domingo, 8 de maio de 2022

Two defeaters against leftist ideology

At the end of October 2017, I published an article in which I suggested recognizing a new fallacy which I named the "fallacy of equality". At the end of that work, I commented on the possible impacts of the recognition of my proposal, especially in the field of political philosophy in one of its most prominent currents, the left.

In the present article, I focus on these implications by proposing two arguments against egalitarian ideology based on the logical fallacy proposed in my earlier work. To listen to it, there is an audio version read by me that can be accessed through this link.



One of the fruits of the human intellect has been the conception of "packages of ideas": sets of one or more allegedly true propositions that are somehow linked together. Philosophical schools, scientific theories, and the theological part of religions are examples of some categories or types of packages like this. 

Insofar as such groups of ideas make descriptive and/or prescriptive claims about the world, a question of debate that usually accompanies them is whether a certain group is "true" or "correct". In this case, regarding descriptive propositions, one can generically understand that a package can only be true or correct if and only if such propositions correspond to reality as it is[N1]. As for prescriptive statements, those that say how things should be (objectives) or what should be done (methods), it will generally be necessary that their eventual descriptive assumptions are equivalently corresponding to reality, and that they are decently able to reach some presented target, and that such a target is desirable[N2]. Otherwise, if one of your proposals advocates unacceptable measures or an unacceptable target, the package will also be wrong.

Thus, for example, the capitalist economic system led by the Scotsman Adam Smith opposed the mercantilism present in his time in at least three things: descriptively, that the wealth of a nation is not the result of or equal to the physical possessions of land, gold and that it has, but also resides in the productive capacity of its citizens; and, prescriptively, that we should seek to implement means of increasing this productive capacity, such as labor specialization, in order to make societies more prosperous and rich, which would be a desirable target[N3][R1][R2][R3]. Therefore, the assessment of the veracity of capitalism passes through the evaluation of these statements: if it is true that the wealth of a nation involves the productive capacity of its citizens, that we should seek a more prosperous society, and that a means to this end is to increase productivity through means such as labor specialization, then capitalism is the correct view. If, on the other hand, wealth is measured only in lands, or we should not seek greater prosperity for peoples, or the proposed means, such as specialization of manpower, are inadequate and henceforth should not be adopted, the view will be given as failure.

When it comes to this question of verifying the veracity of a package, one could understand that the refutation of any of its claims would automatically imply its defeat. This, however, is not necessarily the case since ideologies may contain assertions that differ from each other in terms of their relevance to them. Some less relevant proposals may be linked to strands of a main idea or derivations from more important theses supported by less credible arguments. Regardless of the reason, this implies the need to distinguish between "essential" and "non-essential" statements to a thesis. Those recognized as essential are those that are somehow linked to the package that, without even one of them, it would disfigure and effectively become something else, another group of ideas. Consequently, the untruth of one of these statements implies the invalidity of the package as a whole, even if others are recognized as correct. The same does not happen with the secondary proposals: although they may be traditional, they are superfluous in such a way that their demonstrated invalidity will not imply the annulment of the package as a whole.

An example of this complexity can be seen in the theology of religions such as Christianity. In this case, Christian theology is composed of a series of doctrines that encompass a set of beliefs on various topics such as God, the human being, and sin[R4][R5]. Although most Christians believe in some variations of these doctrines, only some are essential to the faith[R6][R7][R8] and cannot be wrong for it to be a true religion. One case is the doctrine of God which asserts that there is such a supreme being as the source of the universe's existence[R9]. If by chance someone were to demonstrate that such a being does not exist, then Christianity would be wrong in one of its essential statements and, consequently, would be a wrong package of ideas and a false religion[N4]. Even if many of Jesus' teachings remained valid, the faith as such would come to an end; "there is no Christianity without God". The same would not occur with the doctrine of biblical inerrancy that affirms the full veracity of the teachings of the sacred book of this religion[N5]. If even a single error were found in such a book, the doctrine would be refuted, but hardly a Christian would think it plausible to abandon his faith on that account precisely because it is a relative theological detail. That is, although traditionally believed, the doctrine of biblical inerrancy is not essential to Christianity[R10].

Thus, if it is identified that an ideology has a non-essential claim, refuting it will not imply the defeat of the package. If, however, one essential to it is found to be unacceptable, belief in it must be suspended. Indeed, it can be argued that it is enough to demonstrate that an essential assertion is not adequately supported (that there is no known reason to believe it to be true or even that it is not possible to know if it is true) that any adoption of the ideology will become irrational[N6]. In other words, if an individual does not know of any plausible reason to believe in a single proposal essential to an ideology, then he should not believe and defend such a package.

All that said, the relevance of these deliberations and the related debates could be questioned. This is linked to the importance given to the truth of statements. One perspective suggests that, far from trivial, such issues are important to the world because beliefs affect the actions of those who believe in them, bringing with them real consequences for many[N7]. In particular, wrong ideas, once believed, can lead individuals to wrong choices which, in turn, can lead to inappropriate actions that can bring great harm, pain, and suffering. In fact, some of the evils that have plagued humanity have been derived from misguided beliefs, a classic example being the Nazi Holocaust. Thus, to the extent that it is relevant for us to avoid these evils, it will be relevant to try to attest to the veracity of an ideology before embracing it. If this has already happened, then it will be plausible to abandon it as soon as it is invalidated upon further reflection.

With that in mind, what follows is an assessment of the veracity of a particular package of ideas: leftist political philosophy.

