Today on “Common Cents” I discussed how Secular-Progressives attempt to short-circuit conservative opposition to their ideological agenda through the clever use of argument. They employ an argumentative construct known as a syllogism to paint them as mainstream, while painting conservatives as irresponsible radicals. This sort of debate tactic cheap shot does not serve our nation well, and it undermines meaningful debate on weighty issues facing all Americans.
The dictionary definition of the noun syllogism is a “deductive scheme of a formal argument consisting of a major and a minor premise and a conclusion (as in “every virtue is laudable; kindness is a virtue; therefore kindness is laudable”). A better way to say syllogisms “consist of a major and a minor premise” is to say that they “consist of a major and a minor assumption that leads to a preordained conclusion.” That last definition is mine alone, but I think it encapsulates the true tactic employed by the Left in their, what National Review’s Jonah Goldberg calls, “Tyranny of Clichés.”
Below is a graph that illustrates the construction of a syllogism, generally speaking:
Major Premise (Assumption) + Minor Premise (Assumption) = Conclusion (What Goldberg would call a cliché).
And this is a graph that demonstrates one of the great syllogisms employed by the Left to socialize our nation, while pretending to uphold its values of justice and economic equality:
Liberals care about poor people (Major Premise / Assumption); Liberal / big government economic policies help the poor (Minor Premise / Assumption); therefore, anyone who opposes liberal / big government economic policy hates poor people (Conclusion).
The above example of how the Secular-Progressive Left seeks to short-circuit real debate on economic policies that affect real people could be applied to a whole host of issues. Let’s construct another syllogism the Left uses to cheat in the debate on one of the most contentious social issues of our time.
Same sex marriage means marriage equality (Major Premise / Assumption); Democrats support same sex marriage (Minor Premise / Assumption); therefore, Republicans oppose equality and are bigoted against homosexuals (Conclusion).
This clever use of syllogism is the mechanism through which the Secular-Progressive Left in America imposes Goldberg’s notion of The Tyranny of Clichés on the American people. If conservatives cannot challenge the Left’s attempts to short-circuit meaningful debate through the rampant use of clichés, then the conservative message will continue to be maligned, misrepresented and systematically discredited. If we who love liberty want to preserve freedom for future generations, we must deconstruct these liberal syllogistic arguments, and use their own tactics against them.
Let’s employ pure motives and a sharp intellect to disarm these sound bite time bombs before they can blow holes in the fabric of this nation’s culture and economy. In other words, in our fight for freedom, let us “be as innocent as doves and as shrewd as serpents.”