The Shotgun Blog
Saturday, March 26, 2005
Mom and Apple Pie
A long, long time ago, when I was young and idealistic, and thought most people were basically honest and reliable, I heard or read comments on controversial issues such as "You can't argue against Mom and apple pie". I of course agreed and was likely swayed in my take on the issue involved. Now that my eyes are no longer veiled by ignorance and inexperience ( Joe G will likely disagree there) I realize that there is a technique in argumentation that is as old as dirt (and dirtier) that is extensively used by those on the left and much employed by political spinmeisters. I could name a particular spinmeister but I have no wish to enrich lawyers in frivolous lawsuits. The technique is to directly link your arguments to"Mom and apple pie" issues so that you can turn on the people who disagree with you and accuse them of being against, you quessed it, "Mom and apple pie". Jean Cretin (that,s the spelling my spell checker suggests) was particularly adept at this, linking all his pronouncements to "Liberal Volues" then equating them to "Canadian Volues" which would automatically make you 'Un-Canadian" if you dared to disagree with him. This technique should be exposed whenever we encounter it.
Posted by Bob Wood on March 26, 2005 | Permalink
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Bob, you are obsessed with propaganda techniques. I suggest for fast, fast, fast relief, try some direct and honest debating techniques.
You might try the method of Socrates, for example, beginning with a question.
And then you may try to answer your own question.
Or you might try the methods of Aristotle.
Fire, Water, Air and Earth are the building blocks of this method.
But if its propaganda you seek to master, my suggestion is that you study optical illusions and chameleons.
For what its worth, my opinion is that you will do better by Aristotle and Socrates, than you will by Telus and other mulitnational chameleons.
But hey, what do I know. If you are attracted to lizards, go for it.
Posted by: Joe Green | 2005-03-26 1:23:37 PM
Thank you for the educational tidbits on Socrates and Aristotle. However I will have to depend on a dispassionate observer to tell me how your eleven lines of text relate to my post and just what the heck your advice to me really is.
Posted by: BobWood | 2005-03-26 1:34:29 PM
BobWood: if I may act as your "dispassionate observer" (yes I am aware of the irony).
He's saying you're not as Canadian as he is, which means you are a traitor and a bad, bad boy.
Posted by: Scott | 2005-03-26 1:37:32 PM
Don't feel bad Bob, anybody that does not 100% in agreement with Joe's opinion is UnCanadian. I've been labelled as a traitor and am damn proud of it.
I refuse to give into the liberal views as they are a propagating virus that has to be stopped.
Posted by: rob | 2005-03-26 3:42:29 PM
"I refuse to give into the liberal views as they are a propagating virus that has to be stopped."
Translation: The foundations of Western Civilization do not matter to "neo-conservative" thought.
Clear Thinking: Its infecteous.
Posted by: Joe Green | 2005-03-26 4:26:23 PM
rob is on the money.
Jaws, aka Joe Stalin, is a mutant Stalinist.
The left/communist virus of Jaws' teachers died in the Gulag. Jaws escaped to the West before Beria, aka Comrade Lavrenti, could liquidate him.
Jaws has allied himself & his fellow leftist travellers, with the terrorist jihad. Suicide of the left it is.
Posted by: maz2r | 2005-03-26 4:35:15 PM
Lousy argument Joe, and I do not consider your statements clear thinking as usual. I do however agree with the post, that anyone that disagrees with the Liberal point of view, you have immediately tagged them as uncanadian neocon trash, but that's your opinion, and your a minority in that view, so we all just consider the source.
As for the Aristotle and Socrates, you should check out this century, we got cars, communications and everything. Might change your outlook on life.
Posted by: rob | 2005-03-26 4:36:56 PM
Joe, you missed it. Bob is not trying to be a propagandist. He has simply made an observation that we, the respondents, can agree or disagree with. You have done neither. You merely attack the man and insinuate what your overtly bias brain believes he was trying to do. Do you defend this method of defending policy or not? Do you believe that this kind of defense is typical? Or is he imagining it? Speak to the issue, stick to the topic, or stay out of it.
Posted by: Jack | 2005-03-26 4:54:17 PM
The 'Mom and Apple Pie' tactic is an old fallacy, called 'argumentum ad verecundiam' which effectively states that you must not critique an alleged authority; this is also an 'argumentum ad auctoritatem'...an argument based around a requirement that you accept a thing or a system or a person - as inviolate and beyond rebuke, because 'it is a tradition'. This fallacious tactic effectively removes the ISSUE from critique, because it hides the ISSUE within the inviolate boundaries of the tradition.
So- because a Judge says X, you cannot critique that judgment, because the Judge is in an authoritative role. He might be an activist judge; he might be corrupt; but, he's a judge.
