A “straw man” argument is one in which the opponent’s argument is claimed to have been refuted by attacking an exaggerated and, frequently, over-simplified version of the opponent’s actual argument i.e.
- Creating a weak, cartoonish version of the opponent’s argument (the straw man) and
- Attacking that rather than the opponent’s actual argument
It is not the same as a reductio ad absurdum (“reduction to absurdity”). In a reductio ad absurdum a claim is established by showing that to do otherwise would lead to absurdity.
The planning fallacy also known as the “rosy scenario fallacy” is when only the best case scenario is considered rather than the likely scenario. There’s also the tertium non datur fallacy in which only two choices are presented although there are, in fact, other possibilities maybe not just three but potentially many.
I honestly don’t know what Justin Gest is trying to accomplish in his recent opinion piece at CNN, “What America would look like with zero immigration”:
As the US government now grapples with a backlog of asylum-seekers and immigrants at the southern border, a team of economists, demographers and I modeled what America would be like if those earlier policies were to continue hereafter. Commissioned by the bipartisan immigration advocacy group FWD.us, our independent research used the most recent US Census and economic data to project the outcomes of a variety of different policy scenarios — one that cuts immigration to zero as Trump effectively did in 2020; one that cuts immigration admissions in half; one that extends recent levels; one that increases recent levels by 50%; and one that doubles recent levels.
No doubt, the US needs an orderly system of migration management. But the young and industrious newcomers yearning to stabilize their lives and secure their survival are actually critical to our nation’s survival, too.
but I think it’s either a straw man argument, a clumsy and flawed attempt at a reductio ad absurdum, an instantiation of the planning fallacy, or a tertium non datur. I’m leaning toward the latter.
AFAICT no one is arguing that we should have zero immigration. Most polling shows the overwhelming preponderance of Aemricans supportive of some level of immigration. There’s a good argument that he has instantiated the planning fallacy because there are so many variables he and his colleagues have not, apparently, considered. Let me list some of those:
- a significant number of immigrants with zero productivity
- the cost per immigrant
Japan is a particularly interesting case. Immigration there is miniscule, the population is actually declining, but the GDP per capita is increasing. That doesn’t sound like a scenario he and his colleagues have entertained.
For my part I don’t want zero immigration as should be clear from my many posts on the subject. What I want is for us to establish rules for immigration and to enforce them. Is that really too much to ask? If so, how could one have “an orderly system of migration management”? I also think that the U. S. will benefit more from immigration if we optimize the immigrants that we admit as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand do.