Thursday, August 16, 2007

The logical fallacies of conservatives

Previously we brought you the quiz "Which Breed of Liberal Are You?" Today this excerpt, via Bill in Portland Maine:

In the "Advanced Battle Tactics" chapter of his new book, How to Win a Fight with a Conservative, Dan Kurtzman shows how Republicans lean heavily on "logical fallacies" to try and win arguments. He defines logical fallacies as "the three-legged stools of faulty reasoning that conservatives use to prop up many of their ridiculous ideas." See if these sound familiar...

False Choice: Offering only two options for consideration when there are clearly other valid choices.

Example: "If we give up the fight in the streets of Baghdad, we will face the terrorists in the streets of our own cities." ---George W. Bush

Strawman: Oversimplifying, exaggerating, caricaturing or otherwise misrepresenting your position without regard to fact. In doing this, your opponent sets up a figurative straw man that he can easily knock down to prove his point.

Example: "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." ---Karl Rove

Shifting The Burden of Proof: Presenting an argument as commonly accepted truth, failing to support it with any evidence, and then forcing you to prove otherwise. This tactic is employed out of laziness or to mask the reality that the facts are not on your side.

Example: "I think the burden is on those people who think he didn’t have weapons of mass destruction to tell the world where they are." ---[Former White House press secretary] Ari Fleischer, on Saddam Hussein's alleged WMDs

Slippery Slope: Leaping to wild, sometimes inexplicable conclusions---going, say, from Step One to Step Two and then all the way to Step Ten without establishing any discernible connection. By using this kind of leapfrog logic, a person can come to any conclusion he damn well pleases.

Example: "All of a sudden, we see riots, we see protests, we see people clashing. The next thing we know, there is injured or there is dead people. We don’t want to get to that extent." ---Arnold Schwarzenegger, on the dangers posed by gay marriage

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