Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I am so fed up... (Illogic Edition)

Begin rant...

I am so fed up with people who construct their arguments to support the opinion they already hold. That means I'm pissed at about, say, 90% of the people on the internet. Actually, it's less because most commenters don't bother to build an argument--they just blurt out their insult or canned talking point.

This comment really irked me today:
You could blame Romney's Free and Strong America PAC for much of the Tea Party's 2012 failings. The PAC contributed to many local level Tea Party victories in 2010, amplifying and distorting their voice. Now he cashes in, calling upon those elected officials' endorsements, and the Tea Party finds itself bamboozled, nationally.
You can blame Romney's deeper 2012 coffers for buying the lackluster support of all rank and file conservatives who won't consider any candidate without an Obama-like war chest.

Blame Romney's book for obfuscating his A list advisers' plans long before he was out to shake hands with 2011 Americans...

The four years Romney has spent fundraising and engineering disingenuously conservative policy are at the root of this sour primary. Strike at the root: blame Romney.


Let's step back from the particulars of this argument, and characterize it.

This is a case of someone deciding it's all Romney's fault, and then finding a subset of facts that might, in a pinch, support that opinion.
  • So there are mentions of specific facts: Romney's PAC, Romney's book, Romney's large campaign fund.

What isn't here are all the facts that don't support the argument:
  • The other rich contributors
  • The likely hypothesis that maybe Romney doesn't control the Tea Party
  • The supposition that various Tea Party leaders make their own decisions and are personally responsible for them
Notice that you have to ignore all the facts and likely possibilities that don't support your argument.

To defeat such an argument, look for the facts that aren't there. Point out how they overwhelm the paltry facts that are there. And for good measure, call out a person who bases their opinions on a gerrymandered set of facts, as I did here:
XXX's argument is ludicrous. It is constructed with the sole purpose of bashing Romney, not gathering facts and trying to understand what is actually happening. In other words, it has nothing to do with seeking the truth.
/End rant

 More solid than his argument


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