Argumentum ad Hominem

Hand up stop sign

With the debate over Gun Control is heating up agian, I thought I’d take the time to talk about one of the reasons why it is going to be so difficult to get both sides to sit down at the table.  I submit for you consideration that one cause is the rash of the use of the logical fallacy “Argumentum ad Hominem“.

For those of you who want to read up on this fallacy, just follow the link, for all the rest here is a simple working definition: an attack on the person making the argument.  In the case of gun control, both sides are all too often falling into this logical fallacy.  Or rather, I should say, all to often they think they are being attacked by the other side.  Because of this both sides of the debate end up talking past each other even before anyone starts talking.  This is a basic offense against debating.  If you come into a discussion assuming the other side is not and will not listen to what you are saying the debate is over before it starts.

Anyone who knows me, knows I love to debate.  I was raised in a family where free an open debate (arguments some would say) was not only allowed but encourage.  While my Dad was a engineer, he loved logic, my Mom was a sometime speach couch.  When ever the debate got personal one or the other them, sometimes both, would step in an say it was getting personal and it was time to stop.  Well, with the debate on gun control it is time to stop, take a deep breath and calm down.

This will not be easy, for either side.  To the pro gun control side I say “don’t take the action of the NRA personally and don’t take their bait”. The NRA is a professional lobby and one of the favorite tactics of any Lobby is to get the other side upset.  To the pro gun side I say “don’t take any limitation to the 2nd amendment as a personal attack, it’s not.”  One of the first truisms of Constitutional Law I learned was this “Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose.”  Simply put, all rights have limitations.  Period, Stop, Close Quotes.  Finally I say to everyone, assume the good intentions of the other side.

That’s it, just grant the other side what you demand for yourself.  That they are good people trying to find a workable solution.