Monthly Archive: May 2015

The Attention grabbing headline – an example

We can expect 18 months of attempts by political parties and their representatives to impress us with their arguments and positions.
One thing that everybody needs to beware of is The Attention Grabbing Headline. This is some supposed fact that is designed to impress us and get our attention in some way (sometimes, the cynic in me believes that the political entity does not care how we react, it just wants our attention).
However, many of these headlines will, when examined, turn out to be not what they seem, and they will in many cases turn out to be full of logical fallacies such as strawman reasoning, circular reasoning, begging the question, arguments from inappropriate authority, or, as this examination of claims about crime rates in the UK shows, the incorrect comparison of two different sets of data 


Binary sloganeering

From time to time i see people posting slogans or images over which somebody has plastered a slogan. You know the sort of thing. The slogan is a variant on “If you don’t like this country. leave”. Or “if you don’t love the country, get out”. There are numerous variants of it.
Folks, it is time to grow up and get real. Life is not binary. Things and people are not all bad or all good, with nothing in between. Countries are the same.
The world in which we live is flawed and imperfect because a lot of it is controlled by humans, who are imperfect, inconsistent and prone to flights of everything ranging from love, vivid fantasy through panic attacks, anger and (sad to say) violence.
Dissent is not disloyalty, and blind obedience to some idealized view of a society or country is not progress. It’s actually the sort of requirement placed on citizens in a totalitarian state, the sort of state that treats citizens as mere subjects, peons who should be seen and not heard, and know their place and obey their superiors. In other words, a country remarkably like some of the countries that the Founding Fathers left in order to form the modern-day United States.
Living in this country does not require you to fail to notice its imperfections, nor does it impose any requirement on you to keep quiet about those imperfections. There is a First Amendment for a good reason. There is also no Constitutional right to not be offended.
There are a number of sub-optimal features in the modern USA. From time to time I will comment on them. If you think that makes me “un-American”, “anti-American”, “unpatriotic” etc. etc.. then so be it, but, frankly, it says more about your binary mindset than it does about my opinions.