Friday, August 26, 2011

The Shared Blame Fallacy

In these politically tumultuous times you will often hear it asserted, in reference to certain problems, that "both parties are to blame". Very often this is a true statement. Sometimes it's not, but my interest is unpacking those instances when it is true. Does it then follow that some "sensible", centrist, non-partisan stance is optimal?

Not at all, and most often the opposite is the case; when there is a problem where both parties are to blame, it is usually a result of Democrats and Republicans both behaving like liberal Democrats. A good example is the housing market collapse, caused and underwritten by decades of federal government interventions in the market, starting with the Carter administration and spanning the course of several Democratic and Republican administrations that did nothing to stop the ruinous policies.

Were both parties at fault? Yes; they were equally guilty of behaving like liberals.

The solution, then, is obviously not  modest centrism, but calling on conservatives to actually act like conservatives, while voting liberals out of office. Yet the rhetoric of "blame both parties" obscures this fact for those who don't bother to think through the implications.

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