Friday, December 9, 2011

Wingnutology 101 - The Althouse Fallacy


A new Conspiracy arises…..Obama to take away your Guns…..all wingers beware...

SURE LOOKS LIKE IT: John Hinderaker: Was Fast And Furious All About Gun Control? “We certainly want to be fair to the Obama administration officials who were involved in Fast and Furious. But a fundamental question has never been answered: why in the world did the Obama administration not just allow AK-47s and other weapons to be shipped across the border to Mexican drug gangs, but encourage and even finance such transactions, over the objections of jittery gun shop owners and its own veteran agents? If the Obama administration wasn’t trying to set up an argument for more gun control, then what was it trying to do?”

UPDATE: Ann Althouse: “If Hinderaker’s conclusion seems extreme, consider that it could be easily refuted by a clear statement from the Obama administration disclosing the true and legitimate purpose. The absence of such a statement propels us toward the extreme conclusion.”
CONTEXT: Within Right Wing Counter Culture there is deep suspicion that the Federal Government will eventually enact gun control limitations and then be able to limit gun ownership. So when a gun walking program begun under the Bush Administration to crack down on Mexican drug cartel derailed this year, some right wingers, predictably started to see dark conspiratorial forces behind the program. It -  the program - became a deliberate attempt to arm criminals who would then in turn kill Americans in large numbers. An outraged public would demand tighter gun laws.  This would in turn would lead to UN Weapons Checkpoints on every street corner.

DIAGRAM: If P then a very remote chance of Q. If no denial of Q, then Q is likely to exist.

THE FALLACY: If there is a slight chance that a dark conspiracy exists, then the fact that Government Officials have not denied the existence of the dark conspiracy, indicates that the dark conspiracy is likely to exist. This is typical of conspiracy theory found of the wingnet.  It is not as good as (NRO) Ed Whelan's claim that the Obama administration planned to implement Effete European Law and Sharia Law at the same time, making it possible for the Gay Folks to get married one day under Effete European Law and Executed under Sharia Law the next day. But still, it is not bad.

RESOLUTION: Each of the speakers first quoted above are right wing lawyers (Reynolds, Althouse and Hinderaker) and in theory each possesses the requisite intelligence and training to see the falsity of the rhetoric.  Yet each persists in playing along in the conspiracy game.  

 In a vacuum this would cause little concern, however by use of modern communication, this fallacy will reach multitudes of the unwashed tea party masses. These readers, lacking education and training, will be susceptible to concluded that this fallacy, The Althouse Fallacy, is correct. Short of FEMA-run Anti-Obama Dissident Camps, there is little that can be done to prevent this type of rhetoric from permeating through right wing counter culture.