Just A Fool

“It’s a fool who looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart.”

Ulysses Everett McGill – O Brother Where Art Thou

This is one of my favorite quotes from a movie filled with quotable lines. It’s a brilliant adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey and one of my favorite films of all time. I guess I like this particular line because I’m a logic girl. I want things to make sense, and it really bugs me when they don’t. I’m that way with reading—I can spot an inconsistency a mile away and more than one or two will have me hurling a book across the room. (Which, incidentally, is why I usually prefer real books to the electronic kind. It would get too expensive to toss my Nook around very often, and hitting ‘Delete’ isn’t nearly as satisfying as sending the offending volume sailing into the next room accompanied by an appropriately frustrated bellow.)

I like it in movies. I have to watch myself, because more than once I’ve annoyed people watching with me by blurting out, “But… what about…?”, or “Why doesn’t he just…?” I’ve learned for the most part to keep these questions to myself, at least until the ending credits.

It goes without saying that in writing as well, all my fictional effects must have causes.

And God help me, I’m that way in real life as well. Sweeping generalizations drive me crazy, and this being an election year, sweeping generalizations abound. Mind you, I usually keep quiet about this stuff – it mostly does no good to speak out. Both sides are so firmly entrenched in their assumptions and prejudices that to try to inject reason into the debate is an exercise in futility. But the FaceBook chatter over a recent incident has me digging out my old Logic textbooks and deciding to give it the old college try:  

Guilt by Association – an ad hominem fallacy.

A is a B.

A is also a C.

Therefore all A’s are C’s.

Or, in today’s terms – Todd Akin is a Republican. Todd Akin is an idiot. Therefore, all Republicans are idiots.

I know this is a fallacy, because I know that I am not an idiot. I am also not dogmatic, intolerant, war-mongering or homophobic. I am an intelligent, thinking person who finds my political leanings more closely aligned with the conservative side than the liberal.  I also know that by saying this, I risk being pigeon-holed by those whose political leanings align the other way. I am suddenly dismissed. I am now numbered among the ad hominem idiots above.

But, I’ll risk it, because, like I said, I’m a logic girl and I felt like I needed to say this. I’ll end on a purely illogical note, however – because I’m dreaming of the day when someone will start the Reasonablist Party and those of us who are now compelled to align ourselves with one extreme or the other, will be able to meet like-minded folks in the middle and actually work together come up with effective solutions to our country’s problems. Just think, one day we might be able to vote “for” something, instead of against something else.

Now, I’ve got to end this and get ready for a long road trip to a family reunion in Texas. Yes, my family comes from Texas, and if you’re suddenly getting visions of me as a gun-toting, Second Amendment spouting redneck, all I can say is: See Above.


Trackback URL

Comments are closed.