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Saturday, April 02, 2011



Could it be that the rhetorical instance you cite actually shows the President challenging the unrealistic rhetoric used by opponents? There are Republicans who engage in hyperbole about the Soviet oppression of a government-run economy. There are Democrats (including me) who have hyperbolically branded Republican deregulation proposals as Russian anarcho-capitalism (funny how Russia can be the boogeyman for both sides). You're right: few if any politicians are advocating such outcomes. Could the President be making that point and urging people to get off the wild rhetoric and come make practical solutions?


One may quibble endlessly about the overuse of a phrase one finds personally annoying, but Marcus is dead wrong when she says Obama has mischaracterized positions that have been stated. I especially found this true concerning Libya: "On the one hand, some question why America should intervene at all - even in limited ways - in this distant land." Meanwhile, he noted, others "have suggested that we broaden our military mission beyond the task of protecting the Libyan people and do whatever it takes to bring down [Libyan leader Moammar] Gaddafi and usher in a new government."

It characterizes exactly the choices suggested by McCain, Graham, Kucinich--all of which can be verified with video clips.

Donald Pay

False choices heard from some:

Believe in God or go to Hell.
Cut spending or the increasing debt destroys America.
Invade Iraq or face Saddam's weapons of mass destruction.

Jon S.

While I get Donald's larger point the examples he uses are not "false choices" as defined by Marcus and Blanchard. Those are assertions which may or may not be true. Those who made/make the claims listed by Donald believe part of what they are saying to be true (i.e, God exists, debt is destroying America, and Saddam posed a significant threat). The false choice means putting out there two ideas you believe are NOT true so as to make your position seem like the sane/moderate one. So if I said, "Some people say you must believe in God to go to heaven, others say God doesn't exist. We should reject these false choices and realize there is a God but he just wants us to be happy here on Earth" then I'd be setting up the "false choice." I think the logical fallacy Donald is really condemning is the "false dilemma" (if you don't agree with me, you and the world will literally go to Hell). The "false choice" is a cousin of the false dilemma, but is not the same.

Donald Pay

The false choice and false dilemma pose the same logical problem. Those on the extremes tend to use the false dilemma. Moderates tend to use the false choice.

Ken Blanchard

Cory: No. The problem is that the President is using the false choice as a dodge, in lieu of making a case for his policies.

Anne: the problem with the President's use of "let me be perfectly clear" and "my highest priority" is not that the phrases are irritating. Only the overuse is irritating. The problem is that he is rarely the one and has way too many of the other.

Yes, a lot of people believe that we should stay out of Libya altogether and others believe as say we should go all in. Those are real alternatives. Calling these "false choices" is a dodge.


A FOR-REAL note from a relative of Snoop Dogg's who is, in fact, a Mormon. My reply to him was that the story was apntlepary not a report but a prophecy.According to Snoop's relative: The picture is fake. But I did leave a Book of Mormon at their house. They do know that I am Mormon. Matter of fact, they knew about the passing of President Hinckley without me telling them. They are knowledgeable of the church because of me. At first I thought the picture was real. But I noticed that the top finger of Snoop's was not his. I did call them to confirm if it was a joke or not. Because if anything, I would have known first. HMMMMMMM. Is it just a matter of time???


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