In the area of ​​political philosophy, a commonly termed "left" view preaches egalitarianism[R11][R12]: the defense of equality or more of it in some aspect in the political, social, and/or economic environment[R13][R14]. Formalized in the times of the Enlightenment, it can be affirmed in various ways such as resources, and well-being among others. Regardless of which one is defended, its justification is supported by two possible views: as a means and as an end in itself[R14]. Parity as a means is characterized by the thesis that having it or having more of it may not be good and desirable in itself, however, it is useful insofar as it manages to lead to profitable and desirable ends, that is, it would be something that has extrinsic value. This perspective proposes that we should implement equality or more of it as a tool to achieve a better world. The other view, on the other hand, defends the existence of an intrinsic value to it, that is, that it is in itself a good, a value, which henceforth is self-justified. So, insofar as we make the world an egalitarian or more egalitarian place, it will become better for that alone.

So understood, the egalitarian proposal of leftism is marked by a direction towards a positive, higher level, towards a better end. This characteristic is not gratuitous or unique, nor is it merely traditional, since it is intrinsic to any political vision composed of a prescriptive component; every political ideology proposes what it proposes aiming at a better world (even if only in the eyes of those who defend it) [R15][N8]. 

For example, liberalism proposes "freedom, life and property"[R16] because, in the understanding of those who defend it, if such values are present and defended in a society, a better one will be obtained for all to live. So too, conservatism defends traditions[R17] because they would be good for society. This remains present even in evidently bad cases: someone who hates all humanity could propose a nihilistic ideology that preaches the end of the human species to be achieved by the practice of genocide. As bad as such a vision is, it is still intrinsic to it the notion that its implementation would bring a better world from the perspective of its defender. 

Therefore, regardless of what is defended, the prescriptive content of every political vision is aimed at a qualitatively positive social state, whether in relative, absolute, or both terms[N9]. Thus, leftist political ideology states, essential to this vision, that one must defend, seek, implement equality or more of it in some way that, in doing so, will bring with it a good or better world. 

A wrong ideology
In view of what was said earlier about refuting packages of ideas, it follows that if this is not true (that equality or more of it implies a qualitatively positive and/or superior state), then an essential component of leftism will be wrong and henceforth this political view will be incorrect. In other words, leftism will only be correct if and only if equality or more of it implies a qualitatively positive or superior state.

Here this ideology faces difficulty since such a claim is demonstrably false. In fact, several cases where equality or more of it does not imply something positive or better can be observed.

For example, suppose there is a hypothetical society of 100 people and that there are certain basic human rights that should be recognized and respected. At first, the local justice system is characterized in such a way that only half of these people have their rights respected while the others are systematically violated. Suppose, then, that reforms are made and now all members have their rights violated. In this second situation, there is an egalitarian society where everyone has a parity of rights. However, insofar as having human rights respected is something desirable, this new egalitarian situation is not only bad, it is worse than the original unequal situation; society has worsened with the rise of equality.

Another example: suppose that another hypothetical society with 100 members has problems with access to basic sanitation, which is available to only 30% of the population. In this case, there is inequality in access to this desirable structure. Then a war breaks out and the entire sanitation system is destroyed by bombing. The result is that now all citizens do not have a functioning sewage system or potable water in their homes. Unlike the initial pre-war state, this second one is egalitarian and yet it is both certainly bad and evidently worse than the previous one since it has even less sanitation than it had before. 

Hypothetical cases like the ones above reveal that it is false to say that equality or more of it implies good or better when they expose that it is also present in bad or worse situations. In other words, equality is not correlated with quality[N10]. This can be visualized as shown in Figure 1 below. The graph on the left shows the egalitarian thesis: the higher the value, the higher the quality. The graph on the right, on the other hand, expresses what examples such as the previous ones demonstrate to be the case: that this link does not occur to the extent that increasing parity can equivalently lead to both higher and lower quality.

Figure 1 - Comparison between the egalitarian proposal and reality

In view of what was discussed in the introduction to this article, the fact that equality or more of it does not imply good or better implies the untruth of an essential thesis of the left and, henceforth, its failure as a political proposal. 

An illogical ideology
Despite what has already been said to be a problem enough for the acceptability of the left as a correct political view, it can be argued that its failure goes further. This is because the thesis analyzed above and essential to this view not only expresses a mistaken statement (such as "1 + 1 = 3" or "the Earth is flat") but is also a case of the egalitarian fallacy, an error of reasoning[R18][N11]. And this observation grounds a second motivation for rejecting leftism.

An argument used as rational support for belief in some proposition will be bad, unable to fulfill its purpose, if it is deficient in having premises incapable of logically supporting the conclusion[N12]. When this is the case, it is understood that it should not be believed or defended, i.e., it is rationally unacceptable[R20][N13]. 

So for example, one reason why the syllogism "all men are mortal, Jesus is man, and therefore Jesus is mortal" is acceptable is that it is logically coherent. By contrast, the argument "all men are mortal, Jesus is a man, and therefore Jesus never existed" is not rationally believable because it is logically flawed: its premises, even if true, fail to adequately support the veracity of the conclusion.

Although arguments are often presented in isolation or alongside others in a cumulative case in defense of a belief, they can come to be expressed as a supposedly correct thesis in a larger work. In cases where that thesis is essential to that work, then its rational acceptability will be linked to that of the argument: insofar as affirming the work will imply affirming the argument contained in it, that is, there is no way to affirm the work without affirming the argument, then if the latter is rationally unacceptable, so too will the work that affirms it.

