Greater Good – FT#101

Greater Good – FT#101

Show Notes

The Greater Good Fallacy is committed when someone claims you should accept their argument or make some sacrifice because it’s for the greater good of everyone. It is a specific form of Thought Terminating Cliché


We started out by discussing Trump’s claim that Democrats should stop resisting, because his policies are for the common good:

We followed that with this clip of Blue Lives Matter founder Joseph Imperatrice complaining about NFL players:

Mark’s British Politics Corner

Mark talked about this Green Party Broadcast from 2014 which ends by saying you should vote Green for the common good:

Then we looked at David Davis MP urging Boris to quit despite the amazing job he did with Brexit:

And finally we went all the way back to 1990 and Geoffrey Howe’s resignation speech:


Fallacy in the Wild

In the Fallacy in the Wild we looked at the inherent use of the Greater Good as a tool to oppress the Party members in Orwell’s 1984.

Then we talked about this clip from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan:

We also looked at this clip from Hot Fuzz:

And we finished with this clip from Killing Eve:

Fake News

Here are the statements from this week’s Fake News game:

  1. We’re going to be back in the White House. I won’t say who will be there, but I think you’re going to be very happy. I wonder who it will be. I can’t say right now. But it’s a beautiful place. Nine and a half million people visit — think of it. Nine and a half million. Every day. Or every very short period of time, at least. That’s a lot of people.
  2. Pennsylvania is the Commonwealth where our Founding Fathers declared American energy independence. Think of that. You were the first ones many, many, many years ago. Who would think where we are. We had it done a year and a half ago. And today, we’re begging for energy. We’re begging enemies for energy.
  3. I said, “No more, you’re not going to do it, Abdul.” I said it much tougher. I don’t want to sort of imitate it now. But I said, “Abdul, if you do anything more, we’re going to blow you to pieces. We’re going to blow you to pieces.” And he said, “Yes, your excellency. I understand.” He called me your excellency, which was nice.Click below for the answer

Mark got it wrong this week, and has dropped back down below 50%


Primaries are not a logical fallacy

We talked about the extent to which Trump’s endorsements helped or perhaps hindered candidates in the recent primaries.


