Trying to Have a Logical Argument with an Illogical Person

Did you ever start having a conversation with a person that drifted into the political realm and realize you're not dealing with a logical person. The hardest part I have with this is that is usually with a friendly acquaintance, so I try to bow out gracefully before my blood begins to boil to the point where I become the irrational one. This whole topic to me today as the result of my regular participation in a friendly networking group, Business Professionals of Santa Cruz County where we meet a couple times a month, exchange cards, talk about ourselves, and listen to an informative presentation on some aspect of business. This weeks topic was "Patient Protection Act - Are you (and your business) ready?" by John Allanson of Allanson Insurance. Very informative about the upcoming changes (and won't change) to health care.

But the conversation I had as his presentation wound up was with another member. His information merely provided the catalyst. From there we lightly discussed the presentation, then somehow slipped into the world of tenured professors at UCSC just a couple miles down the road.

As I argued about the great expense of our tenured professors and their lucrative pension plan my fellow member began describing how if we didn't have tenured professors in the UC system that UC wouldn't receive any grants which pay for the universities and all the fantastic research we have and all the Intellectual Property (IP) that is owned and benefits the system. Further, without all this government granted research we wouldn't have the Cable TV, Internet, GPS, or cell phones. This went on to mention that without all this companies like AT&T and Verizon basically had no business model.

Being the usually calm individual I'm known to be I mentioned that I had not asked the government to develop these things and didn't use 3 out of 4 of these modern miracles. And while I knew government was involved in all of them I didn't quite believe that it was solely the governments miracle.

This resulted in a conversation leading to my fellow member saying I didn't need to decide, that this was a democracy, and that the majority of society decided for me. This is where I started to slip. I mentioned that it sounded more like mob rule to me. I had a small recovery when I tried to describe how we were not a democracy, but a republic... that went nowhere quick and many reading this will know what I mean.

And then the announcement from my acquaintance that finally made my mind click that this conversation wasn't one I was going to make any points. What did they say? "but without government who would build and maintain the roads?!" It was at this point that I conceded that I had better things to do than continue this dance.

After the fact as I was driving to the gym I started thinking about other little tidbits of the conversation and a few points that came to me of where I possibly failed to at least get a thinking point across.

  1. Cause and effect. Just because an entity, such as a university or military, discovers something does not mean that if they hadn't someone else wouldn't have. It is misplaced to think that only one party is capable of discovering a technology or solution to a problem or create something new to fill a need. Just because the government did something, that didn't mean it wouldn't have happened otherwise.
  2. When someone tells you that government is the solution in matters such as health care, education, or road maintenance maybe I should suggest to them that if government is so good at providing for the people it would make sense to nationalize other operations. Should we nationalize the food supply? Who needs your local market or chain when the government can provide better? Just like it did at your local school cafeteria of your youth. Or possibly we could nationalize the clothing industry? Then there would be no need for these local boutique or department stores.

But I'm not going to waste my effort on those who can't be saved. If someone says "who will build the roads?" or "who will protect us?" run, don't walk, to your nearest exit.