Pakistani Politics And The Art of Logical Fallacy

Pakistani Politics And The Art of Logical Fallacy
Companies are judged by their revenue, armies by their victories and humans by their sins. In this highly efficient world, we have a metric to judge every aspect of our lives. Politicians are judged by the development work they do for their people. However, there is another metric by which we can judge the politicians of our country. That metric is the art of committing logical fallacy and peeking through this lens, we realise that all our politicians are equal and identical.

A logical fallacy is the use of invalid or otherwise faulty reasoning, or "wrong moves", in the construction of an argument, which may appear stronger than it really is if the fallacy is not spotted.

We have got about a 100 news channels now, figuratively speaking, and it has much more to do with being a highly successful business model than to do with bringing credible news to the people of this country. Depending on your political affiliation, every journalist is a “lifafa”, indicating that they receive money from a certain political party to push forth their political agenda.

The prime time slots go to tv shows - or so they are called - that invite a representative from each of the major political parties of Pakistan and get them to debate on the most contentious issues of the prevailing times and they have a “lifafa” journalist as the moderator. A debate is usually defined as “a formal discussion of an issue at a public meeting or in a parliament. In a debate two or more speakers express opposite views and then there is often a vote on the issue.” And to call these talk shows debates would be seriously undermining the usability of this great form of discussion; they are more like screaming competitions.

These talk shows, and the political jalsas are a tool used by the politicians to manipulate the people to further their narrative. Not to get too technical, but using this fairly easy to understand guide, one can draw the parallels in the content of all the political parties and their politicians.

For example, when a certain politician, Mr. XYZ claims that Mr. ABC is corrupt and therefore not fit to rule, he commits multiple fallacies. 1, he shifts the burden of proof on the accused, 2, he assumes that since A (Mr. ABC being corrupt) is true, therefore B, his inability to rule must also be true and 3, they attack the personal character of Mr. ABC instead of putting forth valid arguments about the policies supported and implemented by Mr. ABC. Another very commonly committed fallacy is the “Texas sharpshooter”.

This is when Mr. ABC cherry picks data to support their arguments and negate that of Mr. XYZ. Examples of these would be using a certain blog from a certain site citing a certain metric to suggest that the economy is flailing or health is improving.

Even though Mr. ABC an Mr. XYZ were sprouted out of my imagination, it is fairly easy to sketch a picture of them based on our own political leaders.

The point is, whether it is the government of this party or that, all they do is “appeal to the emotion” (another logical fallacy) rather than bringing forward constructive, well thought out plans to tackle the challenges our country is facing. For example, as soon as the budget comes out, the opposing political parties “reject” it calling it a burden on the common citizen of Pakistan.

As a student of STEM, I admit that to this day, I have a hard time determining which of the economic indicators indicate financial prosperity and economic stability. Is it the GDP? The current account deficit? Or the interest rate? Inflation rate? Is it the fuel price or the dollar exchange rate? All I know is that the prices of commodities keep on increasing government after government and the blame shifts to the policies of the preceding governments. So I ask, where is economic prosperity?

Since the elections in 2008, the losing parties have cried of foreign interference, election rigging, military involvement and then again of foreign interference. Simply put, there isn’t a single political party that has come to power without having their legitimacy questioned. Each party has done a deal with the miltablishment to ease their transition to power and each has criticised the powers that be when they’ve been forced out. Each new party comes in with the dollar shooting up along with commodity prices and the blame being shifted to flawed policies of their predecessor. Each government then goes to Saudi Arabia, China & UAE to discuss “friendly loans”.

Tell me again, how many prime ministers have completed their terms in office? The only time our political parties have been on the “same page” has been when we’ve been on the brink of war with India.

Instead of holding constructive debates before elections where the finance minister candidates of the political parties debate their manifestos, we get them on tv shows, and now in podcasts apparently, where they only talk about the burden the last government has put the economy under and the chaos they will have to manage.

None of the politicians and the parties are any different from each other. They plead to the emotion of the common citizen to push their agendas forward. We’re more than happy to see our politicians indulge in character assassination in tv shows than to force them to debate their well thought out plans for running the country out of adversity and poverty towards advancement and prosperity.

One can only hope…

Adnan Moiz tweets at @Nnormanbates