The missing comparison fallacy
The missing comparison fallacy is when you point out something good or bad about an idea without comparing it to its alternative, when in fact the alternative has the same property just as much or more. It says, "Your idea has X problem; let's not talk about the fact that mine does too".
- Paul Graham's anti-death penalty article.
So his argument is, "using the death penalty on people we think are guilty means people we're wrong about will get the death penalty, therefore we should not use the death penalty". But if the actual problem is that people are being wrongly convicted, what happens if we do abolish the death penalty? It won't save those innocent people; it will just replace killing them with imprisoning them indefinitely. According to his own description, after all, the problem is with the conviction system, not the punishment system. Of course, maybe using a continuous punishment is better because it gives us the chance to let them go after we find out we were wrong. He could've made that argument, but he didn't.
- A common critique of anarcho-capitalism is that a defense company could turn corrupt and use their power to oppress people. You know... like every government in history has. Like ours did to the native Americans, to slaves for a hundred years, to women, to children, and to many other people. Like police can and do with their defenseless victims and no competition (I'm sure we're all aware of this problem after 2020), since the only way to hold them accountable is through government-run courts.
subscribe via RSS