And you cannot critique the parliamentary system, because it has existed over hundreds of years.
And so on. This is a very common fallacy, and operates by refusing to deal with the issues by rendering them immune to criticism because of that veneer of traditional authority.
Other fallacies on this blog - are those of ad hominem, where criticism of issues is rejected by name-calling, scatalogical insults etc.
Socrates was very opposed to these fallacies, insisting that people deal only with the issues. And Aristotle called such a false method of argumentation - 'idle chatter' - for it rejected analysis of issues and instead, people simply advocated their opinions.
It's a dead-end tactic, for it rests on emotion rather than reason.
Posted by: ET | 2005-03-27 7:57:30 AM
"And you cannot critique the parliamentary system, because it has existed over hundreds of years."
Well, you can and I did critique the Canadian Parliamentary System in the context of one aspect of it --- its "first past the post" method of selecting MPs.
For a full account of my critique, see
"Who says there's a democratic deficit?"
I have been curious and amused by the "right" making so much noise over the Canadian Senate, its appointment processes, and how Alberta has been "cheated" because the PMO makes these appointments using a long established selection process that has been laid down in the Constitution of Canada dating back to 1867.
The Senate in Canada does not have much power, so its curious why the "right" wants these positions so badly, and in particular why it wants "elected" senators to postions that have little or no "power".
To my way of thinking, its because they wish to create a sense of grievance against Canada and Eastern Canada, specificially Ontario and Quebec. They wish to overlook the very real abuses of power taking place right here in Alberta, where the "first past the post" system has elected nine more Conservative MPs than should be in Ottawa because the rights and views of other Albertans are being ignored from the election results, and these voices will not be heard in the House AS THEY OUGHT TO BE HEARD, IF WE WISH TO CALL OURSELVES DEMOCRATIC.
The position of MPs are positions with "real power", not senate postions whose "power" consists of "delaying" a bill, not stopping it.
And if you look at the actual results from the Chief Electoral Officer, you will see very quickly that the Libertarian Party (i.e. The fascist wing of the American Republican Party in Canada) can be described in no other way except as a "fringe party", with the same support and standing as the Marxist Leninist Party, or the Communist Party.
So what is all the attraction for the "right", if not to engage in obstruction at the Senate and then make claims that "the people have spoken" via the route of the "elected senate".
It seems to me, that what they really seek is to immobilize Parliament Itself. They seek to make it impotent and ineffective, rather like what they have done in the United States with the US Congress. Down there, the American Congress lacks the power to even re-connect the feeding tube for a disabled adult in Florida.
Why would Canadians ever agree to such a damaging course of action for Canada???
Posted by: Joe Green | 2005-03-27 9:27:03 AM
IF we actually respected the principles of democracy and the idea of "one man - one vote", then today the 28 MPs from Alberta would be as follows:
You can check out the details that I provided at:
"Who says there's a democratic deficit?"
And the allotment of 28 MPs for Alberta is one short of the 29 we would get if we strictly assigned MPs according to population.
Alberta certainly gets it full share of representation by any reasonable measure, but the actual MPs sitting in the House are grossly biased for the Conservatives and against the Liberals, the NDP and the Greens.
Can you imagine just what sort of improved debate would exist in the house if there were a couple of Greens MPs from Alberta taking on the Litle Brothers in Calgary from the Oil Industry???
The first past the post system is something that can be fixed in Canada, and should be fixed in favour of a Provincial based, proportional representation system. The MPs with the highest pluralities get their seats first in rank order.
Posted by: Joe Green | 2005-03-27 9:34:57 AM
Joe Green, what does your last two posts have to do with the issue at hand? I can't see a thing about "Mom and apple pie" discussion, but a left-whinger screed against Alberta politics.
If you are going to bring up unfair representation in Alberta MP's, you should provide numbers for all the provinces and territories so people can make a balanced decision if Alberta's representation is skewed or not. But I suspect you will see that Conservatives are grossly under represented in other provinces, so you woouldn't want to bring that fact up at all.
It's just like last summer, when the Globe & Mail was calling for Alberta to experiment with proportional representation, but not other provinces to do so. Because that left whinger paper wanted to take power away from the Right in Alberta, but maintain the Left's hold in other provinces.
Personally, I think all that Proportional Representation is going to do in Alberta is get the separatists as many seats as the NDP in an election.
Posted by: Lonni | 2005-03-27 10:03:09 AM
"Personally, I think all that Proportional Representation is going to do in Alberta is get the separatists as many seats as the NDP in an election."
