the most part, are not familiar with the rules of logic. Itís one
of those subjects that people shy away from, feeling that itís too
complex to understand. What people donít realize is that they employ
logic every day.
Logic is often
applied to human problems in an attempt to determine truth; and
since truth is the foundation of liberty, free men must apply the
rules of logic rigorously. Americans, until the counter-revolution
of the sixties, had long been champions of this ideal.
Over the last
hundred years, a problem has developed in America. Government has
slowly turned away from the idea of using truth as a standard, and
has replaced truth with the fallacies. The fallacies may be thought
of as an organized system of anti-logic; they are an evil mirror-image
of the truth.
has seized upon the fallacies because logic, unlike truth, is mutable.
Thatís why Christians use logic and faith together. Christians believe
that God exists, that right is better than wrong, and that truth
is a virtue. To say that there is a conflict between fixed Christian
ideals, and the hidden and self-serving goals of government would
be an understatement.
In order to
maintain support for an increasingly irrational agenda, the government
makes extensive use of the fallacies. To understand the government,
look at the Fallacies. It then becomes easy to see how they operate:
Only two choices are given, when in fact there are more options:
Two unrelated points are co-joined as a single proposition:
We must invade
Iraq to restore democracy, and safeguard the oil supply.
to Motives in Place of Support
Force: The reader is persuaded to agree by force: If you are
a good American, you will support the war. If you donít, you are
Pity: The reader is persuaded to agree by sympathy: In these
hard economic times, we must raise taxes so that no child is left
Person: The personís circumstances are noted:
Viagra and lives in a palace and steals incubators.
The authority in question is not named:
Officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, claim
that the British Ricin suspects are connected with Al Qaeda.
The two objects or events being compared are relevantly dissimilar:
We must occupy Iraq to establish democracy, just
as we did with Japan.
Exclusion: Evidence that would change the outcome of an inductive
argument is excluded from consideration: Iraq has an arsenal of
weaponry that must be destroyed. (Most of it is of American origin)
Post Hoc: Because
one thing follows another, it is held to cause the other:
attack on the World Trade Center caused the invasion of Afghanistan.
thing is held to cause another, and it does, but it is insignificant
compared to other causes: The collapsing American economy is caused
by low consumer confidence. (Rather than over-taxation, and over-regulation)
Question: The truth of the conclusion is assumed by the premises:
American values are universal, therefore Arab society will eventually
welcome American hegemony.
The author attacks an argument different from (and weaker than)
the oppositionís best argument: U.S. military interventions are
not a violation of the sovereign status of individual nations, rather
they are a safeguard of human rights within those nations.
The same term is used with two different meanings:
Action is the intentional inclusion of members of a group,
or alternately, the intentional exclusion of members of a
The structure of a sentence allows two different interpretations.
Quote: Our goal is not to expand the Government, but to create an
agile organization. (We will expand the government, but thatís not
By the way,
this is the origin of the expression telling a fib.
Because the attributes of the parts of a whole have a certain
property, it is argued that the whole has that property: The American
government will benefit from war, thus the American people will
benefit from war.
the whole has a certain property, it is argued that the parts have
that property. Government spending is 40% of gross domestic product,
so it claims to create 40% of the wealth. (In fact, the government
creates no wealth, it destroys wealth).
Antecedent: Any argument of the form: If A then B, Not A, thus
we invade Iraq, democracy will be established. If we donít invade
Iraq: the people will be enslaved forever.
Asserting that contrary or contradictory statements are both
true. America is a peace loving country, and we are also the worldís
Drawing an Affirmative Conclusion From a Negative Premise:
are American, and some Americans are not Patriots, therefore some
Americans are dangerous.
Fallacy: A particular conclusion is drawn from universal premises:
men desire truth, and some men are dangerous, so
some truth is dangerous.
The phenomenon being explained doesnít exist:
want to destroy America because they hate democracy.
The theory that explains, does not appeal to underlying causes:
government is expanding so that it may better serve the needs
of the people.
The definition includes the term being defined as part of the
definition: America is a democracy, because the American people
believe in democracy.
Elucidate: The definition is harder to understand than the term
Patriot Act stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing
Appropriate Tools Required to intercept and Obstruct Terrorism
For the full
set of fallacies visit: http://datanation.com/fallacies/div.htm
tries to make the case that some government agencies may be dishonest,
but the government itself is trustworthy. This, of course, is hogwash.
Or rather, it is a Category Error, Fallacy of Composition. (I think
hogwash sounds better.)
associated with government use of the fallacies is that lying comes
at a personal cost to the people who engage in these activities.
Like soldiers who develop bloodlust, lying government and media
personnel eventually lapse into moral bankruptcy. And moral bankruptcy,
as British writer Theodore Dalrywmple has noted, signals the onset
of fascism. As evidence, consider the following dark unspoken proposition
now coming out of Washington:
Do you want your social security check and your medicine? Young
people: Do you want jobs in the new centrally planned economy? Then
shut up. Weíve got some killing to do, and the sooner we get it
over with, the better. After we take what we need, there might be
something left over for you.
of this unspoken offer is not merely to buy silence; it is intended
to make people feel as if they are morally complicit to a crime.
Once you take the money, you are bought and paid for. Our government,
which destroyed free enterprise with graft, now enforces the silence
of its citizenry with lies and unspoken threats.
to all this, of course, is to tell the truth, and to expect the
same of others.
Learn to recognize
the fallacies, and get into the habit of spotting them every time
you read the news. They are easy to see, if you make the effort.
And if you really want to fight, develop a strong moral code based
on both logic and faith, and live by it.
Liebermann [send him mail] is
a contractor and manufacturer of Mylar balloons in Louisville, Ky.
© 2003 LewRockwell.com