Conflation and Inflation

Greetings from Ye Olde Country…I’m posting from Edinburgh on something that caught my eye and drew my ire in the news today.

It was this little snippet of an interview of NFL/Minnesota Viking running back, Adrian Peterson (via Drudge and TwinCities.com). Mr. Peterson says, and I quote:

“The players are getting robbed. They are,” Peterson told Yahoo. “The owners are making so much money off of us to begin with. I don’t know that I want to quote myself on that. It is modern-day slavery, you know? People kind of laugh at that, but there are people working at regular jobs who get treated the same way, too. With all the money. … The owners are trying to get a different percentage, and bring in more money. I understand that; these are business-minded people. Of course this is what they are going to want to do. I understand that; it’s how they got to where they are now. But as players, we have to stand our ground and say, ‘Hey, without us, there’s no football.”

How oppressive is Mr. Peterson’s “modern day slavery”? He is set to make $10.72 million in base salary in 2011.

Anybody but me think that his claim is asinine? Is he really a “slave”?  Does he really think that the NFL is required for our economy to move forward? It is, of course, loved by millions (I personally have almost lost all interest in professional sports of any kind because of whining millionaires like Mr. Peterson) but it is a GAME – they aren’t formulating national energy policy in the huddles (although if they were, we might get the Commander in Chief as interested in the NFL as he is in the NCAA brackets).

Remember the memes foisted upon us by the likes of Richard Trumka, Michael Moore and even Barack Obama about how the end of collective bargaining for public sector employee unions in Wisconsin signaled the end of freedom and a violation of human rights? How Scott Walker was just balancing the budget on the backs of the downtrodden?

Then there is this from Ann Althouse (via Instapundit), who has been covering the Wisconsin madness like a coat of wet paint:

“The protests have been on behalf of well-paid people with excellent jobs — better jobs than the average Wisconsinite’s. And the protesters got massive extra doses of freedom to express themselves in the state capitol for over a month, without any threats of violence or even arrest for the crimes they committed in full view of the police. I mean, I know they have their complaints, but they are not even the bottom sector of the Wisconsin economy. If there were to be a class struggle here, they would be taken aback to find themselves in the role they actually have in this economy: the oppressors!”

…so yet another bunch of well to do folks that can’t see past their own wallets to the painful reality that lies just over the horizon. This is far from a food riot or mass imprisonment of political prisoners.

Is it just me or does every issue now carry with it a portent of the destruction of the earth or the extinction of the human race when they really aren’t? I can’t speak for everybody but I am quite fatigued by the shopworn memes that are trotted out on almost every public issue of any significance. It is a shame because it appears that a greater group of the population that should be concerned is now disconnected by the tedious 24/7 reportage of even minor issues in an attempt to fill up those 24 hours.

Seems to me that there are two major contributories to this disconnect – conflation and inflation.

Conflation is when different items are fused into one entity. In logic, the practice of treating two distinct concepts as if they were one often will produce error or misunderstanding, as a fusion of distinct subjects tends to obscure analysis of relationships which are emphasized by contrasts. A favorite and commonly used example is this:

  1. All bats are animals.
  2. Some bats are made of aluminum.
  3. Therefore, some aluminum objects are animals.

This is a common logical fallacy called a categorical syllogism that creates a false condition because the two definitions of the word “bat” are not clearly and distinctly recognized.

Rampant conflation can be seen in the global climate change arguments (i.e. the revolts in Egypt were caused by global climate change)…and in the statements of Adrian Peterson.

  1. Slaves were black and they didn’t share in the plantation profits.
  2. NFL players are also mostly black and the owners only pay them millions and don’t share all their earnings.
  3. Therefore, NFL players are like slaves.

Inflation occurs when someone takes a small thing and “blows it up” beyond its importance or significance. Want a good example? Take anything that Chris Matthews says about Michelle Bachmann or anything that Andrew Sullivan writes about Sarah Palin. Take Shep Smith on Fox hyperventilating over the Japan reactor meltdowns (of course they are serious – but Shep, dude, please get back on your meds) or any pop culture story about Lindsey Lohan or Kim Kardashian. There is even a website/”news outlet” based on pretty much nothing else but inflation and conflation – www.mediamatters.org.

This process of conflation/inflation has a debatably high entertainment value and is used to great effect to grab attention but when used as a tool of logic, it fails miserably. Our societal and political landscape is so loaded with them that normal, rational people have a hard time breaking through. People are so absorbed by the inflated and conflated points that they can’t get at the root of the real issues. Adrian Peterson claiming “modern slavery” while making $10.72 million obscures the fact that we are talking about a freaking game played for entertainment. The claim of abuse of the Wisconsin public employee’s blocks out the fact that the Badger State is broke and is mandated by law to have a balanced budget.

Conflation and inflation are just tools that are being used by the American left to distract the debate.

The biggest conflation/inflation is that Republicans and Conservatives oppose Obama because we are racists. That obscures the fact that he is a failed president who has advocated policies that have damaged this country and his failure to lead has hurt not only America but the world.

I’m with Sarah Palin – 2012 can’t come fast enough.

One thought on “Conflation and Inflation

  1. Pingback: From Mountains Jenghis Roamed About : The Other McCain

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