“If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful.” The Danger of American Fascism, Henry A. Wallace, 1944
For you see, the world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes. — Coningsby: Or The New Generation And, The governments of the present day have to deal not merely with other governments, with emperors, kings, and ministers, but also with the secret societies which have everywhere their unscrupulous agents, and can at the last moment upset all the governments’ plans. — Benjamin Disraeli, Speech at Aylesbury, Great Britain, September 10, 1870
As the Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments in cases involving the freedom of states to make marriage policy, thousands gathered Saturday on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for the third annual March for Marriage.The event’s largest crowd to date called on the Court to respect the voice of the American people, urging the justices not to impose a redefinition of marriage on the entire country.More than 50 million Americans have voted for laws affirming the definition of marriage as one man and one woman (representing more than 60 percent of those voting on the matter). But courts have not respected the constitutional authority of the American people and our elected representatives to make marriage policy.Only 11 states have redefined marriage democratically. In the 37 states that currently recognize same-sex marriage, 26 have been forced to do so by courts.
The Newest Logical Fallacy: Conscientious Objection as Jim Crow
As we continue our long slouch into societal moronism, the quality of conversation to be had on matters of keen public importance continues to decline. Perhaps part of the problem is that heart yearning has been substituted for rhetorical skill, sound information, and logic. Too often anymore, I see logical fallacies offered in argument as substitutes for reasoned discussion. If you are a bit older than me, you may have seen “Love is a Fallacy,” a popular episode of the television comedy, The Many Loves of Dobey Gillis. If you haven’t seen the episode, then you can read the script here.
These days my thoughts are focused on a particular fallacy, “poisoning the well,” and a particular instance of it, the accusation that the exercise of conscientious objection to participating in same sex marriages constitutes the latter day revival of “Jim Crow.” An argument “poisons the well” if it serves to prevent its refutation by instilling an unavoidable distrust in the one who would provide the refutation. In the Dobey Gillis episode, the example offered is of a debater who rises and begins by charging that his opponent is, and always has been, a liar. Such a charge risks the ability of the reasoning mind to even entertain what the opponent might place before it.