For example, suppose a natural products company wants to persuade potential customers to consume them. She then launches a commercial stating that they should buy them "because they are natural and therefore good". The problem is that such an argument is asserting the fallacy of appeal to nature[R19], making the advertising rationally bad. In this case, what is being proposed is just one among other possible justifications in favor of the intended conclusion (that customers should buy the products of this company) and, therefore, even if this specific motivation should be rejected, its inadequacy doesn't invalidate the advocated conclusion; it may be good to consume these products for other reasons. Something different happens when this company opts for another marketing strategy involving the creation of a new ideology that preaches that "people should be good to each other, love their families, and consume natural products because they are good for being natural". In this case, it is not just one argument among others where its invalidity does not affect the veracity of the intended conclusion, but a thesis essential to this hypothetical ideology and which affirms a logically deficient reasoning. Consequently, to the extent that there is no way to disassociate this package of ideas from this fallacy, then it will be rationally unacceptable because of it and whoever rejects that one must also reject this ideology that affirms it. 

Thus, a package of ideas can be rationally believable if and only if its ideas are logically coherent. However, this is not the case with leftism, which asserts a logical fallacy at its core, that of equality. Consequently, this ideology does not appear to be rationally acceptable and should be rejected in the same way that fallacious arguments should be. This conclusion implies that, unlike what seems to be the case with many ideologies, leftism goes beyond simple factual error (that of expressing statements that are inconsistent with reality): it is also logically deficient[N14].

In this article, the leftist political vision was recognized as an ideology that defends, in an essential character to it, that an egalitarian or more egalitarian world would be a better world than an unequal one and that, therefore, we should seek greater parity on our planet. It was also argued that such a claim is not only demonstrably false, it is also a logical fallacy, which produces two defeaters for that view[R21]. Insofar as these observations are true, it can be concluded that egalitarianism that aims at a better world is an inadequate vision, and believing in the political ideology that expresses it is a belief contrary to the proper exercise of reason: whoever does so will be intellectually erring as much as anyone else who believes in any theses that are factually wrong or logically flawed - with the aggravation that, in this case, he will be wrong in both ways. 

If such considerations are correct, the proper public reaction to such deliberations will be the same as that which is due to any package of ideas shown to be inadequate: its abandonment. Just as a Christian should abandon his faith once exposed to a refutation of the non-existence of God[N15], so liberals should abandon their political stance in the face of the observations of this article. That said, just as a Christian would not automatically need to reject all of Jesus' teachings upon seeing his faith invalidated by atheism, the abandonment of egalitarianism does not automatically justify rejecting all other causes that leftists have championed[N16] (fighting against racism, for the preservation of the environment, etc.).

Criticizing leftism through its egalitarian thinking is nothing new, having been the subject of several works in recent centuries. However, apparently most of these responses have focused on questions of value either saying that equality is irrelevant (as when some claim that "economic inequality doesn't matter, only poverty"[R22]) or that it is less important than other things (such as freedom[R23]). The two defeaters presented in this article, on the other hand, support another perspective according to which the errors of the ideology are that of being factually wrong and of being logically deficient.

As with packages of ideas, the theses proposed here can also be incorrect. This brings up the question of how this criticism could be defeated. It is usually understood that an argument can be defeated by pointing out some flaw in its form, invalidating the acceptance of one or more of its premises, or pointing to the greater probability of another conclusion in the case of probabilistic theses[R20]. With that in mind, the following section contains some predictable critiques preceded by an analysis of where they stand in relation to the arguments presented.

Analysis of possible criticisms
The first argument aims to demonstrate that the leftist view is mistaken for essentially asserting an untrue claim and can be summarized as follows[N17]:

A1.1: If leftism essentially asserts an incorrect/false idea, then leftism is false/incorrect.
A1.2: Leftism essentially asserts an incorrect/false idea (that equality or more of it implies a qualitatively positive or superior state).
A1.3: Therefore, leftism is false/incorrect.

As for its form, the above reasoning is a case of the classic modus ponens and, therefore, it is logically valid and its conclusion will necessarily be true if the premises are true[R24]. Therefore, possible errors can only be found in the acceptability of these. In the case of premise A1.1, what it says is a thesis presupposed in many of the works that evaluate and criticize the most varied theories, philosophical currents, and related doctrines being, therefore, relatively uncontroversial. So it is likely that most criticism will end up being centered on the second premise.

The second argument argues that this ideology is rationally unacceptable as it essentially expresses a logical error of reasoning and can be summarized as follows[N18]:

A2.1: If leftism essentially asserts invalid reasoning, then it is rationally unacceptable.
A2.2: Leftism essentially asserts invalid reasoning (a logical fallacy, that of equality).
A2.3: Therefore, leftism is rationally unacceptable.

Again, the defeater's form is a modus ponens and hence logically valid. Also, its first premise A2.1 appears to be relatively uncontroversial being defended whenever a thesis that essentially asserts something that is known to be false is rejected. So, possible criticisms will tend to focus on the second premise as in the case of the first defeater.

Anticipated criticisms

Absence of essentialism
A possible criticism of both second premises is the rejection of the essential character of the statement of the fallacy of equality. From this perspective, the justification of a positive target for the defense of parity would only be a traditional characteristic and not an essential one for the left. In other words, while most leftists defend equality because they think it will lead to a better world, the view per se does not assert this justification. Consequently, those who raise this objection reject the observation that political ideologies are essentially geared towards the pursuit of a better world.

In response, such a proposal does not seem to have any support in evidence. After all, countless political expressions demonstrate that every leftist, rightist, liberal, or the like defends what he defends aiming at a better world according to his perspective of "better". To the extent that this is true, it seems implausible to say that it is still a mere tradition and not a basic feature of political ideologies. 

However, even if such an answer were true, it would be of little use in refuting the practical applicability of the defeaters presented in this article. This is because the characterization of the statement of the fallacy of equality as intrinsic to leftist ideology is not necessary for the applicability of this criticism in the population that expresses it: insofar as a defender of this view asserts in his intellect that he wants and the reason he wants equality or more of it is because then there will be a good or better world, then both of the defeaters presented here will apply to him in his leftism. Since the only leftists said to be untouchable by this work would be those who defend parity for any other motivation and that such do not exist or are practically non-existent, then the defeaters would still prove valid "for all practical purposes": most, if not the totality of leftists in the world should still cease to be so[N19].

