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Friday, April 26, 2013

The fallacy of perfect-world logic.

I don't think there is anything that annoys me more than when someone begins a sentence with "We/they should just..." It's wonderful to have ideal situations and solutions based those ideal situations; however, we rarely never see that when facing the complex issues we have at hand. Our problems are too complex for simple solutions, and logic based off the perfect situation does not apply to imperfect realities.

I usually see perfect-world logic in political and socioeconomic debates, such as when debating welfare or entitlement programs. An extreme example of perfect-world logic was an LDS friend who argued that we should all just live the United Order. While this would be the perfect solution, it would not work in practice. The United Order requires that everyone involved willingly give everything, which is unlikely never going to happen as long as people are subject to greed.

While not all cases of perfect-world logic are as extreme or obvious as bring up the United Order, we often hear similar fallacies without noticing.

Perhaps it's most often disguised in phrases such as "Wouldn't it just be best if..." or "Shouldn't we really just..." Notice how the word "just" is a bit of a motif in those phrases? "Just" is actually the the crucial part of perfect-world logic, as the limiting scope of it's meaning destabilizes any rebuttal. When scoping use of "just" is conjoined with the absolute truths that perfect-world logic is derived from, it becomes difficult to dispute without acknowledging the absolute truths, thus weakening the dissenting opinion.

However, the largest problem with perfect-world logic is it simply doesn't work. It's like nailing Jell-O to a tree. When we eliminate human tendencies and use only azoic rules, we ignore the very essence of any given problem's core- humans. When solving a problem, we must take into account perceived, expected and unexpected actions and reactions of both the affected and unaffected. We cannot force rules upon those who do not wish to have them.

Ultimately, large complex issues will have large and complex solutions for as long as we live in an imperfect society, a society that includes innumerable opinions, preferences and lifestyles.

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