Political Confusion

When I put political confusion up there as the title of this piece, I was thinking of the usual confusion at the heart of government, but rather the confusion that so often reigns in debate. For example, the way people, whether deliberately or through ignorance, cannot keep straight the difference between economic migrants and refugees when discussing immigration or the refugee crisis. There are cogent arguments for and against for accepting others, but trying to justify taking in Syrian refugees because the UK needs more doctors or banning refugees because immigrant labour suppresses wages are the height (or should that be depth?) of ignorance and greatly complicate an already complicated pair of debates.

Then, there are the terrible analogies. I saw two particularly bad ones on the same day, hammering home how ignorant people can be.

The first was a cartoon that boiled down to “If I went into a mosque with my shoes on and eating a bacon sandwich, you’d say I was insensitive, but you walk down British streets in a burqa.” Because, of course, the exact parallel of a mosque is a public street. Of course, neither wearing a burqa or eating a halal-meat sandwich is specifically in contravention of any CofE tenet, so it’s difficult to provide a direct parallel, but it’s possible to make arguments such as “We let you build mosques, but many Muslim countries don’t let Christians build churches” or “We let you eat halal meat, but we couldn’t get a bacon sandwich in your homeland.” Although, given how many Muslims coming to Britain are coming in search of just such freedom, that probably still wouldn’t be the best of arguments…

The other terrible analogy was a rant that anyone who had opposed the invasion of Iraq would have been an appeaser of Hitler. Of course, an appeal to Hitler is seldom a good start, but the argument shows a complete lack of awareness. Had they compared Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait to Hitler’s expansionism, they would have been onto something, but the American-led invasion of Iraq was quite the reverse, with the Coalition in the role of the warmonger. To say that people opposed to an illegal invasion would have supported such illegal invasions is just so topsy-turvey as to have no argumental value whatsoever!

So, should you feel the urge to voice an opinion or make an analogy, please – please! – make sure that you aren’t confusing things up. The world has enough ignorance in it without adding to it. But, if you can make an insightful and thoughtful comment, you’ll have just made it that little bit better…

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