Misdirection

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I recently posted an article “The Puzzle Machine or What is a Chicken, Exactly?” That article started out with a riddle, and ended with the question: So, what is a chicken, exactly?

Here is that riddle again: Three people go together to a prix fix restaurant. They pay $30 to the maître d’ and go to their table. But the restaurant is having a special: “Three for $25,” so the maître d’ sends a waiter to their table with five $1 bills. On the way to the table the waiter reasons that $5 would be difficult to share among three people so he pockets $2 and gives $1 to each person. Since each person originally paid $10 and got back $1, each ultimately paid $9, totaling $27. The waiter has $2, totaling $29. What happened to the remaining dollar?

I have no idea how many of you got it, and how many of you simply looked at the riddle, and went on. In any case, here is the solution.

I mislead you just like a stage magician redirects your attention to something other than what is actually happening. I totaled the three $9 payments to $27, and then added the $2 the waiter kept to this total. There was no justification for me to do this. While it certainly is possible to sum these two numbers, the sum means nothing. What really happened?

The guys paid $30, and the maître d’ gave them $5 back, so the restaurant actually received $25. Each guy got a dollar back, BUT each should have received $1.67 back, which means that each should have paid only $8.33, NOT $9. The extra $.67 each paid went into the waiter’s pocket, so the $2 should have been SUBTRACTED from the $27 the three guys paid to get to the $25 the meal actually cost. Adding the $2 to the $27 made no logical sense at all, BUT it made a great puzzle.

Misdirection — it’s a great tool when you really have nothing to say. The Left uses it all the time. A favorite variation is for them to set up a “straw man” argument. Here they present as part of their opponent’s point of view some element taken entirely out of context, or exaggerated, or otherwise distorted, so that it can easily be refuted, just as a straw man can easily be blown away. And by implication, then, their opponent’s argument is also refuted.

Back in the mid 1960s, I was a student at University of Washington. I got to know several of the campus leftist agitators. I had one conversation with the leader of the most radical of these groups, a guy who had lead 5,000 students down the “Ave,” breaking and looting as they marched. In that conversation he revealed to me that he had received his training at a special camp outside Moscow, and that he and hundreds of others had bees assigned to universities across the country to cause as much mayhem as possible. He explained that a significant part of his training was to construct such “straw man” arguments so that the typical American college student would be hard pressed to discover the deception. History shows just how successful these guys were.

The far left has been discredited forever by the fall of the Iron Curtain, the Berlin Wall, and the demise of the Soviet Union. But while the average guy can be educated, just remember that stupid is forever, and so some poor fools still cling to a system that can never work.

Oh yes — A chicken? A chicken is an egg’s way of making another egg…I thought everyone knew this.

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