So we’re doing this. Kid Rock gave a speech about his upcoming Senate bid during one of his concerts. It was not well-composed, but it did have something that looked like an argument in it. And here we are, seeing if we can do some logic with the American Badass. Here’s the speech:
And a transcript of it is available here (provided, btw, by Metal Injection).
Rock gave two arguments of note. One had an interesting bit of complication about taxes and entitlement programs to it. Here’s the relevant piece:
It seems the government wants to give everyone health insurance but wants us all to pay. And to be very frank, I really don’t have a problem with that. ‘Cause god has blessed me and made my pockets fat.
“But redistribution of wealth, seems more like their plan. I don’t believe that you should say sacrifice, do things by the book and then have to take care of some deadbeat, milking the system, lazy ass, motherfucking man.
So, here’s what I see to it. Rock holds that he’s OK with government subsidized health insurance, and he’s happy to pay in to that because he’s rich. But he thinks that there’s a limit to what government entitlements he’s willing to support — and so he’s against free riders to the system. (He runs a follow-up to the argument about ‘struggling single parents’ and the threat of ‘women, who can’t even take care of themselves, but keep having kid after fucking kid’).
But here’s the crucial thing. It looks like Rock is saying his defaults are on supporting these entitlement programs, and he’s not willing to let the fact that there are free riders defeat support for these programs. He just wants to stop the free riders from doing what they are doing. Now, how he proposes to stop them is bonkers. In all the cases, he proposes that we ‘lock up’ those who are taking advantage of the programs. That free riding is productive of outrage does not imply that free riders must be punished with incarceration. Hence an argument from outrage.
What’s important here is noting that, again, Rock’s defaults are on supporting the programs. It looks like he can distinguish his disappointment with those who cheat them from the fact that the programs work for those who really need them. Again, his over-reaction to one shouldn’t overshadow the fact that he’s made a good move with the other. (Well, perhaps it can overshadow it a bit … are we really going to ‘lock up’ people who have more kids than someone like Rock thinks they should while on welfare?)
The second argument is just a piece of word-salad that seems to come out as a case for him to be President. Here’s the relevant bit:
Kid Rock for senate has got folks in disarray. Wait till they hear Kid Rock for president of the U.S.A.. ‘Cause wouldn’t it be a sight to see, President Kid Rock in Washington, D.C.. Standing on the Oval Office like a G. Holding my dick ready to address the whole country.
I’ll look the nation dead in the eyes, live on TV, and simply tell them, you never met a motherfucker quite like me
This image is very hard to erase from a mind.
As far as I can see, this is a form of ad populum, one that runs that because the Kid is dope/fly/cool, he should occupy the highest political office in the land. The fact that the interest in his candidacy has ‘got folks in disarray’ is a form of the negative ad populum we’ve discussed a few times, one that runs:
P: If I do X, it will drive liberals/elites crazy
C: I should do X.
Again, I’m calling the move now negative ad populum, because the core of the line of argument is that the judgment of a certain class of people is so badly aligned, they are a barometer for the correct decision, except by way of negation. You just do whatever would make them mad, or the opposite of what they would do. Rock is, in many ways, running this argument convergently — both as an ad populum (I’m cool, so deserving the Presidency), and as a negative ad populum (my candidacy drives the libs nuts, so I’m deserving of more votes). Of course, as with any ad populum, the matter is regularly underdetermined by the premises. But, hey, when you’ve got a rock show to run, who has time for relevant premises, amirite?