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Sunday, December 16, 2012


The logical reductio ad absurdum takes a premise and turns it into extremes, thereby highlighting various aspects of the internal logic of the premise itself.

Proposition A:  Guns don't kill people; People do.

(1) If guns do not kill people, then our focus is on the people themselves.
So what do we do about people?
Most proponents of unlimited guns think we should promote (at what cost?) programs for gun ownership, care, and safety.

OK. Good idea, but it is obviously not enough if Civic Virtue is not also taught to people.

To teach gun safety alone implies a future of gangs and mafiosi who are very conscientious about their weaponry.

This is an absurd result, but it is what will happen if the mechanics alone are taught, and virtue is ignored.

Consider this change:

Proposition B:  Atomic Bombs don't kill people; People do.

Is this as easily understood and absorbed and acceded to as proposition A usually is?

Consider this change:

Proposition B.1:   Atomic Bombs don't kill great scads and heaps of people; People do.

This is harder to agree with. Why? It seems that since the intention of atomic weaponry is to kill large numbers of people, and people left to their own devises, like fists and even clubs, can only kill a limited number of their fellows, that we tend to creep over to the side that says that atomic weapons actually do kill people.... at least great bloody heaps of them.
This proposition can flip-flop in our minds like a perpetual Romney-machine.

Proposition C:  Power does not tend to corrupt, nor does absolute power corrupt absolutely; People do.

This becomes very involved at this point.

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