Two is the lousiest number since the number one

Posted: October 5, 2014 in Opinion piece
Tags: , , , , , , ,

False dichotomies are stupid. You know the kind I’m talking about.

“If you hate Capitalism I guess you’d love North Korea”

“You’re either with us or with the terrorists”

“Yeah well the Tories aren’t great but Labour are a lot worse”

False dichotomies are right up there with ad hominem attacks as the major cause of debates descending into infantile arguments. The motivation behind them is driven either by laziness, or more likely cognitive dissonance: not being able to accept alternative arguments so you opt to shut them down with name calling or farcical comparison.

False dichotomies are possibly the most infuriating development in any debate, because they tell you instantly that the person is rude, arrogantly dismissive, and ignorant; wanting to shut down meaningful debate. In the wider scheme of things though, it is far more serious. Any civilised, progressive society should have a lively and wide spectrum of informed opinion, but ad hominem attacks, straw men arguments and false dichotomies suggest that, broadly speaking, we have nothing of the sort.

The false dichotomy of Conservatives or Labour is both ridiculous and telling. It tells us that:

a) Political tribalism can be more blinkered and aggressive than football partisanship
b) A significant amount of tribal voters talk as if the political spectrum has not altered since 1979; equating the Tories to some kind of soft, patriotic and business-friendly party of aspiration, and Labour to Trotskyite militant Union barons wanting to recreate the USSR
c) FPTP is a ludicrously anachronistic voting system which has ensured the country has become an interchangeable Neoliberal corporatocracy in alternating colour rosettes

To summarise: exposing the filthy lucre behind the military-industrial complex here and the US does not mean you support terrorism. Exposing the corruption, hypocrisy, ecological rape and rampant greed of the Capitalist system does not mean you long for a totalitarian junta watching your every move and restricting people’s food and freedom of expression at gunpoint. Exposing what the current shower in office are doing to the people of this country does not mean you forgive Blair’s warmongering or pandering to the City of London who fleeced us all.

But seriously, a lousy opposition is no excuse to keep the most corrupt and vicious bunch of lying corporate pirates in office. That isn’t cutting one’s nose off to spite its face. That’s cutting one’s face off to spite its body.

A combination of our corporate-friendly two-party system and voter apathy means that we only have lousy choices. This is the Establishment’s dream. Turning every nuanced argument into a black-and-white red vs blue fiasco is easy to control. Apart from protest and raising awareness, all we have in our armoury is cutting short one cabal’s power trips to let the other in. It’s crap but it will have to do. We’ve seen throughout history what unbroken periods of power for the corrupt leads to. Even in the modern day in our supposedly progressive continent, Vladimir Putin has proved that representative democracy is the only true cure for the cancer of megalomania. Don’t accept anything less.


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