Anecdotal Evidence and Sob Stories

During the February 25 health-care debate at Blair House in Washington with president Obama and congressional Democrats and Republicans, liberal congresswoman Louise Slaughter of New York State told the following story:


“I even have one constituent — you will not believe this, and I know you won’t, but it’s true — her sister died. This poor woman had no denture. She wore her dead sister’s teeth, which of course were uncomfortable and did not fit.”


Do you understand what this is? It is called a sob story. And we heard them over and over and over in the health-care debate, coming only from Democrats.


Democrats rely on emotion, and they use sob stories every day to seek to pass their agenda, that a certain person does not have this and that, and that if only the government were providing everything, well, then America would be utopia.


Yet couldn’t conservatives produce ten million sob stories about the damage that our failed Democrat-controlled public education system has done to ten million citizens of this nation?


But we never hear those sob stories. Why?


Because conservatives don’t use sob stories. They don’t need to. Conservatives use facts. And everyone knows the facts about the public schools – that they are failing and have been failing for decades and have destroyed tens of millions of lives. No sob stories are needed.


Slaughter’s sob story is doubly dangerous because it is also called “anecdotal evidence” which is another tactic used by Democrats.


Anecdotal evidence works like this: You tell a story about a person who has had a misfortune. That misfortune is then used to represent your whole point of view when in fact it is called “anecdotal” because it is just that – an anecdote, an individual story about one person.


So when Slaughter talked about the woman who wore her sister’s dentures, she was trying to make a case for government health care. But what do we really know about that woman?


First, is the story true, or did Slaughter make it up? Or did somebody make it up and send it to Slaughter? Was the Denture Lady a freeloader or a welfare cheater? Was she a liar? Did she have any job skills? Was she a lazy slob who had never worked a day in her life? Did the public schools fail to educate her so that she never could have a better life? Did she live in a rural area where environmentalists had shut down the economy, leaving the Denture Lady and her sister poor? Did labor unions and taxes and lawsuits make her employer uncompetitive until they were forced to close the Denture Lady’s plant?


Until you know the facts, you can never tell what is really going on with any of these anecdotal stories. But they are intended for a dumbed-down Democrat audience and so facts are irrelevant.


Compare the Slaughter story to the time that Sarah Palin talked about “death panels” in a public health-care system. The media were all over the story trashing Palin. Yet there are de facto “death panels” all over the health-care field today. Insurance companies and Medicare and Medicaid and hospitals and doctors and nurses and nursing homes decide every day that people no longer can get endless treatment, and those people are allowed to die. The “panels” may not be people meeting around a table in a room, but they are the same thing.  


Obama has talked about his mother dying of cancer because she did not have health insurance. But we know that his mother was a kook, that she roamed around a lot, listened to communist teachings, married a radical and demented black from Africa who abandoned her, went to Indonesia, married a marxist. She sounds nuts. It sounds as if she lived a life that many people would warn against, you know, the kind where you don’t get steady jobs and health insurance. Yet what do most people really know about her?


Just what Obama has told us, that she died because she did not have medical insurance. Nothing more.


That is why anecdotal evidence cannot be trusted, and you must use facts to back up your statements. But never rely on Democrats to use facts. They are masters of manipulative emotion.


Look at how people like Al Gore have used anecdotal evidence to build up their nonsensical ‘global warming’ bogeyman.


Yet anyone 50 years old and up remembers many cold, snowy winters in the 1960s in the Northeastern United States. Scientists took this anecdotal evidence and built up a New Ice Age theory. Time magazine ran a cover story in 1974 about the coming Ice Age. Leonard Nimoy even appeared in a New Ice Age documentary film which is really funny to see now in light of the ‘warming’ hysteria.


But the whole theory was built on just a few years of anecdotal evidence, and there was no consideration of the cycle of hot and cold that had repeated itself like a roller coaster throughout the 20th century.


Then when there were some warm winters in the 1990s, the ‘warming’ alarmists decided that the anecdotal evidence warranted a global panic. That is when the sob stories started to take over, that the polar bears were dying, ice caps were melting, that cities would be submerged by rising oceans (a pre-emptive sob story! Wow!), that man was headed for misery.


And now the public finally has seen what a scandal and a scam the whole ‘warming’ hysteria is. Fact is that warm weather is much better for mankind because you have do not have to expend lots of time, energy and money to keep warm as you do in cold weather.


In other words, increasing numbers of Americans no longer are falling for “anecdotal evidence” or “sob stories” about warming. This is a good thing.


If you study the history of the climate, in fact, you will know that there was a very long hot period during the Medieval years (900 AD to 1300 AD), that there was a mini-ice age during the years 1315 AD to about 1850 AD. And that global temperatures have been relatively milder since then.  


So putting aside the sob stories and the anecdotal evidence and looking at facts, we know that there is no need to panic about ‘warming’, that the earth’s climate always has been in flux, sometimes for short periods, sometimes for long.


We should never allow Democrats to control the debate the way they do. We should always rely on rational arguments grounded in fact. Otherwise we will enter an irrational world that is very dangerous to us all.


Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can print out for free my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.