Animal’s Daily Fallacy of “We” News

I stumbled across this the other day at Capitalism Magazine and found it interesting:  The Fallacy of “We.”  Excerpt:

The fallacy of “we” is a form of the fallacy argumentum ad populum or “appeal to the people,” to “popular opinion.” In epistemology it emerges as the coherence theory of truth, which clashes with the correspondence theory of truth. The coherence theory says an idea is true of it is compatible with other ideas one holds and/or with those held by others. The correspondence theory says an idea is true only if derived from (and validated by) the facts of reality, regardless of how many people hold the idea. Of course, fantasy worlds are “internally” consistent, but that doesn’t make them real.

Beyond epistemology, there is also a moral aspect to “the fallacy of we.” By now it is almost universally denied that ethics can be scientific, that a moral code can be objectively delineated and defended. It’s not true, but it’s popular, thus seen as true.[1] We’re taught that ethics must be based either on dogmatism or subjectivism, from a prophet’s scripture or one’s feelings. Again, it’s not true, but it’s a popular view.

Vox Dei, Vox Intellentia, Vox Populi

Consider three possible sources of truth through the ages: vox dei (the voice of “God”), vox intellentia (the voice of reason), and vox populi (the voice of the people).  Medieval times held that whatever was heard from God or “his” prophets was true, while whatever commandments were issued were moral. Then came an anti-Medieval revolution, the Enlightenment, which held that only reason discerning reality could validate what was both true and moral. Then came the counter-Enlightenment of Kant-Hegel-Marx, ushering in the false and fatal idea that neither God nor reason but instead the masses determine what is true and moral.

A free society – a society that has at its heart the two primary values of Liberty and Property – can only have the voice of reason, tempered to some degree with the voice of the people, as its moral framework.  The United States was originally set up with this built into its structure.  For example:  The House of Representatives represents the vox populi, while the Senate in its original form, with Senators appointed by the State legislatures, was supposed to represent the vox intellentia.

That hasn’t worked out so well in today’s world, of course.  Populism has always been present, and of late in the U.S. and Europe, it’s seeing a resurgence; and the problem is, as this article notes, the reliance on the fundamentally collectivist notion of “we.”

There is no “we.”  There is only you and me.  There are no collective or group rights.  There are only individual rights.  There can be no group interests; groups cannot have interests, only individuals can have interests.  That’s not to say that individuals cannot combine resources to advocate for a common interest; the NRA certainly does that.  But the organization can only represent the individual interests of its individual members.

The article concludes:

The next time you hear that “we can’t know anything for certain,” recognize that the statement itself assumes a certitude – hence is self-refuting; if someone specifically is uncertain about something particularly, that’s their problem (or challenge), not yours; it says nothing about what many people know or don’t know. Likewise, if you hear that “we as a society must help the poor” – or “we must combat income and wealth inequality” – ask the speaker if he’s doing so himself, or along with a philanthropic group, and besides, why does he feel it necessary or proper to make his goals or values the goals and values of others without their consent and against their will. And so on.

The idea is to meet each “we fallacy” with the query; “Who is ‘we,’ exactly, and why should collectivism be your default, when individualism is the proper approach?

In other words:  “What’s this ‘we’ shit, Kemosabe?”

This closing statement presents an excellent argument; sadly, I think it’s an argument we’ve already lost, in no small part because the vox populi has drowned out the vox intellentia.