By Carl Davidson
People sometimes either groan or laugh when they hear the term ‘dialectics,’ a word which some people use to bamboozle others into thinking they know something when they don’t.
But here’s a great ‘laughing out loud’ example inspired by a few lines for Mike Hall’s current post on the AFL-CIO blog today, Aug. 2:
“The 4,000 furloughed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) workers and 90,000 workers on airport construction projects stalled by the Republican shutdown of the FAA are worrying about how they will pay their bills in the coming weeks.
“But the only worry House Republicans have is how they are going to spend their six-week summer vacation. House Republicans leaders adjourned the House last night until Sept. 7 without taking action on reauthorizing an FAA bill so the agency—shutdown since July 22—could reopen and construction funds move down the pipeline again.”
So here’s a great example of Republican ‘dialectics’, their ‘Jobs Plan’ of turning real jobs into their opposites, non-jobs. It’s easy to laugh at, if it didn’t mean so much suffering for so many working-class families. I suppose we could say there’s a ‘unity of opposites’ there, too.
One thing that burns me up more than GOP nonsense, though, are many of the mainstream media pundits who don’t have any idea on how to ask a decent follow-up question. When our right wing lawmakers (and their White House allies) go on at length about cutting this and slashing that, taking money from low-income and middle-income workers and giving it to the super-rich, there always comes a point where they assert, ‘and this will create jobs!.’
Back in my youth I taught logic for a year at the University of Nebraska. Full disclosure here: I actually appreciate real dialectics, and other rules of argument. But one point I often made to my students: An assertion is not an argument.
Now why can’t our media pundits say, ‘Wait a minute here, Congressman (or other policy wonk). You’re cutting both spending and jobs, reducing overall demand. Then you assert this creates jobs? Can you tell us exactly how that works? Especially when it’s mainly demand that creates jobs? An assertion is not an argument.”
If I heard it just once on CNN, it would make my day.
My logic course back in 1965 was for incoming freshman. Wouldn’t it be great if news anchors could at least reach that level, even if it’s too much to expect of Congress and the White House? All the more reason we have to rely on our own labor-oriented blogs and news services. We know how to make use of decent dialectics, and put a spotlight on the foolish versions of our adversaries.