Monday, February 23, 2009

Amusing myself.

Over here, we see some hilariously bad arguments against the recent CUPE motion. Three points. First, the blogger assumes that moral beliefs are absolute and universal. Maybe if you're Immanuel Kant, but most others would dispute that characterization. It's also entirely irrelevant to his argument, such as it is. I found the claim entertaining, though.

Second, he makes the tired old "but what about all these other people who are doing bad stuff, too!" argument. By that logic, no one could ever condemn anything, as there's always going to be something they've left out. Not to mention that it's an instance of a tu quoque fallacy.

Third, there's an appeal to the union's "mandated purpose", "to further the opportunities for its employees, and work to create a better working environment". I'm not sure where that "purpose" is "mandated", but let's assume it is. How does it follow from that that CUPE can't pass this motion? I suppose the claim is that it's a non sequitur: that is, there's no connection between the "mandated purpose" and the motion. But that's clearly false; Israelis do business in Canada, and Israelis will come into contact with CUPE members. So, the better way to read this, I think, is that there's too little connection. That might be true, but isn't it up to CUPE members to decide how closely or distantly connected some motion or other needs to be in order to pass? If it isn't, then where is the line? Could CUPE have passed a similar motion against Nazi Germany (a deliberately extreme example)? Against the US during the Dubya years? Again, where's the line supposed to be?

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