Expanded Content – I Love Freedom & My Country?

This is expanded content and detail for my April 17, 2021 post I Love Freedom & My Country. These are the three categories of the most common fallacies in the deceiving rhetoric domestic terrorist-insurrectionist groups and members use in their public speeches and across social-media sites.

Emotional Fallacies — these manipulate and unfairly appeal to an audience’s emotional triggers. Here are seven types with examples.

  • Bandwagon appeals – encourages an audience to agree with the speaker/writer because everyone else in the crowd/group is doing so.
    • Example: Paris Hilton carries a small dog in her purse, so you should buy a hairless Chihuahua and put it in your Louis Vuitton.
  • False need – are arguments to create an unnecessary desire for things to own/possess.
    • Example: You need an expensive car or people won’t think you’re cool or of significance.
  • Sentimental appeals – use emotion to distract the audience from the facts. This rhetoric was overly abused regarding the risks and lethality of COVID-19 and required public health and safety measures.
    • Example: The thousands of baby seals killed in the Exxon Valdez oil spill have shown us that oil is not a reliable energy source.
  • Red Herrings – use misleading or unrelated evidence to support a conclusion.
    • Example: That painting is worthless because I don’t recognize the artist.
  • Slippery slope – arguments suggesting that one thing will lead to another, oftentimes with catastrophic results.
    • Example: If you get a B in high school, you won’t get into the college of your choice, and therefore will never have a meaningful career.
  • Either/Or choices – reduces complex issues with wide-ranging variables to only two possible courses of action.
    • Example: The patent office can either approve my generator design immediately or say goodbye forever to affordable energy.
  • Scare tactics – tries to frighten people into agreeing with the arguer by threatening them or predicting unrealistically dire consequences. This tactic is extremely popular by politicians, including many U.S. Presidents, and abusively utilized on the general public.
    • Example: If you don’t support the party’s tax plan, you and your family will be reduced to poverty.

Ethical Fallacies — the idea that ethical considerations will help solve the problem of free will and that free decisions must be confined to some moral (divine?) standard. Here are seven types with examples.

  • Moral Equivalence – compares minor problems with much more serious crimes (or vice versa) that are actually unequal or unrelated.
    • Example: These mandatory seatbelt laws are fascist, or speed limits on public roads/highways do not save and protect innocent lives, or mandatory masks reduce the spread of lethal infections.
  • Guilt by Association – calls someone’s character into question by examining the character of that person’s family, friends, colleagues or associates.
    • Example: Sara’s friend Amy robbed a bank; therefore, Sara is a delinquent and criminal.
  • Using Authority Instead of Evidence – occurs when someone offers personal authority as proof instead of combinations of but not limited to merit, reputable credentials, and/or panel or institution of authority.
    • Example: Trust me – my best friend wouldn’t do that. Or I know definitively because I have faith.
  • False Authority – this fallacy is frequently abused on social-media. It asks audiences to agree with the assertion of a speaker/writer based simply on his or her character or the authority of another person or institution who may not be fully qualified to offer that assertion.
    • Example: My high school teacher or my church minister or my President said it, so it must be completely true.
  • Dogmatism – shuts down discussion, testing, or verification by asserting that the writer’s or speaker’s personal beliefs are the only acceptable ones.
    • Example: I’m sorry, but I think penguins are sea creatures and that’s that. Or Everything from all Chinese newscasts are fake news and lies.
  • Strawperson – this fallacy is also frequently abused on social-media and politically motivated speeches. Its arguments oversimplify an opponent’s position by setting up and often dismantling easily refutable arguments, intentionally misrepresenting an opponent’s argument to discredit or defeat him or her.
    • Example: Candidate A: We need to regulate access to handguns, assault rifles, and high-capacity ammo-cases.
      Candidate B: My opponent believes that we should ignore the rights guaranteed to us as citizens of the United States by the Constitution. Unlike my opponent, I am a firm believer in the Constitution, and a proponent of freedom.
  • Ad Hominem – arguments which attack a person’s character rather than that person’s deductive and inductive reasoning.
    • Example: Why should we think a candidate who recently divorced will keep her campaign promises? Or Why should we trust an airline pilot to safely fly a jetliner when he or she knows nothing about motorcycles?

Logical Fallacies — are errors in reasoning and argument that are based on poor or faulty logic. Here are seven types with examples.

  • Equivocation – is a half-truth or truths, or statement that is partially correct, but that purposefully obscures the entire truth. This includes intentionally being quiet or silent in order to passively allow omission.
    • Example: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” – President Bill Clinton. By stating that, it was not the same as receiving or giving oral sex from another within the framework of no committed, long-term relationship; further truth. Nor was it a full denial of other activities taking place. The Iran-Contra scandal and the exact status of what was known or not known between President Reagan, Vice-President H.W. Bush, and then Lt. Colonel Oliver North is another example.
  • Begging the Question – this occurs when a writer/speaker simply restates the claim in a different way; such an argument is circular.
    • Example: His lies are evident from the untruthful nature of his statements. Or All Hispanic and Latino refugees are rapists, thugs and criminals by the corrupt country they abandon and flee. Or God is real because the Bible says so, and the Bible is from God.
  • Faulty Analogy – is an inaccurate, inappropriate, or misleading comparison between two things.
    • Example: Letting prisoners out on early release is like absolving them of their crimes. Or If the U.S. military can easily annihilate Iraq’s military in Kuwait in 1990 and 2003 inside Iraq, then it can do it again in 2013–2017 to Insurgent forces, turning Iraq into a Middle Eastern democracy.
  • Stacked Evidence – represents only one side of the issue, thus distorting the unabridged issue(s).
    • Example: Cats are superior to dogs because they are cleaner, cuter, and more independent. Or John Doe will get an impartial, fair trial because all the witnesses and jurors are Doe family members and the judge presiding is his uncle.
  • Hasty Generalization – draws crucial, precedential conclusions from scanty evidence collected in a matter of minutes, hours, or a few days.
    • Example: I wouldn’t eat at that restaurant—the one and only time I ate there, my entrée was undercooked. Or A new respiratory virus called SARS-CoV-2 is non-threatening and is not contagious because after four to six days of identifying, monitoring, and resting one infected patient and their five family members, nothing further happened.
  • Faulty Causality (or Post Hoc) arguments – these confuse chronology with causation: one event can occur after another without being caused by it.
    • Example: A year after the release of the violent shoot-’em-up video game Annihilator, incidents of school violence tripled—surely that is not a coincidence. Or The rooster crows immediately before sunrise; therefore the rooster causes the sun to rise.
  • Non Sequitur (Latin for “It doesn’t follow”) – a statement that does not logically relate to what comes before it. An important logical step may be missing in such a claim. Here is one specific fallacy, a very common fallacy I want to point out with these new radicalized, militarized Far-Right and Extreme-Right Movements and their political language.
    • Example: If those protesters really loved their country, they wouldn’t question the government. Or If those Congress-members were true Americans, they would break their sworn Constitutional vows of duty and office.

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