There is a technique of argumentation called “broken record.” For those of you not old enough to have experienced photograph records, they were disks with a single spiral groove on both sides. One of their flaws was, if damaged, the needle picking up the information in the groove could skip tracks resulting in the same phrase been sung/spoken over and over and over. The argumentation technique is simply to ask for what you want (I want my money back!) over and over and over. What you want doesn’t have to make sense, but after you hear something myriad times, it starts to sound reasonable, even sound true.
For example, a local conservative columnist was writing on Second Amendment gun rights after having consulted some prominent legal experts. Here is a quote:
“(Second Amendment Legal Expert) Kontorovich thinks a limit on the size of magazines would be struck down because it could inhibit an individual’s ability to stop multiple attackers. ‘Limiting magazine capacity is like saying a print magazine could be only 32 pages,’ he says. What would not be allowed in the context of press freedom should not be allowed in the context of gun rights, he says.”
Hello? Is there even one instance of an American defending himself from scores of attackers for which he needed the capacity to fire off 100 rounds? 30? The vast majority of such encounters involve handguns, not military-style assault weapons, and involve single individuals, not dozens. But you will now hear the phrase “Limiting magazine capacity is like saying a print magazine could be only 32 pages.” over and over and over.
Here are some other Broken Record arguments:
Social Security is Broken To fix the deficit, Social Security must be cut! WTF? Social Security has over $2 trillion dollars in the bank (in the form of treasury bills) in surplus. The taxes collected for Social Security are kept entirely separate from other tax receipts and do not affect the deficit one way or the other. (Even Ronald Reagan is on record saying this.) But conservatives keep repeating this and repeating this and it is starting to sound like something we have to do. Basically their argument is: we have to cut Social Security now or else we will have to cut Social Security later. Doesn’t sound like a pressing matter to me.
Medicare is Not Doing Enough to Hold Down Medical Costs Hello? Medicare is the only major insurance program that is actively holding down medical costs. I was shocked when I went on Medicare to find out that Medicare pays 50-60% of a medical bill that the doctor agreed ahead of time he/she would accept as full payment! It is the other insurance companies that are doing nothing, just passing on increased costs to policy holders. The problem is not Medicare costs but costs in general. Only Medicare and the VA systems are really working hard to hold down costs.
We Need to Reduce Corporate Tax Rates to Stimulate the Economy Really? The monied powers in this country have been reducing corporate taxes and shift them onto individuals for decades. Corporate power is at an all-time high, corporate profits are at an all-time high, and they need a tax cut? This is outrageous. They keep saying they want the rates cut. What needs to be cut are corporate deductions, otherwise known as tax loopholes. These corporations have been bribing our elected officials for decades to cut them special tax deals, just for them, not for everybody. The Federal Tax Code is littered with such special deals. Even the “Fiscal Cliff” deal include more of these deductions/loopholes. The rates are fine, but nobody is paying anywhere near what those rates indicate. I would like to see a line drawn as to how much tax is to be extracted from individuals and corporations; 50-50 would be nice.
We Can’t Get a Manufacturing Economy Going Again Because of a Less Skilled Workforce This is the “skills gap” nonsense. They are claiming they can’t find, say tool and die makers, because people with those skills aren’t available. The truth is there are plenty of out-of-work folks with those skills but: 1) nobody is hiring and 2) the few that are are offering McDonalds level wages. The #2 manufacturing goods exporter in the world is … wait for it … Germany! Germany has both higher wages and lower productivity that we do and we can’t get a manufacturing sector going? This is BS! The reason we can’t is no one is trying to. They want to continue to squeeze wages to further increase their profits.
Don’t be fooled by the Conservatives “broken record” technique, just repeating things over and over doesn’t make them real. Many others have observed that Conservatives have a tenuous grip on reality but I think that the real problem is that they think they can create it, orally.