19 December 2014

Society and Economics are not Analogous to Baseball

I'm not going to labour the Sowell/Walter Williams criticisms but this one just struck me as a perfect summation of their 'aw shucks' down-home simplicity... and its consequent misrepresentation and danger.

Williams basically criticised liberal appeals to the Rule of Law... because in our society we change the 'rules' all the time.

He proceeded to use the analogy of a baseball game and talked about what kind of fair game would we have if we changed all the rules for each player... distances for pitches and bases, umpire calls and all that sort of thing?

See how simple it all is? We see clearly that sort of thing wouldn't work with baseball and thus shouldn't we think the same way about law in society and economics? Rules are rules. There are winners and losers.

It's all pretty simple right?

This is a rather impoverished and misapplied analogy.

Society and its problems are not at all like a baseball game.

Williams can't seem to understand that when someone 'strikes out' they may end up homeless. When the pitcher 'hits the batter', people die. When a team 'loses the game', nations go to war. When the umpire makes a 'bad call' a building collapses.

So you bet people are going to tweak and manipulate because real life is about real ethical dilemmas. The 'rules' are limited because of the limits of language and society's complexity in which hosts of ethical obligations overlap and often contradict each other.

It's not a game.

And yet Williams, Sowell, Cal Thomas, Kerby Anderson, Cal Beisner, Tim Wildmon and a host of other commentators use similar analogies to make their point and I've met many Christians who nod their head in approval about how these great 'thinkers' can really 'break it down' for us.

They're not great thinkers. In some cases they are profoundly dense, but well paid and dangerous. In other cases they are evil and I would apply that appellation to those who are specifically Christian. Rather than thinking about and applying a 'Biblical Worldview' they are instead torturing the Scripture and dishonouring it due to their political commitments and aspirations.

The classic argument employed by the Sowell coterie is that liberals over-complicate what are in fact pretty simple issues.

It's a seemingly foolproof defense, but it only works on fools and children.

There are fundamental ethical principles that are universal but how to apply them... that's a task for adults and those who are mature. In Christian terms this is for those who have a smattering of wisdom.

We are led by women and children and the counsel of paid agents who make merchandise of us.

Don't be led astray by these manipulators and fools.

1 comment:

  1. I remember when I would have snorted at someone who would "overcomplicated" the folksy analogy to life. I wish some conservatives would just be as upfront and cruel as one of their idols, Ayn Rand. She would have bit the bullet and said those who don't survive the "rules" clearly don't desire to live or succeed enough. There's no reason they ought to be parasites, and they should go extinct.

    I welcome the day when conservatives are as vocally pagan as their arguments, worldview, and style. At least there won't be the confusion.


    PS. there are a disproportionate amount of cals who are buffoonish commentators. I don't think I've seen so many in one place!