Throughout the course of the last year, I completed a study of formal and informal logic. The last unit of this course was devoted entirely to commonly used logical fallacies. One of my assignments was to give an example of each one of these fallacies. After I completed the assignment, I looked back over it and realized that most of the examples were common arguments, and sometimes even cornerstones, of leftist ideology. I thought about it – if conservatives can recognize and point out when liberals use fallacies in their arguments, it will go a long way in bringing civil debate back to our political scene.
Obviously, conservatives are not perfect either. I believe it is the duty of civil and educated liberals to point out when we use logical fallacies as well. There will be less name-calling, fewer insults, and more genuine exchange of differing ideas – and that is what we all want. That is what is in the best interests of our nation. We should have a free exchange of ideas brought forth with class and confidence. The following are five logical fallacies and common examples of ways leftists often use them. If we can all learn to recognize logical fallacies, and ask the people using them to return to the issues at hand – because we truly do all want to fix these issues – debate can again be a beacon of American ideals: liberty, free speech, and opportunity for everyone.
Bulverism is an attack on an alleged reason for a person’s beliefs rather than on the beliefs themselves. Liberals often do this when talking to young Republicans (e.g. “You’re only a Republican because your parents are.”) This tweet is a perfect example of a leftist’s use of Bulverism to discount opposing viewpoints.
— katelin (@wakingup2tired) February 9, 2017
2) Ipse Dixit
Ipse Dixit is a faulty appeal to authority. In other words, it is the citation of a completely unqualified person as an authority on an issue about which he or she has no business swaying others’ opinions. This video is a good example. Martin Sheen’s playing of the President on The West Wing does not make him qualified in any way to sway the political opinions of the public.
3) Ad Hominem
Ad hominem is the act of insulting someone instead of arguing actual issues. This happens far too many times to count, but one that sticks out is Hillary Clinton’s calling “half of Trump’s supporters” racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, and deplorable. She could have discussed policy with President Trump and her colleagues in professional politics. Instead chose to insult the millions of Americans who chose to vote for her opponent.
4) Ad Ignorantiam
Ad ignorantiam is arguing that something is true just because it has never been proven false. The hash tag initiative #TrySocialism is a blatant example of an ad ignorantiam fallacy. Just because it has never been proven that socialism would not work in the United States, though it has been proven that it does not work in other countries, is not a reason to believe it would work.
Apriorism is the act of making a hasty, and false, generalization. A common way the left uses apriorism is in saying that conservatives are old, rich, white men. Granted, there are old, rich white men in the conservative movement. There are also plenty of women, young people, and people of lower socioeconomic statuses as well.