The fallacy of *Ignoratio elenchi* is so named because the arguer shows a manifest ignorance of the direction of the argument. Usually his evidence suggests a mild conclusion, but he opts instead for something more radical. Here’s a good example:

>The way to reduce rent-seeking is to reduce the government’s role in the allocation of wealth and opportunity. People serious about reducing the role of money in politics should be serious about reducing the role of politics in distributing money. But those most eager to do the former — liberals, generally — are the least eager to do the latter.

It’s obvious by the mention of “liberals” that this is our dear friend George Will. In light of this observation, he offers two suggestions: congressional term limits or “the philosophical renewal of conservativism.” Congressional term limits will, he argues (and he’s probably right) never take place; the philosophical renewal of conservatism, by which he means something like the Grover Norquist drown the federal government in a bathtub variety, appears to be the only other option.

This obviously false dichotomy ignores the less extreme (and therefore more probable) solution: elect and hold accountable representatives who do not prostitute themselves or otherwise cluelessly (even if good-heartedly) waste taxpayer money. Maybe our readers might suggest some names. But I’m certain that such public servants exist in great numbers.

Even though Will correctly asserts that lobbying is a constitutionally protected activity, no one is thereby forced to listen to a lobbyist.