Does Reason Want to Win?
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I recall my delight when I first discovered the “logical fallacies.” These are the rhetorical devices that people employ to deflect free and open argument aimed at arriving nearer to the truth about a given issue. “Ad hominem” is one of the better known, discrediting the speaker in a personal way rather than answer his points directly. Nowadays this fallacy is liable to consist in labeling a person or position as “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic—you name it,” as Hillary Clinton described her “basket of deplorables.” This is done so as not to deal with genuine and well-founded concerns people may have about, say, ongoing mass immigration undercutting wages at the lower end of the economy, or Muslim immigration possibly sheltering jihadist terror.
Another fallacy is “false dichotomy,” also called “either-or” reasoning. So, for example, if you criticize contemporary feminism, it means you want women to be barefoot and pregnant. Or “hasty generalization,” as when...