A Favorite Ideological Game: "Oh, So What You Mean Is..."

Ideologies contain strategies for self-maintenance, among them a filter that converts every statement that might challenge the ideology into one it can easily refute. So, for instance, when I wrote a post showing that taxation is just, the filters of several commenters tuned it into a post arguing "We shouldn't worry about justice in the context of taxation!" Now, it was easy to refute: Gene doesn't care about justice: what an amoral guy!"

A favorite way ideologues do this is by continually re-stating your argument. Let's imagine someone has an ideology requiring them to believe that the Spurs are a terrible basketball team and anyone who likes them has a completely distorted worldview. Here's how to play this game:

Spurs Fan: Tony Parker is a very good point guard.
Anti-Spurs Ideologue: Oh, so what you're saying is that Parker is the best point guard who has ever played!
SF: Don't be ridiculous: I'm just saying he can really move the ball around.
ASI: Oh, so what you're saying is that all by himself Parker can move the ball around better than a whole team!
SF: I didn't say that at all. But when he's on the floor, look how much better the Spurs play.
ASI: Oh, so what you're saying is that, even laying on the floor, Parker is the best player in the NBA!
SF: No, no! But didn't you see how he was killing them in game four?
ASI: Oh, so what you're saying is that it is OK for Parker to kill people! Well, for me, I prefer to regard all human beings as equal and entitled to not be killed.

And so on.


  1. The Spurs are themselves ideological! Dogmatically insisting on ball and player movement from their entire team in an era in which everyone knows you just need two or three guys who can get their own shot...

  2. Just stop talking to Major_Freedom entirely Gene, it'll be better for you blood pressure.

  3. Gene,

    you argue that taxation is just if the government is just. But what if some of what the government does is just, and some of it isn't? Say the government protects property and funds education on the one hand, and wages unjustified wars abroad on the other. Is it still right to support taxation in that case? How should you act in that situation?

    1. This thread is not about taxation Mr.

    2. ok, I just wanted to ask you the question. I can post it in another thread if you prefer.

    3. I ask because I'm genuinely interested, not because I'm trying to catch you out or anything like that.

    4. Yes, please, Mr. There is a taxation thread just a couple back. That way you can see my actual argument.

  4. You might enjoy this


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