May 12, 2009

The Power of the Non-Sequitor

In debate, the most common (and seemingly effective) technique seems to be to attribute to your opponent to something he doesn't support.

For example, those who supported the bank bailout are accused by some of being pro-bank, in favor of the greed and the errors they made, instead of simply not wishing bank mistakes to death-spiral the whole economy.

Another example is that misnomer "choice". Some supporters of a right to an abortion seem to believe what I did at the age of five: that babies just "happen" to a man and woman who spend a lot of time together. There's no sense of acknowledgement from them that's there's a choice to be made before conception.

A third example is illustrated by a ND law professor:
To understand what the controversy surrounding Obama's [Notre Dame] invitation is about, it is important to understand what it is not about. Most important, the issue is not, as some commentators have suggested, whether Notre Dame should welcome, engage, debate and explore a wide range of viewpoints.
Yet another example is the reason Bill Clinton was impeached. Many seem to think it was because he had oral sex in the Oval Office. The word perjury is rarely heard, let alone acknowledged.

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