Monday, January 30, 2012

Poor Reasoning Occupies some Minds

By Gary Berg-Cross
One of my conservative neighbors sent me an article called “Occupy PGA Tour”. It’s a critical article from the knocking the Occuoy movement as selfish – see
It struck me as a sad attempt at humor or at least an attempt to mock the occupy movement and cast a certain image of them. I found it full of misconceptions and false analogies. But these are perhaps representative of the type of assumptions that people have about the movement
and related topics sometimes argued by some bubble-centric, ideologically conservative thinkers.

The blog starts by placing regular golfers in a self deprecating, common man frame of the 99%:

It's say that "I" am a card carrying, lifetime member of golf's 99%.
I play golf, or something that looks like golf, but I will never make it to the professional level because I can't hit my ass with both hands!!

More humble commentary follows explaining why a person might be a poor golfer:

I have played the gamefor over 30 years, but I have not put in the practice time and training to bethe best, mostly because I am lazy and I do not have the skills to ever become
the best.
With this frame our blogcommentator as self identified as lazy and unskilled. Now the writer has a simple, sleazy slide to use atransitive inference to project this onto Occupy folk as people who are lazy and unskilled but use a concept of fairness to get an unearned prize:

However, after watching Occupy Wall Street for the last six months, I feel
that all duffers should be paid by successful professionals for trying.
It just isn’t fair that those players who have worked harder, have studied the
game, have better equipment and are stronger and more skilled should be able to
make all that money. My kids are bringing home third place soccer trophies that
are as big as my wife, and now it’s my turn to grab some gusto….

This strikes me as an utterly false characterization. Implied here is the Romney-expressed idea that occupy people are jealous and want to be paid like wall street people, but are unwilling to work for it, presumably like hard working wall street professionals. Here the hidden assumption is that wall streeters are as good at their job as Arnold Palmer and earn proportionately based purely on talent.
Well I’ve never seen an 18-hole competition to establish that. Was it wall street professional's wicked hook shot that sent the economy into a sand trap? If Arnold didn't perform well his salary would plunge, but not so now among the professional financial adviser class. Perhaps we can use that model for stock traders rather than golf duffers.

Clearly the implied analogy has some problems. Part of the problem of this mock analysis is that it is poor representation of sports and the sports area itself. Perhaps it would have been more faithful to reality if the author had used a basketball theme. We all want to earn like a b-ball pro, what’s stopping us? Well I wasn’t drafted for one thing. And you know the team owners are a bit to blame here…Not only for me, but you know they
have problems with the salaries of pro-player. Here free enterprise doesn’t seen the model being followed. A hard working super-star can’t get what the market will bare. Instead the owners need to regulate the market. Here are some examples of the "unfairness":
  • Player’s salaries have stayed even with inflation. Essentially this means their pay has not been going up.
  • Owners have been increasing their spending. Management’s operating costs (per their own numbers) have been going up at five times the levelof inflation (that’s a lot).'
  • Even in the ideal case for the owners with the new CBA these problems will repeat themselves in 2020.
  • The Owners are asking the players to take a pay hit to make up for bad management practices.
I sure hope that we don't have to bail out either those hard working b-ball team owners or those golf courses owners. I hope that the ticket and greens’ sale contributions help everyone keep up their monthly payments on those expensive properties.

The tortured blog comparison goes on to imply the occupiers want a free ride (as if this wasn't a good critique of people who live on their past gains no matter how they come to it):

I want the PGA to pay my green fees for life, buy me new equipment and give
me and my friends half the purses from all tournaments being played this year
and free booze at every 19th hole in the country
Perhaps this is the fantasy of some duffers. It seems less a fair characterization of people working to change the current system. One might respond to this anonymous non-professional golfer with advice to keep playing the game and enjoy the recreation, but keep the day job.

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