Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pretzel Logic in Washington DC

It gets to the point where the pretzel logic of America's top leaders can no longer be ignored, despite the fact that it is a tiring, time consuming activity to refute their illogical ways.

Example 1: a top US national leader, after the attacks on the World Trade Center, said that because the terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, which was a leading location for international trade, therefore anybody who is against free trade is a terrorist.

The statement in example 1 makes no sense. It's like saying: Yesterday a child abuser was murdered. Therefore you are a terrorist because you are against child abuse.

Example 2: a top US national leader, said that politicians such as him were not to blame for the fact that money intended to deal with the problem of money being lost on bad mortgages, was given to the banks instead, because they, the politicians, did not know that the money would be given to the banks instead.

The statement in example 2 makes no sense either. It's like saying, "I'm not to blame for the fact that I let a lion into the house and it ate my child. I did'nt know that the lion would eat my child". The politicians could have written a clause into the legislation, which would have served to prevent money from being given to people the politicans did not want it given to. But they did not. And then they turn around and say, "it's not our fault, we did'nt know that the money would be given to the banks".

Example 3: Another top US national leader, a pro-free-trade guy, said that free trade is good, because when some of America's most insignificant trading partners reduced restrictions on American exports, America's balance of trade with these trading partners improved.

The statement in example 3 also makes no sense. What America has been involved in, international trade with insignificant restrictions placed on imports, is what people in general and the pro-free-trade crowd call "free trade". The fact that when a few relatively tiny nations reduced restrictions on imports, America's balance of trade with these nations improved, does not even come close to proving that the current "free trade" situation is good for America. The fact is, that a nation's trade balance always improves when an exports recipient reduces restrictions on the nation's exports. At the same time undeniably, the facts are that: nations can damage themselves by reducing restrictions on imports; and, nations can benefit through governmental or private sector actions that reduce imports. Therefore, it is illogical to say that "free trade" is good for America simply because America's trade situation improved when a trading partner reduced restrictions on American exports.

The ivory-tower pro-free-trade theories ignore the fact that aside from government restrictions and tariffs on imports, nation X can take advantage of nation Y, by hating nation Y more than nation Y hates nation X. Nation X being more allergic to imports from nation Y compared to nation Y's attitude to imports from nation X can result in a flow of money away from nation X to nation Y.

Example 4: Over and over again, we hear from the pro-free-traders about Smoot-Hawley. As far as they are concerned, this proves that tariffs are bad and free trade is good.

The attitude expressed in example 4 is also illogical. Prior to the depression, almost 100 years ago, America raised its tariffs, by way of the Smoot-Hawley act. This was followed by the depression. Yet the fact that one event is followed by another event, does not mean the second event caused the first event. If it rains after the Red Sox win a baseball game, that does not mean that the rain was caused by the Red Sox winning the baseball game. When Smoot-Hawley raised American tariffs on imports, American tariffs were at a much higher level, compared to the level they are at now. Therefore, to say that what happened after Smoot Hawley increased American tariffs proves that America should not now increase tariffs on imports, is illogical. It's like saying that since a doctor killed a patient by prescribing too much of some medicine, therefore that medicine is bad. yet people can be killed even by drinking too much water. 100 years ago, America's net international investment position was much better than it is now. 100 years ago, America had not been running enormous trade and budget deficits year after year for dozens of years. Nobody says that since anti-cancer drugs accomplish nothing for those who do not have cancer, therefore they should not be used on people who do have cancer.
100 years ago, (taking into account inflation), it was more expensive to transport goods thousands of miles, and the wage differential between America and America's trading partners was less. The fact that something was bad 100 years ago, does not mean that it is bad today. You don't hear anybody saying that we should drop atomic bombs on Japan today because dropping an atomic bomb on Japan brought WW II to an end 65 years ago.

The illogical pretzel logic coming out of Washington DC would be shocking were it not for the fact that we have been bombarded by so much mischief that we have gotten used to it. The media and the public's failure to notice the lack of logic in the illogical statements is disconcerting. Seems a factor in this is that throwing free market theory aside, academic credentials, the attainment of which requires abnormal ability in terms of rote memorization and brainspeed, have been empowered by way of goverment intervention. Yet the scientific fact is, even morons can memorize entire books. Thousands of poor kids in Pakistan memorize the entire Koran, even before they can understand the meaning of the Arabic words they are memorizing. Memorization and brainspeed are not the same thing as logic. Just as a fool in a fast car can get lost in a complicated city, so also fast brainspeed does not necessarily produce wise results. One cannot help but thinking, despite one's desire to be inoffensive in the eyes of the famous and powerful, that bribed, robotic men, do not need to think logically and so therefore become incompetent in the art of thinking logically. President Nixon said that the (tariff-protected) America of 1969, was the best time and place in history for a human to live. He also said, that the mind is a muscle--using the mind builds the strength of the mind just as using a muscle builds the strength of the muscle. But if people don't need to use their mind because they are a bribed robot, or a puppet with a gun to his head, or both, then their ability to think logically declines.

@2010 David Virgil Hobbs

Labels: , , , , , , ,