Punctual equality
Another possible objection argues that the assertion of the presence of the fallacy of equality does not constitute a correct description of the egalitarian proposal and, therefore, both defeaters make a straw man attack[N20]. According to this answer, claiming that "leftism defends parity" would be a general simplification that does not consider the details of this ideology and its strands.

The answer says that the various leftist currents do not simply defend a more egalitarian world, but specify in which areas and in which ways this parity should be characterized and implemented. That is, they are not advocating any and all forms of equality or it by itself. Consequently, a leftist may find himself agreeing that not all equality implies a better world while believing that the specific ones he proposes would bring about that result. 

For example, a leftist could argue that we should have equal civil rights between men and women and between whites and blacks because the world will be better if that is so. At the same time, that same person could reject such parity of rights between children and adults, recognizing that, in this case, it is better to have some inequality in the laws applicable to the two groups. In doing so, this individual would be advocating a certain specific equality (of rights) for one or more specific cases (sex/gender and ethnicity/race) without automatically committing to any other form of parity (such as economic) or in any situation (age). 

Concerning this criticism, its first defect is that these "specific defenses of equality" present the same problem as in "broad egalitarianism." Indeed, the same observations made earlier could be used in these specific cases: in the example of civil rights, one can conceive of a society where whites and blacks (or men and women) have no civil rights guaranteed by law, a situation in which there is equality and the society they comprise is not good or better than an unequal one. And insofar as the specific cases of defending parity are subject to the same problem as "broad egalitarianism", defending them will not save leftism from what has been pointed out in this article. 

Second, to claim that there is a straw man attack by "generalizing" the equality defense is unfounded because any defense of equality will already fall within the observations made in premises A1.2 and A2.2, either in an unrestricted or punctual way. This is because the problems presented are manifest not only in absolute terms (totally or completely absent) but also in relative terms (more or less). That is, it suffices for the view to defend "more" equality as implying a qualitatively positive or superior state that the premises will already apply. And since any implementation of these "punctual parities" will imply a more egalitarian world[N21], the so-called "punctual egalitarianism" in the leftist theses does not rid the ideology of the veracity of premises A1.2 and A2.2. 

Equality as generalized maximization of quality of life
Another possible answer also alleges that there is a certain straw man attack regarding the sense of defending equality considered in the criticisms of this article. According to this objection, when one says that parity is desired, one is not saying that "with regard to a certain social property X, all members of society should possess the same amount of X", but "everyone should possess X to the maximum extent possible/available". That is, "equality" would mean that everyone and not just a few should benefit from the maximum currently available of X. 

This perspective would be associated with a classicist vision of modern societies from the France of the monarchy to the present day. According to this perspective, societies have traditionally been composed of social groups where some of these would have at their disposal the best of their time in terms of health, security, education, political influence, and the like. On the other hand, other social classes, especially the poor, but also blacks and women, would not have access to the same level of quality of life or political influence. In this context of inequality, criticism would come from the less favored and their ideological allies who would not be concerned with the distance between the least and the most favored per se, but only wishing that all citizens enjoyed the good and the best that exist at the time. In other words, "we want equality" would be synonymous with "we want to have a good quality of life just like you". Thus, interpreting the search for parity as a concern between the distance between the least and the most favored would be an interpretative mistake. As this is the assumed meaning of this article, then its criticisms would not apply to leftism[N22]. 

There are some problems with this answer. The first is that, at best, this "interpretation of leftist yearnings" does not apply to what many of the defenders of this ideology actually stand for. For example, when it is stated that "it is absurd that some are so rich while others are so poor", the meaning is more like "there shouldn't be rich people while there are poor people in the world" than "it was for everyone to be rich like the rich are". In fact, when it is reported on social media that there has been an increase in the number of millionaires in a country, it is common to have negative reactions from leftists who would have no reason to be indignant about this if there was not a concern about the distance between rich and poor (after all, an increase in the number of rich means that many are improving their quality of life). Similarly, the classic critique of left-wing politicians complaining that "the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer"[R25] also only makes sense from a perspective of concern about distance between the parties[N23]. Finally, some of the proposals to correct inequalities show the desire to reduce distance. This is the case of taxation on fortunes and inheritances as proposed by Thomas Piketty[R26][R27] and others, a measure that is not only aimed at fighting for the disadvantaged while the wealthy are left with their possessions but reducing the distance between them[N24][N25].

So while some leftists may be advocating parity in line with this critique's lens, it by no means represents what everyone is advocating. Hence, at best, it could be said that some advocate a sense of egalitarianism that is not subject to the defeaters of this article.

But even that is not plausible. After all, being an advocate of equality is by no means synonymous with being an advocate of improving the quality of life of the underprivileged. In fact, this desire that "everyone should own X to the maximum extent possible/available" is compatible with other ideologies such as libertarianism. Not for nothing, non-leftists are also seen defending the improvement in the quality of life of the entire population and many practice charity towards the poorest, which shows their wishes that they also come to enjoy a life of greater well-being[N26]. Thus, defining the leftist view as the defense that everyone has access to a good or maximum quality of life is not descriptive. Rather, it is more plausible to conclude that those who have called themselves "equality advocates" without really being concerned with distance are not expressing their views properly. It follows that the defeaters of this article adequately address the defense of parity insofar as there is, in fact, one being made rather than some alternative view being inadequately portrayed as a "defense of equality". 

