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The School Fallacy
I’ve never been a fan of named fallacies: The Pathetic Fallacy, the Ad Hominem Fallacy. I don’t trust fallacies we’re schooled about: but I’m about to jot notes about a common error of human thinking that ought to be named, in fact I’ll name it: I’ll name it The School Fallacy. The School Fallacy is particularly dangerous because it’s assigned to us, typically by experts, by institutions, by priests. It could also be called the Church Fallacy: or the Institutional Fallacy. It could also be called the White House Fallacy, or the Polonius Fallacy:
You get a bill from a lawyer: it’s implicit that you got a legal service, perhaps legal advice. Institutions want you to encumber yourself with the School Fallacy: the lawyer wants you to believe that you got good legal advice. The school teacher, the school, want you to assume that your got a valuable lesson from the school, from the teacher; not just an expensive lesson: a good lesson.
You get a call, the voice says it’s from the White House, the President’s office. Is it Trump on the line? or some bureaucrat telling you to do something as though Trump is telling you?
Should Hamlet believe that Polonius speaks for the king? Should Danes believe that Polonius speaks wise counsel? or palace gibberish?
The priest tells you something, he wants you to assume that it’s God speaking, that what you hear from him is biblical.
The confusion I’ve always been ready to believe is that when I hear from God I’m hearing the truth. God’s word has authority. Not only does God’s word have authority, but it’s right!
If you see a weather report, if the report predicts rain for Wednesday, and it’s Wednesday, is it raining? Are you wet?
If God tells you to circumcise your kid, should you do it? If the kid bleeds to death, is it your fault? or the Temple’s, the rabi’s?
Institutions insist that you make generous mistakes: generous to them, harmful, toxic to you.