Morning Memo – 2023-11-22
Careful what you agree to.
The Middle Ground Fallacy
I recently watched a video about a concept I had thought about for several years but for which I had no name. I now know that it’s called “The Middleground Fallacy.”
The video opens with the following quote, which pretty well sums up the entire concept if you decide not to read the rest of this post.
“It is only when you begin to compromise that trouble begins.”
– Eugene V. Debs, “The Canton, Ohio Speech”
The video gave as an example “The Missouri Compromise,” which had to do with the legislative agreement about which states could have slavery in which could not. It made the point that by accepting an evil in exchange for a good, you still have a bad deal.
I thought of many other examples of the middle ground fallacy and want to share only a few general examples.
Over the years, we have witnessed many examples of poor hostage exchanges. Exchanges in which the United States received far less than it gave up.
It’s none of our business, but are the Israelis committing this fallacy in the negotiations for hostage exchanges with the terrorist organization? In pressuring Israel to make this agreement, has the international community forgotten about the future cost?
Iran Nuclear Deal
To Iran we said they could have all the conventional weapons they desired if please they don’t develop a nuclear weapon. Was this really a good deal?
For a long time, I have said legislators “get things done” by agreeing to swap votes. “If you vote for my bad idea, I’ll vote for your bad idea.”
Have we given the store away (pun intended) by allowing shoplifters to steal up to $950 in merchandise with little or no punishment?
I have seen a lot of presidential elections. It has always seemed to me that most of them amounted to choosing from the lesser of two evils.
Could we devise a better system for choosing the President?
The next time someone says to you, “Let’s compromise,” either grab your wallet, or run for the door.
Don’t get trapped by falling for The Middle Ground Fallacy.
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