Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Mensch fallacy








The ideologically driven neoliberal dogma that has been the foundation of Conservative party policy for over three decades is defunct. It was holed beneath the water line when the "evil state sector" stepped in with the biggest state subsidies in human history (bailouts at above 90% of GDP by the government's own estimates and the near complete nationalisation of several debt stricken and insolvent banks) to rescue the financial sector temples of neoliberalism from the consequences of their own reckless gambling. Yet the political and economic establishment continue hawking exactly the same ideologically driven neoliberal clap trap under the new name of "austerity".

The best that (failed) Tories like Louise Mensch can offer in defence of their adherence to defunct ideologically driven pseudo-economic gibberish is to trot out truly pathetic arguments against those who complain about the defunct neoliberal model, excessive corporate greed, financial sector corruption and growing inequality.

The Mensch fallacy relies upon the straw man argument that anyone that opposes neoliberal economics, must be a raving anti-capitalist tree-hugger who opposes all forms of trade. Thus if these protesters have ever bought any commodity under the capitalist system (coffee and tents are her cited examples) they must be complete hypocrites.


Louise Mensch made this utterly lame point during an appearance on the long running BBC topical news comedy panel show Have I Got News For You and was immediately set upon by the other panellists for having made such a stunningly fallacious argument. That she tried to pull off a spectacularly lame right-wing fallacy in such a public setting gives her the unusual distinction of getting the first ever political myth busting fallacy named in her (dis)honour.

The Mensch fallacy is so lame it hardly needs further deconstruction, but I'll go on anyway.

Opposing the excesses of the deregulated financial sector does not equate to hating capitalism and all forms of trade. Living within a particular economic system does not disbar a person from criticising perceived problems with the system. You don't have to want to go back to a stone age barter system economy in order to complain that the FTSE 100 corporate executives awarded themselves a stonking 49% average pay rise in 2011, at a time when the vast majority of ordinary people were being made to suffer wage repression and harsh self-defeating Tory austerity.


Another huge flaw in the Mensch fallacy is that it would work just as well as a criticism of anti-communist protesters, in that they will almost certainly have benefited from provisions of the state at some point (used the state owned public transport system, drunk from the state owned water supply or relied on their state sponsored education for their ability to write their protest banners).

The fact that the Mensch fallacy is equally applicable to anti-communist protesters is particularly ironic as her argument is little more than a stunningly dim-witted extension of the pathetic "If you don't like it here, why don't you just go and live in North Korea" retort.
 
              

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