Sometimes people say things during a political conversation and my brain explodes. “Does not compute does not compute…!” Then I realize, wait, the reason someone thinks, for example, that oil subsidies are a conservative idea, is because of a simple misconception. A fallacy of equivocation.
Here are my top 3 political false equivocations for the moment:
1 Conservative =/= Republican.
A conservative is not always a republican and vice versa. Sure, there are more conservatives in the Repubican party than in the Democratic party, but they are still a minority. The majority of officed Republicans, if not their constituencies as well, are moderate. Some, like McCain, are liberals in sheep’s clothing. This breaks down into policy issues as well. Subsidies are often voted for by Republicans, but they are a flat-out anti-free market idea which is in violation of economic conservatism. Republicans often vote for tax measures or reforms, but increasing taxes is also fundamentally un-conservative. Foreign Aid to our enemies is un-conservative. Finally, much of our military action is un-conservative. Conservatives are traditionally in line with the Monroe Doctrine which states that as long as Europeans leave America alone we will remain neutral in all foreign affairs. Liberals, on the other hand, are traditionally in line with the Roosevelt Corollary, which was a move toward imperialism from the Monroe Doctrine and expanded our hand in global affairs. The issue of Islam gives some conservatives some ground for the so-called War on Terror, but the way these wars have been handled are decidedly moderate, mixing conservative and imperialistic ideologies, and more akin to neoconservatism than conservatism.
2 Privilege =/= Right
Just because the government lets you do something, or gives some people some kind of privilege like a Commercial Driver’s License or a 501c3 taxation exemption, doesn’t make it a right. There is no “right” to have tax exempt status or engage in commercial transportation. According to the Constitution, rights come from God, and some of them are recognized by the Bill of Rights whereas others are not.
Marriage is not a right! The Bill of Rights does not recognize it, neither does Christianity which the Constitution spoke of. In Christianity Marriage is permitted as a privilege for some, not a right for all. In fact, the Bible says, while Marriage is permitted and even preferred in certain cases, in general it is better not to marry! Why would God give you the right to do something he might prefer that you didn’t do? My view, the view of Rand Paul, Ron Paul, Bill Whittle and others is that government get completely out of marriage regulation, as Whittle describes in the video below:
In the context of the homosexual marriage debate which is raging right now, homosexuals have frequently cited a right to marry. No such right has been recognized. Although the opportunity was recently presented to the SCOTUS, they made the conscious and appropriate choice not to address the issue. Homosexual marriage is not a right because marriage is not a right at all, it is a privilege, and one not properly addressed by government because it is a religious privilege.
3 Feminist =/= Pro-abortion and/or Liberal
The simple comment, “feminism =/= pro-abortion” was more than enough to infuriate more than one person in a recent social media discussion I had, but it is true! Feminism is the school of thought seeking to empower women. Abortion lowers the life expectancy of women who undergo it. Even women who have health conditions such as blood pressure issues have increased likelihood of death from complications when undergoing abortion. Those who survive have increased suicide rates, depression rates and other negative effects as I have written about before.
Christian women are often pro-life and see this as empowering. As Suzanne Venker notes in her book, “The Flipside of Feminism,” being able to have a child is empowering for women and being part of a nuclear family is empowering for women among many other conservative ideas which nonetheless empower women, while abortion is only damaging to women.
In conclusion be careful not to equivocate nor overgeneralize. Thinking like that plays right into the hand of the kind of people trying to manipulate you.