Attack faults of argument, not me

Numerous fallacies become apparent when reading liberal diatribe.

The reactions, both public and private, to my last column dealing with detainees being held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have provided me a great opportunity to try to teach some of the basics of logical fallacies.

First, it was widely recognized by those who disagreed with me that I was a racist. I was “anti-Muslim” and “chauvinist.”

These are all examples of the ad hominem fallacy. It’s easy to understand; it means “against the person” or a personal attack. The premise is that the truth of an idea is not dependant on the condition of the one who holds it. A person can be both racist and right. Charles Darwin was racist. Henry Ford was anti-Semitic.

Does this mean we have to drop the theory of evolution and give up production lines? Of course not. These fallacies are almost an addiction for the left.

I am not a racist, and I am not anti-Muslim. In fact, I believe it is the left who are the racists, and I believe it is the left who are anti-religion. Unlike some, I can make a clear case for the implicit racism of liberals.

My first premise is that if one thinks people have less ability based on the color of their skin, they are racist. My second premise is that liberals believe in affirmative action. I believe affirmative action helps those who are not white by giving them a leg up based on the color of their skin. Thus, to believe in affirmative action it follows that a person must believe those who are not white can’t compete without help. Therefore, liberals believe that those of color need help based on the color of their skin. That’s racist.

That is how to set up an argument. Make premises and try to deduce information from those premises. If you’re going to attack that argument, don’t attack the person making it; attack the deduction method or the premises.

The anecdotal fallacy has been employed against me and is being employed by Democrats in Congress.

On the Social Security debate Congressman Bob Etheridge, a Democrat from North Carolina, was quoted by the Houston Chronicle as saying, “Take my mother-in-law, for example. She lives in rural North Carolina and relies on her monthly Social Security check to help pay her bills. Across the country, women like her find it harder to make ends meet than most other Americans. Under privatization, thousands of women like my mother-in-law would tragically fall into poverty.”

Etheridge picks a selected person, and uses that to extrapolate the effectiveness of the Bush plan. It might be true that Bush’s plan will hurt Etheridge’s mother-in-law, but it might actually help a lot more people.

A friend who said his parents’ farm was ruined by Reaganomics used this same argument as basis that he could never support conservatism. It was difficult to tell him that it’s possible that Reaganomics, while hurting him, might have helped more people in return.

Numerous other fallacies become apparent when reading liberal diatribe. A favorite argument of the left against banning partial-birth abortion is that they think it’s just the first step to banning all abortions.

That’s a slippery slope fallacy. There’s no logical reason why it just couldn’t stop at a partial-birth abortion ban.

You can disagree with me if you like, but beware of assuming calling someone “racist” is enough to reinforce your view. It isn’t.

Marty Andrade welcomes comments at [email protected]