Fallacy of Inconsistency
False equivalence is a logical fallacy in which two completely opposing arguments appear to be logically equivalent when in fact they are not. This fallacy is categorized as a fallacy of inconsistency.
False equivalences are used to create confusion, over simplify, hide the truth, divide coalitions, and delay action on economic, social, racial, and environmental abuses of citizens. The best example of this is global warming or climate disruption caused by humans. The false equivalency is perpetrated presenting the issue with one spokesman for and one against. The fact that 97% of the experts are in agreement with one side over the other is ignored. This example is brought to life in this video:
Climate Change Debate Without False Equivalence:
Evaluating the fallacy of inconsistency in equating left and right extremists requires considering a couple of factors. One factor is the authoritarian personality and where it resides in this left/right spectrum. Another factor is the consequences from the moral beliefs of the two “extremes." Who's impacted the worst/least?
Authoritarian Personality - Right-wing:
In 2006 John Dean, former White House counsel for President Nixon, wrote a book titled “Conservatives Without Conscience.” One of Dean’s resources for his book was Professor Robert Altemeyer. The professor’s contribution to the book was his research on the authoritarian personality as a contributing factor in Nazi Germany and its application to American politics.
Professor Altemeyer taught psychology and had developed a psychological test, or score, for determining if this personality applied to an individual. What his testing showed was that the authoritarian personality was almost exclusive to the right side of our political spectrum. Thus the phrase defined by Altemeyer, and used extensively by Dean in his book, is right-wing authoritarian (RWA).
- Here’s a related quote from E. J. Dionne:
The truth is that the American right is much farther from anything that can fairly be described as “the center” than is the left.
“Extremist” Impact: Equality or Inequality:
In other postings, our authoritarian opponents, their beliefs, and the impact of their beliefs are detailed:
The false equivalency of left and right “extremism” hides their differences and seeks to divide those left of the Tea Party by falsely claiming leftist extremism when only the right is extreme in both its beliefs and the abuse from those beliefs:
- The extremism of the right is almost exclusively authoritarian. It fits the Strict Father family model from Professor Lakoff. The extreme right’s belief in a social hierarchy/inequality has increasingly abused hundreds of millions of Americans while privileging only rich, heterosexual, misogynistic, christianist, white, men.
- The left is egalitarian and wants to maximize equality. How extreme is that? As Barbara Jordan said in 1976, “First, we believe in equality for all and privileges for none.” The left’s belief in equality maximizes the abuse the oligarchs by denying them the use of their excessive wealth to buy our government.
Don’t let false equivalencies mislead you, divide us, and/or delay ending the abuse of the right-wing authoritarians.