An Odd Circular Argument

An odd circular argument I stumbled across today from Iain Murray at the National Review Online, he is arguing that by canceling flights to hold safety inspections the airlines may be pushing people to drive, which is more risky than flying and that some may die in accidents. Thus safety inspections may be killing people. The clear hole in the argument is that the only reason flying is safer than driving is because safety is such a huge priority that they would rather cancel flights then risk accidents from uninspected flight gear. If the airlines were to carry on without being held to an extremely high safety standard, which includes canceling flights for inspections then I expect the safety level of flying would quickly become much lower than that for driving. Planes often plummet when things break, cars don’t. Anyhow, his argument seemed odd to me, what do you think?

4 thoughts on “An Odd Circular Argument”

  1. It’s Iain, not Ian. Too many variables to measure. Unless the cancellations go on over a long period of time I doubt there is a statistical difference. We should all just stay home anyway.

  2. Apples and oranges to me. If you argued that people would stay home rather than fly or drive you could reference statistics showing how dangerous the home is and claim that safety standards for airlines are causing people to die in their tubs. Most people who would normally fly will find other flights, delay their travel, take bus or rail or drive. They are not all jumping in cars and rushing about. I don’t think we’ll see a marked increase in auto deaths during this time. (The consensus of comments an NPR reporter got was “We’ll find another flight, it’ll just take longer to get where we’re going.”)

    This is a phase we have to get through while airlines recheck the safety of their planes and improve their procedures. If the companies can survive the financial hit, the flying public will be safer for it.

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