The stories we really didn’t have time to talk about

  • One of the winners in North Carolina’s GOP primaries was Sandy Smith, an election truther endorsed by Roger Stone, who made the news this week for tweeting “I never ran over anyone with a car and I never hit anyone in the head with a frying pan”, which is one of those tweets that kind of raises more questions than it answers. I have also never done those specific things, but haven’t felt the need to tweet about it.  Maybe I should. Has everyone just assumed up to now that since I’ve never specifically denied running people over or hitting them with frying pans like I’m in a fucking cartoon, that I have in fact done those things? Dear listener, if you have been assuming that about me I feel like you should go back and listen to our episode on the Argument from Silence. But it turns out there was a reason that Sandy needed to deny these Tom and Jerryesque things. It turns out that both of her ex-husbands have accused her of attacking them in various ways, but these two specific incidents did not result in injury. So it would have been more accurate for Sandy to tweet. “I tried to run someone over with a car and hit them in the head with a frying pan, but I’m a terrible shot. I did hit someone repeatedly with an alarm clock.” 
  • Say what you like about Florida’s free speech laws as proposed by Ron DeSantis, well I guess that’s the point; that you can, except if you’re a social media platform in which case you can’t and you have to allow other people to be able to spread mis and dis and hate-based information on your platforms – well if DeSantis had his way. Disguised as a first amendment rights issue DeSantis was being all right-wingy and whingey about the outrageously bigoted views being taken down by most if not all the social media platforms as being discrimination against conservatives. At the time I think we reported that it was discriminating against bigotry it’s just that most of the accounts that got blocked or sanctioned just so happened to be right-wing. In a judgement this week overturning the Stop Social Media Censorship Act which passed into Florida law last year, Circuit Judge and Trump-appointee Kevin Newsom said; “Put simply, with minor exceptions, the government can’t tell a private person or entity what to say or how to say it. We hold that it is substantially likely that social media companies — even the biggest ones — are private actors whose rights the First Amendment protects.” And like NetChoice, who pointed out that “This order protects private businesses against the state’s demand that social media carry user posts that are against their community standards”, we applaud the legal nose-thumbing at DeSantis; but only in a First Amendment kinda way not a bigoted-opinion kinda way – just cos he factually is wrong. 
  • You know how some podcasts have running gags, like Eli’s mango nectar on The Scathing Atheist, Marsh’s bad puns on Skeptics with a K, and Tom never doing any work on Cog Diss? Well we have a running headline instead, and it’s that Republicans keep committing election fraud.  Admittedly it’s not as funny as those other examples, but they keep fucking doing it, so we have to keep talking about it. This week it’s the Michigan gubernatorial primaries, where candidates are required to submit at least 15,000 signatures supporting their candidacy in order to be considered. Former Detroit police chief James Craig managed more than 21,000, but it turns out that more than half were forged, with some entire pages filled with the same handwriting. The other leading GOP candidate, Perry Johnson, submitted almost 23,000 signatures, but less than 14,000 were real.  In a way, that shows some commitment to cheating. When you get 93% of the way there and your choice is to keep knocking on doors or fake 9000 signatures, I’m not sure you’re choosing the easiest option. It’s like cheating is the goal. And it’s pretty widespread on that side of the aisle. Three other GOP candidates in the same race were dismissed for having more than 10,000 fake signatures each. That’s a total of 5 out of the 10 GOP candidates in the primary. As we discussed on the last episode, it’s no wonder they think Democrats are cheating, because cheaters think everyone does it.
  • Incensed at Republican Senator and House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik’s recent tweet saying The White House, House Dems, & usual pedo grifters are so out of touch with the American people that rather than present ANY PLAN or urgency to address the nationwide baby formula crisis, they double down on sending pallets of formula to the southern border. Joe Biden has NO PLAN Glossing over the clearly partisan shit-stirring making an issue about corporate greed, monopolies and bacteria into a Joe Biden issue, reporters called her office for clarification as to what a “pedo grifter” is. The staffer “clarified” it to mean “people who grift on behalf of children” which is of course is not what the QAnon-baiting use of language is doing, just as #SavetheChildren hijacked the work of actual Save the Children. In amongst the hasty backfilling of meaning and plausible deniability – “it’s her personal account you realise” – (yeah cos that makes it okay?!!) there’s this casual in-plain-sight systematic verbal dehumanising by the GOP of people actually campaigning on behalf of LGBTQ+ and child protection rights as the very people causing the problem. This incites the ignorant and easily led to take up arms (literally) against whoever the GOP decides to target/disagree with whilst saying “well I meant nothing of the sort” when actual people with actual high-powered assault rifles turn up at Pizza parlours demanding to see the non-existent basement. As the reporter pointed out to Stefanik’s staffer  “I don’t know if you’ve noticed but most people who have been outed as pedophiles are Republicans or clergy who are also right-wing” Also he says “I could call Stefanik a cunt as an abbreviation for cuntinuing source of inspiration and simply say you misunderstood my meaning – I could, just like you are with pedo grifter, but it would be a lie”. Yeah he’s right it would be a lie because she ISN’T a continuing source of inspiration she just a c(beep)!
