Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Logical Fallacies II

Well here is a really good example of “Ad hominem, tu quoque”.

So good, and so soon after my post on it. I figured it could do with an extra extension to the post instead of a comment on it. Maybe it is really more a variation called “ad feminam”? You judge.

A gender neutral translation of ad hominem is "to the person", ad feminam is gender-specific and describes attacks on women, as women, or because they are women.

So what am I talking about? I was commenting about economics on a post I said I thought:

“…It all seems so wonderfully technical and complicated where only really, really, clever economists and bankers and such can understand it all, but that is bs. If you can balance a household budget you can understand this stuff. For me it helps thinking in terms of a household budget.”

And someone called Mark came back at me:

“Oh my goodness. That is it. That is it.
Do you agree that it is helpful to think of the national economy in terms of a household budget, Tom?”

To his credit Tom replied with an instant “Yes”

So unless I am being paranoid and Mark really had some damascene moment because of my wonderful insight into economics ^_^ then I think his comment was at least an ad hominem put down to me, and because I had put economics in terms of balancing a household budget (housekeeping being often seen as more a feminine/home maker thing) maybe it was more ad feminam?

His attack does nothing to actually attack the validity of my argument. It attacks me. It seemed he just reflexively saw it as a stupid comment to relate the two. But I was arguing that… to put it all fancy… a household budget can be regarded as a microcosm of the national budget in the macro economic environment. Like a wave tank in a lab can tell you how a ship might manage in a storm..

If he felt I was wrong in some way he was perfectly at liberty to tell me how and why. I can only guess he thinks I see it far too simply and need a patronising pat on the head to send me on my way back to the kitchen sink or something.

In his world you probably need to be a really, really, clever (Keynesian?) economist to understand not maxing out your plastic.

4 comments:

Tom Paine said...

In fairness to Keynes, he didn't propose economic stimulus by maxing out the credit card. He proposed saving in the good times to prime the pump in the bad ones. I am no Keynesian, but I shudder on his behalf at the nonsense spoken in his name today. Mark on the other hand doesn't believe the national credit card has a max. I am not sure if he was being misogynistic, but he was certainly being sneeringly rude.

Moggsy said...

I do find it helps to think in terms of household budgets. I don't think it makes me dumb. Just gives a handle on something complicated.

Thanks Tom.

jmb said...

I couldn't agree with you more Moggsy. Your premise of comparing the household budget to a country's budget is sound to my uneducated economically but practical common sense mind. Surely the principle is the same.

This much income, versus that much outlay. The ideal is for it to be equal. If you want to the incoming to be greater for a while to pay off a debt incurred for either a household or a country, then that is what happens or should and you achieve that by cutting expenses. Or perhaps to save for some future purpose or a rainy day as Tom (or Keynes) said so much more eloquently.

On the other hand you may want the outgoing to exceed the incoming, for example taking out a loan for an individual's education so that later the incoming would increase and the debt could be repaid. In the case of a country, the loan would be for some specific purpose for the good of the whole but ultimately it has to be paid back.

Yes the country has many more categories of expenditure than the household budget, with fancy names to boot, but the principle is always the same. The income versus the outgo has to be balanced ultimately, sooner or later.

However later seems to be moving farther and farther into the future, beyond our lifetime and the whole thing seems a house of cards to me, teetering on the verge of collapse at any moment.

LOL. Does that rambling make any sense?

As to Mark, whoever he might be, he only ended up making himself look foolish, as patronizing people usually do.

Moggsy said...

Makes sense to me JMB and I agree about Mark - but I would I guess ^_^