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Illogical Logic

"It's the only logical solution"

How often have you heard that out of the mouths of someone trying to justify their position on anything? It's as if simply utilizing one word will offer reassurance that what is being done is the most reasonable, if not he only means available to solve a problem. Once the word logic has been brought into play you can pretty much be guaranteed that whoever said it considers the topic closed.

Before I go any further with this, let's pause to introduce a working definition of logic. This one is brought to you by the good folk over at the Wiktionary: "A method of human thought that involves thinking in a linear, step-by-step manner about how a problem can be solved".

Obviously that's very simplistic and comes nowhere near to representing the the numberous variations of logic, but I think it's what the majority of us would thing of off the top of our heads when the word logic is mentioned. At the least, it gives us the manner in which the word is used, and what it is understood to imply, in everyday conversation.

The problem with such an openended definition is that it leaves the word open to being used in any and all circumstances when someone wants to prove their point . Instead of starting at zero and using logical thinking to build an answer based on the needs of the circumstances, they will start at their answer then work backwards to create the situation needed to give it validity.

Politicians, of course, are most liable when it comes to the inversion of logic, espeically those who are concerned with making any sort of change in policy. They no longer seem to think that it is necessary to look at the problems of society and create solutions based on the needs of people, instead they have an agenda of things they want to accomplish and they work backwards to show that the problems exist that validates their solution.

Perhaps it's our addictions to ideology based politics and religion that makes this possible. Socialism, Conservatism, Marxism, and Facists alike have painted a picture of society that suits the needs of their solutions. Adherants of a religion will tell you that their way is the right way because God has told them and their God is the only God.

But now instead of this illogical logic being applied in sweeping generalizations, almost every issue, every problem to be solved, is being dealth with in this manner. Answers for everything are provided by how they best fit into the narrow world view of those responding. This of course results in fewer and fewer originial ideas, and policies that make less and less sense.

As an example of a policy that has this appearance I'll site the example of the Canadian Government's much ballyhooed concept for funding Day Care. Now whether you agree with the concept of Day Care or not, I think you would agree that the people who would need subsidizing. Either low income families where both parents are working, or single parent famlies where the sole parent works would be the most logical beneficiares of any sort of subsidy program as they are the ones most likely to make use of those facilities.

Well according to a report in today's Globe And Mail the new policy will allow a family with one parent working that earns more than $200,000 annually to claim almost all of the $1,200. dollar yearly subsidy, $1,076. While on the other hand a family with both parents working and making $30,000 per year will only be able to claim $199 per year towards offsetting the cost of their Day Care.

The government prior to this one had been in the process of completing negotiations with the provinces to implement a universal Day Care program which while flawed at least was attempting to ensure that the people in most need were being given the opportunity to afford places for their children. This program, even if everybody was given the hundred dollars a month promised by it, doesn't even begin to cover the costs of private day care that are incurred by anybody.

The only explanation that I have heard offered for this program, was during the last election campaign, where the Conservatives said they wanted to give people the option of whether to either uitlize Day Care facilities or not. So they wouldn't underwrite individual day care spaces but put the money into the hands of the people. But since the money seems to have ended up in the hands of the people who wouldn't be using Day Care in the first place where's the logic in this program.

The logic that appears to have been applied in this case has less to do with subject under discussion, Day Care, and more to do with two political realities. The Conserative Party of Canada has a sizible followoing among the traditional family values set who find the idea of Day Care abhorant, so a plan that accutaly favours people who don't use the facilities would go over extremely well.

Secondaly, poor people don't usually vote for the Conservative Party of Canada, but those with higher incomes do. Thus this plan meets the needs of this party's constinuents far better than anything its predecessor was advocating which in the end is really what matters to all political parties, keeping their followers happy ( I could have used any party, but unfortunately for the Conservative Party of Canada this was in the news today)

Ensuring that solutions only fit into the neat little box of logic that forms the walls of ideology, no matter what that ideology may be, severly limits perceptions but also solutions. While it's true that logic does play a role in their reasoning, its not used as the means for finding a solution.

Instead of considering all possibilities "in a step by step linear manner", to formulate a solution that is best for all concerned, we are now presented with a fait acompli whose rationale makes no sense unless considered within the context of an ideology. Logic has become merely the latest casulty in our world of political expiedency. I wonder what will be next?

Leap In The Dark

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