Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, April 05, 2007

How to Argue Like a PARDner

This past Monday, TV Reed descended from Mount Sinai again to issue another anti-Wal-Mart commandment in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. It tuns out that PARD is not just against Wal-Mart's location as told to us recently by Citizen Hosick and Professor Lower Social Classes. Nope, TV and Company are now waging a jihad for oppressed retail workers throughout America.

But that's not the real story. Reed's letter makes about as much sense as a screen door on a submarine. No, the action has been going on in the comments secion. As you may remember, the Daily News started allowing comments on its website a few weeks back. We are to understand from a recent editorial that the Daily News wants a return to "civil discourse" on the Palouse, yet these anonymous comments are allowing people to irresponsibly libel and vent bile and discontent as never before.

For those of you who don't subscribe to the online version of the Daily News, I'm going to post some of the comments made by an anonymous PARDner/PARD sympathizer. It has been a virtual precis on how to argue like a PARDner, with just about every logical fallacy they have ever used being demonstrated:
So your in favor of legalized drugs and prostitution, maybe even a sex-slave shop on the corner, as well? I mean, after all, as long as you don't shop there you shouldn't have a problem with those either. Right?

So your position is that if they made sex-slavery legal, then you'd be in favor of a sex-slave shop in town, since it might help to build a business base. Is that right? All that matters is business and the law, ethics be damned! Is that a good way to characterize your position?
These are classic examples of Argumentum ad Consequentiam (X is false because if people did not accept X as being false, then there would be negative consequences). It's eerily similar to a letter that Dr. Richard King, Chairman of the WSU Department of Comparative Ethnic Studies, wrote in response to one of my letters back in October of 2005:
Finally, Forbes seems content to allow consumerism to replace the democratic process. I doubt Forbes would be comfortable repealing child labor laws or would embrace a proposal to open a strip club, kiddie porn outlet or crack house on the logic that consumers can decide.
Then there are two favorite liberal fallacies, Guilt by Association and the Red Herring:
Those Walmart chasing lawyers sound a lot like Ken starr! I bet you were just as critical of the Clinton impeachment.

What is the point of invading countries like Iraq in order to establish "Democracy" as long as we continue to support China and other repressive regimes through our various business ventures like Walmart?
See, anyone that supports Wal-Mart in Pullman must also support the Iraq war, repressive regimes, and the impeachment of Bill Clinton and be one of those evil neo-com Republicans. But what does any of that actually have to do with the merits of a Wal-Mart in Pullman?

Another example of the Red Herring:
The area includes more than Pullman and another fact which you seemed to ignore is that the anti-Walmart folks won big-time in that other election.
What relevance does Mayor Moonbat and her City Clowncil getting elected have with Pullman?

And another old favorite of the left, the Circumstantial Ad Hominem:
The conservative agenda is nothing but a land of moral paradox! That is until you realize that greed is the primary motivating factor. Paradox resolved!

But if you are so confident of your "rational opinion," then why does the prospect of leaving Pullman's choice about Walmart up to a judge frighten you so? Again, we'll see how it all turns out and whether or not you have genuine reason, as opposed to personal self-interest, on your side.
The only possible reason, according to the PARDners, that anyone can support Wal-Mart is out of self-interest. Therefore, all arguments that supporters make are wrong.

Ahh, where have we heard this before?
Can you please tell me how a store that sells junk at low prices and offers minimum wage jobs is going to help make Moscow "a growing viable city"?
Besides the common PARD mistake of switching Pullman for Moscow, this represents the fallacy of Composition. Wal-Mart sells some low-cost items made in China. Therefore, everything that Wal-Mart sells must be cheap Chinese crap.

Then there is the oft-used (out of desperation) Tu Quoque, the "You too" fallacy:
I'm not sure who you're speaking for but it is not me or my friends.

And the "love it or leave it" philosophy applies just as well to you. I'm sure you'd have an easier time finding another town with the two or three Walmarts you seem to require than I would have finding a town without any.

Try write without insults and see how much of your rhetoric is left.
And PARD's all-time most used fallacies, One-Sidedness and Appeal to Emotion:
Walmart is the worst of the worst. Any of the other businesses that you note would be better. Personally, I'm not going to feel good about buying products from businesses that exploit workers in countries with no Bill of Rights -- even if it offers lower prices. You just care about the law and business growth; ethics be damned.
Then there are the outright contradictory arguments, such as:
I'm willing to leave it up to the votes and see how it all turns out.
Followed by:
Second, I don't think that all decisions should be made by the voters. I'm sure if we had left the decision of slavery or civil rights legislation up to voters, then our country would be very different than it is.
Any of the other businesses that you note would be better [Target was among them - TF].
Followed by:
It shares some things with Target but there are some differences, as well. And I'm not in favor of a Target moving anywhere around here either
Then there is the most illuminating (with regards to the PARDners true political beliefs) argument of all, the Appeal to Popularity:
there is no such thing as a true free market. All markets have always had certain moral and legal restrictions. I just think that the restrictions should be wider and exclude Walmart since it is the worst of the worst.
Of course, the people most favorably inclined towards this claim are capitalism-hating socialist college professors and elitist snobs and they hardly make up a majority of opinion as PARD seems to believe (another fallacy known as Whishful Thinking.) The fact that many of Reed's "local Wal-Mart fans" have joined in to rebut this anonymous Wal-Mart haters arguments shows that.

Meanwhile, we have yet to see or hear one well-constructed logical or factual argument against Wal-Mart in Pullman. Again Paul, feel free to make corrections or additions to my observations. It has been over twenty years since I took a philosophy course.

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1 comment:

Paul E. Zimmerman, M.A. said...

Tom -

I'd be happy to check over everything, as you've asked, but I'll have to rest a bit before I do. Every time I read PARDner drivel, my eyes start to cross and I become borderline comatose. I think the mistake I'm making is that I keep trying to comprehend their mindset, which prompts my immune system to react as if I had been bitten by a moonbat and fight off the ridiculous ideas.

These people have this cause and things related to it as their religion, and everyone knows how fruitful it is to argue religion with someone.