Acceptability of fallacious arguments 1
The second defeater considers that logically fallacious arguments are not rationally acceptable, that is, they should be rejected. In response, it could be argued that this is not necessarily the case because it would be possible to rationally accept an argument that has a structure recognized as inadequate in at least some cases. So arguments like this would not automatically be bad, and so the mere assertion of the fallacy of equality by leftist ideology would not make it rationally unacceptable.

As an example of this idea, there is the case of the fallacy of composition when applied to the color of a floor. This consists in affirming that the whole has a certain property because one or more or even all of its parts have this property. Although generally wrong, one could argue that there are specific cases in which this reasoning holds up. For example, it seems plausible to assume that if all the tiles that make up a floor are of a certain color, then it will be of that color. In this example, although this argument is a case of the fallacy of composition as presented, it seems plausible.

While this critique may be in line with contemporary understanding of this issue[R28][R29], it does little to save leftism from the second defeater for at least two reasons.

First, even if it is accepted that a recognized fallacy has exceptions, this does not invalidate the fact that, in general, if an argument is fallacious, it should be rejected at least until it is shown to be an exception. In other words, insofar as there is no demonstration that the fallacy of equality expressed by leftism is an exception, it is perfectly plausible to adopt the rule until such an exception condition is demonstrated. Merely pointing out that it is "possible" for it to be an exception does little to invalidate the standard treatment given to admittedly fallacious arguments, which is rejection. Thus, until the present case is shown to be one of these exceptional cases, the fallacy of equality should be treated as one would normally treat any fallacious arguments.

Second, this critique assumes the understanding according to which a fallacy is initially defined in broad terms and then the existence of exceptions is observed. But this tradition is by no means imperative or necessary: these definitions could be revised in such a way as to internalize the exception cases, thereby eliminating them. So, in the previous case of composition, its definition could be revised to specify that it only happens with the so-called non-expansive properties[R30]. Thus, instead of the way it was presented, the composition error could be expressed as "when the whole has a certain non-expansive property because one or more or even all of its parts have that property". Once such redefinitions are made, the so-called exceptions disappear and this response becomes incapable of saving leftism from the applicability of the second defeater.

Acceptability of fallacious arguments 2
A final possible criticism of the second defeater is that the parity fallacy is of the kind that can be easily eliminated by considering an implicit premise, which would also apply to the egalitarian proposal of leftism. According to this observation, its characteristic and invalid form "is egalitarian or more egalitarian, therefore it is good and/or better than if it were not" can be rewritten as:

FI1: If it is egalitarian or more egalitarian, then it is good and/or better than if it were not.
FI2: It is egalitarian or more egalitarian.
FIC: Therefore, it's good and/or better than if it weren't.

In this case, the reasoning that was previously fallacious is converted into a valid modus ponens, indicating that this is not a formal error, such as an affirming the consequent or denial of the antecedent (situations in which the form is invariably non sequitur), but rather being an informal fallacy such as an appeal to nature or Hitler[R31]. The consequence of this observation would be that, ultimately, the second defeater would fail to point to the existence of a logical flaw where, at most, there would be a flaw of premise (the implicit one). In other words, if there is any error in leftism, it would not be logical, but only to assert something false, the issue that the first defeater already deals with. Therefore, this criticism assesses that the second defeater fails to treat invalid reasoning by simplification as if it were essentially invalid. Going further, it could even accuse that its use would end up violating the principle of charity according to which an argument (or thesis) must be treated in its best form[R32], in this case, that being one that has a valid logical form and considers the suggested implicit premise. 

While it may be the strongest response to the logical critique of leftism, this proposal does little to save that ideology from the defeater in question. This is because the informal nature of the equality fallacy does not eliminate its rational rejectability, i.e., any reasoning that expresses it will continue to be rationally unacceptable regardless of the treatment given (or that should be given) to some implicit premise. So much so that the traditional response to informally fallacious reasoning does not involve factual analysis of implicit premises, but only their exposition followed by rejection.

For example, when someone presents an argument that makes the mistake of appealing to naturalism, the response given is not to make the implicit premise explicit and to proceed with a debate about its veracity that would somehow nullify the rejection of that argument in logical terms. Rather, what is done is to point out that it commits the fallacy and reject it. Similarly, when someone commits a genetic fallacy, the reaction is not to proceed with a debate about the veracity of some implicit premise after it has been made explicit, but simply to point out that there is such a fallacy and proceed to reject the presented argument[R33][R34]. Thus, when an argument is fallacious, the proper rational reaction to it is its rejection whether formally or informally bad, and, consequently, the same should be done with theses that affirm reasonings like this.

Skepticism in the face of acceptance history
Finally, one could question how this political ideology could have sustained itself for so long, being so wrong. One hypothesis that perhaps explains this uncomfortable fact is that misguided egalitarianism derives from a simplistic analysis of cases in which there seems to be some relationship between "equality or more of it" and "good or better or correct". 

For example, it seems good to many that there should be some measure of equality between men and women and between different ethnicities within a society. But in these cases, the good or better or correct is not due to parity, but to a greater or even full amount of some good and henceforth desirable property such as human rights or wealth or sanitation or the like. That is, it is indeed plausible to think that a perfect society would include, among other things, everyone having their human rights respected and everyone having access to basic sanitation, which would be an egalitarian situation. However, as the examples in this article suggest, it is not equality in rights or sanitation that would make this society excellent - another society without any of these items would be identical in terms of parity and yet very bad - but the high presence of good things of a society to have. Thus, whoever defends the maximization of desirable properties (attributes) of a society ("social great making properties"[N27]) is defending a good and better one, but whoever proposes a more egalitarian society is not defending one like this.

