Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tory Logic

This morning the Tely has an editorial on the Reynolds scandal:

They pursue one of the strangest parts of this story: "But asked again Monday, Reynolds still said no - and went even further, saying that, since a Tory has been elected in the seat twice since then, the original byelection result must have been a legitimate one. That argument is so bizarre it hardly requires detailed examination. In case Reynolds is not aware, it's the Elections Act, not the Ends-Justify-the-Means Act.And if someone as supposedly versed in elections law as the chief electoral officer can't understand the difference, maybe it's time to hire someone who can."

Yes, the argument is bizarre but, if that's the position of the Chief Electoral Officer, then it warrants some analysis.

Reynolds' assertion is little more than wishful thinking that relies on the fallacy of argumentum ad consequentiam:

His argument is based on two false premises:
1) Success = Legitimacy, i.e., if someone won an election more than once, it must be legitimate. This is similar to the popular fallacy in NL politics that Wealth = Honesty. Or that other popular doctrine: CRAPoll Numbers = Democracy.

2) What happened after an event explains what happened before. This is also known as presentism, or the fallacy of nunc pro tunc:

Let's take a real historical example. There was an American politician who won an election in 1968 and then proceeded to win a huge landslide victory in 1972. According to Tory logic, the election campaigns must have been legitimate, because the candidate won twice.

The politician was Richard Nixon, and the funny thing is that the Watergate break-in happened less than six months before he crushed George McGovern in the November 1972 election.

Nixon hardly needed the antics of the "plumbers" unit and second-rate burglars to win the presidential election:

But corruption is often illogical and what happens after an event cannot be taken as an explantion for what happened before. Correlation is not the same as causation.

If nothing else, the Reynolds scandal should help dispel some of the popular myths that continue to surround Dangovt.

Campaign Ad Update:
Our Research Department has uncovered one of Nixon's election ads from 1972:

With lines like making dreams a reality, and he'll show us how repeated with an oddly revivalist tune, it sure sounds like Dangovt. This would be a correlation, of course, not causation -- unless you subscribe to Tory logic. For other correlations between DW and Nixon, see

No comments:

Post a Comment