A reader writes in response to today’s column on Keyes:
I’ve got to remember this one:
“Now, just as with the Keyes candidacy, each of these irregularities may be justified by no shortage of good arguments. But so what? That just demonstrates the political and cultural pressures driving efforts to rewrite the written and unwritten rules of our system.”
This is the rhetorical equivalent of waving a magic wand: “watch me make contrary arguments disappear!” This trick suggests the mindset of conspiracy theorists. The more evidence you show which is contrary to the conspiracy theory, the more convinced the theorist becomes. To him, it’s just more evidence of how deep the conspiracy goes.
Meanwhile, back in the world of logic, you have to defeat those “good arguments” on the merits (or lack thereof), not by using the (unproven) point you’re trying to make.
BTW, big fan. I tease because I love.
Me: Sorry, I don’t buy it. To use an example Ramesh brought up before, I’m in favor of tort reform, but I’m also in favor of fighting the war on terrorism and cutting taxes and government. What if we were talking about Republicans who were good on all of those things, but not tort reform? Couldn’t I make the same sort of argument about the dismaying trend of the GOP abandoning tort reform? If Alan Keyes were actually from Illinois, but opposed tort reform couldn’t I write that there were good arguments for supporting his candidacy even though his candidacy would represent a continuation of this disturbing trend?