My view is that we should use proportional representation as a way to build better provincial representation in the House of Commons in Ottawa. I worked out the details for Alberta, but its all rather mechanical and can be done for all the other provinces. Why don't you do a couple and tell us what you find for Ontario or Quebec for instance. My rough figures show that Quebec Separtists would fare even worse than then do today again for the same reasons that the "first past the post" system rewards them with too many seats.
Separtists in Alberta would fare even worse than the fringe Marxists, Libertarians and Communists. And remember that over 200,000 Americans that live in Calgary cannot vote in Canadian elections.
Once Canadians learn that people like Brian Mulroney's advisor Tom Long are Americans, they will not vote for them.
Now, you tell me what is wrong with the proposal to actually assign seats for MPs according to the actual support the Parties enjoy in the election? What is "wrong" with that idea so that all voices from Alberta can be heard in the House???
As for Mom and Applie pie, can you think of a better example in concrete terms then the one I have supplied?
Conservatives do stand for "democracy" don't they?
Posted by: Joe Green | 2005-03-27 10:16:33 AM
Come now, Lonni. Joe Green's comments perfectly illustrate the theme of this blog, which is fallacious argumentation, i.e.,in particular, the fallacy of an 'appeal to tradition'.
Proportional representation..is linked to ..democracy. And democracy is, 'per se' bonded to 'proportional representation'. That's, in itself, another fallacious tactic, a circular argument. Then, 'democracy' is set up a a 'Mom and Apple Pie' concept, i.e., a concept whose value is intrinsic and beyond debate.
Therefore, the theme is, that IF you accept democracy, and you must, because it is beyond debate, (and also, if you do not, then you are not a Conservative); well, IF you accept democracy, then, you MUST accept proportional representation.
Oh, and there was the usual reductionism and ad hominem fallacy as well - the one of 'All Americans are Evil'.
I think that proportional representation is a valid topic, but, it can be discussed without argumentative fallacies and emotive bullying. If the argument is, in itself, valid on its data base and logic, then, there is no need whatsoever to insert the emotive fallacies of 'anti-Americanism' and 'being for democracy'.
Posted by: ET | 2005-03-27 10:29:22 AM
"...AS THEY OUGHT TO BE HEARD, IF WE WISH TO CALL OURSELVES DEMOCRATIC."
Joe, aka Joe Jaws Stalin, is now screaming, yelling, frothing with anger, righteous anger at the blogosphere.
Caps Lock is The Answer from Jaws, aka Joe Stalin. Capitals denote screaming, futility, "sound and fury, signifying nothing". (Macbeth)
Tantrums, yelling, screaming, & etc. is another tactic of the left/liberal/communist tribunes; designed to overwhelm all opposition.
The left is in a suicidal mode; the echo of their own screaming has rendered the left deaf, dumb, mute, suicidal.
Posted by: maz2 | 2005-03-27 10:32:26 AM
"Personally, I think all that Proportional Representation is going to do in Alberta is get the separatists as many seats as the NDP in an election."
This is exactly, as mazz says, why Joe is ranting so hard. The left is losing the battle in this area because Alberta won't go into submittion, even though he babbles that everyone in his biosphere is like him, a party of one.
With the clause that the Lib's attempted to inject into the budget on Thursday with respect to Kyoto, there is a major battle heating up, and the separatist movement could grow to a beyond controllable proportion.
Mom and apple pie or not, people in Alberta still demand a fair democracy, and the increased friction as a result of continual marginalization will ultimately will create more decention, and eventially a revolt of some form.
Posted by: rob | 2005-03-27 1:49:12 PM
"Come now, Lonni. Joe Green's comments perfectly illustrate the theme of this blog, which is fallacious argumentation, i.e.,in particular, the fallacy of an 'appeal to tradition'."
Any sensible student of history SHOULD come to fear revolutionary change. Its destructive, and its consequences are seldom foreseen. That is not an "appeal to tradition", rather it is the application of common sense based upon experience and observation.
Just look at the "revolution" south of the border and the kind of "government" that it has produced. Ayn Rand worshipers in the Libertarian Party all worship the American Constitution as a near "holy grail" and yet, look objectively at the results that it produced last week for Terri and her family in Florida. It demonstrated just how weak the American Government actually is. The Congress, the Senate and the Executive all acting in concert could not get a simple governance action to execute. The US government with all its reputed power, with all its reputed concern for human rights, could not reconnect a feeding tube of a severely disabled adult woman in Florida, who had committed no crime, and whose parents continuously pleaded with their government, with their representatives, with their lawyers, with their courts and with the American public itself to simply let their daughter live out her last days under their care and protection according to the Faith which is also supposed to be protected by that same Constitution, but which instead resulted in the arrest of two pastors that tried to bring Holy Communion to Terri on Easter Morning. How is this any different than the treatment of early Christians by the Romans????
