The Dangers of False Equivalency

Political hacks have been pushing false equivalence in the recent past as a strategy. I heard it again on Sunday. Apologists for the president picked up on his theme to try to convince voters there was blame on both sides in Charlottesville and that neither side (the white supremacists or what they termed the “leftists”) was any worse than the other. It’s a logical fallacy yet one that has a superficial appeal to many.

If, when you grow up, Vera, the political landscape remains as toxic as it is today, you’ll hear a lot of false equivalence. It’s a way extremists try to camouflage¬†the harshness or the flaws in their arguments. And, most importantly, it’s a tactic to change the subject and move the light off of them and their positions and onto something else. Politicians and their hacks are particularly adept at this tactic.

Don’t be fooled. And don’t be as easily sidetracked as many reporters and viewers seem to be.

Some ideas are worse than others. There is no equivalence.

The immoral cannot be rendered moral by the actions or inactions of another.

And don’t be a sucker for head fakes. Don’t allow bigots and others to divert your attention from the real issues. Be in control of your own thoughts and attention.

Address each idea independently, on its own merits. Never assume the choice is between this or that. Life isn’t as simple as that; it’s far more complex.

There is no need to acquiesce to another person’s characterization of a situation. Think for yourself.

We live in an era in which the manipulation of public opinion is an art form. People will do and say just about anything to get you to believe what they want you to believe, and to support their cause (usually by casting your vote a particular way).

Thoughtful, independent thinkers don’t allow themselves to be led down the path of despotism and destruction. Yet it has often happened that society has been led down such a path. It’s our duty to ensure it never happens again.

Think. Question. Reason. Subject the claims of others to intense scrutiny. Beware of the dangers and risks.

And, above all, don’t allow yourself to be pulled down by people of poor character and hate-filled values.

False equivalence is just that: false.

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