N1: Here I used a correspondence view of truth, but this is not necessary for my thesis. Whatever the reader's epistemic view, the question of whether a package of ideas is true given its descriptive propositions will remain. It is noted that some sources, when dealing with the condition of veracity in arguments, note that what really matters is the credibility of the proposition in relation to the audience, something sometimes called "plausibility". In this sense, it is said that for an argument to be good, what is needed is not that its premises be (only) true, but more plausible than its negations. In line with this alternative, it could be said that a package of ideas needs to have "statements more plausible than its denials" in order to be considered true or correct. In this article, I have treated these approaches as synonyms since such nuances and the debate around them are not relevant to this work. For those interested, I suggest Kevin deLaplante's video, "What is a Good Argument?: The Truth Condition", 2013, available at  <> and accessed on 07 May 2022, as well as William Lane Craig's answer in "171 Apologetics Arguments", Reasonable Faith, 2010, available at <> and accessed on 08 May 2022.
N2: By "decently" I mean a thorough analysis of the acceptability of this proposal that includes things like weighing the pros and cons.
N3: Of course, it can be said that capitalism preaches and involves more than that, but the aim here is not to make a complete assessment of this economic system. Rather, use it in a simplified way to exemplify how a package of ideas can consist of a description and/or prescription and how the evaluation of the package's veracity is related to the evaluation of its claims. For this purpose, I think it is evident that these points of capitalism are more than enough.
N4: So much so that many of the criticisms of this faith include the rejection of the existence of God. For example in: Bill Flavel, "Eight reasons Christianity is false", Atheist Alliance International, 2018, available at <> and accessed on 07 May 2022; e em: English Wikipedia, "Criticism of Christianity", 2022, available at <> and accessed on 07 May 2022.
N5: Those versed in Christian theology may say that I have not described these doctrines accurately, as is indeed the case. I took this liberty because a precise description is not relevant here and because it could make the paragraph unnecessarily long. For those who wish, a reference on the subject is the work of theologian William Lane Craig accessible on his website ( where he deliberates on Christian doctrines with a higher theological level (as an example, his class on the doctrine of revelation:  "Doctrine of Revelation (Part 7): The Authority of Scripture & Defining Inerrancy", Reasonable Faith, 2014,  available at <> and accessed on 07 May 2022). 
N6: By "irrational" I mean "contrary to the proper exercise of reason", i.e., when an individual comes to a certain conclusion that he takes for belief in a way that should not have been accepted. In this sense, believing a conclusion supported by an idea that has been shown to be false or a logically invalid argument are examples of irrational beliefs.
N7: More on this reflection at: Bobby Conway and Lenny Esposito, "797. What's The Only Good Reason To Believe Anything?", One Minute Apologist, 2015, available at <> and accessed on 07 May 2022.
N8: It is notorious that most of the references to the definition of "political ideology" only state that they aim to "change the world", without mentioning that it is "for the better" (example: Maurice Cranston, "Ideology", Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2020, available at <> and accessed on 17 May 2022). As this aim is attested to by any proselytizing political literature or conversation with politically active people, it is evident that there is an unnecessary simplification in these sources.
N9: By "relative terms" I mean a social state compared to another where the proposal in question (liberty, equality, etc.) is found in less quantity.
N10: Or even: the level of equality is not correlated with the level of quality.
N11: For a more complete appreciation of this observation, I suggest reading my previous article on the subject ("The fallacy of equality," Blog Momergil, 2017, available at <>). Here it is worth noting that the same logical flaw is present in their parallel versions: just as it is non sequitur to affirm a qualitatively positive or superior state based on equality, it is also so based on inequality ("it is unequal, therefore it is good or better" ), the same is true for its opposite ("it is unequal, therefore it is bad or worse").
N12: As this passage is dealing with logical failures, I didn't think it necessary to mention all the possible ways an argument can fail in its purpose, hence the "if" instead of "only if".
N13: Because of this, a good part of the philosophical works contain analyzes of other people's arguments looking for some of these problems and that are used as a motivation for rejecting those when they are found.
N14: In this argument, I am simply stating that just as we should not accept (believe in) logically flawed arguments, so we should not accept some package of ideas that asserts such an argument, this being the case with leftism. However, it is perhaps possible to derive an even stronger criticism based on this observation of the presence of a logical fallacy in this ideology: that of its impossible viability and consequent inevitable irrational belief. What would be observed here is that logically incoherent expressions are not only untrue but also impossible to be true. For example, the proposition "Michael Jackson was born in Brazil" is logically, metaphysically, and nomologically possibly correct, but factually false since it is a historical fact that he was born in the United States. On the other hand, the statements "yesterday I drew a circle-square" and "my sister is a married-bachelor" are not only false but impossible to be true as they express contradictory concepts ("circle-square" and "married-bachelor"). On the other hand, when an argument is logically deficient in such a way that its conclusion does not logically follow from the premises, this logical flaw differs from that of the aforementioned statements: there is not an incoherent statement, but a reasoning, a set of statements that are not logically connected to each other. Here it could be proposed that the situation changes if an argument is transformed into a proposition that affirms it, as in "it is true that "people should consume natural products because they are good because they are natural"". In this case, the logical inconsistency would be transferred to the proposition, making it necessarily false, equivalent to the two previous cases. Expressing this in the semantics of possible worlds: just as there is no possible world in which "my sister is a married-bachelor", this being an incoherent statement, there is no possible world in which "it is true that "people should consume natural products because they are good for being natural"". If this observation is correct, then it will pose a problem for the leftist ideology that asserts the fallacy of equality as if defending that it does, for, in this case, it is as if such ideology were asserting something analogous to "yesterday I drew a circle-square", implying that there is no possible world in which it is correct. Consequently, the adoption of leftism could be even more unfortunate than the two defeaters presented in this article propose: when someone believes in a possible but untrue thesis (such as "Michael Jackson was born in Brazil"), it can be understood that he is just misguided or perhaps misinformed. On the other hand, to believe that "my sister is a married-bachelor", a logically impossible statement to be true, is not some simple informational misconception, but entirely irrational, impossible to be rationally believed. Thus, if it follows that affirming in thesis a logically invalid reasoning is equivalent to expressing a contradictory affirmation such as those of the given examples, also being consequently impossible for such a thesis to be true, believing in it and henceforth in packages of ideas that essentially affirm them will be completely irrational, and that would be the case for leftism and its equality fallacy.
N15: I imagine that some Christians may not approve of this parallel due to Alvin Plantinga's theses about belief in God as properly basic, concluding that I was unfortunate in choosing it. However, I note that what I said concerns the abandonment of faith in the face of a "refutation" of the existence of God and not an apparent refutation. In other words, I agree that a believer who has the witness of the Holy Spirit testifying to the veracity of his Christian belief can continue to rationally believe his faith even in the face of an atheist argument that seems persuasive to his analysis. In this case, the testimony assures him that this argument is somehow wrong despite appearances, and he would realize this if he had only been better able to carry out his assessment. However, if an argument for the non-existence of God were to be made that was not only apparently persuasive but conclusive (factual premises and correct structure), then I understand that a believer should abandon his faith by rejecting what he has hitherto interpreted to be the witness of the Holy Spirit. Naturally, those who believe they have such testimony can rest in the certainty that such an argument will never be conceived, but if it were, apostasy would be the rational act to be exercised.
N16: Although it may be necessary to review the motivations used as support for the defense of these causes. For example, if until then the fight against racism was justified from an egalitarian point of view, now another justification should be used, such as, for example, that it is based on erroneous findings regarding the supposed qualitative differences between races/ethnicities.
N17: A more complete version would be:

