Syllogisms for the 21st Century

George Mano
|
Posted: Oct 05, 2015 10:29 AM
Syllogisms for the 21st Century

With some in the media pouring out their hearts for outgoing Speaker of the House John Boehner and attacking his critics as “far-right” and “extremists,” it reminded me of something written by newspaper man HL Mencken many years back called “Syllogisms a la mode.” It ran like this:

If you are against labor racketeers, then you are against the working man. If you are against demagogues, then you are against democracy. If you are against Christianity, then you are against God. If you are against trying a can of Old Dr. Quack's Cancer Salve, then you are in favor of letting Uncle Julius die.

I think it is time to update that list of syllogisms. Here are some of the examples we hear nowadays in the media and from well-known politicians:

If you are against the president’s deal with Iran, you want to see Iran go nuclear.

If you want to defund Planned Parenthood, you are against women.

If you are against “gay marriage,” you are homophobic.

If you think the evidence for man-made global warming is weak or non-existent, you are a climate denier.

If you think that Clockboy did not invent a clock, merely took the cover off of a 1980s digital alarm clock, put it into a briefcase, making it look like a bomb in order to lower our guard against bomb threats by Muslims by claiming anti-Muslim bias, you are an Islamophobe.

If you are a Republican member of the House or Senate and you give the Democrats everything they want, you are pragmatic.

If you think the president should follow the Constitution, you are a right-wing extremist.

If you think Congress should follow the Constitution, you are a right-wing extremist.

If you think the Supreme Court should follow the Constitution, you are a right-wing extremist.

If you think the mainstream media has a left-wing bias, you are a right-wing extremist.

If you think that Bernie Sanders is a left-wing extremist, you are a right-wing extremist.

If you think that Barack Obama is a left-wing extremist, you are a racist.

If you think that Hillary Clinton did nothing to help our ambassador to Libya while he was being attacked by Islamic extremists, then helped propagate a false story about some previously unknown video, then covered up and deleted almost everything related to her activities regarding the Benghazi attack, you are part of the vast right-wing conspiracy.

If you think that Barack Obama did nothing to help our ambassador to Libya while he was being attacked by Islamic extremists, then helped propagate a false story about some previously unknown video, then covered up and deleted almost everything related to his activities regarding the Benghazi attack, you are a racist.

If you don’t like Obamacare, think it is unconstitutional, think it should be defunded, or think it should be repealed, you are a racist.

If you think that illegal immigrants should go back to their home countries, you are a racist.

If you think the US should secure the border and enforce immigration laws, you are a racist.

If you think that a white cop in Ferguson, Missouri, was defending himself when shooting a marijuana-addled, six-foot-five, three-hundred pound man, who punched him in the face, tried to grab his gun, and was charging at him, you are a racist.

If you disagree with Barack Obama on any topic, you are a racist. (I hear you, Oprah.)

If you think that Obama favors the Muslim Brotherhood and other extreme Muslim groups over secular Muslims, Christians, and Jews, you are an Islamophobe, racist, and birther.

If you support Donald Trump for president, it means you believe Obama is a Muslim. (I hear you, Lindsey Graham.)

If you think that Mitch McConnell and John Boehner have been weak, incompetent, treacherous, and two-faced in their leadership roles, you are a wackobird.

And, if you like small government, the rule of law, and the free-market system, you are a throwback to the 19th century.