To reason fallaciously is to cheat. It’s like arriving at the finish line of a race without having set out at the start line. Like finish lines in races, conclusions in arguments must be earned. And one earns them with the hard work and sweat of a fair analysis of the evidence available. Sometimes the argumentative race is a 100 meter sprint, sometimes a 5k, sometimes a marathon. The op-ed piece is something like the 5k. The time is short, but it is not too short to develop some depth to one’s argument.
That said, Will cheats again in today’s 5k argumentative race in the Washington Post (SOURCE (WashPost 9/02/04)::
Goldwater was, in a way, the first angry man of the angry ’60s. But he actually smiled far more than he scowled. In his last years some conservatives excommunicated him because of his support for abortion rights and his relaxed views regarding homosexuality. However, this week his spirit is smiling broadly.
Will argues that the placement of two not so doctrinaire (but for different reasons wildly popular) Republicans on the podium of the convention during prime time TV coverage constitutes a revival of the socially “liberal” but fiscally conservative side of the Republican party. But Will can only conclude this if he thinks the race judges are not paying attention, for the race judges know that the party platform approved only days before (and wholeheartedly embraced by the actual candidate in this election) did not reflect anything like the social agendas of the few speakers at the convention Will refers to. It was anything but socially liberal. Nevertheless, Will chooses to ignore this obvious fact, and so draws a conclusion he does not warrant, and claims to win a race he has not run.