I’m not certain that Tuesday’s election will give us the president we—both Americans and our international neighbors—need most in this pivotal period. But I will be grateful for the end of campaigning because I’m tired of hearing half-truths, lies, and verbal attacks in place of truth and thoughtful plans meant to honor the majority, regardless of financial status. I am appalled at the prevalence of logical fallacies instead of proof of critical thinking.
Our political leaders—and many followers– seem to have dwindled into talking heads who babble propaganda and expect us to silently nod our approval. We must not.
We can’t let ourselves be taken in by statements that sound true but are logical fallacies (mistakes in reasoning). They’re not always easy to spot because they could be factual in different contexts but instead are used to intentionally hide the truth. Much of what we’ve heard in the debates fall into that category.
Here’s a blatant example of a fallacy that someone said to me last week: “We will be forced to bomb Iran; otherwise, they will blow up our school buses.” You may have heard similar statements. I suggest this is not only a logical fallacy, but also an insidious message meant to arouse an emotional response (and possibly a call to action) in people who have stereotyped all Iranians as terrorists whom we should kill before they kill us. There are many assumptions in this statement and only one response suggested. Even if an injustice has occurred, there are many ways to deal with violent acts much more effectively than mimicking the perpetrator.
Please listen for logical fallacies during the next week. If you’re not sure how to recognize those most often used, here’s help. This link to Purdue’s Online Writing Lab (OWL) provides good examples:
For the benefit of other readers, would you please comment on what you’ve noted?