Resisting the pull of cynicism since 1969.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Logical fallacies 'r' us

For those NDPers still smarting from being two seats short of the balance of power yet again, the comments in this thread might make for some delicious fun. My favourite one: markc, in response to a wayward Liberal trying to convince people that "a vote for the NDP is a vote for the Conservatives": A vote for the Liberals is a vote for the Bloc. How hilariously, horribly true, at least in this election.

Yeah, yeah, I know...overly simplistic, yadda yadda. But in my riding of Edmonton-Strathcona, it turned out that a vote for the Liberals was a vote for the Conservatives, so I'm feeling particularly unsympathetic to that little logical fallacy at the moment.


buckets said...

I feel your pain. In the riding I was most interested in, the results were these:

Nina Grewal (Con): 14577 (33.5%)
Brenda Locke (Lib): 13752 (31.6%)
Barry Bell (NDP): 10961 (25.2%)
Jack Cook (Ind) 3202 (7.4%)

This clearly shows that voting for any party other than the Conservatives is voting Conservative!

(Seriously, however, there is something to be said about strategic voting. But it has to be done intelligently.)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the kind words, IP. As Buckets says, there is something to be said for strategic voting. However, even the wise cannot see all ends, and the actual results may make any strategy appear foolish. At least if you vote for what you believe in, you won't be kicking yourself the next morning.

Greg said...

What it tells me is the electoral system needs changing and fast.

Greg said...

Buckets example is horrifying. 66.5% of the voters wasted their vote.

freshly_squeezed said...

We need to use ridings like this as argument numero uno for proportional representation. The NDP's focus for at least the next year, at least on the grassroots level, should be an all-out push to make the case for proportional rep to Canadians, as loud and as often as possible. It's not just better for us, it's better for democracy as a whole.

Anonymous said...

Even in Alberta, where a vote for anyone in any riding is a vote for the Conservatives, it's still true that a vote for the NDP is a vote to give them $1.75 of your tax money.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...


It's all pretty horrifying. Just under 60% of the people in my riding wasted their vote, too. It doesn't make for a very happy electorate, let me tell you.

freshly squeezed,

I know Jack wants to push for proportional representation, and I'm happy about that, but I for one am not hitching my PR hopes to the NDP. In the long run, independent non- or multipartisan groups like Fair Vote Canada will be equally if not more effective than a party that's two seats short of the balance of power (again!).

freshly_squeezed said...

That's quite true about us not wanting to have the NDP's name too closely attached to a prop. rep. drive. I signed the Fair Vote petition yesterday, and am seriously considering making a donation when and if I can afford to drop a little money on advocacy. Instead of, you know, rent and food.

Still, no matter who delivers the message, the most important thing is that we get people really thinking about the issue. This is a place where we can get the Greens on side with us, as well as most of the minor parties. It'll take a hell of a lot of people working together to get anything done here.

Anonymous said...

An act of clarity:

A vote for (third place party) is a vote for (first place party).

I support strategic voting as I define it. Anything else isn't actually strategic at all.

It could have prevented this, for instance.

Proportional representation, though sorely needed, will be an uphill battle; parties succesful in first-past-the-post stand to lose a lot.

That one guy

Feynman and Coulter's Love Child said...

But you're therefore assuming that every Liberal voter who voted in Strathcona would, in the absence of a Liberal Party or candidate to throw their weight behind, would support the NDP (or at the least "oppose" Jaffer).

Since Layton and the Edmonton Journal and Jaffer himself all said Linda Duncan was in a position to win the riding, I don't see a lot of Liberal voters unaware that their vote would be failing to help the "get rid of Rahim scheme".

If these arguments don't sound familiar to you, they certainly sound so to me when I used them to oppose the United Alternative movement that disbanded the Reform Party. You cannot simply add voters of Party X to Party Y just because X and Y sit near each other on the spectrum. You have to remember Party Z, who is on the other side of Party X and therefore might get votes. You might also have to remember that if Party X is unavailable and the left wing goes to Party Y and the right wing goes to Party Z there is still the block of voters who will simply stay home. Which is why things like "71% of Canadians rejected the Conservatives" or "Two thirds of Edmonton Centre voters oppose Laurie Hawn" are dangerous statements to make.