American Heritage Dictionary -
soph·ism (sŏf'ĭz'əm) Pronunciation Key
1. A plausible but fallacious argument.
2. Deceptive or fallacious argumentation.
[Middle English sophime, sophisme, from Old French sophime, from Latin sophisma, from Greek, from sophizesthai, to be subtle, from sophos, clever, wise.]
When one first reads Economic Sophisms by Frederic Bastiat, it is a very eye-opening experience that leaves the reader forever changed....much like learning about the "birds and the bees" leaves one's views of storks, salmon and private parts unable to return to their "pre-birds and bees" innocence.
And if I kept one lesson from Henry Hazlitt, it's that understanding a fallacy or sophism when explained in basic terms does not stop people from believing them or falling for them when masked in the complexity of real world issues. Indeed, sophisms are very pervasive because they SOUND right.
It seems the USPS is opposing a CO state bill that would uphold people's desire to not receive junk mail by being on a "No Junk Mail" list. Junk mail is not only extremely wasteful...but it's DAMN ANNOYING!!
Well, the USPS has its own ideas:
Postal Service spokesman Al DeSarro said half of the mail his agency handles is direct marketing mail, and reducing its volume could cost thousands of Postal Service jobs.
Ha. I got good chuckle out of that one. Forcing an unneeded or unwanted practice to stay viable is how we protect jobs? Hmmm. Maybe we should go back to gas lamps so that guy who walked around on stilts and attended to gas street lamps can have his job back. ;)
(BTW, Tarran at the Liberty Papers link does an excellent job of explaining the flaw in saying that such a bill goes against "free markets". Worth a quick read.)
Balko in his signature snarkiness:
This is terrific logic. Americans should be bothered with useless, unsolicited junk mail so that the USPS can continue to pay otherwise unneeded postal workers to deliver it. Makes sense to me.
I thus propose a federal "Agency for Digging Holes in Americans' Front Yards." Then, because of the holes-in-people's-front-yards problem that will inevitably result, I propose a second "Agency for Filling In Yard Holes."
These two agencies will create thousands of new federal jobs. And as we all know, new jobs are good for the economy.
Indeed. Perhaps they need some copies of Economic Sophisms over at the Post Master General's office....Chapter 3 on "Effort and Result" in particular.
Or maybe the The Candle Maker's Petition would do the trick...
Dear Gentlemen of the Assembly:
We ask you to be so good as to pass a law requiring the closing of all windows, dormers, skylights, inside and outside shutters, curtains, casements, bull's-eyes, deadlights, and blinds -- in short, all openings, holes, chinks, and fissures through which the light of the sun is wont to enter houses, to the detriment of the fair industries with which, we are proud to say, we have endowed the country, a country that cannot, without betraying ingratitude, abandon us today to so unequal a combat.
Be good enough, honourable deputies, to take our request seriously, and do not reject it without at least hearing the reasons that we have to advance in its support.
First, if you shut off as much as possible all access to natural light, and thereby create a need for artificial light, what industry in France will not ultimately be encouraged?
I guess you can see where it's going. LOL. Oh Bastiat, you little rascal.