Rhetoric: Fallacy of Disenfranchisement

I’ve noticed a popular fallacy that seems to be of a distinct category. I call it “Fallacy of Disenfranchisement” because it attempts to disqualify a speaker from even expressing an opinion. It circumvents arguments ad hominem by entirely eliminating the ‘hominem.’ This fallacy might also be called a “reverse appeal to authority.” Read about this and related debate errors in My Notes.

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Ethnic Intolerance

Today I was obliged to respond to a disturbing Facebook thread. I put it in my Facebook status, in preference to escalating heated emotional posts, to bring the topic to a wider audience. Read my remarks in My Notes.

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Improving Toaster Waffles

I’ve been buying toaster waffles for years. They’re quick and convenient. But by the time we butter and pour syrup on them, they aren’t very hot, and they don’t have a lot of flavor beyond the syrup. Read how to turn a lackluster food experience into a real treat, in My Notes.

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It seemed obvious to me that overzealous righteousness has everything to do with it: the god-given notion that we have the right to define what offends us personally as an offense to the very universe, and that we somehow then acquire the divine right to mete out retribution of our own choosing without benefit of judge, jury, trial or verdict. Read this brief post in My Notes.

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The Little Old Lady and the Dog – a Modern Parable

“And they’re all these damn Nancy Pelosi Liberals, you know, every single last one of them, who will try to twist the conversation around into the Environment when all we’re discussing is how to make a $20 profit on a truckload of old-growth redwood. They’ll take a simple innocent declarative sentence like this one and embroider and embellish it until it sounds like Al Gore’s Sermon on the Mount! …” A modern parable, in My Notes.

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Windshield Wiper Blades

I already knew it was high time for me to replace those wiper blades. Desert heat and road dust are murderous on the soft rubber parts, as you know. When it rained, which has not been often, my wiper blades would squeal and chatter … Now, there are some problems nowadays I didn’t have a long time ago. My close-up eyesight isn’t what it used to be, so I’ve learned I need strong light for detail work. Second, they’ve changed everything! Read the story in My Notes.

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Letter to a Cousin

I’ve lately been corresponding with a long-lost cousin, and we’ve been doing the catch-up thing on families, family trees and personal notes. She’s a happily married mathematician and educator in the northwest. As many Summitlake.com readers know, I’m a sixty-something retired gay man who lost a life partner to cancer in 2005, and a Vietnam vet. So, my cousin wrote me today commenting, among other things, on the recent end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. She also remarked “I am very discouraged about politics.”

I’m not much for sharing private correspondence. It still occurred to me I had written some encouraging words for my cousin which might serve as a heartening reminder to all of us: while the pace of change often seems maddeningly slow, it’s happening all around us faster than we can usually appreciate. Read the excerpt of my letter in My Notes.

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“Silent Cal” Coolidge

Although Coolidge was known to be a skilled and effective public speaker, in private he was a man of few words and was therefore commonly referred to as “Silent Cal.” A possibly apocryphal story has it that Dorothy Parker, seated next to him at a dinner, said to him, “Mr. Coolidge, I’ve made a bet against a fellow who said it was impossible to get more than two words out of you.” His famous reply: “You lose.” It was also Parker who, upon learning that Coolidge had died, reportedly remarked, “How can they tell?” — Wikipediaread article in My Notes

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Khan Academy

Education as entertainment? I think so – I think Khan Academy might be the next Wikipedia. I discovered Sal Khan and his free online curriculum on the Charlie Rose Show. I actually audited some really enjoyable free course segments online. Read this article in My Notes.

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