Tuesday, May 24, 2005

It's surely not his brain that makes me thrill

There's a variation of the reductio ad absurdum argument called the reductio ad Hitlerum, which generally attempts to decry anything on the grounds of being implicitly visibly alike to the behaviour or beliefs of Hitler, and thus incontrovertibly evil. From a newish blogger, Craig Cantin (who really, given the experience he claims, ought to be capable of a better argument), meet its lesser cousin, the reductio ad Nixonum: Now, onto the second article. It's becoming more apparent that the Tories were attempting to entrap the Liberals prior to the budget vote on Thursday. We now know that while 8 minutes of conversation were made public, over 3 1/2 hours were not (yet) released. What's on the rest of the tapes that the Tories don't want us to hear? A few more questions for you to ponder: 1. Do you see any comparison between this and, say, late President Richard Nixon taping his conversations? 2. Doesn't it seem unethical to resort to entrapment to try and bring down a corrupt regime? 3. If they will go to this length, what else have they done, or are willing to do, to achieve their ambitions? 4. What might have the Tories done during the last leadership race to ensure Stephen Harper won? 5. What might they be willing to do to hold onto power if they are ever given it? 6. Will they be ANY different from the present corrupt regime after one term in office? Ow. My head. See what I mean? Nixon = Evil; Nixon taped conversations; Tories taped conversations; ergo Tories are like Nixon; ergo Tories = Evil, QED. That little gem of tinfoil-hattery aside, It's delightful to get such easily-refuted logical fallacies as arguments for the status quo. In order: 1. Do you see any comparison between this and, say, police investigations engaging in wiretapping to gather evidence of criminal activity? Do you see a difference between evidence of wrongdoing, and mere ammunition for the politics of personal destruction in which Nixon engaged? There's just a bit of contrast between paranoid control-freak shenanigans from the executive, and an opposition legislator corroborating allegations of having been propositioned, no? 2. Not in the slightest. The Liberal Party seems, from the available evidence, to be criminally unethical behind closed doors; exposing such dirty deeds to the public is no vice. Moreover, it's not entrapment, if opportunities to commit a crime are offered to one predisposed to commit such an act. That Tim Murphy didn't immediately shut Gurmant Grewel down - that he spent at least four hours in carefully-worded conversation over implying such an illegal offer of offices, appointments or other benefits existed - doesn't recommend much in the way of an entrapment defense, were the matter ever to come to trial. 3. How about winning an election, based on making known the premise that the Conservative Party isn't the one currently implicated to have been offering bribes of federally-granted perks in exchange for voting with it? That's what they're willing to do. Their ambitions are to replace the current government, in a free and fair election. If you can't at least argue otherwise with some modicum of relevant factual evidence - and, again, this is coming from someone who really ought to know better - don't engage in cowardly innuendoes. 4. Perhaps - just maybe - a plurality of the party membership supported him. Not everything has to be part of a conspiracy. 5. Gee, I don't know. Would they entice defections from the opposition with cabinet posts? Intimidate opposition MPs with conveniently-timed RCMP investigations? Freely spend billions of dollars in order to maintain a tenuous grasp of public opinion? Ignore non-confidence votes in the House? Postpone opposition days, to attempt to prevent such votes from even occurring? Scream accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia et al to shut down public debate? I seem to recall some other party having done all those things recently. Do you sincerely think the CPC would even reach established lows of behaviour pioneered by our current government, let alone whatever insinuation they might "be willing to do to hold onto power" encompasses? I pity you if that's the case, to have been so disillusioned by the Liberal lust for power and lack of ethics as to believe that anyone else must be just as bad, if not worse. 6. See #5. Why ought the writer know better? Cantin is a former mid-to-high-level staffer - a correspondence writer promoted up to an IT manager - for the Leader of the Opposition's office, and a former executive of the Nepean-Carleton Canadian Alliance riding association. (That wouldn't exactly seem to compute, if this is the same Craig Cantin to accuse Peter Rempel of being "a maniacal right-wing fruitcake.") I'd love to know what turned him into a boutique-soap-making Green Party supporter, darkly whispering vague charges of Nixonian behaviour and desire for coups d'etat, in any case. (Via Political Staples.)

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