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Rethink the Police

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Image Credit There has been a call to defund the police, which has triggered various responses. Some take issue with the choice of “defund” since it allows the folks on the right to create a plausible seeming straw person. A straw person is a fallacy in which a distorted or exaggerated version is put in place of the actual claim, argument, or position. The straw version is attacked, thus “refuting” the real version. This straw person is that everyone who calls for defunding the police is calling for the complete abolition of law enforcement. This is not true—while there is disagreement over the exact meaning of the term, the general view is that the police should have their funding reduced to fund chronically underfunded community services, such as mental health care. There are some who believe that this should eventually lead to abolishing the police as they now exist with the intention of addressing systematic problems in the current system of policing, such as excessive use of force, policing used as a means of revenue and other problems. On the right the straw person often leads, as one would expect, to a slippery slope fallacy. This is a fallacy in which it is claimed that something (usually terrible) will inevitably follow from something else. The fallacy occurs when the connection between the two is not adequately supported. Slippery slope fallacies often involve hyperbole—extravagant exaggeration of the alleged consequences. In the case of defunding the police, the straw person slippery slope used by some on the right is that defunding the police will lead to utter chaos. This also involves the use of scare tactics—a fallacy in which the “support” offered for the claim is something intended to frighten the target. As would also be expected, there are often racist dog-whistles (or open racism) employed to craft these nightmare scenarios. It could, of course, be argued that that there are radical anarchists who want to get rid of the state and there are. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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