The British philosopher Antony Flew conceptualized the “No True Scotsman” argument in 1975. The presentation of this logical fallacy often takes an appearance similar to this exchange:
Paul: All Scotsmen wear kilts.
Lauren: My uncle, Duncan Machaggis, is a Scotsman and he doesn’t wear a kilt.
Paul: Well, all true Scotsmen wear kilts.
The latter party attempts to refute evidence against a universal claim in a manner that has no foundation in reason: by making the claim a prerequisite, or necessary qualifier, to the subject at hand.
So from the Left, I’ll offer an apology to Ludmya “Mia” Love.
Ms. Love is the mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, and the GOP’s candidate in the state’s 4th Congressional District. She is an African-American of the Mormon faith, and for those reasons her Wikipedia page was vandalized after her base-pleasing speech at the Republican National Convention.
The edited remarks in question were heinous – not something you’d say in front of your mother, your spouse or even as drunken banter in a barroom.
An aside – Ms. Love’s post-RNC money bomb is likely to be inflated as a result of this character assault. Thanks, guys. Way to help the team.
I won’t say no true Democrat would ever stoop to such levels – even though the Democratic Party's platform is a model of tolerance and inclusion. I will say the anonymous actors were cowards, operating behind the Invisibility Cloak of the Internet, and that they do not represent the party's views.
Regrettably, these vile attacks are not limited to the extreme Right of the political spectrum – and this is part of the larger problem. How can we expect our elected officials to reach solutions when we use epithets and slurs to criticize the opposition? Our civil discourse has degraded into uncivil disses.
The Left ought to embrace the policy chasm between the parties to iterate our argument. Use facts, numbers, quotes, studies, reports, evidence and reason. There’s more than enough on our side – believe me.
Here’s a taste:
House Majority PAC Ad
Partial transcript: “On the Saratoga Springs City Council, Love voted to raise property taxes three times, up 116 percent in one year, and allowed spending to nearly double. And as mayor, Love took a 30 percent pay increase. If you like how she raised taxes in Utah, you’ll love Mia Love in Congress.”
Some may note that I'm potentially making a “false equivalency” argument here – that while left-wing extremists vandalize Wikipedia pages, Republican extremists attend conventions, and, too often, occupy seats in Congress or run for the Presidency. But I digress.
The point is that there is no room in a just society for ad hominem assaults on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, creed and the like. By anyone, for any reason.
A Republican President freed the slaves.
A Democratic President signed the Civil Rights Act.
Both sides have been part of the solution in the past – Democrats should not become part of the problem, in any way, shape, or form.
Let’s return to the good old days when Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan would knock back a few beers, and the only peanuts thrown were shells on a barroom floor.