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NRA Head Gun Humper Oliver North released a beautiful patriotic video yesterday in "support" of Brett Kavanaugh's foundering nomination to the Supreme Court, and as with other brilliant patriotic videos from the NRA, it's less about guns than about the Forever Culture War and how eeeevil the Democrats are. In fact, it's almost a master class in bad faith argument. Let's see how a man who became a hero for blithely ignoring the law defends a man who thinks presidents shouldn't have to be bothered by too much law-abiding, either:


It's an impressive display of any number of bullshit talking points! If Yr Dok Zoom were still teaching first-year college writing, we'd definitely bring this thing into class, because the whole thing is crap. Maybe effective in mobilizing its intended audience, but from a rhetorical standpoint, it's honestly just a big grab-bag of logical fallacies. Let us enumerate!

You know how stupid people on the internet always dismiss insults by incorrectly calling them "ad hominem arguments"? As you all should recall, an ad hominem argument (Latin for to the hominy) involves suggesting someone is wrong not because of the claim they're making but because of something awful about that person. It's a distraction intended to undercut an opponent's credibility without at all addressing a real point in the argument. Gee, can we find any in North's video? We've added some names to match the visual call-outs in the vid:

man who refers to himself as Spartacus (Cory Booker) ... smears a man who serves the homeless, as a racist [...]

A man who lied about military service, who stole valor (Richard Blumenthal).. smears a humble public servant and calls for his nomination to the Supreme Court to be withdrawn.

A woman who wants to confiscate your firearms (Dianne Feinstein) leaks an unsubstantiated accusation... to smear a man because he believes in our Second Amendment.

Wowie! Do we really need to point out that nothing in those claims has anything to do with the actual claims being made about Kavanaugh? And of course, there are fallacies within fallacies, like -- for the sake of piling on, the ad hominems in favor of Kavanaugh (yes, an ad hominem argument can be a positive statement): Serving the homeless doesn't immunize anyone from being a racist. And then of course, mentioning Feinstein's views on the Holy Second Amendment is a red herring, utterly unrelated to Christine Blasey Ford's accusations against Kavanaugh.

Oh, look -- North even embeds some Begging The Question in that group: The unstated (and unproven) assumption that Feinstein wants to confiscate your guns, or that she's solely motivated by her disagreement with Kavanaugh over the Second Amendment.

But wait, there's even more question-begging, kids!

A political party coordinates violent protests... to smear a father and run his children out of the room.

And where's the proof the senators were complicit in organizing the protests? Duh, George Soros's omnipresent paymasters, everyone knows that.

How about a non sequitur or two?

Politicians call a privileged senator who killed a woman, a Lion... now they smear Brett Kavanaugh as a threat to women.

Yup, Ted Kennedy has been called a "lion of the Senate." That has absolutely squat to do with Brett Kavanaugh's qualifications, just as his being a father, a humble public servant, a smart fellow, or a guy who coaches girl's soccer have nothing at all to do with whether he tried to sexually assault a girl in high school or whether he drunkenly waggled his dick in the face of a woman in his first year at Yale. It's all distraction, suggesting that because he did good things, he never could do bad things.

OK, kids, let's see if YOU can explain what's dishonest about this sentence: Hint: It's all of it, Katie!

Since the election of Donald Trump, the character assassination of good Americans like Brett Kavanaugh by those with half his intellect and a fraction of his virtue, has been unconscionable.

Grade yourselves in the comments. I'd say you all get an A, and if you noticed the "post hoc" fallacy in there, an A+!

Mind you, Ollie North, a decorated Marine, is quite happy to ad hominem himself into an unassailable position of virtue:

I didn't hold dying Marines in my arms defending freedom, so corrupt politicians could disgrace their heroic sacrifice.

Mind you, it would be just as much an ad hominem argument to point out that Oliver North ran two related illegal arms deals in defiance of congressional limits on the executive branch, and therefore you shouldn't believe him about Kavanaugh. One really has nothing to do with the other. And unless you added additional evidence, it would be a misleading appeal to authority to note that prominent military journalist Col. David Hackworth detested North and called him a "Drugstore Marine." It's a fun read, anyway.

But the fact that he hasn't presented a single logical claim in favor of Kavanaugh may just undercut his credibility a tad, we'd say.

Christ, what an asshole. Mind you, that's only an insult. But yes, a thoroughgoing rodent-felching whoretortoise.

[Washington Examiner via Adam Weinstein on Twitter / Logically Fallacious]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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