How many times have you heard or read something similar to the following;
Question: What do you think of Obamacare? Do you think the Affordable Care Act is good for the Nation?
Sometimes you'll get answers like the following;
"Another Government Program promoted by our Socialist President."
"As usual, the Republican Party is trying to block anything that
doesn't benefit the Rich."
While the answers above are from both sides of the Political Spectrum, they
are examples of perhaps the most common type of Logical Fallacy:
AD HOMINEM- WHICH TRANSLATES, "TO THE PERSON."
Basically, it is when a judgment is made about a Law, Program or Activity etc,
not on the merits of the specific subject, but on the person or persons promoting or criticizing it.
In the above example, the question is asking for an opinion about Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act. In neither answer is there any reference to the new Health Care Law, on whether or not it is a good or desirable program. Instead the comments are directed at the President and the Republican Party. This type of answer imparts no useful information, and generally means;
- That the responder probably doesn't really know why they are either for or against Universal Health Care.
- That they have not gathered enough information to make an informed decision.
- They are accepting at face value what is being said or written about in the Media Outlet of their choice.
In the end, society will reap the kind of reward it deserves, and that may be the consequence of how much effort the average American takes to understand the Laws and Policies that impact society as a whole.
(ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON 3/31/2014)