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5TruthsYouCannotDisagreeWithSo there has been this photo going around Facebook that allegedly shows why certain Republican beliefs are “Truths” that no one can argue with. But in fact none of these are ‘truths’ (whatever that means), and none of them are ‘facts’ that could be empirically verified because most of them involve values that would first have to be unpacked before verification (or falsification) could take place.

Questioning Point #1

For example, with reference to point #1, to actually investigate whether this was ‘true’ one would have to specify what one means by “prosperity” and people can actually disagree about how to measure prosperity. Is prosperity achieved at some absolute threshold or is it relative to what others have? If it is an absolute threshold, then one might disagree with point #1 by pointing out that the levels of taxation that are being proposed are certainly not sufficient to bring people below that absolute level.

In contrast, if one believes that prosperity is relative to what others have, then one has to specify that class of “others.” Are we only talking about ‘others’ within one’s own country or are we talking about ‘others’ across the world? Sticking with others within one’s own society, point #1 would be plainly false. If what it took for me to be prosperous were measured relative to what others in my society have, then lowering what those at the very top have would indeed make those at the bottom relatively more prosperous.

Questioning Point #4

With respect to point #4 many have disagreed with this ‘truth’ including several famous capitalists.  For example, Henry Ford believed that the best way to multiply wealth was to divide it. Although Ford was anti-union, he thought that if he paid workers a wage that would provide them with a comfortable life, then this would provide them with the ability to buy the cars he was producing, and ultimately, this would lead to greater wealth for Ford himself.

Ford wasn’t exactly a socialist, yet he would argue (and could argue) with these alleged “truths.”

This argument seems similar to certain “truths” that have been repeated around American presidential campaigns lately.  But some people disagree, and they do so in a reasonable way. Here is a video of Nick Hanauer at TED, for those of you who don’t like to read. For those of you who do, many of the Hanauer’s arguments, and a link round-up are written out below the fold.

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This is amazing:

What I find particularly interesting about this video is the way in which Sir Michael Parkinson cannot seem to get off the topic of Helen Mirren’s body. In fact, though her body is not that voluptuous and she is not dressed in a particularly revealing way.

One of the best/worst parts happens 1:33 when Parkinsons says “You are ‘in quotes’ a serious actress.” Mirren calls him on it. Then he asks if her equipment will hinder her pursuit of becoming a serious actress. She makes him spell out what he is trying to hint at. It is marvelous.

Basically, Parkinson’s argument amounts to the idea that there are no serious actresses because all actresses will have breasts. But Mirren won’t let him get away with it.

Parkinson is just so condescending and Mirren manages to make him look like a fool. It is great. She has such poise and even though he is being rather vulgar she manages to keep her composure.

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As I was reading through a number of posts and news items about the death of Jack Layton (which I cannot write about at present because it makes me too sad) I stumbled across this video of Pierre Trudeau from the CBC archives:

The first thing that strikes me about the video is the line “Just watch me” is so famous, yet it is completely buried in the interview. This line is probably the 1970s equivalent of a modern soundbite, but it is also completely opposite to the soundbite because it is buried within a 7:00 minute video at minute 6:07.

The second thing that strikes me is length of the interview. The length of the engagement between Mr. Trudeau and the reporter is also a change from modern reporting when we are more used to politicians running away from cameras rather than engaging with reporters. This is not a sit-down in-studio interview, it is an impromptu interview on the steps of parliament. Nevertheless, the reporter and the Prime Minister actually have time to have a conversation and a debate about the policies of the government. I can hardly imagine this happening today.

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