By Scott Tibbs, August 10, 2017
If you want to be taken seriously, then present your arguments in an honest and honorable manner. Do not make caricatures of your opponents' arguments so you can refute the most extreme position possible. Not only is that deceitful, it is a logical fallacy known as the Straw Man. You do not accomplish anything by lying about your opponents' arguments and then refuting your fantasies about what they said.
I said in my letter to the editor last month that I am pleased with President Donald Trump for removing some burdensome environmental regulations implemented administratively by President Barack Obama. People were claiming in the comments section that we need regulations to protect the environment, protect children from being exploited, to ensure workplace and food safety, and many other things. How could anyone be against having regulations to protect people?
Of course, no one is opposed to such regulations, and my critics know it.
The issue is not whether we should have regulations. The issue is how many regulations we should have, what those regulations should be, and what policy tools can be used alongside or instead of regulations. The very same Leftists who decried my praise for Trump are appalled at regulations of abortion clinics that allegedly infringe on the "right to choose" to murder your own child. This is not a lack of understanding about nuance, as opposed to taking an absolutist position. This is a dishonest smear.
If we are going to have any kind of bipartisanship, then we need to end these idiotic tactics and actually address what our opponents are saying. Fraudulent straw man arguments only deepen the divide and make it more difficult to cooperate and compromise when cooperation and compromise are possible. And yes, conservatives do it too. This kind of dishonorable behavior is wrong no matter who is doing it.