14 Jun 2018


Potpourri 18 Comments

==> Medicare apparently is in some sort of financial trouble. (And remember when I did my impression of Paul Ryan and offered a proposal to let people opt out of Social Security that wouldn’t cost the government any money.)

==> I liked this Justin Raimondo take on the pundits falling onto their swooning couches over the G7 meetings.

==> The scintillating conclusion of my 3-part series on Oren Cass’s testimony on climate change damages. For real, this is cool stuff.

==> A provocative Dan McCarthy column on Trump displacing the libertarian moment.

==> Some more awkward FBI texts. Fortunately the IG says it didn’t affect any professional work.

==> Another example of someone taking the free-trade defense of trade deficits over the cliff into absurdity. I try to walk the guy back from the edge but he’s proud of his result, so it might not take.

18 Responses to “Potpourri”

  1. Harold says:

    Wow, that Raimondo piece is really something. It is not that often that the fallacies are so obvious that they almost literally use the same wording as the name of the fallacy
    “Part of this is due to the effects of advanced TDS – Trump Derangement Syndrome – but the reality is that these people are not real Americans”
    A finer example of the No True Scotsman fallacy you will not find anywhere, and it is hard even for the fans to miss. He seems unable to string two ideas together.

    • R M says:

      You’re leaving out an important part of that quote.

      The context is about having America’s interests at heart. If you don’t, people understand why that means you’re not a real American.

      Not to mention, Vito Corleone begs to differ.


      • Bob Murphy says:

        I love that clip but how does it relate to Harold’s post?

        • R M says:


          Sorry I posted the wrong link. Should have been this one;


          I don’t think Vito Corleone is committing a No True Scotsman fallacy here any more than Justin did in what Harold quoted (out of context).

          And sorry for the multiple posts. I posted more than one because I wasn’t seeing them after I submitted them and I did not see a message that they were being reviewed.

      • Harold says:

        That is exactly what the No True Scotsman fallacy is! Yes, Corleone is committing the no true Scotsman fallacy.

        • R M says:


          I think not. Vito Corleone wasn’t making up a definition ad hoc in defense of an improper generalization. He was giving his opinion on how men should behave fully aware that there are counterexamples – i.e. his own son Sonny who had just come in the room. He said what he said because his son was a ‘counterexample.’

          • Harold says:

            Interesting discussion.
            You claim he meant something like “I believe men should spend time with their families” and I agree. He actually said “A man that doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man”

            What would a not real man be? There is an implied assertion that although apparently a man, one that does not spend time with his family is not a man, which is the aforementioned fallacy. Just as “Scotsman” has been arbitrarily widened to specify “must not put sugar in porridge”, so the definition of “Man” has been arbitrarily widened to include “must spend time with family.”

            The steps to the argument could be
            Anyone that does not spend time with his family is not a man.
            Sonny is a man and he does not spend time with his family.
            No real man does not spend time with his family.

            The use of the term real is an ad hoc defense of the implied generalisation that no man does not spend time with his family. He is using his personal and arbitrary definition of a man to include a clause about spending time with ones family when there is no such widely accepted clause in the definition of Man.

            I think this fits well enough to claim that he is committing the fallacy.

            • Craw says:

              Except “real” here means “worthy of respect”.

              • Harold says:

                Does it though? It is a meaning of real I have never heard before.

                I think the fallacy is used advisedly, to convey the message you describe. That is what he means to say, he is simply using a fallacy to make his point.

              • Bob Murphy says:

                Harold wrote: “It is a meaning of real I have never heard before.”

                Harold what do you think people mean then, when they say, “So-and-so isn’t a real man.”? That they were literally talking about anatomy?

              • Dan says:

                I’m pretty sure boxers that say their opponent is not a real man are just voicing their concern that they might be fighting a women.

            • R M says:

              Still disagree Harold.

              What if the scene happened as follows;

              VC to Johnny Fontaine: “Corleone men spend time with their families”

              In walks Sonny after making it with a bridesmaid a few doors away from with his wife and children

              Tom Hagen to VC: “Well, what about him?” (nods toward Sonny).

              VC: “Well, I mean real Corleone men”

              The above would be a clear cut case of a NTS fallacy – and VC would look ike someone who just made an improper generalization and when called on it covered it up with an ad hoc defense.

              But that is not what happened. VC said what he said because he knew how Sonny was behaving and what he thought of that behavior. He was not covering up a mistaken generalization.

              According to you whether the scene happened the way I described or the way it actually did, the audience should perceive it the same way. I say no way.

              People can take issue with VC’s ‘arbitrary’ definition ‘a real man’ (an arbitrary definition that I think a vast majority of the public would agree with), but they can’t call what he was doing a NTS fallacy.

              • Harold says:

                I say Corleone is using a fallacy for effect. Lets forget Corleone for a moment, that is a distraction from Raimondo.

                Raimondo is talking about people who believe that admitting Russia back into the G7 would be a bad thing and supporting allies such as Canada and Europe would be a good thing. Even people who disagree surely recognise that there is some validity in these arguments and they could easily be well motivated. He specifically refers to “experts” and our political class.

                Raimondo says these people are not real Americans. That pre-supposes that the definition of real Americans is those that support bringing Russia back in to the G7 and Trumps trade ideas. That is a crazy definition that has no acceptance. It is arbitrary and to use it is a fallacy.

                In answer to Bob’s comment, if someone says someone is not a real man, they are using an arbitrary definition of Man. Where the argument arises here, I think, is whether “real man” is itself a category with a widely accepted definition. I concede that this could be the case, in which case “real” is not a qualifier of man, but “real man” is a new category. I am not sure that such a definition actually exists, as illustrated by Dan’s boxing analogy. I am almost sure that the boxer is not commenting n how much time his opponent spends with his family. This tells me that there s no widely accepted category of “real man” that would avoid the fallacy.

    • Andrew says:

      That isn’t an example of No true Scotsman.

  2. R M says:

    You’re leaving out an important part of that quote.

    The context is about having America’s interests at heart. If you don’t, people understand why that means you’re not a real American.

    Not to mention, Vito Corleone begs to differ.


  3. Benjamin Cole says:

    Dan McCarthy column is okay.

    Still I wonder if there are any libertarians in the right wing.

    Where are the libertarians militating against property zoning or the universal criminalization of pushcart vending?

    • Dan says:


      But if John Stossel covering it isn’t good enough for you then there are these cool things you could start like a blog, podcast, or even write a book about it to fill the gap.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      There *are* libertarians who complain about property zoning a lot, Benjamin Cole. I agree the pushcart one, not as much, perhaps because they think if streets were privately owned then the owners wouldn’t want people doing that. Also because I think it just doesn’t occur to people.

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