“Would you rather?”

by

There is a logical fallacy called the “false dilemma”. In it, the argument goes that there are only a limited number of options, and you have to choose one or the other of them to be true, because they can’t all be true together and they can’t all be false together. Only one must be true and the other false.

The fallacy comes in to play when you realize that it isn’t a dilemma because there are more than the options presented, or some of them can be true together, or all of them can be false together.

Let me present some dilemmas that I don’t consider to be false. Let’s play the game of “Would you rather?”

Would you rather allow all people to keep and bear arms, or only have the political elite and rich have access to guns?

Would you rather have limited regulations and taxes and government and a vibrant economy with many small businesses and strong businesses that rise and fall like the tide, or a weak economy with heavy regulations, taxes, and a tyrannical government, with few small businesses but massive mega-corporations that live in an unhealthy alliance with the state?

Would you rather have 1% of a billion dollars or 90% of a million?

Would you rather live in a society where some people are very rich and some poor, or a society where everyone is very poor?

Would you rather live as an emperor in ancient Rome or a poor black person in modern America?

Would you rather have people free to speak their minds, even though they have a lot of stupid ideas, as well as offensive and even repulsive ideas, or only allow the rich and powerful to decide what is allowed to be said?

Would you rather have government “provide” basic services at extremely inflated costs and with horrible inefficiency, or allow the free market to do its thing, even though some people wouldn’t have access to top-of-the-line medical care and other important services?

Would you rather fight long, protracted, bloody wars, or short, intense, violent wars?

Would you rather live in a society where people who want to kill you are free to do what they please, or a society where we have strict rules about who is allowed to come and go, and those laws are strictly enforced?

Would you rather live in a neighborhood where the rule of law is paramount, where even small infractions of the law are taken seriously, no matter the skin color or background of the offender, or a neighborhood where there is no law, especially for people with the “wrong” skin color or from troubled backgrounds?

Would you rather live in a society where religion is frequently and passionately discussed, but people are free to believe what they like, or a society where only “acceptable” beliefs can be publicly proclaimed and endorsed by government, and people who believe differently are met with distrust and bigotry?

Would you rather spend your own time and money helping the poor, or create a massive government bureaucracy with other people’s money that helps no one but empowers the political elite and creates a “vote plantation” where people who depend upon the government services believe they have to vote the same political elite in each year or else they might starve?

Would you rather support parents as the only people capable of teaching children, blaming the ignorance of the next generation solely on their parents, or create a massive bureaucracy complete with powerful unions that strain the economy while actually making kids dumber and which marginalizes parents in favor of an industrial era view of education?

Would you rather live in freedom or would you rather live in slavery?

Would you rather live in freedom knowing that the only person who will ever feed you and clothe you and shelter you is yourself, or slavery where you have no freedoms but at least you get three square meals and a roof over your head?

Would you rather believe in a universal morality that surpasses time and people’s opinions, or no morality at all, where people are free to do whatever they wish, no matter how morally repugnant you find the behavior?

Choose which religion you would like your children to grow up believing: Christianity, Islam, Atheism, or some other religion. Consider carefully the consequences of each. After all, children who grew up Christian became the people who built Western Civilization from virtually nothing but a few remnants of a long-dead civilization.

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