Monday, May 29, 2006

Anti Anti-"American-Style"

"American-style". You hear it all the time! I for one hear it all the time in University classes. Stephen Taylor has comprised a bunch of fallacious arguments that are often used to describe or argue against Conservative policies. I remember taking Philosophy 105-Practical Reasoning, where we learned about how to take apart arguments, point out flaws etc... and I learned a lot of these fallacies. This campaign against anything that is "american-style" has annoyed me for a while, but I never put the sentiments into words. Stephen does quite a good job! Check it out!
I've always been a fan of the logical fallacy. When countering an argument from a political or ideological opponent, things are often made easier when one's debating foe makes a point that has a blatant logical fallacy. Among the easiest to point out are ad hominem, non sequitur and the straw man.
Unfortunately, many amateur debaters, and some that have mastered the practice, use a form of ad hominem that I call reductio ad americanum. In the 'national debate' that we have in the Tim Horton's, the hockey rinks and even the Houses of Parliament across the land, ad americanum can be heard whenever one asserts that surely Canadians cannot implement a certain policy because it's "American-style" be it "american-style healthcare", "american-style tax cuts" or "american-style immigration". In fact, one does not need to debate the finer points of any public policy so long as the Americans have done something similar because according to those who rely upon ad americanum attacks, those roughnecks south of the border have never done anything worthy of consideration in their 230 year history.
Click here for the rest.


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