Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dare to Depart the World of Allowable Opinion



I listen to the Tom Woods Show and one of the last lines in the audio intro says, "Beware citizen. You are now departing the world of allowable opinion." That is truly one of the themes of the show as Tom Woods and the guest will often have discussions and debates on questions that would absolutely never be allowed on mainstream media outlets. In contrast, typical mainstream discussions center around questions that are mostly inconsequential and irrelevant. Such discussions are meant to make sure that the "world of allowable opinion" remains small. I believe that everyone should strive to expand their horizon and have discussions that are more meaningful. I am not saying that everyone needs to have a more extreme opinion. I simply think that people need to explore more broadly and be prepared to shift their opinion based on facts and logic. I decided to put together some examples to illustrate what I am talking about. Each example will introduce a topic and include a trivial question and a relevant question.

Afghanistan
Trivial: Should we pull the troops out of Afghanistan within five years or ten years?
Relevant: Why are we not pulling every last soldier out of Afghanistan as we speak?

Central Bank
Trivial: What interest rate should the Federal Reserve set?
Relevant: Is a central bank beneficial or harmful to the economy?

Citizenship
Trivial: How can we stop the federal government from granting citizenship to anchor babies?
Relevant: Does the federal government need to know anything about anyone?

Constitution
Trivial: What limitations on government did the Founding Fathers put into the Constitution?
Relevant: After independence from Great Britain, did the States need a constitution or a federal government?

Drugs
Trivial: What is the best public policy to discourage drug use?
Relevant: Will the elimination of public policies on drug use discourage drug use?

Education
Trivial: How can we direct more tax money towards education?
Relevant: Is school the best place for children?

Entitlements
Trivial: How can we ensure that Social Security benefits will be there when people need it?
Relevant: How can we let people opt out of Social Security?

Environment
Trivial: How can the government save the environment?
Relevant: How can property rights protect the environment better than regulation?

Foreign Policy
Trivial: How can the United States shape world events to their advantage?
Relevant: What lessons can we learn from Switzerland's armed neutrality over the last 200 years?

Health

Trivial: What should we replace Obamacare with?
Relevant: What are the economic benefits of eliminating not only Obamacare, but also Medicare and Medicaid?

History
Trivial: Who was a better leader? Lincoln or Churchill?
Relevant: Are the "great leaders" of the past actually responsible for unnecessary death and destruction?

Immigration
Trivial: How do we stop the influx of illegal immigrants?
Relevant: How can immigration increase my productivity?

Infrastructure
Trivial: How can we fix our crumbling road system?
Relevant: What is the best way to privatize public roads?

Israel
Trivial: How can the United States help Israel?
Relevant: Would I materially support Israel if I were not already taxed for it?

Jobs
Trivial: How can we stop the outsourcing of jobs to foreign countries?
Relevant: Is the outsourcing of jobs to foreign countries a bad thing?

Laws
Trivial: What new laws need to be passed?
Relevant: Which law should we get rid of first?

Marriage
Trivial: Should we allow gays to get a marriage license?
Relevant: Should we allow the state to license marriages?

Minimum Wage
Trivial: What is the best minimum wage?
Relevant: Is a minimum wage at any level economically beneficial?

Police
Trivial: Under what circumstances can a policeman search someone against their will?
Relevant: How can private police do a better job than public police?

Public Land
Trivial: Should we use public land for logging, recreation, or conservation?
Relevant: How can the complete privatization of land benefit everyone?

States' Rights
Trivial: Will Arizona's law withstand a Supreme Court challenge?
Relevant: Does Arizona need to be a part of the United States?

Taxes
Trivial: What should the tax rate be for the top tax bracket?
Relevant: How can we eliminate the income tax?

Terrorism
Trivial: What is the best way to kill terrorists?
Relevant: Why do some people feel so strongly about harming the United States?

Voting
Trivial: What type of person should you vote for?
Relevant: Should you vote?

Water
Trivial: How should California enforce its water rationing during the drought?
Relevant: How can a price system help Californians in regards to water?

Zoning
Trivial: What should be taken into account when crafting zoning laws?
Relevant: What are the moral implications of zoning laws?

I hope that you now have an idea of the vast range of ideas that should have a part in any debate on any important topic. The next time you are engaged in a discussion on something that affects many people, ask yourself if the scope of your discussion is trivial or relevant.

1 comment:

  1. Water
    Trivial: How should California enforce its water rationing during the drought?
    Relevant: How can a price system help Californians in regards to water?

    While I agree with the rest of these statements and do agree that the price system would help with water shortages and proper distribution of water, phrasing the question as you did merely shifts the narrow scope from one realm to another.

    I propose an alternative phrasing of

    What method of distribution of water will help the most to alleviate shortages during the drought?

    ReplyDelete