Fuck those who argue 'But why do you *need* it?'

I’m fairly certain I’ve ranted about this before, but I can’t find it, and if I have, oh well. I need to rant again. Thanks for your indulgence:

Idiots on both side of the political aisle have pushed me too far! Let be be real, real clear: the question “But why do you need <whatever>” does not trump any other argumenent. It may be (but probably isn’t) an interesting point of discussion, but that’s all. It doesn’t win the argument, it doesn’t add to the argument, it doesn’t even advance the discussion. It’s a digression and one that’s getting irritating.

In the last several days, I’ve had the following questions mewled at me in various political discussions (none here):

But why do you need guns?
Answer: I don’t need guns, but I have a constitutional right to firearms, and that right is not trumped by a need or lack of need.

But why do you need drugs?
Answer: I don’t need or even do drugs. But I believe that there’s a desirable outcome in legalization. Need has nothing to do with it.

But why do you need pornography?
Answer: I see you need a punch in the snoot. Whether or not I need it, I want it. I find it esthetically pleasing.

But why do you need hate speech?
Answer: Speech is speech. As long as it’s not slander, libel or treason, I’m pretty much an “anything goes” kinda guy. (Except for the “But why do…” question). Your insiuation that I’m in favor of “hate speech” because I want to make racist comments hardly furthers the debate. I simply don’t want draconion fascist anti-free speech laws.

But why do you need a sports car?
Answer: I don’t. My best friend who loves sports cars enjoys them. I think SUVs are more practical for the foothills of Colorado myself.

“But why do you need a SUV?”
Answer: Remember the gun question? You’re about to be an object lesson as to why I need a gun.

Aaaargh. NOWHERE in the constitution or in any legal source that I’m aware of is there a NEED test required for everything.

These Need-heads seem to belive that everything should be forbidden unless you can prove a need. It’s sloppy reasoning and a sloppy argument. What I suspect that you weenies mean with the “But why do you need <whatever>?” argument is “I believe the societal benefits of banning <whatever> outweigh the right you have to own/use/do whatever”. If that’s what you mean, then SAY that!

It’s a sloppy argument, it’s sloppy thinking and it’s just slightly better than “But what of the chldren? Won’t anyone think of the children?”


But why do you need to rant?


Sorry, Couldn’t help myself.

I’m with you. I may not need something, but I want it and have a right to it, damn it.

This one was my favorite, personally.

Way to go, tell 'em where to stick it! Who said ‘need’ had anything to do with anything?

But you know, I can make a pretty good case for the ‘need’ for a joint every now and then, social benefits and all.

Some people are just not clear on the concept: it’s a right because I don’t need to justify it, to you or anyone. In fact, you are compelled to come up with some very strong, overriding societal need to circumvent my rights.

And that, my friends, is what we call Freedom.
[sub]Cue the eponymous user![/sub]

I think Mick Jagger put it best:

<lyrics>No, you can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometime you find
You get what you need </lyrics>

But you’re right…the question is really “The societal benefits of banning outweigh the benefits to your ownership”. Some people just aren’t articulate. Now, did you really need to know that?

Captain, that is not in the form of a question!

If you are saying that as a blanket statement, it hardly makes sence. If you are saying we need to ask “Do the Societal benefits of banning X outweight the benefits to your ownership” then I agree, but for me the answer is most often ‘no’. The Societal considerations should not automatically outweight individual rights.

I think you meant that the answer is “really ‘The societal benefits…’”. I’ve noticed, however, that usually when this kind of attitude is brought up, “societal benefits” really means “easier for the government to keep track/crack down/be proactive of/on/about ‘troublemakers’”.

Well, the question is, “Could I have written that post any more awkwardly?” What I meant to say was that that question is in fact an assertion that the public interest outweighs the benefit of the individual acting in that way. That’s not really a bad argument…and in fact, is one of the reasons behind most laws. “The cost to society if people were allowed to kill people for no reason would outweigh the benefits of allowing people to kill others for no reason” In fact, that’s the entire rationality behind liberalism. According to Hobbes, Locke, and the gang, the reason we have goverment in the first place is because we decided, “Hey, the benefit of picking somebody to tell us what we should or shouldn’t do outweighs the limitations on our freedoms.”

I like the way you think, Fenris. We should hang out sometime. And I won’t criticize your SUV if you don’t make fun of my Cadillac. :slight_smile:

Then again, there are times when the “No-need” argument is completely valid. For example, if someone were to claim that cosmetic surgery should be paid for by Medicare… since it has nothing to do with their health or well-being (in most cases), and since they don’t NEED cosmetic surgery to continue living, it shouldn’t be covered.

But, on the other hand, there’s a difference between demanding that someone else pay for your boob-job and having to justify the purchase of an SUV…

But why do I need flowers?
I just do, says she with her nose in the air…

Not the best argument, but why should I have to explain a basic need?

But why do I need flowers?
I just do, says she with her nose in the air…

Not the best argument, but why should I have to explain a basic need?


When you babies get bored with your expensive toys and lie down for a nap, I’ll drop in again and shut off the lights.

Unless you feel entitled to burning electricity while you’re asleep, that is.

Well, in the same vein (but usually arguing on the other side of this type of thing) I fricking hate it when the debating tool is repeated assertions like “Because I can” or “Because there’s not a law against it” or “Because I don’t have to.”

Well, sure, you dumbfuck, that’s true, but if everyone in the world just did things they were required to do, or did anything they could possibly find that didn’t have actual penned legislation forbidding it, we’d be in a damned sorry state.

Thank you for posting this one. I’m tired of hearing how either you want to ban hate speech or you’re automatically one of those racists. It’s just like McCarthyism and communism, really: either you want to remove their rights, our you’re one of them.

Huh? You know somebody who says this?

Fuck, man, say whatever you want. And the rest of us reserve our own right to think of you as a jackass* after you finish, okay?

  • Or here in the Pit, CALL you a jackass…see the “I’m not a homophobe, but…” thread. Nobody who chimed in there wanted to take poor old Rick’s free speech rights away, but some folks did lace into him pretty hard.

I don’t think ITR was talking about us in here. We’re fairly non-representative of our respective political outlooks, I think. I believe he’s talking about the Politically Correct movement, as mostly exemplified on college campuses and speech codes. And student groups who steal entire print runs of a newspaper because it contains a paid advertisement they don’t agree with.

As a former member of one of those student groups, I agree with ITR on this. PC has become the new Moral Majority, with all of the hypocrisy and wrong-headed stubbornness that MM once had a monopoly on. I’m more than half-ashamed at some of the stuff I did when I was a member of Penn State’s LGBSA, which include an earlier (by 10 years) free newspaper theft and the daily (loud and nasty) heckling of a streetcorner preacher whose base of operations was outside one of the classroom buildings. I like to imagine that I’ve grown up a little since then, but it still happened, and I still see it happening.