That sort of Government, that sort of Constitution is one that Jesus Christ Himself would condemn to Hell. And yet appologists for Satan somehow pretend that the US is something that its not. They pretend that its a "moral government". It is nothing of the sort. It is an "abomination" created by self-serving vile and selfish "rugged individualists" bent upon the exploitation of their fellow man for personal gain and profit. It matters little how they earn their money, be that selling drugs like opium in China in the last century, or selling goods and services manufactured by slave labour at Wal-Marts. Slave labour operated in the Chinese Communist Prison House. Slave labour whose only crimes is that they wish to be free men.
I say there is nothing for the US to teach and nothing for Canadians to learn from the US about "constitutions". We already have a vastly superior form of government in the Westminster Model of Parliament. We can make it even better by applying a provincially based system of proportional representation.
In terms of the mechanics, all the federal parliament needs to do is enact enabling legislation that can be then endorsed by individual provinces. It seems to me that for Alberta, this would result in a much more representative system of representation.
As a citizen of Alberta, its Alberta affairs that I take direct interest in. The folks in Ontario and in Quebec can work out their own arrangements under the same federal laws. Canada afterall is a "confederation", not an "indivisible union" that is prepared to murder a tenth of its population in order to "save the union".
We as Canadians need to think about our own problems and arrive at our own solutions to those problems. In the course of doing that, I cannot see anything helpful or useful coming from South of the Border in such a discussion.
That is my opinion, and that is my view.
Alberta would be better served in Parliament with fewer conservatives, more liberals, and voices for labour in the NDP and voices for the environment in the Green Party; members that much more closely resemble the actual expressed wishes of the people of Alberta. I think Parliament would work better for Alberta. And finally, it would make Mr. Harper and Mr. Martin each think much more carefully before playing "chicken" with the country, or "rolling the dice" to use the words of a discredited former Prime Minister.
Posted by: Joe Green | 2005-03-27 9:35:13 PM
"With the clause that the Lib's attempted to inject into the budget on Thursday with respect to Kyoto, there is a major battle heating up, and the separatist movement could grow to a beyond controllable proportion."
You wish! Even Gordon Kessler, the separtist MLA that got himself elected for one term, did so because of the hatred being spewed out by Peter Lougheed against Ottawa, BEFORE HE SIGNED THE NATIONAL ENERGY PROGRAM FOR ALBERTA.
Does anyone remember Peter Lougheed toasting Marc Lalonde with Champagne??? I do.
The fact is that you do not need a very big phone booth in Alberta for the separtists like rob to hold a meeting. They are a fringe party, like the Marxists, like the Libertarians, like the Communists, and like the Natural Law Party. They could not even outpoll the Rhino Party, if it were still running for office today.
Posted by: Joe Green | 2005-03-27 9:46:07 PM
Joe aka Angus,
Do you really believe that stuff you spew out. You babble out paragraphs of pure nonsense that dosen't even tie in to anything related to current events. Get with the program.
Posted by: rob | 2005-03-27 10:30:01 PM
>"I refuse to give into the liberal views as they are a propagating virus that has to be stopped."
I think you have mixed up "liberal" and "socialist". True "liberals" are closer to libertarians and modern conservatives than to modern welfare state socialists.
Posted by: lrC | 2005-03-28 8:33:36 PM
"I think you have mixed up "liberal" and "socialist". True "liberals" are closer to libertarians and modern conservatives than to modern welfare state socialists."
Actually, I don't agree with either of them. The drive by even libertarians to become a more tolerant society has removed responsibility for actions on the part of individuals, and created a dependency.
This dependency and lack of responsibility has broken down not only the justice system and CDN society as a whole, but provincial relations through the transfer payment mechanism. It's allowed the Liberals to taste and crave power which in turn has created corruption with no consequences.
Consequences for actions must be reinstated if were ever going to return to a responsible society.
Posted by: rob | 2005-03-28 8:52:08 PM
"Alberta would be better served in Parliament with fewer conservatives, more liberals, and voices for labour in the NDP and voices for the environment in the Green Party; members that much more closely resemble the actual expressed wishes of the people of Alberta. I think Parliament would work better for Alberta. And finally, it would make Mr. Harper and Mr. Martin each think much more carefully before playing "chicken" with the country, or "rolling the dice" to use the words of a discredited former Prime Minister."
Totally wrong. The other parties are controlled by Ontario people. They view Alberta and its people with racial contempt, and our interests are to be ignored. Only through the current Conservative Party can Albertans be heard.
The best solution is for Alberta to send its representatives to Washington. As a state, we'd be treated as an equal, and have greater access to their government services. Best of all, our jobs would be protected from the racist Kyoto accords.
Posted by: Scott | 2005-03-29 1:02:36 AM
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