Steve Sebelius loves false dichotomies

Victor Joecks

So, are you a liberal, or do you want children to go hungry and workers to die?

That would be a false dichotomy, but that’s the tactic Review-Journal columnist Steve Sebelius used yesterday to try to tarnish conservative legislators.


So what exactly is a “defender of liberty”?

According to the American Conservative Union, it’s a person who doesn’t want schoolchildren to enjoy a good breakfast.

It’s a person who opposes strict regulation of workplace hazards, even after a dozen workers died in construction accidents on the Strip.

It’s a person who thinks child care workers don’t need more training.

It’s a person who thinks a local redevelopment project funded by local tax dollars shouldn’t have to employ local residents.

Here’s how Prof. Rick Grush of the University of California, San Diego explains the logical fallacy of false dichotomies. As you can see, Sebelius’ statements would be textbook examples of false dichotomies.

The fallacy of false dichotomy is committed when the arguer claims that his conclusion is one of only two options, when in fact there are other possibilities.

The arguer then goes on to show that the ‘only other option’ is clearly outrageous, and so his preferred conclusion must be embraced.

Either you let me go to the Family Values Tour, or I’ll be miserable for the rest of my life. I know you don’t want me to be miserable for the rest of my life, so you should let me go to the concert.

Either you use Speed Stick deodorant, or you will stink to high heaven. You don’t want to stink, so you better by [sic] Speed Stick.

At the end of his piece, Sebelius doubles down on his false assumptions:

Has conservatism really come to this? Honoring people who don’t care if schoolchildren go hungry and show up to underfunded schools or questionably regulated day care centers while their parents labor in unsafe workplaces, assuming they can even find work at projects taking place in their own blighted neighborhoods?

Unfortunately, personal attacks on conservatives have been standard operating procedure for leftists for years and years. I submit that that’s what happens when your ideas fail. Remember this video, which showed “Paul Ryan” pushing a grandmother off a cliff, because he proposed reforming Medicare?

How do you argue with leftists who resort to personal attacks and logical fallacies? I’d submit you don’t.

If a pundit won’t even acknowledge that those who disagree with him might have sincere (or at least non-evil) reasons for their political positions, it’s not worth your time trying to convince him.

Just make sure others are aware of the logical fallacy – and how laughable and simplistic the claim is – and move on.