated. 

This is a silly, over-technical argument that doesn’t reflect how people actually think about cultural heritage. By your logic, no one can claim American heritage of any kind, either, since the US isn’t the same country as it was when the original 13 colonies joined together. In fact, no one can take off and celebrate the 4th since, technically, none of the original states that declared independence exist any longer. Better cancel those fireworks!

[ login to reply ] posted on Sunday, Apr 11, 2021 03:54:23 PM
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GoblinCookie writes:
[To Jordan Pine]

 

Sorry, but I couldn’t follow most of your argument. It’s quite the word salad, an argumentum verbosium in the literal sense.

Yes, things are complicated and often not simple enough to be expressed in a short statement. 

 
No, it’s not. That’s false equivalence and is really begging the question at hand. More to the point, I have demonstrated a majority of people did not share your opinion of the Confederate flag (that it’s “reprehensible”) when the Georgia flag was adopted in 2003. You cannot dismiss that as an ad populum and then counter with a blatant ipse dixit.

I did say it was similar only in one crucial respect, not in every detail.

I fail to see any logic in this argument, you need to argue there is some kind of exception to the ad popularum in this case but I see no argument there.  It is not like modern racists declare themselves openly to be racists, it is far more cloak-and-dagger than that.  And it is also not like public opinion consists solely of well-informed people immune to propaganda and does not include any actual racists.

It is also not like they do not have any higher authorities that can force them to abandon their Confederate symbols against their will.  

This is a silly, over-technical argument that doesn’t reflect how people actually think about cultural heritage. By your logic, no one can claim American heritage of any kind, either, since the US isn’t the same country as it was when the original 13 colonies joined together. In fact, no one can take off and celebrate the 4th since, technically, none of the original states that declared independence exist any longer. Better cancel those fireworks!

No, a number of the original 13 colonies do in fact still exist.  The only ones that do not still exist are those that joined that Confederacy, which includes Georgia.  Because all Confederate States were destroyed, none of them were allowed to simply hop back into the Union boat. 

That means the modern State of Georgia is not the original State of Georgia that joined the Confederacy, it is rather in the same historical position as the states that joined the USA later on.  It has no Confederate history and nor is it one of the 13 colonies. 

But that is indeed not how people think.  The need to establish the continuity of a people externally to it's institutional existence, is one of the driving motivations behind racism and unfortunately a fundamental ideological need of Nationalism and Democracy. 

Even if the racial other is now institutionally included, they are not really included because the people does not include them since the people as it is imagined to exist separately to the political institution does not include them. 

[ login to reply ] posted on Tuesday, Apr 13, 2021 12:20:55 PM