  • It’s almost Pride month, so while the worst companies campaign against LGBTQ+ rights and the best ones make quiet but meaningful efforts to advance them even if it hurts their business, all the ones in the middle cynically walk the tightrope of performatively supporting their LGBTQ+ customers with rainbow infused marketing so long as it makes them money, without pissing off the homophobes. State Farm fell off that tightrope this week. They started off well, supporting an organization called GenderCool, who, among other things, distribute LGBTQ+ themed books to schools, libraries and community centers. It’s a private program that schools and other groups can proactively sign up to – nobody is required to participate in it unless they want to. State Farm even released a statement, saying “We are committed to diversity and inclusion; they aren’t just words, they are truly part of how we do business and lead our organization”. But then far right news outlets found out that schools might voluntarily sign up to get free books that promote inclusivity and they freaked the fuck out. And like a shitty, cowardly neighbor, State Farm pulled their support for the program.  Since they seem so easily swayed by public opinion, now would be a great time to cancel any State Farm policies you have.
  • Republican Senator Bill Cassidy has been pre-occupied with some of the thoughts we share with every single person in the world, every single person in the world who isn’t a Republican that is, which is “okay so in doing away with Roe v Wade you’re going to increase support for the women who will now have to go to term and presumably then bring up the child then?” Thankfully Bill’s on it but somewhat gobsmackingly these words came out of his mouth, presumably having been processed by his brain: “About a third of our population is African American; African Americans have a higher incidence of maternal mortality. So, if you correct our population for race, we’re not as much of an outlier as it’d otherwise appear. Now, I say that not to minimize the issue but to focus the issue as to where it would be. For whatever reason, people of color have a higher incidence of maternal mortality.”  (My jaw-dropped eye-popped emphasis!) Even the casual feigned- ignorance of “for whatever reason” is disgusting; as if systemic racism and individual bias are nothing to do with Republican policy. As Politico notes, Black mothers are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white mothers in the U.S., which, despite Cassidy’s protestations, has the worst mortality rate among developed nations and where “17 mothers die for every 100,000 pregnancies in the country.” In Louisiana, Cassidy’s State, Black mothers are four times as likely to die than white mothers. But Bill says it’s fine cos apparently they don’t count. Jesus H Fucking Christ this man’s an elected official – uncritical race theory anyone?
  • Yet again, America is reeling from a horrific mass shooting in an elementary school. If you’re hoping, despite all evidence to the contrary, that maybe, this time, the massacre of small children might have some impact on Republicans, I have some bad news. The message from the GOP is one of unwavering solidarity and support… for the NRA. With one voice, the Republican party announced that they are willing to do whatever it takes to make sure this never happens again, except for the one thing that would realistically have any impact on this happening again, which is meaningful, or frankly fucking ANY gun control. Instead, GOP representatives have once again blamed mental health, rap music, video games, trans people, the number of doors in schools, lockdowns, social media, and a lack of churchgoing. Georgia Senate GOP Herschel Walker was asked if he thought new gun laws were needed, and his response was “What I like to do is see it and everything and stuff.” To be fair to Herschel, the question was sprung on him at an event, so we should instead focus on his proposal to solve the problem when he later went on Fox News specifically to talk about the tragedy, and said “what about getting a department that can look at young men that’s looking at women that’s looking at their social media.” Let’s be clear, this is exactly as effective as all the other Republican politicians’ ideas. Those just sound more effective because they use actual sentences. Of course the most prevalent argument on the Right is that the solution to all this gun violence is more guns. Armed guards, armed teachers, armed volunteers. The fact that three trained, armed law enforcement officers apparently saw this shooter enter the building and were unable to stop it kind of proves that’s a lie, but we already knew it’s a lie. The Republicans know it’s a lie. Even the NRA knows it’s a lie. That’s why this weekend, when Trump speaks at the NRA’s annual conference, just a couple of hundred miles from where this school shooting happened, guns will be banned from the room. Because no matter how many good guys with a gun there are, there is no realistic way to make it safe other than removing all the guns. 
  • British politics currently works like this: Boris won’t make a decision about something unless he has to, and he’ll leave things as long as he can in the hope that he never has to make a decision, or the police stop investigating, whichever comes first. Sue Grays’ report on the Partygate investigations came out this week and as we know Sue Gray is a Pantone color name for utter whitewash. The report didn’t tell us anything new, though it contradicted some of the police’s “if a tree falls in a forest and there’s no-one there” approach – “if a fine has not been issued for a gathering Boris was at then it’s not a party or if fines were issued it only became a party after Boris left”. Also Sue Gray’s report didn’t investigate a major gathering in the PM’s flat cos she stopped when the police started and when they stopped after finding nothing, she thought it wasn’t proportionate to restart. Consequently neither investigated that gathering where Abba was heard blaring late into the night and actual police saw people come out through the doors and gates they were guarding late into the night! Is a cover-up the same as people just pointing to the other guy saying “well they were supposed to look at it”? No decision to be made by Boris but to say sorry, again, for even less of a convincing amount of time this time. As he should know, with his ancestry, a Turkish saying tells us that “when a clown enters the Palace he doesn’t become a king, the palace becomes a circus.” And also what does “I take full responsibility for this” mean when a) you throw everyone else at the same party under the bus for being responsible and b) if your supporters/employees/and most inexplicably of all; voters, are quite happy being lied to? Time to move on everybody, nothing to see here….apart from Keir Starmer’s best gag in PMQ’s this week “ What was it about Sue Gray’s report that first attracted the PM to a u-turn on the windfall tax on energy companies?”

That’s all for this week, thanks for listening!

Jim Cliff

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