A1.1: A package of ideas contains statements essential to its truth/correctness.
A1.2: A package of ideas will only be true/correct if and only if all of its essential statements are true/correct.
A1.3: Consequently, if a statement essential to a package of ideas is false/incorrect, then that package is false/incorrect.
A1.4: One idea is that "equality or more implies a qualitatively positive/higher state".
A1.5: Leftism is a package of ideas that essentially affirms 4.
A1.6: 4 is false.
A1.7: So leftism is a false/incorrect package of ideas (A1.3 in A1.5 and in A1.6).
A1.8: False/incorrect idea packages should not be believed/accepted.
A1.9: Therefore, one should not believe in/accept leftism.

N18: A more complete version would be:

A2.1: A package of ideas contains essential ideas (theses).
A2.2: One or more of these theses can assert an argument.
A2.3: If an argument expressed essentially by a package of ideas is rationally unacceptable (it should not be believed or defended), then the package of ideas that affirms it is rationally unacceptable.
A2.4: A logically deficient argument is rationally unacceptable.
A2.5: Therefore, if a package of ideas asserts a logically deficient argument, that package is rationally unacceptable.
A2.6: Leftism is a package of ideas that essentially asserts that "if the world were equal or more equal, then the world would be good or better".
A2.7: The argument in A2.6 is logically deficient (fallacy of equality).
A2.8: So leftism is a package of ideas that essentially asserts a logically deficient argument.
A2.9: So leftism is a rationally unacceptable package of ideas (should not be believed or defended) (A2.8 in A2.5).

N19: It is worth noting that it is usual for leftists to call themselves "progressives", something that adds up as evidence that the mentality of most or all of them is that their ideas aim at a better world. For further reading, I suggest: W. Wesley McDonald, "Left Wing",, 2018, available at <> and accessed on 07 May 2022.
N20: A "straw man" attack is an informal fallacy that consists of criticizing an inaccurate and generally watered-down version of an argument, thesis, or idea. For more information, I suggest Kevin deLaplante's video lesson, "The "Straw Man" fallacy", 2009, available at <> and accessed on 07 May 2022.
N21: At least if all else is equal, which seems to be a condition always assumed in leftist defenses.
N22: In other words, the criticism of this article would be an ignoratio elenchi in relation to the "real meaning" of the leftist vision: its points may even be valid, but since leftism would not treat inequality as distance between parties, then they would be useless to refute this ideology.
N23: If there was no concern with distance, but only with the evil of poverty within a desire for the enrichment of the poor, it would suffice to say that "the poor are getting poorer". In fact, it only makes sense to point to the enrichment of the rich alongside the impoverishment of the poor without concern for distance if the mention of the former served only to point to the existence of a favorable economic situation, i.e., to point out that the impoverishment of the poor it would not be due to some crisis that would eventually hit everyone, but due to another cause that is specifically affecting them. Considering that such an observation would be, so to speak, purely technical, the fact that such manifestations are usually associated with expressions of indignation demonstrates that this is not the case.
N24: It is plausible to think that if leftism were not concerned with the distance between the best and worst in a society, but only with improving the lives of the latter in order to make them equal to the former, then its advocates would not emphasize measures that involve distance, such as taxation of large fortunes, but those that have been shown to be effective in improving the quality of life of the less favored, regardless of positive implications for the favored. And this is precisely the opposite of what happens. A classic example revolves around capitalism: as science points out, this economic system has been very good at improving the quality of life of the poor since the beginning of its implementation, but it has brought with it the enrichment of many. For someone unconcerned with distance, but only with improving the quality of life for the poor, capitalism would be something to be adopted and defended. However, it is precisely the left that has turned against it the most.
N25: For another example of a leftist demonstration that is clearly concerned with inequality in terms of distance, I suggest reading Edison Veiga's article, "Desigualdade social, o maior problema do Brasil", DW, 2022, available at <> and accessed on 07 May 2022.
N26: In fact, equating leftism's "search for equality" with "the defense of improving the quality of life of the disadvantaged, regardless of their distance from the more favored" would incur in treating the left as those who possess the "monopoly of love for the disadvantaged" . Such an equation could only be correct if other visions such as liberalism did not have the same intention. Insofar as this is known to be wrong (as any check in non-leftist literature reveals), it does not follow that there is a monopoly on the desire for an improvement in the quality of life (disassociated from distance) in leftism. That is, the same is not about this, which refutes the interpretation present in this criticism.
N27: A reference to the great-making properties of a being as Alvin Plantinga uses in his ontological argument for the existence of God. The idea of applying such properties to the social context ("maximalism") as a way of conceptualizing a Christian view of politics will be presented in greater detail in future work.

