Another dot in the blogosphere?

Learning from comedic false dichotomy

Posted on: May 26, 2019

A blogger with a political agenda might take the opportunity to highlight this video and wonder if elements of such an expression might fall under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA).

Video source

But I use it to highlight how it is easier to set up false dichotomies if we assume our learners or audiences are stupid.

The video began with this question: How willing are we to give up civil liberties for security/safety?

The video is worth a watch even if the interviewees might not be representative of our population. After all, there was just one journalist, four Chinese-by-descent university students (all with Christian names), and one gay local comedian. Despite this, all answered the question differently.

The takeaway at the end of the video was that the question presented a false dichotomy. We do not always have to trade civil liberty (e.g., free speech) for something else (e.g., orderly behaviour) — the two can co-exist and even create conditions for the other.

It is much easier to state this balance than to do it. But this is where and how the conversation should start: Multiple perspectives, informed nuance, and logical compromise. If we are not modelling and teaching these to our students, then what are we doing?

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