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The "Solution=Solution Not Needed" Fallacy

Vox_Veritas
Posts: 7,074
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2/28/2016 6:12:36 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
For instance, let's say that 50 years ago America suffered from extensive pollution of its air and water. After heavy regulations were put in place the pollution became virtually non-existent. Then recently a columnist writes an article arguing that because America's air and waters are so clean it should drop the regulations (that is, they're not needed because the air and water is so clean).
As another example, let's say that America has engaged in military intervention after military intervention against foreign threat after foreign threat for centuries and that it has built up its military to the point where nations do not try to rival the US's military might. Then someone writes an article in the newspaper, arguing that all its interventions were unnecessary seeing as how nobody has attacked America in centuries and that its strong military is unnecessary because nobody is trying to rival its military might.

How would you respond to such an argument?
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Maikuru
Posts: 9,112
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2/28/2016 6:25:02 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/28/2016 6:12:36 AM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
For instance, let's say that 50 years ago America suffered from extensive pollution of its air and water. After heavy regulations were put in place the pollution became virtually non-existent. Then recently a columnist writes an article arguing that because America's air and waters are so clean it should drop the regulations (that is, they're not needed because the air and water is so clean).
As another example, let's say that America has engaged in military intervention after military intervention against foreign threat after foreign threat for centuries and that it has built up its military to the point where nations do not try to rival the US's military might. Then someone writes an article in the newspaper, arguing that all its interventions were unnecessary seeing as how nobody has attacked America in centuries and that its strong military is unnecessary because nobody is trying to rival its military might.

How would you respond to such an argument?

You could say we must retain the regulations to prevent a relapse.
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whiteflame
Posts: 1,378
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2/28/2016 6:49:32 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/28/2016 6:12:36 AM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
For instance, let's say that 50 years ago America suffered from extensive pollution of its air and water. After heavy regulations were put in place the pollution became virtually non-existent. Then recently a columnist writes an article arguing that because America's air and waters are so clean it should drop the regulations (that is, they're not needed because the air and water is so clean).

This essentially is just an argument that regulations have created a new kind of normal, one that is self-reinforcing. It's not a bad point, but it ignores how it became the norm. Companies don't engage in these practices because if they're found out, they're likely to be sued for the infraction. Now, some might argue that public opinion will doom them instead, but that assumes a continuously diligent and knowledgeable populous, which invites concerns of swings in general views and subterfuge by companies, each of which could be addressed by regulation.

As another example, let's say that America has engaged in military intervention after military intervention against foreign threat after foreign threat for centuries and that it has built up its military to the point where nations do not try to rival the US's military might. Then someone writes an article in the newspaper, arguing that all its interventions were unnecessary seeing as how nobody has attacked America in centuries and that its strong military is unnecessary because nobody is trying to rival its military might.

The lack of attacks may be the result of those interventions. It's likely a factor, so unless they can prove that other factors were overwhelmingly more important, it's not a very good response. Both points are subject to the complacency response - the more we ignore issues abroad and fail to respond, the less we recognize major threats when they appear. Just because things are fine now doesn't mean that things will be fine for the foreseeable future, and since basic safety is more important than the massive costs of keeping up that army, and since that army has other beneficial uses in the meantime, it should still be pursued as is.

How would you respond to such an argument?