Monday, March 12, 2012

Telling the Truth

I don't mind people having strong opinions on certain issues, but I do mind when people lie about their opinions. John Samples' book, The Fallacy of Campaign Finance Reform, is a textbook example of this. The offense take place on a rather random part of the book: the inside flap of the dust jacket. On this flap the following is used to describe the book: The Fallacy of Campaign Finance Reform is a provocative and decidedly nonpartisan work... (italics added for emphasis). The dictionary widget on my laptop defines nonpartisan as, "not biased or partisan, esp. toward any particular political group". To read this book and no see how partisan it is would be a gross miscarriage of critical thinking on the part of the reader. To be sure, we need not read further than the opposite book flap to see where this bias is coming from. It reads, "John Samples directs the Cato Institute's Center for Representative Government..." Cato is a well known conservative think tank with a focus on limited government involvement in the affairs of daily life. (In spite of this, Cato is in the middle of a bit of an identity crisis as the NYT link above highlights).

Let me be clear, my anger in this matter doesn't come from the Cato Institute, or Mr. Samples. Instead, my anger is directed at the fact that someone could read this book and straight up lie to people by calling it nonpartisan. Would it really have made a difference to have called the book, "a provocative and intelligent survey of campaign finance reform view through a conservative/libertarian lens"? No. In fact, it would've been closer to the truth and a more accurate representation of the book.

A big part of partisan politics is people not taking account for beliefs they have. Understand, too, both the Left and the Right are to blame for this. That means that both sides will need to be part of the solution, too (gulp!). Criticizing an issue as important as campaign finance reform the way Mr. Samples did is a gift. It's a shame readers were mislead before he made his arguments.


Dylan Wulderk said...

Oh sorry Kevin. I think I accidently posted this on your login.

Kidding, obviously. I agree with you though-100%.

But I guess that little stretch of the truth is just the publisher exercising his/her right to free speech right? ;)

If so! Your post calls for the eradication of that publisher's Constitutional rights! How dare you betray the inhabitants of the American Mount Olympus! Madison will be throwing quills down from the heavens at you in anger. Watch out on your way to work tomorrow.

TJE said...

Free Dictionary:

"Based on, influenced by, affiliated with, or supporting the interests or policies of no single political party."