R1: Rakesh Sharma, "Who Was Adam Smith?", Investopedia, 2022, available at <> and accessed on 17 March 2022.
R2: Johan Norberg, "The Real Adam Smith: Morality and Markets", Free To Choose Network, 2016, available at <> and accessed on 18 March 2022.
R3: Johan Norberg, "The Real Adam Smith: Ideas That Changed The World", Free To Choose Network, 2016, available at <> and accessed on 17 March 2022.
R4: Mary Fairchild, "Get to Know the Basic Beliefs of Christianity", Learn Religions, 2020, available at <> and accessed on 17 March 2022.
R5: English Wikipedia, "Christian theology", available at <> and accessed on 17 March 2022.
R6: Jason Hiles, "Essential and Nonessential Christian Beliefs", Grand Canyon University, 2016, available at <> and accessed on 15 April 2022.
R7: Shawn Nelson, "Essentials vs. Non-Essentials - The Need for Charity and Love", Biblical Training Center, 2019, available at <> and accessed on 15 April 2022.
R8: With mentions of several references: Beggar's Bread, "Essential and Non-Essential Doctrines of the Christian Faith", available at <> and accessed on 15 April 2022.
R9: William Lane Craig, "Creation and Conservation Once More", Religious Studies, 1998, available at <> and accessed on 15 April 2022.
R10: William Lane Craig and Kevin Harris, "What is Inerrancy?", Reasonable Faith, 2008, available at <> and accessed on 17 March 2022.
R11: Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Left", 2020, available at <> and accessed on 17 March 2022.
R12: English Wikipedia, "Left-wing politics", available at <> and accessed on 17 March 2022.
R13: The Free Dictionary by FARLEX, "egalitarianism", available at <> and accessed on 17 March 2022.
R14: Richard Arneson, "Egalitarianism", Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2013, available at <> and accessed on 17 March 2022.
R15: Kevin Harrison and Tony Boyd, "The role of ideology in politics and society in understanding political ideas and movements", Manchester Openhive, 2018, available at <> and accessed on 17 March 2022.
R16: Alex Tuckness, "Locke’s Political Philosophy", Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2020, available at <> and accessed on 17 March 2022.
R17: Andy Hamilton, "Conservatism", Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2019, available at <> and accessed on 17 March 2022.
R18: Martin G. B. Bittencourt, "The fallacy of equality", Blog Momergil, 2017, available at <> and accessed on 18 March 2022.
R19: Gary N. Curtis, "Appeal to Nature", Fallacy Files, available at <> and accessed on 05 May 2022.
R20: Based on different materials that deal with the characteristics of a good argument (validity, soundness, etc.). Examples are the video classes by Kevin deLaplante on critical thinking, specialized sites like Fallacy Files, and articles by William L. Craig such as:  "In Defense of the Kalam Cosmological Argument", Faith and Philosophy, 1997, available at <> and accessed on 08 May 2022.
R21: William Lane Craig and Joe, "415 Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument against Naturalism", Reasonable Faith, 2015, available at <> and accessed on 08 May 2022.
R22: Fabio Ostermann, "O problema é a pobreza, não a desigualdade", Instituto Liberal, 2014, available at <> and accessed on 19 March 2022.
R23: Free to Choose Network, "Milton Friedman - Equality or Liberty?", 2013, available at <> and accessed on 19 March 2022.
R24: Kevin deLaplante, "Modus Ponens", 2013, available at <> and accessed on 15 March 2022.
R25: Example: Bernie Sanders, "Twitter post 1489735015378399232", 2022, available at <> and accessed on 15 March 2022.
R26: Bloomberg Markets and Finance, "Thomas Piketty on Inequality, Trump, Wealth Redistribution", 2020, available at <> and accessed on 15 April 2022.
R27: English Wikipedia, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century: Contents", available at <> and accessed on 17/03/2022. 
R28: Kevin deLaplante, "The Ad Hominem Fallacy", 2011, available at <> and accessed on 04 May 2022.
R29: Bo Bennett, "Fallacy of Composition", Logically Fallacious, available at <> and accessed on 04 May 2022.
R30: Gary N. Curtis, "Composition", Fallacy Files, available at <> and accessed on 04 May 2022.
R31: Gary N. Curtis, "The Hitler Card", Fallacy Files, available at <> and accessed on 07 May 2022.
R32: Jonathan Maloney, "Principle of Charity", Intelligent Speculation, 2019, available at <> and accessed on 04 May 2022.
R33: William Lane Craig et. al., "704 The Bitter Fruit of a Bad Education", Reasonable Faith, 2020, available at <> and accessed on 04 May 2022.
R34: William Lane Craig and Godfrey, "42 God and Neuro-Science", Reasonable Faith, 2008, available at <> and accessed on 04 May 2022.

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