Liberals like to fancy themselves as purveyors of knowledge, who must look down from their ivory towers and enlighten conservatives to the ways of the world. How else can someone like President Barack Obama, whose life experience consisted of community organizing, find the audacity during his State of the Union speech to lecture the Supreme Court, some of the most seasoned scholars on Earth?
The problem with liberals is not their wealth (or lack thereof) of knowledge, but their use of logic. In particular, liberals like to use inductive reasoning in their arguments: a twisted, but popular, brand of logic. It is the flawed process of using specific examples to form a general conclusion, but it rarely holds up to scrutiny. For instance, if all you see are black birds flying around, inductive reasoning would allow you to say that all birds are black. Just because it may be true for your situation, the statement is not true in all instances.
Even so, liberals love to use specific examples to make a blanket statement. I had to take that reasoning to task recently when I wrote about the Columbine school shooting and the use of armed guards. Some argued that because an armed guard didn’t stop the Columbine massacre, armed guards should never be allowed in schools. By the standards of inductive reasoning, such an idea would be deemed valid, but as we all know, the logic doesn’t hold up. Just one example of a guard stopping violence (and there are many) destroys the premise. That’s why inductive reasoning is not considered a logical line of thought. And yet, liberals love to use it.
In the climate change debate, nearly every major hurricane or snowstorm is used as evidence that our climate is changing. It is perhaps the most obvious use of inductive reasoning, but still, environmentalists and the media will use it to fit their particular agenda. Instead of arguing about the flawed logic, however, we try to argue against an established fact. It doesn’t work. Rather than trying to debunk the truth, conservatives should point out, again and again, how the left uses the truth to fit their view. Once you establish their logic as inductive reasoning, and then undermine the credibility of that reasoning, you then destroy their argument.
By the same token, we as conservatives need to be wary of using that same line of reasoning for our own arguments. It is too easy to take a single instance and use it to prove our point, even if it is not the whole truth. Rather than relying on emotion and perception, we need to face the facts, even if it means rethinking our own position. We do not need to fight these intellectual battles with rhetoric. We can win them with reason.