Monday, March 05, 2007

Logical Fallacies of the Right

The Ezra Klein and Byron York exchange on Bloggingheads was pretty useless (Ezra, you're a good guy, but stop and listen every so often!), but the web site provides a nice antidote to the Republican noise machine by noting that the attacks against VP Gore fall into the category of an ad hominem tu quoque logical fallacy. The definition from Wikipedia is worth quoting:

Ad hominem tu quoque refers to an irrelevant accusation of hypocrisy. Accusations of hypocrisy are inadmissible in legal and scientific debate, and can be distractions from the business of politics. That is, it is not relevant to the credibility of a didactic argument whether its presenter has trod over the principle he espouses.
Take that Talk Radio! Take that annoying Letters to the Editor!

Not only is this kind of criticism a baseless personal attack, but it's one of the weakest and least meaningful kinds. Hypocrisy itself is considered "Irrelevant" and "inadmissible" as a counter-argument.

Not to mention it's sort of stupid and adolescent in a Catcher In The Rye "phony"-sensitive sort of way.