Did I hear that right?

I was listening to the radio today, and I just heard what I think was the Texas AG making a false analogy. He compared health insurance to cars. He argued that having the government force people to buy health insurance was the like having the government force people to buy cars. “Not everyone buys cars,” he said, “but the price of cars doesn’t go up because of it.” Now, most people know I am Liberal in my leanings, but I don’t want to argue about whether or not everyone should buy health insurance. I want to talk about the faulty rhetoric used by this individual in this argument. His argument contains an invalid comparison. Health care costs go up because people who don’t buy health insurance still use health care. If GM and Toyota were obligated to make sure people who didn’t buy cars could still get to work or to the movies, I guarantee you that the price of cars would go up. You can’t use a service, not pay for it, and then expect the provider of that service to eat the costs. Those costs are going to be passed along somewhere. In the case of health care, people who can pay are paying for people who can’t. In the case of cars, people who buy cars are not in any way footing the bill for those who can’t. Hence the false analogy. If I am right, and this statement was made by the Texas AG, then one of two things must be true. Either doesn’t know what he’s doing and should never have gotten a law degree, or he’s being deliberately disingenuous. An attorney is among other things a professional arguer. Attorneys have to be experts at logical reasoning and adept at avoiding logical fallacies. The only reason to use a fallacy is if you are trying to deceive people who are less adept at logic into accepting your side of an issue even though you don’t really have a good argument. This is the same thing that marketers do when they try to convince you that it would be a good idea to eat potato chips. Frankly, I am not sure what I would prefer to be true. If he made that argument in good faith, then he’s stupid (at least at the moment). If he’s deliberately being deceptive, then we, the people who allow such people to be in control of our policies, are the stupid ones.

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