Daily Archives: Monday, March 9, 2009

The beautiful

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The ad hominem argument – Jim Cramer edition

Previously, I described the “straw man argument” as an example of one type of an error in reasoning known as a logical fallacy

Another such logical fallacy is the “ad hominem” argument (from Latin, meaning “against the person” – you’ll see why in a second).  It’s rather important to be clear on this one because it is rampant in rightwing radio rhetoric and more broadly in our political culture and discourse.  And it’s a staple of the propagandist as well.  It’s a really simple one and easy to spot.  The form of it is:

1. A person makes a claim that something is so (say, that Chevy makes the best cars)
2. An arguer attacks the first person for his hair or sexuality or friends or some such.
3. The arguer implies or suggests that, therefore, the claim is likely to be false.

“Name calling”, as contrasted with careful and serious discussion, is common instance of this fallacy.  “He’s a homsexual” or “they are all commies” or “of course he says that, he’s a liberal” would be examples.  Notice that any address to the actual claim or argument in question is avoided (as is the case with the straw man fallacy as well, it is just avoided in a different way).

Which brings us to Jim Cramer, CNBC financial screamer

I’ll just defer now to Eric Boehlert at Media Matters

Irony alert: Jim Cramer wants everyone to stop with the ad hominem attacks

Published Mon, Mar 9, 2009 3:41pm ET by Eric Boehlert

In his mainstreet.com column, the CNBC loud mouth claims it’s time for a “serious non-ideological debate” about the economy, and to stop the name calling.

This, from the man who recently has:

repeatedly characterized President Obama and congressional Democrats as Russian communists intent on “rampant wealth destruction,” claiming Obama is “taking cues from Lenin” and using terms such as “Bolshevik,” “Marx,” “comrades,” “Soviet,” “Winter Palace,” and “Politburo” in reference to Democrats.

Golly, how surprising

DOHA (Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp is in constant dialogue with Baghdad to create the investment climate that would allow it to become a significant player in Iraq’s energy sector, Exxon’s chief executive said on Monday. 

“Our goal is to bring down approval numbers” for Pelosi and House Dems

As Greg Sargent noted earlier, top House Republican Patrick McHenry has just elucidated the principle goal for his party.  We’ll note that it reveals (unsurprisingly, given the modern party and movement) a singularly partisan understanding of the political enterprise.  No mention or consideration of the financial plight of the nation.  The goal stands directly opposed to bi-partisan effort. 

It’s depressing to acknowledge that many of us have understood for a long while that the modern Republican Party and conservative movement would be expected to operate in such a manner.  It is the nature of the creature it has become over the last three decades.

Cry me a river

David S. Addington, a top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney who was a forceful voice in internal legal debates, is also said to still be looking for work.

Think Progress

Sci-fi

I have it from a good source that this might be special

Cowboy Feng’s Space Bar and Grill

Frank Schaeffer

This interview with Schaeffer is really a must-see.  He is the son of Francis Schaeffer, one of the key founders of the Christian Right.  One quick excerpt:

Today the Republican Party is rooting for doom. And since the Republicans are now anti-American members of an Obama-must-fail insurgency, lies become a self-fulfilling prophecy: talk doom, and keep the economy in a panic and we may get what we wish for.

Watch the interview here

h/t crooks and liars